Adventure Islands Iceland Nature & Wildlife Philosophy

You can’t live life in a long shot

Looking down lower falls at Dynjandi Waterfall
Written by Stuart Wickes

You can’t live life in a long shot

Every now and then I’m prone to  lose it when we’re travelling. Perhaps it’s not surprising given we’re with each other 24/7, and especially since there’s five of us sharing a tent made for four. In the tent is not a great place for a temper tantrum, but I couldn’t help it. Travel is supposed to be about getting out, having new experiences, experiencing the world, broadening the mind, not lying in and doing stuff you can do at home. Isn’t it? 

Angry zipping just doesn’t do it

I’m so angry I want to storm out and slam the door but it’s not easy when you’ve got to put your shoes on first without standing up. Besides you can’t slam a tent door. And angry zipping just doesn’t do it; it just catches the fly net. So I slip sulkily out into the morning rain and leave them all to their cosy sleeping bags.

Surely travel is an opportunity to experience..

I just don’t get it. For me travel is such an opportunity to see, explore and experience things you may not get the chance to do again. So why would you want to spend the morning in bed when there’s one of the finest waterfalls in Iceland just outside your tent? How could playing games on your iPod, games you can play anywhere, anytime, be a more attractive proposition? How can reading a book, a book you can read in the car, on the bus, on the ferry, be a better idea than visiting a place you will likely only ever be at once in your life?

Car in the valley Dynjandi Waterfall

We can see the waterfall from the car and tent…

“But we can see the waterfall from here,” says one.

“We saw it last night,” echoes another.

“I’ve already been to a waterfall with you,” chimes the third.

“It’s raining and windy out there,” concludes the chorus.

Is travel wasted on them?

It doesn’t seem to matter to them how unique it is, how far we’ve travelled to see it, what an experience it might be to see this thing up close, to feel its’ power, to be touched by raw nature. No, they’d rather do something they can do at home.; lie in bed, snooze, play games or read a book.  Sometimes I think travel is wasted on them.

Below Dynjandi Waterfall

Walking up towards Dynjandi

It feels better alone

It’s a fine walk up towards the upside down birthday cake that is the Dynjandi waterfall, said to be one of the most beautiful in all of Iceland. The climb stretches the muscles in my legs, the mist cools my temper and I slowly become grateful for the solitude. There’s no ‘Can we have a sweety’, ‘How much further is it’ or ‘I’m bored’. Just me, the path, the falls, the rain.

Wide Shot Dynjandi Waterfall

Approaching Dynjandi Waterfall

For a moment

High on the cliff beneath the main cascade it doesn’t matter that it’s raining; it’s wet anyway. There’s a young couple ahead of me, locked in a long embrace. As they cling together they seem unaware of the veil of spray drifting over them, unaware of anything but each other. When they finally unclinch they wipe their her eyes. Tears or spray? I can’t tell. I imagine a romantic proposal; it’s the perfect place. And I feel a brief moment’s sadness at having no-one with me to share this place, this experience.



I can see the tent far down below, doors zipped tightly shut; I made sure of that. They don’t know what they’re missing. And probably don’t care. But I live for moments like this.

Close up Dynjandi Waterfall

Close up Dynjandi Waterfall

This is what it’s all about

The white noise. The soft green moss. The silky fall off jagged basalt cliff. The slip of boot on slimy stone, towards the giant’s steps, the big cascade. Moving close, through misty cloud towards the dizzying edge, the pounding falls. Drop after drop, above, and below. Drip after drip, from sodden hair, onto sodding nose. No hood. No protection. No point. Better to stand still, feel the force, look into the eye of the fall. Feel the chaos, listen to the noise, experience peace at last.

Medium Close up waterfall lower falls at Dynjandi Waterfall

You only really feel the force when you start to get close

Don’t live life in a long shot

You can’t get this from afar, you won’t feel it in the valley, from a car, a tent, a sleeping bag. Don’t live life as a long shot. Get up, get out and feel the splash of it up close.

Close up waterfall lower falls at Dynjandi Waterfall

Live life in close up and feel more alive


This post is part of our 2012 Adventure Islands Season. We spent summer 2012 visiting Iceland and The Faroes, exploring the wilder parts of these adventure islands on mini biking expeditions, researching and reporting on attractions and activities on offer to adventure seeking families. We’re grateful to DFDS Seaways and Smyril Line for their support in getting us and our vehicle to Europe and onto Iceland and The Faroes, enabling us to bring you this season of posts. And to Berghaus and Thule who have helped equip us for the journey.  

You can see more of our journey on our Family Adventure Project Punkt map where we shared exclusive behind the scenes photos and video.

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

1 Comment

  • Love your pictures. I used one in a Bible study of Revelation 14:2 “I heard the voice of many waters”
    representing the sound of the voices of the redeemed at Jesus return.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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