Early in the morning, we lifted off from Seattle, starting our 10 day adventure in Iceland. Hours later, we descended into another world, one that would give us a sense of freedom we hadn’t experienced in a while. Whether we were walking through the breathtaking beauty of the massive Westfjords, or feeling Nature come to life through active volcanoes, steam vents, and gigantic waterfalls, Iceland provided memories that have stayed with us.

One of the coolest things about this trip was that it occurred during the Summer Solstice, where the sun didn’t set for 10 straight days! It was the first time we started our hikes at 9pm, or relaxed in a geothermal pool at 11pm.

Much of our planning took place at coffee shops, both here in Seattle, and when we arrived in Reykjavik. Our trip was definitely fueled by caffeine.

Planning our Iceland Trip

 

There’s no better way to start a vacation than with music!  We planned our trip to align with the awesome Secret Solstice Music festival in Reykjavik, where thousands of people from Iceland and the UK celebrated all types of music from rock bands to hip hop.  We experienced Radiohead, Of Monsters and Men, and were blown away by awesome Icelandic hip-hop by Ulfur Ulfur and XXX Rottweiler.

Secret Solstice Music Festival hip hop

 

 

Of Monsters and Men Secret Solstice Music Festival

Of Monsters and Men performing at the Secret Solstice Music Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland

 

 

The music in Iceland was incredible, and we listened to the Ulfur Ulfur CD for much of our drive. Also, I’m fairly certain we stayed at the same hotel as them. To this day, I keep telling Jasmine that I saw them in the lobby. While they jury’s out on that, what we do know for certain is that we saw a lot of kind-spirited Icelandic horses.  There was one time, in particular that sticks out to me – we were driving out in the country and came across a band of horses. I got out of the car and walked up to them with my camera. While standing there, another group of horses came running through and they circled around a few time. I was able to capture some really cool photos of this. It was an incredible feeling to be so close to them. They are so kind that we were able to feed them. They would come eat the grass right out of our hands. So cool!

 

Icelandic Horses Horseback Riding in Iceland Wild Icelandic Horses Icelandic Horses Icelandic Horse photo Icelandic Horse Photos Mandev Sidhu in Iceland

 

The Icelandic terrain is always changing, often times right in front of you!  As we walked through geothermal areas, the sulfuric smell was a reminder of the lava below. Active steam vents were gushing out boiling hot water, while we were surrounded by looming volcanoes covered with thick glaciers.

 

 

Geothermal Vents and Steam in Iceland Icelandic Geothermal steam vents Geothermal hikes in Iceland Hiking to Geothermally heated stream in Iceland

We went out on a 3 mile hike to this geothermal pool. There’s an area where a boiling-hot-geothermal stream meets an ice-cold-glacial stream, and they create a single stream that is the perfect temperature.  It was so cool to sit and relax in the stream, with these beautiful mountains surrounding us from all sides.

Geothermal HIke Iceland Iceland Geothermal area Iceland natural hot springs Natural hot springs in beautiful Iceland Summer Hiking in Iceland

 

Nature made us feel small. as we walked between the continental plates, or felt the force of massive waterfalls thundering over us, we were always reminded of nature’s strength. At the same time, when we ventured out into the country, even the slightest sounds were amplified by the surrounding silence.

 

 

Skogafoss Mandev Sidhu

 

These are two videos I took while walking to the waterfall.

Skogafoss Iceland

Skogafoss was one of my favorite memories from the trip.  Because it was the summer solstice, the sun didn’t set.  These photos were taken around 11pm!  Because it was so late, we were the only people here and we walked right up to the waterfall. In the photo above, I’m on the left and Jasmine is on the right.  I’ve never experienced anything like this – the ice cold water was thundering down me as the cold water hit my face. it was exhilarating to feel the power of the water, and to feel like you were immersed.  It was humbling to stand there, and feel the power of nature.

Skogafoss during summer solstice

Mandev Sidhu in Iceland

 

Mandev Sidhu Photo of Skogafoss

 

Driving dirt roads in Iceland's Westfjords

Not very many tourists visit the Westfjords, especially the far areas where we traveled. Because of this, the roads are often dirt, and there aren’t very many people around. One of the benefits was that it felt like we had this beautiful natural landscape to ourselves. We would often stop our car on the side of the road to hike to waterfalls or splash incredibly fresh & clean water onto our faces.

hiking to waterfall in iceland Westfjords Hike in Iceland

 

Huge waterfall in Iceland Dynjandi

Dynjandi Waterfall Westfjords Iceland

Iceland Scenery

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

 

Iceland adventure

Coffee in Iceland

 

Hiking Iceland's mountains in the summer Summer Hike in Iceland Mountains

A year later, Iceland has stayed with us, we have photos in our house to remind us of the adventures, reminding us about a place we respect and feel so connected to.

