The life and lies of Callum Stone

The Beginnings of an Icelandic Saga


The last week of August had been a bit of a heavy one for me. My sister was due to get married in September, however the date of the wedding just so happened to clash with the day I was due to start lectures on a Masters in Coastal and Marine Management. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, go to the wedding, turn up a day late, sorted. That wasn’t exactly possible for me though. The Masters I had been accepted on to was in a small Icelandic backwater called Ísafjörður. Due to the logistics of getting out there, my sister very kindly moved her wedding. No biggy… or it sort of was, for which I am genuinely ever so grateful to have been able to be a part of one of the most important days of her life. Anyway, back to that last week of August. That was when she moved her wedding to, all so she could make sure her little brother could be there for the big day.

As I was moving out to Iceland on the 2nd of September, as you can imagine, there were a fair few leaving dos. Of course the leaving do for all of my mates, then of course the one for all my family, and finally one for all of the friends that failed to make it to the first. These on top of a wedding led to a very drawn out week spent in a perpetual state of either intoxication, or suffering the next day side effects of said intoxication. Travelling with the punishment of the aforementioned week’s hedonisms really did turn out to be a struggle!

First came the bridge, that big old bugger where you have to pay for the pleasure of entering The Land of my Fathers, but escape for free; Its hangers and cables, flashing by one by one, with each flash feeling like a little kick to the temple from a tiny tiny hangover donkey just to remind me of its existence. Next came the… actually I’m not sure what came next. The urge to sleep began to overwhelm the want to appreciate the company of my parents for a last few hours for quite some time. I finally woke, slightly disorientated, working our way through the labyrinth of a multi-storey car park. Gatwick. I’ve previously written about the highs and lows, trials and tribulations and general mundane shit that normally accompanies air travel, so I’ll let you off this time. However, just in case you’re part of the population that has never travelled by air though, basically there’s a lot of waiting, hassles from security, funny sights, sad sights, sights of joy, and finally the sight of a head rest. Headrest. Headrest. Still headrest. And that’s about it really.

A long story short, I was heading out from Gatwick, flying the proverbial nest, and Keflavik bound! I had been told it was only 45 minutes from Keflavik airport (the Icelandic international airport) to Reykjavik domestic airport by bus. Reykjavik domestic would be my connection to my final destination of Ísafjörður. From the time my plane was due to land, I knew I had just over 2 hours to get to Reykjavik domestic and on to my next flight. My plane actually landed over half an hour late. Hmm 1 and a half hours. Baggage late on the carousel. 1 hour. By this point I was looking at my watch with my heart beating a little harder and faster as each second went by. Missing the only flight of the day would most definitely be a massive ball ache, and was therefore, not an option. Finally, my bags (all 50kgs) were slung on to a trolley and I was heading over to my bus with little over 45 minutes to spare.

Having slept the whole way from the UK to Iceland, and been on the move when I was awake, I’d hardly had the chance to just stop and think about things. Suddenly I found myself alone in a foreign country, staring out of the window of a bus through the rain over a lava field and all I could think about was how bleak it looked. It didn’t look pretty, it didn’t look inviting, it hardly even looked impressive (I can confirm that without being hungover and tired, it most definitely is). I just sat, staring through the rain over this bleak landscape, racing raindrops down the window from time to time when a sensation dropped in to the pit of my stomach like a lump of over cooked, week old rice. “Shit. What am I doing here?” I thought to myself.

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