Recently, I was really pleasantly surprised to be contacted by Séð Og Heyrt magazine. Although the blog has been going for almost two years now no one has ever interviewed me, aside from other bloggers! So to be featured in an Icelandic magazine was really exciting. I don’t have an easy way to translate the article properly back into English, so thought I would share some of the questions and answers. It’s all made me think about why I do this, and why I’m still keeping it going, but that’s another post!
When did you first visit Iceland and why?
I first visited Iceland in 2005, and did the Landmannalaugar walk. It was a harsh introduction to Iceland – I was unprepared for the fact that it would snow at night even in June and had a very cold first night in my tent! Then I went to sleep with hat, gloves and everything else on for the rest of the trip. So on the first trip I saw a small part of Iceland in great detail and knew that I wanted to come back to see more of this amazing landscape.
What is it about Iceland that you find interesting?
At first like most visitors I was interested in the nature – the volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields, waterfalls… The more I visited the more I became interested in Icelandic culture which is so pure in a way due to isolation for many years, but at the same time so cosmopolitan. I love the creativity and the fact that people don’t get pigeonholed into doing only one job forever or being only what other people expect them to be. Icelanders are very open to opportunity and taking chances.
I’ve been seven times so far. I’m lucky that the flights are short! It means that even just going for a long weekend can be a guilty pleasure at any time of year. On that note, I always try and encourage people to visit Iceland not just in the summer as all the different times of year have their own special qualities.
You have a special blog name, where does your blog name come from?
My blogging name Eva Lind comes from one of the characters in the brilliant Arnaldur Indriðason books, although I must tell you I’m not a teenager or an addict like she is. I also had to think of a title for the blog – somehow “I’d Rather be in Iceland” just came to me, and it’s still a name I like. People seem to remember it.
When I started the blog two years ago I had no idea if anyone would ever read it, but wanted to keep a bit of mystery about myself. I’m not a blogger who shares huge amounts of personal detail about my life online – it’s far more interesting to write about Iceland.
In what way has your blog transformed since it first started?
Once you have an audience, you start to write differently. My early posts were my own thoughts about Iceland, and just Iceland-related things that were fun to write about. However, I was getting more and more travel and tourist type questions so I started to include more of those kinds of posts, even though I think this information is already really accessible elsewhere online and it wasn’t what I enjoyed writing as much. I began adding things like book reviews and even Icelandic chocolate reviews which seemed very basic to me but I found that people liked them. Any time I think I’m going to run out of content, somehow more ideas come to me and I almost feel like I’ve got an obligation to keep it going now.
Of course there are great blogs about Iceland written by Icelanders, who are the real experts about their own country. As a traveller I think it’s also good to have the viewpoint of other travellers, as you can notice little things that natives miss as being of interest to travellers or don’t realise are unique to their own country. Reading a mix of viewpoints is always best.
I am really still just writing the blog for myself, about the parts of Iceland and its culture that interest me. I keep away from politics, and also from music as there are lots of other good Icelandic music sites.
What kind of questions do you receive about Iceland?
Really basic travel questions for the most part. Also quite a few about how to emigrate to Iceland, usually from people who are either older, or are ill and have an interest in Iceland because of its healthcare system (seriously!).
It’s disappointing sometimes when you spend time answering someone’s questions and you don’t even get a thank you. For the most part, the people who do contact me are really nice and I have met a lot of great people through the blog.
What surprised you the most when you first came to Iceland, and are you still seeing something new each time you visit?
Probably just the bizarreness of the landscape everywhere, which looks very unfamiliar if you come from somewhere with lots of trees and flat land. I continue to be impressed by things in Iceland, like how helpful the people are who work in the petrol stations, being able to see concerts and sports events really close up and how exciting and sometimes scary weather can be.
You can read part two of this article here.