First off — Just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who bought my book, Bloom: A Journal by BeautyBeyondBones and for your encouragement and support! You guys absolutely rock 🙂

And there are definitely still copies available…wink wink. 🙂


OK, so I just wanted to wrap up my Iceland adventure tonight with THE COOLEST things I did while I was there.

So. Allow me to set the stage. There are a couple things you should know about me.


#1: I hate nature.
#2: I hate being outside.
#3: I hate being cold.
#4: I hate lake/ocean water.

So. Knowing’re probably thinking…then why the heck did’ja go to Iceland!!?

Let’s just say…it was a trip that was 100% out of my comfort zone. But honestly, that made it all the more sweeter!!

One of the most amazing things we did was go snorkeling in the glacial waters of Silfra, between the tectonic plates! The water was literally 34 degrees F, and these tectonic plates are active!


I’m gonna keep it real…I was straight up scared to go. We took the bus out there, got all geared up in these Power Ranger-esq dry suits, and even with my flippers on I still wasn’t sure if I was going to take the plunge.

Our guides were like, “It’ll be uncomfortable for the first 2 1/2 minutes, but then you’ll go numb and won’t feel it after that.

That’s reassuring.


Long story short, I went. So glad I did. It was incredible. Truly. The water is SO clear, albeit cold as all get out. And it’s so clean they even told us to drink as much as we wanted! It was absolutely breathtaking.

And here’s a little doosey for ya — we actually met up with the cute Icelandic guys who were our snorkle-guides for drinks later that night! haha #AlwaysHusbandHunting

OK. And then I’d say the most jaw dropping thing we did was boating between the icebergs to the glacier. That was, hands down, the most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my life. And the drive out to the glacier was such a visual extravaganza, looking out the window and seeing everything from sheep, to farms, to water falls, to hidden hot springs – wow.

But being next to the 12,000 year old glacier, I truly felt the magnitude of God’s creation.


And finally, horseback riding on the black sand beaches gave me such a connection with the outdoors. For a girl who has a love/hate relationship with nature, this was one of my favorite memories. We rode for 3 1/2 hours – in the rain – and we got to this stunning black sand beach. The arctic waves were just crashing on the shore, and we got to gallop on horseback and feel the athletic magnificence of these beautiful creatures.

Loved it.

Yoga at the Golden Circle

After all that adventuring, I was so ready to take a warm shower and crash that night at Hotel Klettur in Reykjavik.

It’s funny: the four nights that we were in Iceland, we slept a TOTAL of about 12 hours. Between going out to the clubs and getting up early for rental car pick ups and road trips, we just decided that sleeping would be the last thing on the totem pole.

But dang, what a beautiful hotel. It’s located just a short walk (read: 7 minutes) to the heart of Reykjavik. But honestly, that walk was our favorite thing we did in the city. You walk past so many cute little shops and houses and restaurants. It was a cultural education.

And the view out our window was so beautiful – the last morning there was a rainbow stretching from the Harpa Concert Hall to the water.

Here’s what I loved about Iceland: the hospitality was SO AMAZING. Every restaurant I  went to, the chefs would create a delicious meal to meet my food allergy needs. The tour guides, shop/rental car owners/gas station attendees/hotel concierges/waiters — all SO ACCOMMODATING! Everyone speaks perfect english, and really makes you feel welcome, and goes above and beyond to make your stay positive and memorable.

blue lips – so cold

Now…for my TOP 5 TIPS — or rather, What I Wish I Would Have Known:

  • WATERPROOF SHOES ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL — The morning of my flight, I decided on a whim to get a pair of rain boots “just in case.” And boy, am I glad I did. It would have been a different trip without them. Not only did it rain the entire time, but you’re walking through nature – over creeks, in the get the picture. Don’t let your feet ruin your trip. And bring 4 more pairs of socks than you think you need.
  • ICELAND IS PRACTICALLY CASHLESS — Everywhere takes credit cards. Yeah, take out a little cash for tips (see below) — but you’ll just end up spending most of your unused cash at Duty Free at the airport to “get rid of it” at the end of your trip.
  • TIPPING: Tipping isn’t a thing there, however, if the service was “above and beyond”, it is appreciated. So for example, I would always tip 20% at dinners because the chefs would literally make me a special meal to meet my dietary needs.
  • ICELAND IS EXPENSIVE. THINK LIKE A COLLEGE STUDENT. So the flights to Iceland are dirt cheap. but once you get there, things are…expensive. SO…
    • GO GROCERY SHOPPING AT “BONUS:” This was the first thing we did.  “BONUS” is a discount grocery chain throughout the country. We stocked up. And got alcohol at Duty Free so we could drink before we went out and not have to order a bunch of cocktails — (which are weak because they conservatively measure their pours every time.)
    • EAT BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL!! Hotel Klettur had an amazing breakfast buffet. Even I — with my laundry list of food allergies — had one of the best breakfasts of my life. They have gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables — whole kiwis, pineapple, melon, whole tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers — it was so delicious. And then all kinds of cereals and a yogurt bar, and hot food, and meats and cheeses and pastries. Breakfast of dreams So eat a big breakfast. Pack a lunch from BONUS. And then go out to dinner. My vegetarian dinners with one cocktail were typically around $60.
  • RENT A CAR, AND DO IT EARLY. Seriously. This was the best decision. If you rent ahead of time, it’s about half the price than if you wait and do a “walk in.” The worker at the car rental (another cute Icelandic gentleman) even told us that the rental car industry is “F-ed up” with how they charge people so steeply. But it’s so worth it. There’s a spontaneousness with a rental car that you just don’t get with a tour bus.

