“I dream with my eyes open”, so penned Jules Vern in his Journey to the Center of the Earth. It’s a tale famously set in Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula and just one of the country’s long list of literary and cinematic credits. We can see why it’s such a popular setting. Caves, volcanoes, geysers, lagoons— Iceland is like being on another planet and is the perfect inspiration for stories of courage, conquest and personal growth. In short, Iceland has all the magical stuff we dream of seeing when we travel.
But, as we made our own journey west following in Vern’s footsteps, we were seeing the world through the eyes of one of Iceland’s contemporary storytellers. Photographer ‘Rax’ Ragnar Axelsson has devoted his life to chronicling the world’s diminishing Arctic communities, his award-winning work offering a peek into their isolated lives. Rax shared his own stories of the bond between man and huskie, chasing snowstorms, and photographing the last polar bear in Iceland. His passion is infectious. And soon we were all channeling our best Jules Vern delving into pitch-black caves, scaling glaciers and black mountains sugared with snow, and watching lakes and rivers turn liquid gold in the pale winter sun. It truly felt like we were in a waking dream, on our own otherworldly expedition. Iceland just does that to you.
Watch the video and if you feel the call of a new journey, take our trip below to see the Iceland that has inspired dreams of lost lands and faraway worlds.