Where Next? Travel with Kristen and Carol

Iceland and Finland: Nordic Travel Family Adventures with Jamie Edwards

May 12, 2024 Carol & Kristen Episode 64
Iceland and Finland: Nordic Travel Family Adventures with Jamie Edwards
Where Next? Travel with Kristen and Carol
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Where Next? Travel with Kristen and Carol
Iceland and Finland: Nordic Travel Family Adventures with Jamie Edwards
May 12, 2024 Episode 64
Carol & Kristen

Have you ever wondered how a passion for travel evolves once a family comes into the picture? Jamie Edwards, the creative force behind 'I Am Lost and Found,' joins us to unravel this very question. Together, we traverse her family's transformation from avid travelers to adventurers with kids in tow, diving into the immersive and sometimes challenging world of travel blogging. Jamie's candid tales of her family's sojourns, from spontaneous road trips to meticulously crafted vacations, offer a refreshing perspective on how the love of exploration can flourish in any stage of life.

As we venture into the Nordic regions with Jamie, the landscapes of Iceland and the winter wonderland of Finland come alive. Her experiences at Deplar Farm and within the Arctic Circle breathe life into the dreams of any travel enthusiast. She weaves stories of cultural vibrancy, the drama of changing weather, and the warmth of local hospitality that could easily make you feel the chill of the Icelandic breeze or the Northern Lights' ethereal glow. Jamie's narrative transports us, illustrating how the Northern European allure is not just in its stunning scenery but also in the adventures that await every family or solo traveler.

Food, as Jamie eloquently puts it, is a tale of culture in every bite. The culinary journey she describes through Iceland and Finland highlights the significance of local produce and the sheer delight of pastries that linger in memory long after the last crumb. Moreover, she imparts wisdom on the dynamics of family travel, offering insights on the perfect age for kids to join in these expeditions. For anyone considering a Nordic adventure, be it solo or with loved ones in tow, this episode serves as a treasure chest of practical tips, inspirational stories, and the infectious desire to discover the beauty tucked away in the far reaches of the world.

Maps of Iceland and Finland

You can find Jamie's website here: I am Lost and Found
And her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/iamlostandfound_/

Support the Show.


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Hosts
Carol: https://www.instagram.com/carol.work.life
Kristen: https://www.instagram.com/team_wake/

If you can, please support the show or you can buy us a coffee.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever wondered how a passion for travel evolves once a family comes into the picture? Jamie Edwards, the creative force behind 'I Am Lost and Found,' joins us to unravel this very question. Together, we traverse her family's transformation from avid travelers to adventurers with kids in tow, diving into the immersive and sometimes challenging world of travel blogging. Jamie's candid tales of her family's sojourns, from spontaneous road trips to meticulously crafted vacations, offer a refreshing perspective on how the love of exploration can flourish in any stage of life.

As we venture into the Nordic regions with Jamie, the landscapes of Iceland and the winter wonderland of Finland come alive. Her experiences at Deplar Farm and within the Arctic Circle breathe life into the dreams of any travel enthusiast. She weaves stories of cultural vibrancy, the drama of changing weather, and the warmth of local hospitality that could easily make you feel the chill of the Icelandic breeze or the Northern Lights' ethereal glow. Jamie's narrative transports us, illustrating how the Northern European allure is not just in its stunning scenery but also in the adventures that await every family or solo traveler.

Food, as Jamie eloquently puts it, is a tale of culture in every bite. The culinary journey she describes through Iceland and Finland highlights the significance of local produce and the sheer delight of pastries that linger in memory long after the last crumb. Moreover, she imparts wisdom on the dynamics of family travel, offering insights on the perfect age for kids to join in these expeditions. For anyone considering a Nordic adventure, be it solo or with loved ones in tow, this episode serves as a treasure chest of practical tips, inspirational stories, and the infectious desire to discover the beauty tucked away in the far reaches of the world.

