“Hawaii — I should’ve gone to Hawaii.” This though was pounding in my head as I was standing in the parking lot of the Keflavík International Airport at 5 o’clock in the morning. My chief editor talked me into trading my usual winter getaway to Hawaii for a photo reporting trip to Iceland. “It will be fun,” she said…
So there I was, pierced with a 50 mph wind, shivering in the cold air with the temperature dipping way below freezing. I tried not to slip on the sheer layer of ice which covered the sidewalks as I made my way towards the rental car terminal. The conversation with the rental car clerk reinforced my regrets. I’ve learned of a hundred ways I could die in Iceland as he was trying to sell me overpriced travel insurance. “Should’ve gone to Hawaii,” I told myself once again as I was leaving the airport in a budget rental car.
The next six days in this land of paradox proved me wrong. It turned out to be one of the brightest adventures of my life. I got to climb the largest glacier in Europe, explore crystal ice caves, and watch the Northern Lights set the sky on fire. I tried some incredible food and met some amazing people from different parts of the world. The number of tourists visiting Iceland last year reached almost 2 million. This wasn’t the case a few decades ago. I met with the family who opened one of the first tour operating companies back in the 80’s. Their idea seemed absurd at the time since tourism was almost nonexistent. Today their company is one of the largest tour operators in the country.
In the same manner, a college student majoring in computer science saw a business opportunity in the midst of economic turmoil that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. When everyone else was trying to flee the country, he realized that economic changes presented great opportunities for foreign investors. Together with a group of friends he opened a travel agency that toured foreign investors around Russia. Their idea was well received and soon the agency was serving clients worldwide. Several decades later that young man became a reputable venture capitalist who helps businesses from all over the world get a foot in the door of the Silicon Valley.
“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
Some people live life by going through the motions, getting caught up in everyday routine. I encourage you to “feel the rain”, experience new things in life, whether it means traveling to a new place, trying a new look, or grabbing a new business opportunity as it passes by. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I hope the stories in this issue inspire you to live your life to the fullest!