Iceland!

 

I tried something a bit different with the voting on which country I’ll move to next this time around, and I’m glad I did.

Rather than taking an initial vote for 8 countries, and then allowing everyone to choose from those a place for me to live, I left every single country in the world available up until the very end. I also left voting open for the entirety of my time in Thailand, not just the first month as I had been doing before.

This resulted in thousands of votes from people living all over the world and a huge diversity in the countries people were voting for.

Previously, most of the countries on the list were popular tourist destinations…the spots most Americans would want to go on vacation. And though countries with thriving tourism industries are fantastic in their own right, I’m looking forward to digging in to some of the lesser-traversed locales out there.

Some countries that got votes that I was excited to see on the list:

  • Isle of Man
  • Tunisia (this was in 3rd place)
  • Sandwich Islands
  • North Korea (!)
  • San Francisco (soooooo not a country)
  • Nauru
  • Terceira
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines

But enough buildup: if you didn’t guess already by the title of this post, the next country I’ll be living in for 4 months (voted on by you) is Iceland!

I usually start out these kinds of posts by telling a bit about what I know of the country before I head there, so let me give you a rundown of what I’ve heard about Iceland and its people.

  • There are about 300,000 people in the whole country, and this apparently leads to some awkward situations when it comes to dating (such a small dating pool invariably leads to some questions about who’s related to whom).
  • They export a lot of fish and culture.
  • There was an economic crash there a few years ago, and I seem to remember there being an even bigger meltdown there than other places, as all of their banks tanked and they only have so many. This is good for people like me who earn mostly USD’s, but bad for anybody who had to live through the crash.
  • The main city is Reykjavik (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I spelled that correctly, as I’m not using any references for this list so as to get an accurate initial reading on my general knowledge about the country), and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any other major cities.
  • Bjork and Sigor Ros are from Iceland. I’m pretty sure I’ve liked everything I’ve heard from there, and I’ve come across a good deal of visual arts and fashion design that I’ve liked from the area, as well.
  • I’ve heard that their language is one of the most difficult to learn in the world, but that most everyone speaks English to some degree or another.
  • I’ve been told that the women in Iceland are some of the most beautiful in the world (and I’ve been told this by guys and girls from many different countries with many different tastes in women).
  • I remember hearing that Greenland is super-icy and Iceland is a bit greener, but that was in elementary school and I’m more than a little skeptical of most of the history and geography I was taught back then.
  • I hear they drink a lot in Iceland, though I’m not sure what.
  • There are thermal pools in Iceland that I’ve heard are basically necessary to live in such a place. I’ve heard some wild stories about sweat tents and spiritual retreats, as well, but the people telling me about those may have been exaggerating or just delusional (you know, from all the drugs).
  • Seems like I heard several years ago that Iceland had ambitions to be the first fossil fuel-free country in the world by 2020, but I have no idea if those plans held out through the economic collapse. I hope so.

So there it is, most everything I know (or think I know) about Iceland.

I’m looking to make some connections in the area before I move there, and looking to get involved with some fun stuff locally, so shoot me an email here if you think you can help out!

Do you live in Iceland? From there or have lived there in the past? Hit me up.

Looking forward to freezing my balls off and deep-diving into the culture!

47 comments

  1. Hi Colin,
    Have a good stay in Iceland which I hope to visit this summer. I tried to speak some Icelandic to folks and they will simply laugh and switch to English instead! This is unlike other countries where I’ve tried to speak native language. Hope you enjoy living in this latest Russian colony!
    – Priyank

    • Yeah, I’ve also heard all about how difficult the language is for non-natives. I’ll give it a shot, though…would be fun to get the pronunciation down, at least.

      Why do you call it a Russian colony, out of curiosity?

      • Because when Iceland went bankrupt and approached EU for help, they were basically told to “f off”. Putin, in a grand gesture of kindness, announced a handsome relief package. The next day, Iceland announced that they’ll have to revisit their foreign policy under the changed circumstances and reconsider who their real allies are. ^_^

        • Priyank: what you are forgetting is that when the banks collapsed UK used terrorist laws on the banks (that went public owned after the collapse) and by doing so basically said that the icelandic government was involved in terrorist activities. They did not take that back until many months later. Most icelanders thought this was quite harsh and mostly done as a PR stunt for Gordon Brown back in the UK. This also affected money transfers to and from Iceland (as it wasn’t bad enough after the crash) and credit status for the country and its companies. So a Nato country (UK) basically said that another Nato country (Iceland) were terrorists and another strong ally before, the US, didn’t want to do anything about this and Nato neither. The scandinavian countries were also not really helpful at that moment so understandably the government had to look for an outside help when it’s major allies were agains us or not willing to help and its economy was going to crash along with its banks unless there were some financial support from abroad.
          And btw, this russian deal did not go through after all and most things went back to “normal”. However, I think most icelanders and icelandic politicians are still a little angry at the british government for its actions.