Maps of Iceland and Finland

You can find Jamie's website here: I am Lost and Found
And her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/iamlostandfound_/

Support the Show.


Please download, like, subscribe, share a review, and follow us on your favorite podcasts app and connect with us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wherenextpodcast/

View all listening options: https://wherenextpodcast.buzzsprout.com/

Hosts
Carol: https://www.instagram.com/carol.work.life
Kristen: https://www.instagram.com/team_wake/

If you can, please support the show or you can buy us a coffee.

Speaker 1:

Hi, welcome to our podcast when Next Travel with Kristen and Carol. I am Kristen and I am Carol, and we're two long-term friends with a passion for travel and adventure.

Speaker 2:

Each episode, we interview people around the globe to help us decide where to go next. Jamie, thanks for joining us today. From your where are you located right now? Actually Washington DC, washington DC, but you're a travel blogger, so you've been all over the world and today we're going to focus on Iceland and Finland and just also just hear your story and how you got started.

Speaker 3:

We're very excited to have you, thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. What do you do?

Speaker 1:

What's this travel blog?

Speaker 3:

Sure, I'm happy to explain. Well, my name is Jamie Edwards and about five or six years ago, after raising kids and not quite having as much to do school-wise with them, decided to sort of take all of the things I love food, travel, wine, photography and design and put it all in one place, and that is how my website, which is called I Am Lost and Found, was born. It was really a labor of love, though I wish I could say it was easy to create, but it did take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get it off the ground. But now, after, like I said, so many years in, I've kind of got into my groove. I have about 90 posts now, ranging from restaurant reviews to luxurious places. I've been adventurous places, I've been tips and tricks for travel and packing, so it's become sort of a one go to place for inspiration for travel.

Speaker 2:

Nice, and it's beautiful.

Speaker 3:

My kids are. My daughter turned 20 yesterday and my son is 17. One out of the house, one on the way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, almost 17 year old and a 19 year old. So you know I have an 18 and 20 year old.

Speaker 2:

We're all in the same boat.

Speaker 3:

No wonder we're all doing this.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, it's funny because this is how Carol and I started three years ago was very similar story. I did do South Korea and Bali two years ago and then I did Maui. I've got a condo in Maui anyway. I've done some travel, but not a lot yet, cause I that's my plan. But how long have you been traveling Like how many years? When did you start this blog?

Speaker 3:

Well, about six years ago and I can say that I've always loved travel we lived in Tokyo for four years and our kids were very small when we lived there. So although I didn't get to South Korea, I did get to Bali and a lot of Southeast Asia, and although the kids were very young, we did drag them everywhere because we found that how often are we going to have this launch point of being in a big Asian city? And we really just took it and went with it. So we spent four years there and we really just took it and went with it. So we spent four years there and before that we were in New York City for about 15 years and did a lot of travel then, and I think that a lot of people thought that once we had kids, we would stop traveling, and we didn't. We just kept going. It's our family vice.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's fantastic. So your husband does it with you. Yeah, most of it I mean we do.

Speaker 3:

I mean I would say I do all sorts of travel. I take a lot of girls trips. I take a lot of. I've taken some solo trips, taken trips with my mom and sister, personal out with my husband and most recently, well, last January, I went with my stepfather to Antarctica. So I'll travel with anyone.

Speaker 2:

Wow, you're the third person we've talked to this year. In the last nine months I've been to Antarctica Wow.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's really rising in popularity.

Speaker 1:

Yeah and I'm dying to hear. So what is a typical year look of travel for you, and maybe just on average, how do you plan your trips when? How far in advance? Like is it kind of sometimes spur of the moment? Is it like okay, this each quarter? How does that look?

Speaker 3:

Well, I think from year to year it does vary. I think we know we always have a spring break, at least while our kids have been in high school, which you, you both know all too well. So we had kind of holiday breaks over the festive season that were, given that we always planned for and spring break and then usually one big summer trip. But then in between things would pop up. A girlfriend would say, hey, do you want to go here? And I would always say yes.

