The cold morning woke us up. Caterina retracted her hand inside the sleeve of her jumper and wiped the steamed-up window for a clearer view. The rising sun covered everything around us with a beautiful golden veil: the mountains behind us, the sea before us and the lighthouse on the cliff, closing its working day.
We had been on the island for 20 days and I had spent most of the time with my head elsewhere. The constant feeling of vastness and solitude in this country with its 3.4 inhabitants per square kilometre, attracted me and overwhelmed me at the same time. I suppose I wasn’t really aware of what I was signing up for when I decided to travel to Iceland. But, despite everything, it was going well. We’d rented a cross-country caravan so that we could cook between volcanoes, swim in the island’s glaciers, sleep in its valleys and use my camera – my other great travel companion – to capture the most beautiful landscapes I’d seen in my life.
We spent hours and hours in silence, watching the wind drawing new and constantly changing tracks over the stony terrain from the shelter of our caravan. After hundreds of kilometres in this old-banger, seeing hardly a soul, my fears were slowly being dispelled and I had entered a state of excitement that came before an immense calm. What had started out as just a holiday had become something else. I felt small, but complete.
In our last few hours in Iceland, heading back to the caravan rental company, I searched for ‘My Home is Nowhere Without You’ by Herman Dune on Spotify. The sound of the banjo came through the small speaker connected to my smartphone as we crossed the island with all of our possessions. Echoing the message of the song, I got the feeling that my home wasn’t a place. My home was the people with whom I shared my life.
Read the whole story in issue No.12.