Black Sand Storms | Stories from Iceland I


I walked around half an hour from my car to watch the wild ocean waves crashing onto the blackened shoreline of the coast. It was a moment of exhilaration when I realised that, in a country ladened with tourists, I was finally completely alone. Arms outstretched and face to the skies, I breathed in this otherworldly air and felt so removed from life. So removed from all the things that had been building and spiralling in my mind and body over the past year; a year of trying to work my way through a maze of emotion and confusion. Of being told what to do and asking what to do but none of it making any sense to me. And somehow I had ended up on this black sand beach on the South Coast of Iceland; alone, exhilarated and completely overwhelmed. Arms outstretched, face to the skies, breathing in the otherworldly air.

At that moment the heavens opened, hurtling me back down to earth. Back to a reality in which I knew I had a thirty minute walk back to my car through this raging rain storm and lashing wind. I tucked my camera inside my coat and gripped the collar tightly around my face as raindrops plummeted relentlessly, drenching my jeans, boots, face, hands and anything that lay exposed to the brutal Icelandic elements. When it rains in Iceland, it pours.

When I finally made it back, I clamoured into the back seat of my car dripping with sea salt and rain drops and black sand and feelings. So many feelings enticed by the brutality of the weather and the wild long roads I had driven to get here. I thought I might cry with the intensity of it all, but instead I peeled myself out of the sodden clothes and sat in the warm cocoon of my little hire car for a while as the windows fogged up from the inside. Overwhelming emotion returning to peace and calm, while the rough winds pounded against the safety of this tin shell, determined to get their hands on me again.

There is something about a solo road trip that I find terrifying yet addictive. I am afraid of the tornado of thoughts I will have when driving 1000km alone, yet obsessed with wanting to experience them - with delving into that deep black hole inside myself that can only be reached on a journey like this one. I found myself at the bottom of that hole on this black sand beach in Iceland, but there was nothing there. There was nothing there because there is nothing to find; all there is is another journey of 1000km and another after that one. Endless roads to drive and black sand beaches to be discovered. I don't believe that you find yourself when you travel, but with every journey of 1000km and every storm you get caught in, you can learn to understand yourself just a little more.