Speaker 3:

Or my husband and I would say, oh, we have a wedding. In fact, we have a wedding to go to in the Costa Brava of Spain. That just came up. So I think it's a combination of some spontaneity and then a few planned trips. And I do now use a travel advisor I never used to, but now I do because I find that it's very helpful in case things go bump in travel, which they do these days, go bump often. So I feel like they really have my back and I don't have to waste any time with managing any delays or cancellations. So that's been a big help because now I can really focus on my writing and I take a journal with me and just sit on the beach or wherever I am and take a lot of notes and take a lot of pictures.

Speaker 1:

That's great. So a travel advisor is that that's not a travel agent?

Speaker 3:

It is. I think it's just like the modern way you can call it. They call themselves travel designers, travel.

Speaker 1:

I actually have a dear friend who who has set me up on trips and I'm like I am calling Dina.

Speaker 3:

Dina because I think that I'm gonna do more of that because these days people would like to have a travel advisor in their back pocket. It's like having a I don't know any other kind of a person that helps you get through your, your life highlighting it now.

Speaker 1:

That is just so.

Speaker 2:

It's not like not like tour companies, but like literally just an independent, or like booking your right. Yes.

Speaker 3:

In fact the one I use. Their name is Sire. They are a boutique travel agency based out of New York and Maine, but they're under the big umbrella of, like a virtuoso and first in service. So although they're a small boutique, they get all of the perks and benefits of the big parent company, so that all trickles down to their clients, which that could be free breakfast, a spa appointment. It could mean that you get 20% off X, y and Z. But most importantly, I find that they end up getting me finding kind of better prices, especially for air travel, than I can normally find. Okay, just take care of anything that goes wrong. So one time I was going to book a flight to Seattle so my daughter could take a college visit, and we discovered in the middle of the night that the flight had been canceled the day before. But by the time I woke up I had already been rebooked. So those are the things yeah.

Speaker 3:

I think it's and plus, I personally don't like the the little details of picking. I like to pick my hotel room, but I don't want to have to go ahead and bother with all the details. So for me, I I feel like I really get to focus on what I consider more important things.

Speaker 1:

I love it, you I can't. It's like an aha for me, because Dina has scheduled like we took the family to Disney World, we have Disneyland, we're here in LA, so that's it. So we did a whole and she's like this is how you have to do it. You're going to do this and then you need a break in between. And I was like like I would have never done any of that. And then I wanted a Caribbean cruise as well. And she's like okay, so you go to Disney World and then you sit on the boat after. Don't do it before, because that's what we did and it was. It was like the most perfect whole trip. Like just we had so much fun for like almost two weeks um, I also wake surf a lot and so we went to Nautique and went to the headquarters there and got to check out stuff. So we like added some things in there, but it was just like it ended up being so nice. And then she like shipped us.

Speaker 1:

She's like you know the magic bands and it had our names on it and it was like total concierge and I've known her for over 10 years and so I really, I agree it's worth it.

Speaker 3:

They've been, they know all the ins and outs, they know more than we do, and it really is. I mean, most travel advisors charge a small fee, but to me it's really worth it for everything you get in return. So I love to hear you say that, because I, I, I'm a, I'm a believer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so thank you, cause I'm going to call her. I texted her actually just right now. We need to talk. Ring bank is coming. I wanted to take my kids to do something. So, oh, that's great. Yeah, so just curious. What did you do before this, six years ago? Were you working? Were you a stay-at-home mom and wanted to do an adventure? What was your life like before?

Speaker 3:

Well, when I lived in New York, I was in advertising and design. I worked for advertising agencies and some boutique design firms and then about and I worked up through having both of my kids and then, when my son was six months old, my husband had this opportunity to move to Asia for work and we said, okay, let's do it. And we when I moved to Japan, I didn't work. We said, okay, let's do it. And we when I moved to Japan, I didn't work. I led a very nice, fulfilling, expat life, raised my kids and then from there we moved to Washington DC, which is where we are now, and I just enjoyed being a stay at home mom for all those years. I found it really well I mean mostly rewarding, of course, rewarding enough.