 

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
-Mary Oliver

 

Seattle engagement photography at Pike Place market Couple sitting on stairs at the Market in downtown Seattle

Enjoying Coffee at Storyville in Pike Place Market Storyville Coffee Engagement Photos happy loving engagement photos in Seattle

Seattle engagement photo couple hugging in front of brick wall at the Market hugging engagement photos

Pike Place Engagement Photos Seattle

The wind was blowing so hard that we could barely walk upright. Sand and water flying through the air like pellets, hitting my camera lens and drenching us. At times it felt like we were on a different planet instead of the Oregon Coast. Being outside in the stormy weather injected our souls with a jolt of energy, each of us smiling with pure joy, and running around the beach with the uninhibited feelings we had as children.

It felt refreshing to not care. To be completely soaked with rain, and not notice, because we were too busy dashing from incoming waves as they crashed to the shore. It felt good to be the only people on the beach, to drink wine together, and to share the same collective excitement. Everyone knew that something magical was happening out there…and we didn’t need to say a thing because the smiles on our faces told the story.

 

Sand and wind storm on Oregon Coast - Rockaway Beach

Sand flying across the beach.

Standing in front of huge waves at the Oregon Coast on stormy day

Running and playing on Oregon Coast Beach during storm

Sand Storm on Oregon Coast Beach - Mandev Sidhu Photography

Rockaway Beach Windstorm

Oregon Coast Photos

Running on Rockaway Beach

Oregon coast photos at Night - Mandev Sidhu

Oregon Coast Photos at night

Rockaway Beach

Fun at the Oregon Coast - Rockaway Beach

Storm and huge waves on Oregon Coast at Indian Beach

Storm and waves at Indian Beach on Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast Waves at Indian Beach

Friends at Oregon Coast - Mandev Sidhu Photography

Oregon Coast Photos

Oregon Coast

Indian Beach on Oregon Coast

Running on Indian Beach at the Oregon Coast

In the photo above, Jasmine and Erica are running between the giant boulders. Little did we know how quickly the tide was coming in, and within a few minutes, this entire area was under water. The photo below shows the water rushing in. When we were clear of the area, we looked back at that spot and were overcome with exhilaration.

Waves and Rocks at Indian Beach on the Oregon Coast

Mandev Sidhu Photography - Oregon Coast Blue Sky and Clouds

Oregon Coast 22

 

Before I knew it, I was knocked to the sand, much of which I would find in my pockets over the next week. It was 2003 and we were playing Frisbee on a California beach. It was one of those legendary road trips, with a van that broke down in the center lane of the freeway, driving a golf cart at midnight on top of a mountain, laying on beaches with my closest friends, and even an trip to the ER. Little did I know that two of those friends would start dating on the train ride home, then later get married, and now have the cutest baby boy. And how could I ever have imagined that after all these years, they would still be living less than a mile from me.

These photos are incredibly special to me because they are 14 years in the making. They represent years of their friendship, years of adventures, and years of them building a life together. I hope I’ve captured how much joy Joseph brings to my two dear friends, Mark and Erin. As the years go by, and more adventures are had, I hope you look back and remember this part of your journey. Love you both!

 

Volunteer Park Conservatory Holiday Family Photos

father and son family photos Family Photography Session at Volunteer Park Conservatory happy fun family photographer seattle plants at Seattle's volunteer park conservatory mom and son family photos in Seattle

Christmas Family Photos at Volunteer Park Conservatory

Every year during the holidays, the Volunteer Park Conservatory decorates with Poinsettias, a toy train, and a model town. It’s a fun place to take the family and especially the kids. Also during December, they will open the park and Seattle Asian Art Museum for a free event called, “Holiday in the Park.” The park is filled with Carolers singing songs, candles lighting the pathway, and a tent serving hot cocoa and cookies.

Volunteer-Park-Conservatory-Train-Photos

Volunteer Park Holiday Family Photos Family Photos Seattle Seattle Family Photos at Volunteer Park Conservatory Birds of Paradise Flower

Holiday Winter Family Photos in Seattle

Beautiful curled leaf photo family photography at volunteer park conservatory Seattle Family Photos Family photographer Seattle Mandev Sidhu

 

 

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