Do you guys use TimeHop? If you don’t, you should! It’s one of my favorite apps, and sometimes the highlight of my day.
Today it told me that one year ago I was saying goodbye to my wonderful Houston friends. Ten years ago I was living in London, but had just returned from Venice for the weekend.
Life is a series of fun stories with friends that make up wonderful memories!
Let’s go back to one year ago.
I was seriously freaking out about our decision to sell everything and move to another country. There were days when I couldn’t wait to get on the plane, and then days I was wondering what the hell we were doing.
One day I was on Pinterest searching for packing tips and expat advice when I saw this:
I was like. WHAT?! WHO is this girl wearing a lopapeysa in Iceland?! So I clicked on it.
The minute I started reading Kaelene’s blog I felt an immediate connection (ok this is sounding like a dating site – but stick with me!) I saw right away that we had a lot in common. Traveling women, fell in love with men across the globe, moved to ICELAND. Like, what are the chances?!
Kaelene’s dynamic personality shines through her blog posts and all of her beautiful photos. I remember I immediately followed her Instagram account as we were counting down the days until we moved.
You guys, moving abroad is scary! I always thought, “what if I move to Iceland and don’t have any friends?! That would be the WORST.”
So what did I do? Oh ya know, just what any normal person would do. I messaged her a million questions about what to bring, what the grocery stores are like, and basically anything you could think of. It’s amazing that she wrote back to mebbecause I seriously sounded like a crazy person! I thought I had for sure ruined my chance of having a normal friendship.
Fast forward a couple months to our first month in Iceland where I went to my first expat gathering. And then a month later when I jumped right in and invited some girls over for pumpkin carving. And then Friendsgiving.
And then…we became friends. It was like an expat love story!
Obviously Kaelene’s blog inspired me to write a blog. But I’ve always loved writing and have always kept a travel journal from all of my travels. So writing about Iceland was natural for me, and also a great way to keep our family and friends updated back in the States.
The best part? This lady has just as much of an adventurous spirit as I do! Since I’ve moved to Iceland Kaelene and I have had some amazing adventures together. Meeting up for happy hours, relaxing in the natural pools, and hiking 25km through the rain and snow…it’s been a great year!
Friends are the best! I consider myself one lucky girl. Being an expat can be hard sometimes, but having good friends makes it so much easier!
I asked Kaelene if I could interview her for blog post. Take it away, girl.
What made you start blogging?
I was a blog reader for years lurking behind the scenes and thinking of what I would write about if I had a blog. At one point my mom suggested I start a blog sharing stories about me and my dog, kinda like a Marley and Me story, which sounded awesome to me since I love sharing pictures of my dog, but not really something I wanted to commit to blogging about.
Anyways, fast forward to almost three years ago and I found myself starting a new life in Iceland, in the middle of an Icelandic winter, with more free time on my hands than I knew what to do with. Everything was new and interesting to me and I thought, now I have something interesting that I want to blog about. With that little bit of courage I hit publish on my first post and ta da Unlocking Kiki was started and I have been hooked ever since.
Where were you bit by travel bug?
Growing up my family did a lot of traveling around Oregon but we didn’t take any big trips until I got older. Not that I am complaining, my home-state Oregon is gorgeous. Anyways, when I was a bit older my Grandma moved to Hawaii and we spent a few spring breaks visiting her (super rough right?!). From then on I knew I wanted to travel and see as many places as possible, it just took me awhile to figure out how to do it. When I was 21 I headed off for my first international trip, a three month internship in Australia. There I met my Viking, and the past six years have been filled with 14 more countries explored, and so many more countries left to visit! One thing is for sure, my travel bug is going no where anytime soon.
Whats your favorite country you’ve traveled to?
It is a tie between Greece and Croatia. Everything from the food to the people was absolutely amazing in these countries, I hope to return to either one someday.
Where is #1 on your Iceland bucket list?
The East Fjords. I have been all over this beautiful island but have yet to visit the east, hopefully next summer a road trip will happen there.
What’s your dream job?
To travel the world writing about my adventures along the way! But really, I still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up, like basically everyone else out there 😉 I am starting my MBA this fall and hoping my studies will help me figure out at least a bit better what that dream job may be.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
First, I would fly my entire family over to Iceland so I could show them around this gorgeous country. Second, I would take off for a year long adventure traveling the world with my Viking. And third, I would buy a house, with a big yard, and get a dog, where I would settle down and live happily ever after.
A photo posted by Kaelene – American in Iceland (@unlockingkiki) on
What book are you reading right now?
I just started reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and so far am loving it. If your looking for a good story to get lost in I highly recommend it!
Cats or dogs?
Dogs! Sometimes I think I am more homesick for my dogs than my family, if only dogs could talk on skype;)
Lipstick or mascara?
Red lipstick is all I need to feel put together and ready to take on the day. I can thank my mom for this one, she never is without her lipstick.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, preferably iced.
Beach or mountains?
Woo, this is a tough one! I love a good beach day filled with nothing but lounging on the sand, a book in one hand and a drink in the other. But, I also love a day in the mountains, the peace and quiet with nothing but gorgeous nature around. Take me to either one and I am a happy gal.
So you know what? Turns out þetta reddast is spot on! I’m so happy that I was able to make such an amazing friendship in this first year living in Iceland. Here’s to another year of fun and adventure!
Don’t forget to follow Kaelene’s blog for more Iceland inspiration!
Question: Have you ever had to make friends in a new place?