Having spent the last four months at home in Sydney due to the COVID 19 shutdowns, a lot of that time has been filled by reminiscing about my past travels and dreaming of my future adventures.
In particular, I feel a pull between wanting to re-visit the familiar verses the desire to travel to the unknown and immerse myself in an experience that is completely new.
Sometimes we travel to a place and are able to explore for weeks, months or years, yet more often our fondest memories are formed in the cities that we visit briefly, only to depart knowing we have barely scratched the surface.
My time in , Reykjavik Iceland was a whirlwind three day stay for work during the filming of Pacific Rim 2. I did not venture further than the studios or the main town but I loved every second of my time there and hope to return soon.
These are my memories.
I flew from Los Angeles to Seattle and barely made the international connection on to Reykjavik because I got lost in the airport. I could hear my name being paged over the loud speaker while I sprinted towards the closed gate. Luckily the staff were aware and I ended up being escorted through security. I boarded the plane covered in sweat while my fellow colleagues were in their seats sipping champagne. Once we took off and the scenery presented itself the embarrassment of almost missing my first Business Class flight was all but forgotten. The champagne helped too.
The Hotel Borg, Reykjavik. The rooms were cosy and stylish and the buffet breakfasts were delicious.
I always take on a photoshoot of my hotel room as soon as I walk inside as I always travel with too many bags and the room never looks as tidy again. This photo is time stamped 10:28pm.
A lovely spot for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Depending on the production and the hotel service hours, we usually eat breakfast at the restaurant in our hotels before heading to set.
The following morning we had a couple hours free before we had to meet at the studios for a test shoot. I embarked on a quick tour of Reykjavik. It was freezing and the rain started immediately after this photo was taken but it was a great distraction for the jetlag.
A few snaps from a walk through the town.
Another snap from a walk through the town.
One more photo, then it was time to head to work. That’s my hotel back there. After the test shoot at the studios we went straight to dinner at a seafood restaurant. It was actually a work meeting disguised as a fancy dinner. I had to take notes while eating a three course meal and I must say I learnt some great life skills that night.
The following morning we were off to work in the pouring rain again. I took this through the window of our mini van. Luckily we were filming inside the studios and not out on location.
We worked past midnight that night and on wrap we jumped into taxis and drove to a lookout to try see the Northern Lights. We were told there was a 2/10 chance of visibility and the forecast was correct as we couldn’t see a thing through the fog. After admitting defeat and almost freezing to death by the cliff we asked the taxi driver to take us to a kebab shop for a snack. We met a group of drunken Halloween party-goers in the queue (of course, tonight was Halloween!) and they recommended a bar we should visit. Completely exhausted and still in our work puffer jackets we welcomed the recommendation and did not leave the bar until the early hours of the morning. Safe to say there were very few who ventured out the next morning to the flea markets before the airport shuttle arrived. I went for a wander, determined to explore Iceland up until the last minute and passed a woman who asked me to take a photo of her, and in exchange she took one of me.
Trick or Treat in Iceland.
It was late October when we visited and a few shops were starting to display Christmas decorations. Although now that I think about it I believe this store was a Christmas decoration shop open all year round. It was so beautiful that I went back twice and purchased my first Christmas jumper. (The thought had always been a novelty growing up as the weather on Christmas Day in Australia is anywhere from 30-45 degrees celsius).
I’m not sure what this is or why it was there on the footpath but it sure gave me a freight.
This was the final photo I took in Iceland during the drive to the airport. We were flying back to Los Angeles via Chicago. I think the photo captures the country beautifully and ignites feelings of inspiration and curiosity while reminding me to welcome all adventures, no matter the distance or duration.