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So last week I got back from a week-long study abroad program in Iceland. And let me just say…

No, just kidding, but that’s how I felt every time I told someone that I was going there for spring break. This trip was completely out of my comfort zone and without getting completely angsty I want to explain why I decided to go to Iceland of all places.

I have been telling myself my whole life that I don’t like nature. What does this even mean? I don’t like snakes and bugs, which I am sure are not a favorite of many…and that’s pretty much it. But for some reason, I have rolled that into a sweeping generalization that has dictated an irrational barrier in my life. I was intimidated looking at this itinerary full of hikes on glaciers and descents into lava tubes. So just over six months ago I applied to go to Iceland because it was something I would never do. I hit send and didn’t look back.

I am not someone who often writes a lot of advice. However, I urge anyone who has clicked on this article to go or do something they thought they never would. I promise you will surprise yourself. In the second part of this, I will detail my actual travel itinerary, but for this first one, I wanted to keep it simple and focus on my favorite moment of the whole trip.

On the plane going to Iceland I was sitting curled up in my tiny window seat at 2:00 am. We were flying up past Greenland in the middle of the ocean. Under my seat was crammed a large backpack and the strangers next to me were asleep on their tray tables. I could barely feel my legs, and I was drifting in and out of sleep due to the day of travel that began almost twelve hours prior.

Out my window, it was almost pitch black except for the moon and a faint tint that I thought was a collection of clouds at first. The strand moved and shifted to reveal a greenish tint. I then realized that I was looking out at the northern lights. I was told that we would see them on the ground, so I didn’t wake anybody up. I just sat there, played Abba’s I Wonder (Departure) and soaked in the moment.

I felt so independent and alive. The sheer action of going to a foreign country with a group of strangers on my own was daunting enough without the extreme “nature” I thought I was so scared of. But looking out at one of the seven wonders of the world I was calmed by the realization that I am so incredibly small. My dumb made up problems are incredibly small.

HAHA wow I sound like I’m trying to be so woke right now sorry. But this is my truth #blessed.


No, all kidding aside, it was special.

I took a picture, but it can’t really do justice to what I saw.

I don’t usually talk about these sorts of meaningful moments in my life. I get super uncomfortable and awkward about it. But I am an emotional person, and this moment meant a lot. However, if you asked me about this in person, I would be like “oh yeah I saw the northern lights kinda cool lol weird right.”

For some reason, put me behind a screen and I get all like poetic **cough** pretentious **cough**and stuff. I hope if you take anything away from this weird angsty public diary entry, it’s that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t handle…even yourself.





Kathryn Collins is a Sophomore at the College of Charleston this year. She is majoring in arts management with a minor in creative writing. She loves traveling, watching terrible movies, eating brunch and other fancy lady activities. Instagram: @katiecollins_7
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