Video Essays

The Power of Iceland

Video Essay by Scout Gullick, Personal Travels

When I travel, I seek the excitement I once had as a child when everything was new. The sad truth is we live in an age where anything you want to see is instantly with a quick Google search. However, experiencing a place in person is a far better alternative than seeing it on a screen. Going to Iceland was like stepping into another universe. Unlike capitalistically driven countries like the U.S. that compromise nature for its success, Iceland utilizes nature to drive the country.  

I visited this foreign destination with my friend in 2018, where we stayed in Reykjavík, the capital. Although our days were numbered, each day was packed with activities, a sense of adventure, and huge winter coats. It wasn’t actually that cold, given that it was springtime, but the power that the wind and rain harnessed added a harsh bite to the troposphere. Power.  Likely the superlative I would appoint to Iceland. Yes, the weather is a culprit for this moniker, but the  waterfalls, volcanoes, geothermal and tectonic activity, and oceans make up the rest. Not to mention that all of  Iceland is powered by the geothermal and hydropower generated from these natural phenomena. It’s really quite striking, and humbling, how little you feel next to the looming waterfalls and forceful geysers in their peak of upwards explosion.

The faint song used in the background of the video is “Fearless” by Pink Floyd, which I included to symbolize the foreignization of new places and how, still, we go and explore, and come home with new ideas. The song samples Liverpool Football Club supporters chanting their anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune popularized in the UK by Gerry and the Pacemakers. The song itself beckons the feeling of community, but it is also the song my mother says she wants played at her funeral — despite not being a Liverpool fan. The song, therefore, instills the idea of home and maternal roots — Mother Nature, if you will — and though we may leave, travel, explore, we return with newfound perspectives, borrowing from other communities to better our own.

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