          And Colin: Hopefully you will have a nice stay here in Iceland, just remember to take warm clothes with you and be aware that even though we had the collapse, things are still not cheap here. :)

  2. Hi Colin

    Of course I had to de-lurk for this announcement – and didn’t even get to be the first Icelander to respond!

    Most of your knowledge of Iceland is true – except for maybe the sweat tents :) Even the elimentary school info you stated is correct.

    If you need any inside info or whatever, drop me a mail at mariakgun@hotmail.com

  3. I’m looking forward to reading your blog post about Iceland – it’s one of the places I want to go too!

    I have a friend who’s obsessed with Iceland (I can’t remember her last name, so if someone’s not sure who she is, I clarify by saying “the one who talks about Iceland all the time” and everyone knows who I’m talking about.)

    I’m sure you’ve already seen this, but there’s a cute website about Iceland from Iceland’s point of view: icelandwantstobeyourfriend.tumblr.com

    • I’m looking forward to writing more of them!

      I LOVE that website. The voice is hilarious, and what a cool concept. I hope someone from the tourism board is throwing money their way.

    • Haha, will make working on ebookling a lot easier, eh?

      Yeah, looks like there are some very beautiful women there. Looking forward to seeing how true it is, overall!

      • I hope they have good Internet connection :)

        I’ll let you go first but if it’s true I just checked I’m 5 hours away – JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland. I’ll make sure to come and check it out.

  4. iceland! What the?…. oooooohhh I am envying sooo much right now :)

    ps. have to disagree abt icelandic women, everybody knows Argentine ones are the most beautiful ones! *ahem!* :D

    • Don’t envy, come visit!

      And I do know for a fact that Argentine women are some of the most beautiful in the world. Iceland will definitely have some tough competition from you gals :)

  5. iceland! What the?…. oooooohhh I am envying sooo much right now :)

    ps. have to disagree abt icelandic women, everybody knows Argentine ones are the most beautiful ones! *ahem!* :D

  6. Awesome! I was supposed to travel to Reykjavik with my brother in March, but can’t get the time off of work. Looks like a great place to establish roots. Safe travels!

    • Should have put in to go there FOR work, brother.

      In any case, it’s cheap as to fly there from the States, so you should come visit. Continue our tradition of meeting up in random places around the world!

  7. Wow, Colin, congrats on the new country! I must say though, you are much braver than I am. Here I am trying to leave freezing Illinois for tropical Thailand and you’re going from tropical Thailand to freezing Iceland. Hope you enjoy the journey (and the thermal pools)!

    • Thanks Richard!

      I’m all about extremes and experimentation, and this will give me that chance to try out a very different climate.

      I’m especially looking forward to getting involved with the culture and people, though. The landscape and weather are always interesting and every-present parts of the trip, but the most fascinating part of a new area (to me) is the society, cultural values, art, music, etc.

      I hear Iceland is extremely strong and independent when it comes to these things, so I’m psyched to see how it all fits together on their home-turf.

  8. YEAH, SO EXCITED for you! And please don’t freeze your balls off. That wouldn’t make for a very fun Colin, nor all your stalkers. :)

  9. What a cool way to figure out your next location! Looks like you pulled a good one, Colin! I look forward to hearing about your adventures when you get there, and let me know what they drink (I have a hunch it’s beer of some kind). I think I’ve seen Anthony Bourdain on “No Reservations” go there, and I seem to remember some good food. If you have access to streaming stuff from Netflix, I’d check out that series and see if Iceland’s in there – could be a good, quick primer. Good luck!

  10. I am so glad you are going to Iceland!
    Freaky thing is, I kinda had a feeling that a good amount of votes would be for Iceland. No joke.
    I’m really happy that there was. :D

    Don’t worry too much about the weather. No doubt it’s cold but it’s not Anartica. (A lot of people assume that it’s just as cold or something! haha)
    It is a plus though if you’re used to cold winters.

    Be sure to post often. Please. :]

  11. Damon Albarn wrote most of Demon Days in Iceland.

    We need to get togeather this week.

  12. Oh my god thats freaking awesome!!! Iceland!!!! FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve a friend from there (now in NZ. Hera. I think you saw her play. Let me know if you want connections…. I BET you will!!!) and another one vacationing there now. When do you leave??? AWESOME! If you’re going via London let me know. I’m in France but will be travelling around in a few weeks! Bisous!! xxx

  13. Hey Colin,

    My friend and fellow Northern Irish native Dave Goodchild said that you were Iceland-bound and asked if he could send you my contact details, well I thought I’d do it myself!
    I moved to Iceland from Scotland 4 months ago to work for CCP Games, I know you’re going to find Reykjavik to be a buzzing little city and the rest of Iceland to be totally unique. If you would like a non-native, non-tourist perspective or just a drinking partner, give me a shout: facebook.com/ian.shiels

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  15. I have an open invite to Iceland for June and really want to go. But I think I am about to move to a new country (sort of like you are doing) for 6 months, so won’t make Iceland. Love your project though!

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