When a trip is just the beginning

There are places you go where the purpose of the trip is to say you’ve been, to others, or to yourself. Perhaps you have a bucket list, of places you’d regret if you never saw them with your own eyes, and checking things off is the goal. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of travel, but it tends to have a beginning and an end, a wonderful experience that is now a cherished memory. But there’s another kind of travel, where the places you go awaken something inside of you. The trip is just the start, a catalyst for continued discovery of a country, a geography, a history, or a culture. These places are sparks: of fascination, of discovery, of pathways for learning that may have no end. That’s the kind of travel I love, and this blog was born out of a desire to share those journey’s with you. I’ve found my travel muse by looking north, to the islands of the North Atlantic.

The last two years included two influential northern trips. In 2018, my wife Molly and I traveled to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Norway. In 2019 we went to Newfoundland. I considered devoting this entire blog to the Faroes, given the strong reaction it had on me. Molly likes to say that the Faroe Islands is now my hobby, and she’s not wrong. I find myself seeking out Faroese literature and film, following Faroese news (tunnel breakthrough!), and even becoming a stamp collector. There’s something I find calming just thinking about those islands. But ultimately there’s a larger category of geography that I’m drawn to: places clinging to the edges of the North Atlantic, islands made of rocky cliffs with rough weather, quiet villages and desolate landscapes. I don’t know the exact boundaries, or categories, or reasons for this attraction — but I’ll be exploring that here.

So welcome, to this blog that lives on a virtual craggy cliff, overlooking a rough and foggy ocean. Together we’ll visit cabins and fishing boats, hike with fowlers and foragers, learn some history, check some maps, and taste some traditional food. My goal is to post things on this blog so I can find them later, not only to remember my trips, but to keep on traveling.