The Mysterious Elliðaey Island: Bjork’s Retreat Or Hermit’s Paradise?

If you’re a fan of looking at travel stuff online then you’ve probably seen this picture at one time or another:

Ellidaey Island Famous Internet Picture

It’s often posted without much context or even a name to associate the island with, so looking at the picture ends up being a mysterious experience.

You can’t help but wonder, where is this place? and who the heck lives in such an isolated house?

Depending on who you are, you might think it a fabulous location to live (hey, no one to bother you with __anything__). Or it might seem like a nightmare (so lonely, not even a tree for company!).

Bjork Rumored Owner Of Elliðaey IslandThe picture is so widespread and intriguing that an urban legend has sprung up about the island and the house on it. The story goes that this island was given to Icelandic singer Bjork by the prime minister of Iceland in 2000, so that she could have a secluded place to vacation.

Well it turns out that this is an island in Iceland called Elliðaey (pronounced et-li-die) Island.
Sadly the image of Bjork experimenting with new song ideas by belting them out in the remote cliffs of Elliðaey Island is only a work of fiction. The single building is actually a hunting lodge used as a shelter for puffin hunters. No one has lived on the island since the 1930’s, when believe it or not five families lived on the island and survived by hunting puffins, fishing, and raising cattle.

What a life that must have been. I want to find out more about these families that existed on such a tiny and remote island. But for now I’ll settle for gazing at the grassy and windswept island called Elliðaey.

Full Picture Of Ellidaey Island Iceland

So whenever life starts to stress you out, just look at a picture of Elliðaey Island. Imagine yourself kicking back and listening to a Bjork album, with no one around to even think about bothering you with their Human Behavior.

November 6, 2016
Travel Philosophy

Saying Yes To Adventures: Sometimes Harder Than You Think

Travel Picture Say Yes To Adventures

At first glance the idea of ‘Say Yes To Adventures’ seems like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn’t want to have an adventure?

But if you look at all the little “no’s” that happen in life, you might see how saying “no” to adventure has crept in and become a habit.

“No, I can’t go there right now, the time is wrong.”

“No I can’t afford that plane ticket, I just can’t afford the time off.”

“No, I’ll just wait until next year, five years.”

“No, it’s too hard to travel with kids.”

“No, I’ll just wait until I retire.”

If you’re not careful, all these little “no’s” can add up to a way of life. A boring one.

November 6, 2016
Travel Gear

The Disappearing Backpack: Lewis N Clark Electrolight

Lewis N Clark Electrolight Collapsing BackpackI saw the Lewis N Clark Electrolight Backpack and was immediately intrigued.

So this is a lightweight backpack designed to fold up into a pouch smaller than the size of your hand. The idea is that you can keep the pouch with you in a pocket or purse and deploy it as a full backpack whenever you need it.

I think this is fantastic, because I’ve been using fold up bags as part of my travel kit for a long time now, but had never come across one that was a full backpack. The fold up bags I’ve been using came from IKEA and are similar to the RoryTory Travel Tote Bag. They are a life saver while traveling. Especially when it comes to staying in hotels with my three kids.

Lewis N Clark Multipurpose Backpack FoldedFirst off going from the parking lot all the way to the second or third floor of a hotel is usually a trek in itself after a long day of traveling, but add kids and things like groceries or other shopping items and it can become a huge pain. I pop out one or two of the fold up bags that I keep in the back of the travel van, and am usually able to carry all the things a lot easier.

Also, when doing a day of shopping I like to carry one of the folded up bags in a pocket. This way if I end up buying a lot of stuff I can carry it around much more conveniently.

Having a backpack version of the fold up bags would take things to the next level. I would love to be able to free up my hands when walking through the hotel or whatever shopping district I’m in.

Lewis N Clark Travel Packpack BikerThe Lewis N Clark Electrolight Multipurpose Backpack is made of silnylon, which they say makes it super light yet still durable. Looking through the Amazon reviews most people feel that the lightness and durability do match up with what’s promised, though some people didn’t like that the material was so light that it ended up feeling flimsy to them.

My main concern with this backpack is: will it hold enough? It seems a bit smaller than the bags that I generally use, so we’ll see how things work out in real life travel situations.

I am planning on ordering one of these to keep in my van as part of the ongoing travel kit, so I’ll do a post later on how it measures up in my experience. Personally for under $20 I feel like it can’t go too wrong. Plus, if it disappears into a pocket when I don’t need it and magically appears when I do, I’ll be happy.

November 6, 2016

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October 20, 2016
Travel Philosophy

Who Can Pass These Without At Least Trying To Take A Look?

Tower Viewer Pay Binoculars Travel Story

To me, they’ve always looked like a face, a friendly face beckoning you to come over. And really, whether you’re a five year old or a grandma, who can get near one of these without putting your hands on the cold metal and pressing your face to the eye holes to take a look?

What am I talking about? I’m talking about tower viewers of course. Yes, tower viewers, which is apparently what pay binoculars are called. I’ve never met anybody who called them by their official name, it was always just “Hey look, binoculars!” whenever someone spotted one while walking by.

Monas National Monument Indonesia Travel StoryIn many ways I can connect the dots of all my major travels with an experience with a tower viewer. Whether it was fighting ocean winds in Homer, Alaska to get to one or fighting vertigo in the Sears Tower as a kid to check out the cityscape.

Or during that one incredible “vacation” to Jakarta, Indonesia when I took that claustrophobic (and let me just say quite questionable) elevator to the top of Jakarta’s most famous monument, Monas, the monument of the golden flame. When we got to the top my father, who I hadn’t seen in twenty years, immediately gave me a handful of coins so that I could look out at Jakarta through a tower viewer.

And that was no mistake. The world as seen through a tower viewer is just more interesting, and as I put the coin in at the top of Monas I was immediately able to transform this almost overwhelming mass of buildings and movement that surrounded me in the city of an astounding 9.6 million people. I zoomed in and saw people, cars, the details of buildings, open windows even, and the landscape came alive for me in detail wherever I wanted to swoop in for a look.

I was able to see a side of Jakarta that would be impossible to see any other way. And all this happened for the price of a single coin.

December 23, 2015