Speaker 3:

And then and then I guess it was just I got really kind of bored because their soccer teams were playing until seven o'clock at night. They were out with their friends, my husband was working, and that's when I really decided to put all of these kind of old passions, new passions, together in the website. And I will say that for anyone who's starting a any kind of travel blog or blog of any kind. I think the key is really being patient, because now, all these years later, the attractions are really starting to pick up for the first time and my organic growth is really high and I feel like I've gotten the gist of finding my voice is really important.

Speaker 3:

I look at my earlier posts of travel and I'm thinking, oh god, I sounded terrible and then I um. Now I feel like I found a little bit more of who I am in my writing and it's a very um. It's such a nice thing to do, to sit and write. I really enjoy it.

Speaker 2:

And do you have an end goal in mind? I don't see like the advertisers and stuff. Is that you interested in doing that, or is it really just about telling your story and sharing with the world?

Speaker 3:

Well, I just I find that advertising can be a little cumbersome on a site and I'm not yet ready to go into the world of having people advertise on my site. What's been really wonderful about I Am Lost and Found is that it's been this wonderful avenue towards writing for other people. So I write for a lot of other websites now travel and child related things. So I'm I'm actually travel writing for other people's sites, so I am getting a source of income from that, which is wonderful. Not much, I will say. I mean pays for maybe dinner occasionally.

Speaker 2:

So this is your portfolio now.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's a great way of looking at it. It's my portfolio, right and but also.

Speaker 2:

I'm thinking, yeah, it's tough, cause I do find it distracting when there's like the videos popping up and the banner. But I see, like you have who you follow, you could have, I don't know, like just a sponsor page of other very good idea People that are good idea.

Speaker 3:

I'll give her something You're also good with that, oh you're a desert of a talker.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Carol comes up with great ideas, you do that, carol.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, carol. I'm writing that note down, right now.

Speaker 3:

I do also write, for I don't know if you know the Eagle Creek is a big luggage company. Oh yeah, I think I have one of their backpacks. I really only want to write about products I stand behind. So sometimes I get a call from that. They want me to write about their product or about their hotel, but it doesn't really fall into my wheelhouse of where what I would recommend to the followers I have and the niche, and so I do turn that down quite a bit. So I'm not doing it for the money, but it would be nice to get you know, recognition and paid at some point for this.

Speaker 1:

Well, I have to say I just I brought your website up, I've got it on the screen and I was just looking at destinations which it looks like there's at least 25, 30 ish or so, 10, 20, 25 or so, which, and they're all super cool locations. So this is where you've traveled so far. Is that correct?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it is except, believe it or not, there's almost no Asia in there, because when I started doing my writing I really didn't have that much. It's been so long since I've lived in Tokyo so I'm missing like 15 or 20 countries that I'll just have to kind of go back to yeah. So yes, I mean, I'm not one of those country tickers, I'm not ticking countries or anything, but I did finally, after after Antarctica, make it to all seven continents, so that was a like a milestone.

Speaker 1:

That is amazing. And how cool Croatia I see, montenegro, morocco, nicaragua, slovenia, uganda, uruguay, I mean, you know Botswana, there's a whole bunch in there. Which one's been your favorite, or the one I guess that comes to mind first that pops out.

Speaker 3:

Well, it's funny because Iceland and Finland are two of our not only my favorites, but family favorites, and I'm not much of a cold weather person. Yet lately I've really gravitated towards these kind of Arctic and Antarctic destinations, and I think it's because, as I've gotten older and my kids have sort of aged out of just playing on a beach that which was great when your kids are little and you can throw them in a kid's club where you can put them, you know, you can get your book and watch them on the beach and relax. I don't need to relax anymore. I would like some more. Uh, I want to do some more adventurous things.

