My very first memory of Iceland is seeing it on a travel programme as a child and being completely captivated. I couldn't quite tell you why – I think it planted itself in my 6 year old mind as this big frozen country – a mystical, otherworldly place in the middle of the sea that seemed so far from and so unlike anything else.
As strange as it sounds to most of my friends and family, I have never been a fan of hot places and whilst I appreciate a bit of sunshine every now and then it's the cold that I enjoy the most (I'm one of those people that enjoys when the English two week summer is done and I can get out my woolly jumpers again...) so Iceland, even by just its name, was a place that called out to me.
Since then I always wanted to visit and it was forever in the back of my mind as a sort of bucket list place that I knew I wanted to visit when I was a grown up (as far off as that seemed at the time).
By the time I was a grown up, well 26 at least, I had worked for Artisan for 18 months and had gained a whole heap of knowledge about Iceland. I learnt that it wasn't actually cold all the time (the country enjoys rather long days of summer and indeed the Midnight Sun), I learnt that it was also home to a pretty endless variety of geological wonders, I learnt that there are so many activities you can do there, mostly however, I learnt that a childhood obsession to visit a country will never leave you!
Luckily I got to go in November 2013 on a week-long trip across the island with my colleague Amy and I could not have been giddier with excitement.
There was a slight concern that it wouldn't live up to my expectations, having been looking forward to it for over 20 years, but luckily it very much did, if not more so...