Our tour guide's name was Bjorng. He was driving Campbell, me, and twelve others along Iceland's southern coast. Our destination was the Sólheimajökull glacier for a hiking tour, yet halfway into the journey, we received confirmation of a road closure. There was too much snow from the prior night's storm.
Campbell and I have similar dispositions and took the news in stride. "We're in Iceland!" we reminded ourselves, with smiles on our faces.
Bjorng made the most of our time. We visited several notable waterfalls and Reynisfjara's Black Sand Beach, with its magnificent basalt columns, ferocious surf, and gleaming black sand. The cheeseburger and fries were decent, too.
Thirty years ago, the country of Iceland drew 130,000 annual visitors. Most were adventure junkies and naturalists. Today, nearly 2 million visitors come to the tiny nation-island. To hike glaciers, see towering waterfalls, walk on the black sand, soak in geothermal waters, enjoy the local cuisine, and, among many more, witness the spectacular Northern Lights.
I'll admit I hadn't done much homework or discovered anything about Iceland before our trip. If I'm being fully transparent, this wasn't even my trip. It was Campbell's and I crashed it! I turned it into a REZ's RULE trip (aka a Kevin's Rule).
On the return trip to Reykjavik, Bjorng pulled into a small strip mall. He added that he wanted to show us something incredible, and the bakery treats were pretty good. Nobody questioned Bjorn, but I'm sure we were all thinking the same thing: is this guy for real?
We enter the building and smell the coffee and baking Kleina (Iceland's version of the donut). Around the corner, Bjorg stands between two continents. You read correctly: the man straddled a glass floor separating the North American plate from the Eurasian one. We all did. Bjorng was right; it was pretty incredible.
Nearby, only outside, is the Bridge Between Continents. Roughly fifty feet long, the footbridge covers the rift between the tectonic plates, which drift apart a few centimeters each year. It was closed due to weather, but in warmer months, you can get a personalized certificate from the Reykjanes Information Center, verifying you walked all the way from Europe to America. Bjorng also told us about the plaque found midway on the bridge, which reads: Welcome to North America and Welcome to Europe.
"The earth is cooking," bjorn says.
He tells us about Icelandic volcanos and earthquakes. "There are hundreds of active volcanos...and after 900 or 1,000 years, they have finally woken up." During our weekend stay alone, more than 200 earthquakes were detected. Nobody seems concerned about this fact. Bjorn certainly wasn't. It's just how life is in Iceland.
The earth is cooking. The earth is cooking. The earth is cooking...
On the remainder of the ride home, I drift in and out of sleep just as the last of Iceland's daylight fades into darkness. The cooking earth is why I'm in Iceland with my oldest son. It's why I was in Europe last June with my daughter Erin. And it's why I'm planning something with my youngest, Sean. REZ's RULE's., AKA Kevin's Rules, was first introduced to me by Jesse Itlzler (see prior blog post).
I was sharing details of my Iceland trip with Mike Tenaglia, one of my Greatest Blessing co-authors. "I love how you make time for these experiences. I admire you." Mike's been a caregiver to his wife, Lynda, for more than ten years. It's been a long, painful journey for both of them, and the fight continues. I replied to Mike, "If you and Lynda could have anticipated a cancer diagnosis twenty, thirty years ago, you would have done the same thing."
Mike agreed wholeheartedly.
When my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, my priorities changed. Instantly. Taking care of him was first and foremost, but I knew from then on that I would live my life in the present. I didn't know how I was going to do this, but it came together during my seven years as a caregiver. I took advantage of opportunities that came my way. I left a toxic work environment and joined American Solutions for Business, knowing that I was taking a massive pay cut. I only wished I had done it sooner.
I discovered Jesse Itzler at a work conference and joined his coaching program. I ran into Charley Johnson, a vendor of mine, at the same work conference, and he told me about transcendental meditation. I started taking my sleep seriously and began exercising regularly. You get it. The point is that the earth is cooking, and we only have so much time left on this bus ride.
Unfortunately, poor weather conditions allowed the glacier and northern lights to elude us this time. But more importantly, my son and I enjoyed the first REZ's RULE of 2024. By the time I am 80, I'll have added nearly 200 incredible one-on-one experiences and memories with those closest to me.
There's no crystal ball to predict the future. And there's no time machine to go back in time. Live in the present, and do not wait for a life-altering experience (like I did) to start living your life.
The volcanoes in Iceland have finally woken up.
Isn't it time we did too?