The day after I wrote about my itinerary indecision, I was doing something mundane — putting away dishes, maybe, or blow-drying my hair — when I thought, "I want to start my trip with a month in New Zealand. Yup, I'll do that."
I look forward to visiting Thailand a few months into my trip, but I couldn't get super-excited about starting there.
I've wanted to explore New Zealand for quite a while — I'm a huge, nerdy fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, which were filmed there — and I want to make sure I have plenty of time and money to enjoy it properly. Plus, February is one of the country's warmest months!
Here's my new rough itinerary (very rough from July on), which is completely subject to change at any time:
- New Zealand
- Thailand (and particularly Chiang Mai for Songkran)
- Possibly back to Thailand
- Portland, Oregon (World Domination Summit)
- I had planned on South America... but Iceland has changed everything
I wrote a bit about my post-World Domination Summit plans and then immediately deleted it all when I saw this video of Iceland — particularly the :59 mark.
From the photographer, who shot this video in June 2011:
"Iceland is a landscape photographer's paradise and playground, and should be number one on every photographer's must-visit list. Iceland during the Midnight Sun is in sort of a permanent state of sunset. The sun never fully sets and travels horizontally across the horizon throughout the night, as can be seen in the opening shot and at the :51 second mark in the video.
"During the Arctic summer, sunset was at midnight and sunrise was at 3 a.m. The Arctic summer sun provided 24 hours a day of light, with as much as 6 hours daily of "golden light." Once the sun had set it wouldn't even get dark enough for the stars to come out, and they don't start to reappear until August.
"My advice to everyone out there, photographer or not, is simple... You MUST visit Iceland sometime during your lifetime. You will never regret it."
Where to go from Iceland? Norway, Sweden and Denmark? Ireland, Scotland and England? Down to South America?
I have no idea. I'll figure it out eventually.
My heart is bursting with joy and excitement after watching that video. It brought tears to my eyes. I can't even begin to imagine all the mind-blowingly beautiful landscapes I'll find myself surrounded by in the next year.
I'm feeling very, very lucky right now, and incredibly happy to be alive.
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