And the time finally came to talk about my adoptive country. I can call moving to Iceland a hobby by now. I mean, I keep moving here. Yes, I said move. In fact, I’d never travelled to this country before settling here. Can you imagine having the hobby to move to another country? Is this what digital nomads are?
The whole month of September, I will share 30 stories with you. One story each day. You will find out how I travelled, what countries I called home and how many times I repeated a travel in the same place. But most importantly, you will get to know my comfort zone stories. Would you share yours?
I came to Iceland as a volunteer and jumped straight into a project that started 4 months before. And then I continued it for the next eight months. My feelings towards the country have changed a lot, but back then Iceland to me meant the best thing I could imagine. I remember the evening when I received the confirmation email of joining the ERASMUS+ program. Can you guess what was the first thing I did? I googled images with sunsets in Reykjavik and I teared up instantly. Speaking of sunsets, you can order the sunsets around the world collection in the form of postcards exclusively in Alina’s Wonders shop.
It seemed like an incredible victory after so, so, so many failures. Especially since, because of my age, it was the last time when I would have been able to join a program like this. For those curious, because I get asked a lot, let me tell you the exact dates of my moving to Iceland. I arrived in July 2015 and left in April 2016. I left because the program was over and I still thought I want to live in Romania at the time.
But two months in Romania and I came back in June 2016. I stayed until October 2017 when I left for the South American backpacking trip. Then I moved back for the summer of 2018 from June to September. And finally, I moved back in February 2020. Remember how innocent we were all in that month? Having no idea how our lives are gonna change forever. And so the rest is history.
It was in Iceland where I learned to be myself. I started listening more and more to my inner voice and for the first time, I stood proud in front of a mirror. My heart got broken, I have trusted people like never before and I did plenty of mistakes, I fell on my bum-bum countless times (those wintery-icy sidewalks are not my friends) and I’ve mastered the courage of travelling, hiking and hitchhiking by myself. I made a lot of connections, but I was left with very few friends. And more recently I have explored the country with my partner too.
As you can imagine I’ve shared a lot of content from and about my moving to Iceland. For example, you will find most of my videos on YouTube to be from Iceland. Or a whole series named Expat Life on Travelling Inside Out. I also kept a weekly diary back in the day when I used to write on my Romanian blog. Or on this website, just follow the tag Iceland.
But I do have to confess that Iceland also broke me. And the last year was one of the hardest, as I wrote in The Journey of 35. What affected me so much? The dark and long winters; the unfairness that comes in small doses, the failing at learning this language and the outsider feeling I still have because I come from Eastern Europe (I might project that one). Life here is not effortless, but when things go your way everything feels exceptional. And I mean, have you seen the landscape? How can you NOT love this country?
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