Hi.

Welcome to my blog! This is my space for words, photos, and wandering thoughts. For the pretty pictures visit @chelseakauai on instagram.

Your Iceland Questions

Your Iceland Questions

From @makaicreative: Is the trip to West fjords worth the time and effort?

If you only have a week or less it probably isn't. The weather = more variable. Things to see = way more spread out. The drive is gorgeous and fun but definitely long. And even though you're out in the middle of nowhere a lot of the main spots will have a good amount of people at them. Amazing hot springs in the first half of the drive, my favorite waterfall in Iceland, and the best meal  I had were all out there. 

From @shailer: Hints and tips on best places to photograph

The south coast heading east has the most photogenic areas and they're all well documented and fairly close together. That's where most of the shots you see on Instagram come out of. I found this map and blog really helpful: Zig Zag on Earth.

My personal favorite place to photograph was the highlands. I didn't prioritize photography on this trip I only pulled out my camera when I felt really moved by something special (like the crazy double rainbow in the north coast of Akureyri). I believe anywhere can be the best place depending on your eye and the light conditions!

From @edjacobphotography: Where was this or does this waterfall have name?

I'm sure it has a name, but it was one I just stumbled across so I'm not sure! It was off of an F-road about halfway to Thorsmork (Volcano Huts). You can see two waterfalls in the distance from the road and we crossed a small river then followed a faint trail to the left one.

From @shepherd_lauren: I'm really interested in those rooftop tents you have. Can you park them anywhere for free though or do you still have to rent spaces to park and sleep?

The rooftop tent was super fun! It was my first time camping in one. So regulations changed in the last few years so technically you are supposed to pay for a campsite. Campgrounds are ubiquitous in Iceland and compared to a hotel not expensive at all (~$30USD, no reservations necessary.) I listed the rules in my Iceland blog. That being said it's very common to see campers pulled over on remote dirt roads, parking lots, etc. We did a mix of both because we did a lot of napping during midday and didn't want to always pay for camping. Just be mindful and practice Leave No Trace ethics :)

From @tidesandtrails: Was it as expensive as everyone makes out?

Yes. I also went in summer which is peak season so prices are a little more elevated. It helps to buy groceries from the super market and to split costs (gas, camper truck) with friends.

Cost breakdown for two weeks driving 4,000km: $3,000

Flights $410 (I used miles so only had to buy Rek -> LA) 4x4 tent camper truck: $1,900 Food and gas $500 One night hotel $200

From @foodolita.fit.travel: How much money did you spend per day on food?

Since we were mostly camping and not at a house where we could store a lot of groceries we mostly brought backpacking meals from home. I brought ones from Good to go foods (they're mostly vegetarian). We ate those twice a day and ate out once a day. Averaged about $30/day each doing it that way.

From @meandtuscany: Which is the best time to go? Which part of Iceland do you suggest for a first visit?

This was my first time so I don't have a lot to compare to. Summer = midnight sun, warmer and more accessibility, but more people. Winter = northern lights, snow covered mountains. For photography I think winter and spring would be best. For your first time look into doing the ring road to see a bit of the whole island or stay on the south coast and go from Reykjavik to the Jokularlon Lagoon.

From @katarinasjafjell: How did you get there?

I flew Iceland Air on the way there and WOW air on the way back. I was super nervous because I've heard some stories about Wow air, but honestly it was totally fine. Yes you have to pay for any snacks/drinks/entertainment on the plane and make sure your bag is under their weight restrictions (20 kilos for checked bag, pay during your booking).

From @wherescatarina: Was it difficult to get behind the waterfall? What shoes would you recommend?

Hiking difficulty is a very subjective thing. To me, no it wasn't difficult but it was slippery and wet. We had to cross a river at the start of the hike where we ended up taking off our shoes rather than risk slipping. I use the Terradora waterproof shoe from Keen! I love them and the values of their brand (this is my second year as an ambassador with them). Bottom line you want a comfortable waterproof shoe with good traction. I also brought a nice warm leather winter boot that was more cozy and stylish for non-hiking activities.

From @brittnie.booth: What type of currency did you use for parking, bathrooms, and the tolls?

We never had to pay for parking. Bathrooms, tolls, and hot springs are the only times I needed small amounts of cash (Icelandic kronor). Everything else I paid for with my credit card (camping, groceries, gas).

 

Things I hope we gain in the fire

Things I hope we gain in the fire

Iceland - a (mostly) unplanned adventure

Iceland - a (mostly) unplanned adventure