I've been editing a blog lately for a girl in Iceland. She mostly writes about travel, food, and family life at home, so you can imagine how enjoyable this 'work' is for me to read. The girl has a beautiful, carefree voice in her writing and, in between the funny stories, I get glimpses of her life that go beyond superficial culture and into what I guess, for want of a better way to describe it, is her cultural heart.
This girl is so very English in many ways, but occasionally something utterly Icelandic slips through in a manner of expressing herself, or in the way she responds to certain situations. I love it.
Then last week I came across this wonderful video by Austrian photographer and cinematographer Klara Harden, who spent 25 days trekking across Iceland alone. It is glorious and beautiful and invigorating, and sometimes harsh. Watching this, I felt both her freedom and her isolation, but most of all her elation. I also wanted to dig out my old hiking boots.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/31158028 w=525&h=295]
There is something in the lonely wilderness of this mini-documentary that smacks of the freedom and romance-meets-brutal-practicality that comes through in the blog I have been editing.
And it makes me wonder, not for the first time, just how much our physical environment influences the truth of who we are. And more: what does that mean if, like me, you are a child (or grandchild) of immigrants, and you continue shifting landscapes across countries and even across hemispheres throughout your life? Where is the land of my soul?
All photographs from Klara Harden's Facebook page, used with permission.