Speaker 2:

So I think that's why it's been so appealing okay, and I was just talking to someone the other day about adventure. Like how do you define adventure? A lot of people define it. You know some people might just be going to the UK as like adventurous because they've never done it before. But how would you define an adventure?

Speaker 3:

yeah, and you know what? You're exactly right. Everyone defines it so differently. Lately, for me, adventure really takes the I'm the least adventurous person in my family of four and that means that I get pushed into adventures that I might not even want to take. For instance, we went to Corsica a couple of summers ago where we went canyoneering, where you're basically kind of going down waterfalls and rocks from the top of a mountain to the bottom through water with a wetsuit and there are parts where you're hurling yourself off rocks into like 30 feet into a pool of water and that to me, is adventure. That is adventurous, right, and that's not really always my cup of tea, but I can get talked into that pretty easily. So I like when I get pushed out of my comfort zone and I feel like my kids and my husband really helped me do that and I really helped push my husband and kids into some of the more luxurious things.

Speaker 1:

I'm more the outdoor adventure and I need more of the luxury sometimes too, but I love that you do that. So wait, what was the tumbling thing? What was that called that? You guys went to Canyoneering, okay, and where did you do that?

Speaker 3:

Well, we've done that. We did that in Corsica, but we also did that in Iceland, so it's a really fun sport for the whole family. I didn't think I'd love it, but I really did. It's like this mountain climbing and swimming and hiking all wrapped up into one.

Speaker 1:

Awesome.

Speaker 3:

And are.

Speaker 1:

You're in like deep in a Canyon where it's black, where you have to put like a headlamp.

Speaker 3:

Nope, you're not in caves, you're really just kind of going over, it's all. You're outside in the fresh air, going over rocks and maybe through some boulder caves and things like that. There's rushing water. You're wearing a helmet. I didn't. Yeah, we're wearing helmets, so I mean it's safe and we had a guide, so, and I think that people should always do it with a guide for a variety of reasons, and it was really fun. I mean, we're really into the adventure, family adventure, which is why Finland was such a great trip, because it was just. Every single day was a different adventure. Actually, both Iceland and Finland all right.

Speaker 2:

So should we start digging into Finland and Iceland a little bit?

Speaker 3:

yeah, it's a natural segue.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. Well, first I have to ask, because when I think Iceland, I think of Eurovision, the story of Fire, Saga. Has anyone seen that?

Speaker 3:

No, but I know what that is.

Speaker 2:

It's Will.

Speaker 3:

Ferrell it's a spoof on the Eurovision.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, it's so funny. I know, but yeah, it takes place in Iceland.

Speaker 1:

Well, I looked on your Iceland thing and I see the Depplar Farm and the Blue Lagoon I've seen and it looks amazing. So I definitely wanted to hear about that and Depplar Farm I guess that's at the top of your page and you stayed there.

Speaker 3:

That's right. So the reason we went to Iceland and we went to Iceland in the summer, so there was about 22 hours of daylight. When we went to Finland, we went to Iceland in the summer, so there was about 22 hours of daylight. When we went to Finland, we went in the winter, so there's about 22 hours of darkness. So there's a real contrast, natural contrast, between the two places. But Depler Farm is, I mean, I guess the best way to describe it. It's equal parts luxury and adventure, and it's very remote and hard to get to and pricey, uh. So it only has 13 rooms and it's a converted sheet farm. So really, when you're there and it's so isolated that say it's full, 13 rooms are full, 35 people, there's no other tourists around, so you really have the entire landscape to yourself in the peninsula, the Troll Peninsula it feels like, and you're assigned an experience manager who really essentially helps curate your day-to-day adventures, and because the daytime lasts until midnight, you really don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn for any reason.

Speaker 3:

It's all very bespoke. So our experience manager her name was Emily. She was great for our family. Do we want to play archery and then go fly fishing and then after that, do we want to cook the Arctic char at the river house and then have um, take a dip in the thermal pools? Or do you want to go horseback riding, kayaking? I mean, there is just endless adventures to be had, Wow, and everything is really done to perfection there. I mean, as it should be. It's a like. I said it's. It's an expensive place, Uh, and you do really feel like you get your money's worth, though.

