In an unexpected turn of events, I left the Mid-Atlantic region of the east coast. Traveling has never really been a big thing for me; I’ve been to a couple of conferences in high school around the country, and once, my family took a summer vacation to Cancun. When deciding on Hopkins, I liked how it was only a one and a half hour drive down I-95.

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Studying abroad was never really in the cards for me. Not that it’s not possible, because it definitely is — I just couldn’t see myself leaving Hopkins for a semester. And it’s definitely not that I didn’t want to go abroad. In fact, I’ve always wanted to get a little taste of the world that’s not a Philly cheesesteak or Old Bay. So when a couple of my fraternity brothers and our friends had hopped on a killer deal (< $500) for round-trip tickets to Iceland this spring break, I just had to go. So I bought the tickets, back in January, and over the weeks we booked our Airbnb, and our rental cars, and researched things we wanted to do and see. And then we had midterms and I completely forgot that I was going to be thousands of miles away from Baltimore until I found myself, the night before my flight, stuffing random clothes into my backpack, careful not to exceed the 11-pound carry-on weight limit.

And then, I was in Iceland.

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For the next six days, I just bowed down to nature. We found ourselves in some of the most beautiful landscapes I’d ever seen in my life. Waterfalls, geysers, hot springs, black sand beaches, volcanic craters, mountains — Iceland had it all. We wandered the streets of the little city of Reykjavik, dragged our jetlagged bodies to experience the nightlife and admire the art form that is the local Icelandic hot dog. We tasted shark that’d been fermenting in the ground for a year, met friendly (and not so friendly) locals and other tourists, and bathed in geothermally heated spas.

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But sitting here, trying to describe what it was like to be in this strange country for a week, it’s not the same. Even the pictures, couldn’t really capture the beauty — the feeling. No matter how well I describe the utter beauty of the cliffs and the coast at the seaside village of Vik, you won’t be able to be there. No matter how much I rave about the mustard and remoulade smothered hot dogs, you won’t be able to taste them. I think that’s what they mean, when people talk about going abroad. You can’t get the experience anywhere else.

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P.S. check out this awesome video my friend Wooyang made of our trip!

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