So there you have it. Thank you Hotel Klettur, for such wonderful hospitality. Iceland, you stole my heart. My friends and I are going to cherish these memories forever!

Now go book your flight! Book your stay with Hotel Klettur. And book it to Iceland! It’s waiting for you!!

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187 responses to “ICELAND STOLE MY HEART”

  1. That horse looks very much like me very early in the morning 😂 I love finding beautiful places to walk and listen to worship music its the best. Especially when you love in the countryside 💜

  2. Iceland was never on my radar for a vacation, but you make a convincing case to look at it. I know what you mean about love/hate with nature. I enjoy the beauty of looking at it, not so much living IN it! I couldn’t help noticing that the horse had to take up some slack for you by smiling when you apparently weren’t ready to! Glad you are safely back and that all is well on the home front!

    • haha, oh yes – definitely put it on your radar, Jeff!! Same…me and bug just don’t mix. Although, honestly it was so cold, the only bugs we ran into were in the horse stable! so point for iceland!!! haha, yeah, that horse was giving me some attitude, and my friend got me mid-reprimand. haha Seriously i think that photo is the funniest photo ever. the longer you look at it, the funnier it gets!!!! just posted the patreon! and i’m so sorry that I haven’t gotten back to your email! i’m actually back in ohio. i flew in to nyc from iceland, and then literally 7am the next morning flew to Ohio for a job, so I have had zero time to catch up on emails! but I did read it, and I am so stoked about your exciting new opportunity!! big hugs to you and julie!! x

      • I’m flying to Toledo Wednesday, job interviews at the company all Thursday morning, lunch with them, then back to Toledo Express to await my flight home. Making progress on the inspirational speech; I may have to whittle it back once I finish and time it, but better than the opposite problem! Julie, Hillary, and I had a fun Labor Day together. No big activities; just lunch out and a short book shopping trip to Mississippi just for fun.

      • Eeek!! That’s so exciting!!! I’ll definitely say a prayer for you on Wednesday. You’re gonna do great!! Glad to hear it was a great day with the fam! 🙂

  3. I’m so happy you had a blast!!!! It looks phenomenal and I’m on the jealous side; but am living vicariously through your lovely pictures and experience. Thanks for sharing! Hope that the time back home treats you well, too. ❤️

  4. This is amazing! I can’t believe you didn’t take me :):) That is the trip of a lifetime. Waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, horse back ride, oh my!! God’s creations for you. The pictures were very much appreciated :):) for those of us who haven’t been ;):) God bless you more and more my friend :):)

  5. As a kid I was taught the whole “Iceland is green, but Greenland is ice” message, but every internet celeb that goes to Iceland seems to post about how cold it is.

    Still sounds amazing.


  6. I’m so glad you had a good time!! Believe it or not, my family is actually planning a trip to Iceland next summer; your pictures are making me soo excited!! 🙂

  7. I love it! I am so happy you had such an awesome experience. Our Lord has truly blessed you in so many ways. I am so glad I got to know you. You are beautiful, inside and out and I treasure our friendship. Hugs and Love , many times over. xoxo 🙂 💛💛💛

  8. I found your blog after you randomly liked a recent post of mine – so first, thanks for reaching out and allowing me to discover you! I literally had a coworker of mine from college post a few pictures of her in Reykjavik – with Iclandic horses – yesterday, and for a minute I thought I was going to have a seriously “small world” moment! Y’all live in different states though 😉 That aside, I loved reading this/ogling at the gorgeous pictures//learning a bit, and congrats on your book!

  9. Iceland was always last on my list for the same reasons, but this post made me more open to it now! Seems like you had a blastttt. Love the tips portion btw. Please keep sharing 🙂


  10. Wow. Great pics.
    I loved your post and can relate to your experience since I traveled there last March.
    We had tour guiides and there were 8 of us in a van. Yes. Very very cold, esp at night when it was windy. We saw the Northern Lights, went hiking on a glacier, hiked through ice caves, saw the wild horses running free everywhere, and sat in the hot springs after hiking there.
    So proud that you got out of your comfort zone and tried new things. You give me hope that my son may someday enjoy nature outdoor activities too. And I’m always looking for a wife for him. Wink wink.

    Good luck w your book!

