Traveling to Iceland: A Redemption Story

Reynisfjara , Iceland by Reb Carlson

This past Labor Day Weekend, Eric and I traveled to Iceland for the first time. We were there for about four days, which gave us enough time to explore Reykjavík, drive the Golden Circle, and do a day trip to Vik and back. Some people commented that it was a short amount of time for an international trip, and even we agreed that if we travel to Iceland again we would go for at least a week. However, I felt it was something we had to do, especially since it was two years in the making.

We had planned to travel to Iceland together two years ago in September 2017. We were engaged and less than a year out from our wedding, so we were looking forward to having a distraction from planning and to visit somewhere we have heard about for so long. Then three events took place that we didn't anticipate that changed everything:

1. Our roommate moved out on us without giving notice.

And when I say moving out without giving notice, I mean literally she was here one day and gone the next. When we realized she had gone, we checked her room, which was still filled with furniture and some of her belongings. The walls were drawn on with pencil and lipstick, the room was filthy, and it was clear someone smoked cigarettes inside the room. She also left before paying for that month's rent. We ended up having to dip into our emergency savings to pay for her share of the rent, painting supplies, and movers for her furniture.

2. Eric was told he had thirty days to find a new job.

Marketing agencies have been in a tough spot for the past couple of years. When you work for a smaller agency, it's less likely you have human resources to help navigate delicate issues like downsizing or layoffs, so in a very inarticulate manner, Eric was told he had to leave because of poor performance, when the reality was that the agency had lost a number of high-paying accounts and they had to make cuts without having official layoffs. An official layoff means an official severance, which isn't something you get when you are pressured (bullied) into leaving.

We've both have been through this before. Before we started dating, we were working at the same agency and within the same two month period were told that we should look for other jobs and that the agency would "allow us time" to do so. Eric was told it was because he wasn't a cultural fit (though his accounts were successful) and I was told that my performance was poor and that I would be put on probation (my review two weeks later was impeccable and there was no mention of probation). We both ended up leaving for better jobs, but it was a lesson that you can't rely too much on your employer since at the end of the day, it's about the financials and they'll cut anyone.

We had decided that if Eric was to get a new job, he'd likely start in September, so going on a vacation too close to a start date wouldn't be ideal.

3. I was at my wits' end with my job and also looking to leave.

I was in a very toxic work environment that led to panic attacks and tons of uncontrollable sobbing sessions. I knew it was unhealthy, and that I deserved better, so I began searching for a new job, anticipating that I would start something in September as well.

Long story short, I was able to get our flights refunded, including the points I used to secure our tickets in the first place.

I think about that time in our lives and how our plan was to focus on what was most important, which was securing employment so we could continue to save and plan for our wedding. Under different circumstances, and if we were very different people, we might have said eff it, let's go, but we were thinking about the immediate need (employment) and the long term goal (having a wedding with all our loved ones around us).

I often joke about how once Eric and I started dating, tons of obstacles came our way, and this year was no exception. With Eric getting laid off and both of us starting new jobs as permalancers, I felt it was necessary to 1. celebrate the fact we have gotten through a lot of obstacles together 2. just enjoy the fact we have the means and ability to travel and spend time together. Because we're both paid hourly, we don't have paid vacation, so we wanted to take advantage of any holiday weekends we could to take a trip together.

I highly recommend going to Iceland (definitely focus on driving and seeing sights versus going to restaurants) and also taking advantage of time and resources to celebrate your successes. August of 2017 was f*cking rough, August of 2019 was effing rad. I loved nothing more than driving through lava fields with my husband talking about random things and screaming "horseys!" as we passed ranches on the way to Reynisfjara, aka what Eric calls "Mars Beach", and the fact we decided to still make it happen years later made it all the more radder.

#iceland #redemption #travel

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