Captivated in Vatnajökull

Studying abroad in Iceland has been an absolutely captivating experience. From life at Sólheimar Eco Village to the 14-mile backpacking trip around Vatnajökull National Park, every day was filled with new adventures. The CELL trip to South Iceland was full of mesmerizing experiences and I am sure that Iceland has bestowed upon me memories that I will never forget. The interpersonal experiences, academics, and travels that I have had in Iceland all reveal to me a number of invaluable lessons. Namely, it has become abundantly clear not only that humanity exerts great influence on the land, but even more so that a land shapes and- to a great extent- defines its people. I firmly believe that such insight can only be fully realized through immersive experience.

I believe that the word ‘awesome’ is used too often, so as to degrade its meaning and significance, yet it was on the South Iceland trip that I experienced the greatest sensation of how truly awesome this beautiful planet is. There is literally nothing comparable to walking around and onto glaciers, hearing a calving event, or realizing how completely surrounded by wilderness you are.

It would seem a daunting, if not impossible task to truly capture the sensations of such experiences, and to do it well; to give voice to every detail, emotion, sound, and moment of silence. I cannot help but to remember the many voices of the past, such as Muir, Leopold, Marsh, and many others who so eloquently and beautifully captured their experiences and insights of the natural world and wilderness. After reflecting on these experiences I can only conclude that perhaps this entire experience is best left as a declaration not that I captured a small piece of nature, but that I have never been so captured by it and with it. I hope to take these great experiences and values with me- to imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.

Alec Z Drachenberg