Iceland - Group Dynamics


I rarely travel in large groups and seldom participate in organized tours.   However, when my friend Linda Whitmyre told me she was putting together a group to go to Iceland, I was intrigued.   The price was great and I knew most, but not all of the people who were going.  And with the exception of my longtime friend and travel buddy, John Lucas, I had never traveled with any of them.

We met at Dulles International Airport in DC to begin our trip together.  From our first meeting and introductions until the end of the trip, the group dynamics were always comfortable.    

We flew to Iceland together arriving before dawn, in late October, 2012.  But it wasn't that early.  Sunrise time on the day we arrived was 8:50am.  

We spent the day exploring Reykjavik.   The next morning, we flew north to Akureyri.   Our mission was to see the aurora borealis or the "Northern Lights" as it is more commonly known.  Akureyri is a charming town of about eight thousand people.   The town provides both cold and hot water to all the residents of the town.  The hot water is geothermal and is also used for heating.  

The first night, we took a bus from the hotel to see the Northern Lights.  No luck. It started to snow and the cloud cover was too heavy.   We headed back to the hotel.

The next day we headed out to explore the area, including the nearby Goðafoss Waterfall, where the photo below was taken.  Not long after this photo was taken, we stopped and had some geyser bread, which is rye bread that is baked in the hot geothermal fields instead of an oven.  

John Lucas, Lisa Hirsh, Sally Rowley, Ted Walters, Steve Hunsicker, Barbara Junge and Linda Whitmyre at the Goðafoss Waterfall east of Akureyri, Iceland.

That night, we headed out again to search for the "Northern Lights".  No luck.   Our search for the lights continued after we returned to Reykjavik.  Every night we tried, but still no luck.   As you probably guessed by now, I left Iceland without ever seeing the aurora borealis, which was the reason for the trip.

But in travel, you learn to be flexible.   The trip was amazing.  And even more amazing were the group dynamics.   This group is what made the trip special.   It's my best experience traveling with a group and I would be thrilled to travel with any of these friends again.    (Sadly, this was the last international trip I ever took with John.  He was killed in an accident a few years later.)

At the airport, as we were waiting for our flight back to the USA, I interviewed each of the group members and put together the video that is linked below.   


I  went back to Iceland five years later with the TV show "Peruanos en el Mundo."   It is one of my all-time favorite episodes.   Cecilia Foelsche kept us laughing for most of the trip.   And Fanny Merino is the only person I've ever interviewed in a tree. That clip is at 20:08 in the video linked below.

Dates of Travel

  • October, 2012
  • July, 2017

Places Visited

  • Reykjavík
  • Akureyri




This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.   

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