In my experience, life in general has many funny little ironies, and travel is one area of life where fate loves to have the last laugh. I had just arrived in Helsinki, Finland for a first visit to this Scandinavian capital and then planned to fly 500 miles north to Ivalo in Lapland, a region north of the Arctic Circle that covers parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. There I would be staying on a Husky Farm… not a refuge for overweight people, but a place where they raise and train huskies for dog-sledding. Visions of being pulled on a sled through forests covered in snow by six loyal pooches danced through my head – until I got the e-mail from the folks at the husky farm. “We have no snow here yet. There will be no opportunity for any dog-sled trips.”
In June of 2008 I realized another of my travel dreams by capping off a stay in Europe with a visit to a place I’d always longed to see: Iceland. I’d already seen Norway and Sweden, and while both were beautiful and offered many adventures, Iceland sounded more wild and more exotic. And given my fascination for volcanoes and hot springs, Iceland seemed to have the edge over its quieter Scandinavian neighbors to the east.