Happy Campers in Iceland

This year was full of family milestones. I graduated college, my cousin Jess graduated high school, her sister Bri turned into a teenager and their aunt Leakie was stepping outside of her comfort zone more often. Jess and I were talking about taking an epic trip together to celebrate our accomplishments and we wanted it to be a place we'd never been before. It was her idea to look into Iceland because of the great things she heard about it being an environmentally conscious country to having natural mind blowing landscapes.

 

The four of us waiting for our flight to Iceland.

The four of us waiting for our flight to Iceland.

Two hours later, we booked our flights.

 

We had about a month to plan our entire trip so I spent each spare moment researching all I could about Iceland. The searches kept pulling up forums about travelers having a better experience in camper vans. I love to camp, so I figured, why not?

I spent an entire weekend looking up camper vans around Iceland and kept finding camper vans that had the right amount of seating but no cookware or if it had cookware it was extra money on top of an already expensive rental. Take that and add the cost of gas and campgrounds and you can imagine how quickly the expenses exceeded the budget. Then there was the real kicker, all of the automatic vehicles were an extra $100-$200 a day. It gave me so much anxiety that I started to doubt camping around the country would be an option...but then I came across Happy Campers

Me, the extremely focused driver.

Me, the extremely focused driver.

It was perfect! It had the space to sleep, heating, cookware, the whole nine yards! Then my heart dropped, they only had manual transmissions. I had never driven a manual my entire life, how in the world would I ever learn in less than two weeks?

Well ladies and gentlemen, I didn't let it stop me. I grabbed my fiance and asked him to teach me every day for the last two weeks before our trip using his work truck and that was the end of it. I booked a Happy Camper and told myself I had to do it in order to make this a trip of a lifetime for my girls!

This was one of my favorite spots to camp right next to Skógafoss

This was one of my favorite spots to camp right next to Skógafoss

It was their first time traveling without their parents and I felt responsible for showing them what it takes to be an independent woman in this lifetime. 

We did our research on the type of clothing to pack, the phrase we kept hearing in Iceland was "it's not bad weather, it's bad clothes." I also designated one checked bag for camping gear and instant foods for camping to save some money on food. When we arrived in Iceland, I popped into their market and purchased a $15 SIM card for my iPhone. It was simple to do and it came with the tools to do it.

A Happy Camper rep met us in the airport and drove us to their hub to pick up our vehicle. There was no extra fee for picking us up or dropping us off at the airport like all of the other companies I found that ranged from $60-$80 each way.

The handy tracker that Happy Camper puts on their camper vans.

The handy tracker that Happy Camper puts on their camper vans.

They had a designated spot to share items that people bought for cooking and instead of throwing it out, you had a chance to pick out what you needed with the expectation that you did the same when you came back from your trip.

The Happy Camper website has everything you need from maps of gas stations to maps of campgrounds, they even have trackers to pinpoint your entire trip at any given moment. I am so grateful to have had the chance to experience such a beautiful country and I owe it to Happy Camper for being a crucial element to our comfort and adventures. We highly recommend it!

Photos I took of our views.

Bri's constantly improving her cinematography skills and I'm very proud of her creativity!

I started in my backyard...

If you've discovered your love for photography and you're wondering what can you do to get started building a solid understanding of the basics to photography, you can start right in your own backyard!

SheritaSinPhotography_Gourd

Homegrown Gourd

This is a gourd that grew unannounced in my backyard. I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I decided to carve out a hole and gut it. Then I hung it from a tree in the backyard, hoping to gain some new bird tenants.

The way the light from the sun hit the camera and washed out the sky made for a lovely photo.

The green from the leaves create a bold contrast against the aging brown gourd.

The holes in the leaves where the light/white comes through draws your eyes to the color change happening on the gourd with the brown and white. You have practice with focus on background and foreground.

Experiment! You never know what you'll discover!

SheritaSinPhotography_BabyBirds

And then there were three...

I was washing my car one day and I could hear faint chirping sounds. I decided to take a peek in the gourd and discovered these three beauties!

It took me at least 20 tries to capture this particular shot, but I encourage you not to be afraid to take multiple images, this gives you an opportunity to get the right one. This let me practice using my flash and working with a tiny enclosure. This hole is about 5 inches round, so you can imagine the concentration for this shot!

Needless to say, I almost had my eyes gouged out by the overprotective parents, but the beauty of photography is that every image has a story to tell and it takes you back to the exact moment or experience you had. In this case, I am thankful that I still have my sight!