    • Thank you so much Teri! Oh wow, that sounds amazing! Yeah – afterwards I felt so accomplished because it was so out of my comfort zone. Haha. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience! Hugs and love xox

  11. Great report. I was impressed, even the horses are friendly. Just look at the laugh on the horse in that second picture! It’s a classic! Did you tell it a tourist joke or was the horse just plain friendly? rotfl

  12. Your lips weren’t that blue 😜
    It looks like you had an amazing time and as I said before I’m dead envious as Iceland is somewhere I want to visit one day. Big respect for the diving and that’s a pretty bendy yoga move ☺️

  13. That’s super-adventurous – snorkeling in glacial waters. And with such good friends

    Ha ha, I didn’t realise you were not an outdoors person. Yeah I kind of soak it up

    I don’t like to sit still, unless I’m interested. A walk or a run can be enough
    … congrats on giving it a go

      • Yeah, I often seem to need to take a plunge. Oh, the Christian faith… 🙂 But I also love it…

        You know, a friend about 40 years my senior, some years ago recommended the pool of Bethesda scripture in John 5 to me. Of the need for me to jump in

        So… I’m open to suggestions, and which I think are really opportunities. An open door so to speak

        Anyhow… I hope you have a great week Caralyn –

  14. “You’ll go numb and won’t feel it after that.” I am cracking up! At least you had a sense of humor about it! I too hate the cold and the wet, but it sounds like I may have to check Iceland out. What awesome memories!

  15. Very Nice Pics Caralyn!! Looks like you had a blast and the scenery, OMGosh! I do hate the cold/ice and anything flurry and white. But that trip looked really good and was very tempting. Good Luck on your book, I know it will do well…

  16. Your trip to Iceland has a lot of similarities to my trip to Atlanta! Lack of sleep and being outside my comfort zone not withstanding. And I don’t regret it one bit, though my body resents me greatly haha.

  17. I bought two books. My pastor friend wanted to check it out. There’s not much for modern or post modern women and our faith. I’ll probably see the books, next year. haha. Drysuits are nice for cold weather. I’m a little more ‘insulated’ so, they are more hot on me. Everytime I think of Snorkeling I remember this movie, Along Came Polly. Glad you had a chance to, shake it.

  18. Nice job on your site and on your success. I have friend I grew up with he married an author so I know something of the hectic life you live. She is highly successful writing bestseller after bestseller. Thanks for your comment on my post and I will follow you because you are promising star. Good luck

  19. Caralyn, I am so so envious! Iceland has been on my bucket list to visit. Horseback riding on those Icelandic ponies would be my perfect day. As a rider, I know that you must have been sore after 3 1/2 hours! Thanks for the tips and and the pics.

  20. Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed pictures so much. I love everything you hate! 🙂 I am never as close to God as I am in nature. As far as horses, born and raised on and around them. Magnificent creatures. My favorite! Again thanks and you are beautiful in each and every photograph. Love you and God Bless, SR

      • I never kill a bug or spider in my home, bc I believe we offset nature when we do these things. Such as if you kill a bug, then the frogs are going to die, kill the frogs, something else is going to die. I get a cup and catch them in it, and cover it with plate or paper towel and throw them out the door. See this is what happens to you when you are raised country and your parents made you respect everything! 🙂 Love you and God Bless, SR

  21. “If you are reading this, I want to give you a hug”

    Guess who hit the jackpot? Woo hoo….this guy – hellooo! #Bloom is in the house! My jaws just had a smile party and my heart is saying – “Now, that’s what talking about. You better open it up Ish. Read something.” Good job Caralyn. Praying for healing for your food allergies.

    • OH MY GOSH THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!!!! I am so grateful and so excited for you to read it!! Thanks again Ish. You’re making me have a smile party over here!! Haha thanks for the prayers 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  22. Glad you had such a great experience Caralyn. Loved the pictures. Mad props to you for trying something out of your comfort zone. I need to take a page from this post and do the same in my life and add to my life experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Mark! Yeah it was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I got done with the trip and had his … almost … sense of empowerment or accomplishment! Haha thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  23. Caralyn,
    Thank you for allowing to see and share your Iceland experience. I like nature but hate bugs, snakes, and scorpions. 🙂
    Cold isn’t too bad but freezing is another. I hate humidity and being hot.
    Love the lakes, streams, rivers, but not a fan of the ocean.
    You are brave beyond words. Snorkeling, snorkeling, snorkeling, flying, flying, and going out of your comfort zone.
    I am very happy for you that you were able to do this.
    God bless.

  24. Hi BBB,

    Looks like a great trip. I hope you have more adventures and share them. I love the outdoors and wish more people would get out and about. Thanks for sharing your tips. That trip is on my bucket list.

    In Christ,


    On Mon, Sep 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “First off — Just wanted to say a huge thank > you to everyone who bought my book, Bloom: A Journal by BeautyBeyondBones > and for your encouragement and support! You guys absolutely rock 🙂 And > there are definitely still copies available…wink wink. 🙂 ” >

  25. Hi BBB,

    I nominated you for a blogger recognition award:

    Don’t feel obligated to follow instructions. I ended up doing it to try something new when someone nominated me.

  26. You are the third friend who has recommended the isle of Iceland. I really should put it on my bucket list….once I get the debris from summer’s disasters cleaned up :/

  27. I felt inspired reading this. Even in hating the cold and the outside, you went anyways and lived the beauty. You went looking for life instead of living through the images of life, like many do. Thank you for the experience. #Inspired

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