Iceland notes with no pictures

Moss like veins weaves down the mountain sides with melting glacial snow and freezing volcanic rocks.
If you look closely, you sometimes see a yellow flower… or maybe pink or white.

And then the red rocks loom upon mountain sides.

Now there is only ash: the remains of the eruptions of past days.

Random bits of red rock are uncovered along the roadside, upturned moss covered stones in their midst.

As we weaved in and out of jagged rocks and along green lines, Ewelena’s hand gripping the headrest in front of her, silence overcame us. Even for the seasoned travelers, this was awe-inspiring. We went from rivers to glaciers to red and green stone to volcanoes and ash over the course of two hours until the road drowned in that very same glacier’s  remains. We never lost a step though, each meter back showing us bits of green and black and white that we hadn’t yet noticed.

We arrived back at the field of dark stones and found our way across towards waterfalls and population. I glanced back to see a freckle of blue sky above the hills. All I could think was that this was one place where you didn’t need the sunshine to feel the beauty of this world.

No Title

It’s like I came back to life when I saw that site
“Beep Beep Boop”
You know it.
The one that tells you to cleanse your mind
Start anew
Start fresh
Let go.
What an overused phrase these days. But how I adore it. “Adoration” holds a special place in my heart. It is almost an obsession. In most respects, it is unhealthy: as all emotions can by categorized as. Adoration intertwines love and respect… but, because pride somehow comes with my personality as much as depression, respect is painful for me. Saying I respect or adore something is a rather large statement.
Now that I got that out of the way, back to let it go.
I adore this statement because it encompasses everything that I am being challenged to do right now. I like to be in control. Whenever I feel like I am losing it, I either grip tighter or run away. Really bad reaction. I cover it up with sarcasm quite well, but as the date for leaving the country gets closer I start to want to plan. I want to know where I will go. How I will be secure. How each event will play out. But I can’t ever know these things… and God is trying to get that through my head. Letting go… I don’t want to. But if I want to truly live to my fullest-aka, fully follow in Christ Jesus’ footsteps-I have to be willing to let Him control my steps… not me. It is something I know He is going to get me to learn how to do in my travels.
The first step to this was the simple fact that He closed the doors to Semester at Sea for me. This… is possibly the best thing that could have happened. Instead of being constricted to a schedule, classes, and a cruise ship, I am now backpacking Iceland and setting a base up in London, from where I will travel Europe. I then plan on somehow making my way to China or something. I actually have no fucking idea what the hell I’m doing after my plane lands in London, but… that is part of the “letting go.”

You know what I just thought of? “Closing doors” is a really stupid phrase. I was trying to make a door out of a cement or maybe metal wall. I don’t think a window or some other door was opened… Instead, I just realized that I was kind of an idiot and was wasting time walking into corners and walls and shit.

I know this is a bit of a strange “re-entry into the blogosphere” post… but it needed to be something. Anyway, before I sign off for however long, I want to post something that I thought after traveling to the Dominican Republic for a missions trip. I wanted to save it for when I was “more-traveled” and supposedly wiser, but then I realized that that statement contradicted the very point I was making and everything about the honesty I would like to convey. So, here it is:
You can travel the world in search of a story, but only when you can return home for the finale will you understand what is most important.
And so. In one month I am leaving the United States with no plans of returning. But… I will when it is time for the finale.

Transatlantic Flight for Under $300? Thank You Very Much!

YES! Not only have I paid the deposit for my study abroad adventure that begins Fall 2015, but I have also booked my flight to London, where Semester at Sea’s ship embarks from! Here we have it:

To London!

Yay! So, I’ll be arriving in London on the 11th. Then I’ll do whatever until I embark on September 13th. I was ecstatic to find fantastic deals on transatlantic flights through Wow Air, out of Iceland. Seriously, if you have considered flying from Boston/DC to Iceland or Europe for vacation or whatever, or vice versa, GO GO GO! The prices are incredible. I believe that Wow Air is trying to promote tourism to Iceland and also promote their airline. I hear that they give you more leg room than Spirit, so I’m pretty dang happy because I paid less than $300 for a flight to London! Freaking awesome. I think they make up for their low flights prices by charging a ton for checked bags (approximately $50)… but I’m not going to worry about that right now; it is still a freaking spectacular deal! I also think that it is a limited time thing… or else they’ll run themselves out of business. So, BUY A PLANE TICKET NOWWW! Seriously. Look at this:

Wow air!

Now Travel.

California, California, Here I Come

At least, that is what I would like to say. But, alas, I rarely make it back to my birth place. This past fall, I returned. My father showed me the hospital where I was born and the old house I spent my first two years in. He even showed me his high school house. As we neared his old house, he recalled the memory of his high school friend being killed at the same intersection we were at. Even the same lane, though it has been repaved since those days. We even drove on the same road that his sister died upon. These are reminders that I cannot imagine as a song plays and I consider a lost friendship and misplaced trust, but we all still breathe.

My father’s house in high school.

As we visited my grandfather, I could see my father come to life again. Away from the place he has lived for 20 years — the Michigan clouds that suffocate him — he is at peace. He considers not returning. Our homes are truly not where we live. I have found that they are the places I dream of. When I believed I found them, time inevitably unveiled that the people who comprised my home were lies. It is true that home is where the heart is, but when your heart is broken and lost, home is rather difficult to place.

So, we dream. We look on up to the sky from under Redwoods.

20140929_114207Observe time and gravity20140929_115302_1 Look to disappear

20140929_114429Or maybe just play20140929_113846Not only are the trees nearby magnificent, but the Pacific is not a long drive at all from Santa Rosa. So, we went. And I successfully got a picture of waves crashing on rocks!


And climbed some rocks
20140930_151219Captured this epic shot of my dad20140930_151948And this seagull20140930_154108I also fell in love with this tree near the cliffs above the Pacific. Location is everything20140930_161746My trip to California was wonderful. We drove along the ocean and my dad went on an one hundred mile bike-ride while I slept the last few days I was there (I had mono). I wish I would have had a camera, not just my phone, for Yosemite. I simply did not get any good pictures at Yosemite. But I think these Pacific Ocean pictures make up for it:

20140930_154449 20140930_160741 20140930_161705 20140930_161928

So, I think I may move back to California someday. I have lived in three states: California, Michigan, and Ohio. To say the very least, California is the most beautiful of these states. Now, upon my plane’s landing in Detroit, I was astonished to find actual clouds in the sky. They were incredibly beautiful and added a contrast to the sky that any photographer would appreciate (or so my sister, photographer for Little Blue Bird Photography, informed me. She’s awesome. I wish I took pictures like her.), but I still prefer the constant 80 degrees, sunshine, oceans, mountains, and lack of humidity found in Southern California over the… lakes of Michigan. And sports fans of Ohio.

Semester at Sea

So many interesting things to do and places to see!

It’s official! I’m going to study abroad next year! This is incredibly exciting! I had been planning on studying abroad in Japan, but I have since decided that I would much rather see a lot of different countries while I study abroad, so I have decided to take part in Semester at Sea.

Yay! I’ll be gone for a whole eight months, since I am going to go on both the Fall 2015 and the Spring 2016 voyages. For more information, check out my updated About Me page. With my plans becoming more solidified, I will have to start working on travel stories! Expect to see more variety here as my life continues to stabilize and I search for muses other than depressing things. If I wasn’t about to fall asleep, I would talk about my vacation to California with my dad back in October. What a wonderful trip. That state is beautiful.

But, for now, I’ll just leave you with this picture:


You have to love that California coastline.

Goodbye, friends! Have a wonderful night.

-Katie Z