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  • I dreamed of going to Iceland as a teenager who wanted to get as far away from Australia as possible. When I was 21, I took myself there. I listened to Sigur Ros in the early hours of dawn as the plane descended over black lava fields. The bus into Reykjavik offered the first glimpse of a magical landscape, so clear and bright in the clean air.

    In high school, I'd been charmed by the facts I'd learned about Iceland for a project: Icelanders are listed by their first name in the phone book; they don't have hot water systems – they pump hot springs into their houses; there are no ants in Iceland; they grow bananas in greenhouses just for fun. I was also captivated by the majestic extremes of the landscape that was inseparable, in my mind, from the ethereal and spacious music of Sigur Ros.

    In Iceland I ate the best fish I've eaten in my life. It was so good, I decided that I never needed to eat another fish for as long as I lived.

    I also found community in a tiny cafe run and patronised by expats. I had my first tarot card reading here, and on the same night I gave my shoes to the woman who ran the cafe; I walked to the hostel barefoot when it was 4°C.

    One night, like a good tourist, I got so drunk on duty-free whiskey that I fell over while trying to click my heels and got a dark bruise on my thigh in the shape of Iceland.

    The most profound feeling I had while I walked around Reykjavik was how isolated I felt from the world I knew. Here I was, on an island near the Arctic, living out my teenage dream.

    The stream in this picture is one that I return to in my mind when I'm meditating, or just before I draw a card from my tarot deck. The landscape is full of fairies. On this day, I rode an Icelandic horse and experienced the smooth, flowing gait called 'tölt.'

    My favourite memory is one I didn't capture in a way I can easily share. At Gullfoss, my camera battery died. I took this as a blessing: instead of trying to take the perfect picture with my camera, I stood on the hill above the waterfall, taking photographs framed by my fingers to develop in my mind. As I was turning back to the tour bus a herd of Icelandic horses walked over to the edge of the hill and we stood, gazing at each other with the great waterfall in the background.
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