Posted by: jeanne | March 17, 2013

iceland: things we need to make us go*

in order to avoid constant updates to the previous post about art residencies in north iceland, i’m going to start another post, and just keep going as needed.

i’m looking to go to iceland for a residence, and i’m looking to go for a specific reason.  i’m writing a novel about antarctica without ice, a global warming fable, a quest for quantum consciousness.  it’s set in a videogame set in an antarctica without ice, and the playing of the game has realworld effects that cause the whole world to change.

anyway, this novel will become a graphic novel as it develops, and for that i need to know what antarctica looks like without ice.  so here’s the latest bedrock map of antarctica, with my own outlines where i decided to put sea level.


this antarctica is going to be very boggy, very glaciated and post glacial.  the heights will be snow covered mountains and volcanos, the lowlands will be carpeted with mosses and grasses,  there will be deep fjords and endless summer.

and the closest i can get to that is iceland.  which, isn’t it beautiful?


so that’s where i want to go, because i need to actually, physically see u-shaped valleys and slog thru mountain bogs and walk up to icy glaciers and look down fjords and walk around grass-roofed huts and ride on icelandic horses and swim in thermal pools and look up at the aurora.

i won’t have a car.  i thought i might spend enough time in reykjavik to tour around to see the midatlantic rift and a thermal pond and a waterfall and maybe a cavern or a glacier.  all these things are in short distance to the capital city.  and i thought i’d take a bus out to akureyri and a plane back, so i could see as much as possible on the way to the residence.  once i’m at the residence, it would be really nice if there were the possibility of a field trip or two to see the different landscape.  and at the residence, it would be great if there were some interesting walks to take past varied coastal scenery.  that will take some google earthing to determine, i’m afraid.  plus, i’ll have to find some non-art travelogs to go thru, maybe a hiking site.  here’s a one-day hike in the neighborhood of the residencies, $70.

because i won’t have a car, i’ll need to have some way to get the food and supplies i’m going to need close by the residence.  if i had a car, i could get it all in reykjavik and drive it in.  but i’m going to need a local food store.  since i’ll be in a village, i’ll do what the people who live there do for food, and that’ll be fine.  at one of the last residences i was in, if i hadn’t packed my food in, i would have been taken care of by a farm truck that came up to the artist village once a week, but i would have had to walk several miles to get milk for my coffee.

so i’m looking for a residence that has a sense of community, where the administration is involved enough in the resident’s lives to organize trips to the store and to scenic spots.  this isn’t my usual pattern, but mobility makes all the difference, and i’m on an exploratory, and therefore social mission this time.

and did i mention i’m on a budget?  so eating at the local restaurant every night is out.  having to pay for a residency is one of my no-nos, but there’s only one residency where the bed and board is free, and i can’t count of being asked to that one.  and that adds another almost thousand dollars to the budget, for food and lodging.  and of course, being an island, almost everything is more expensive because it has to be shipped in.

i could do a kickstarter campaign to raise the money, but i budget for years to go on an art residency. ég er svangur listamaður.

i might not have included the total in my last post, but i figured it would run me $2000, i was daydreaming of the free residency, so i think i was low.  so let’s count it up.  $1000 round trip to REK.  then $200 for either bus or plane (cool).  $400 for the residency, i’m thinking at least that for food, so another $400.  $200 for unplanned incidentals (hey, that icelandic wool wrap/blanket/rug i’ll always regret not getting).  and there’s $110 for that tour to gather impressions of iceland (and soak in a thermal pool) before hitting the tiny little hamlet where i’ll bury myself in my work.  i’m not finished, let’s run a subtotal. $2300.

there’s a cool day trip to jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, but it’s $200+.  and a trip out into the bay to cruise around and see things from a distance, with those ever changing skies (i love a maritime climate).  that’s about $75.  or i could go caving and snorkeling all in one, but that’s $175, but boy of all of them this one makes me stare off into the distance for awhile.

the grand total for the necessaries (painfully skipping the glacial lagoon – $2750.

this would be if i was made of money.  like i said, la artiste affamé, c’est moi.  so how to get the same experience as if i was staying in a youth hostel and travelling on foot or public transportation.  which is always a viable alternative.  the bus system, surely.  $80 for the golden circle, which has much of the things people like to see.  funnily enough, tho you can get a bus to thingvellir national park, and do a dive with the dive company, it’s $120.  snorkel equipment and wetsuit, don’t you know.  i’d have to do some research to find a dive shop in reykjavik where i could do it directly.  but there’s only one, and they’re the ones doing the excursion.  so fair enough, $200 for that.  but it’s worth it, and the package tour would be $275.  i’d like to add the cruise around the bay back in, that’s $75.  and the hike and camping trip for $70.

so, that’s between $2300 and $2650.  $350 isn’t a whole lot of money, if you use your credit card.  but when your funds come from quarters hidden in socks, then that’s a nice chunk of change.  maybe i could have a yard sale.  i’m not very fond of the idea of promoting my efforts on firestarter, but otoh i’m going to have to do just that when it comes time to actually finishing and trying to sell the graphic novel.  which, yuck.

whatever.  more later.

_*_(cryptic reference in title)

ps.  nothing to do in reykjavik?  flea market.  central garden for free.  here’s a geothermal pool right in the middle of town (couple bucks).  view from on high, dead cheap.  icelandic culture museum (library).  that pint o’guinness.  good cheap dinnersupermarket for things you need.  for the essential spirits.  thingvellir you can spend all day in for nothing.  horseback riding thru lava fields.  ah soaking in the blue lagoon on the way from (or to) the airport, only $60.  what luxury.

here’s the next post in this series.


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