Speaker 2:

And is it? Is the summer actually warm? It's like in the seventies, or? Yeah, the summer is warm.

Speaker 3:

The weather's changeable. So anyone who thinks they're going to Iceland in the summer to go, you know, get a suntan, is probably you're in the wrong place. But we went expecting that from one day to the next it could be misty and foggy and rainy, and then the next day sunny. It turns out that we had really nice weather I would say in the sixties high sixties lots of sunshine. But I would never even say to someone that I think that the weather means nothing in Iceland. You don't not do anything there because of it. You're still going to kayak, you'll still go whale watching, puffin watching, you'll do all of these things.

Speaker 1:

And it's really unique. So when I'm looking at the picture and it's just like some green, brown hills and it's just rolling and it looks like you know the house or farm, whatever, and then it looks like there is nothing around it. But I'm just seeing just this little framework of that picture.

Speaker 3:

There's nothing around it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so to do all of the experiences that you just mentioned, how far are you in a car to get to those Good?

Speaker 3:

question. You know what? Unbelievably close. So the kayak 10 minutes away, there's a lake 10 minutes away. Everything's really close. The things that were a little bit of a drive were to go whale watching, but I'm pronouncing that incorrect. But it's an entire island, a rocky, jagged island that thousands and thousands of puffins live and other birds and birds of prey, and we were the only ones there with kind of the gatekeeper of the island, whose name I'm sure was like Thor, I can't remember. These puppins are so adorable.

Speaker 1:

I know the puppins are so cute, that's also from a Will Ferrell movie right, the little puppins and birds.

Speaker 3:

So the experiences to be had in Iceland, I think, are so unique and they really cater to anyone, not not just families, but very family friendly.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's really great. I'm looking at some photos and it's beautiful and the cute little puffins are around. There's someone actually. It looks like they're in a big jacuzzi that's man-made.

Speaker 3:

I don't know what that is, but they have the life. They have the life there. It's a spectacular place, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Or actually there's a human person in that, in the big jacuzzi kind of thing with rocks or something like that, but I don't know, it's probably cold in there.

Speaker 2:

And did you guys go around the whole Iceland country? I mean, how big is it? Or?

Speaker 3:

does everyone kind of?

Speaker 2:

just hang out by Reykjavik or whatever that's called Well for anyone thinking of going.

Speaker 3:

I kind of liked the way we did it. People do it two different ways. Reykjavik is the capital and that is, I think it's the northernmost capital in the world capital city and it's a small city and it's really socially progressive, colorful, culture-filled, unique things, but you can see it in two days. It's a, it's a pretty easy on foot city to see. And then a lot of people take a tour of what's called the Golden Circle and that is sort of during the south loop and I believe it has just lots of beautiful waterfalls. And then where we went was we flew up to the northern part of Iceland. But I mean, I would suggest, if you had two weeks, to try to see as much of the island as you can, because you can hop on a helicopter from Reykjavik and go on top of a glacier, which we did, you could go over waterfalls, which we did, and it's just an incredible vantage point to see it from above, and then you get to see, you get to just see so many things, uh, from that view.

Speaker 1:

Which is pretty, which is beautiful the capital has, uh, it looks very uh european. I don't know, it's just on all these beautiful colored buildings and maybe is it high spire churches or there's some tall yeah yeah, they're really.

Speaker 3:

It's very, um, it's very edgy and progressive uh, much more than I thought. And, yes, european and the people there are. People there are so nice. It's very safe place to be. I think I heard this when we were we're in. And it's very safe place to be. I think I heard this when we were we're in Iceland. It's it's a very small country and a lot of the population lives in Reykjavik and they have an app that you can plug in a name so that you don't date your cousin. That's hilarious. Oh no, that's so true. I can imagine Incestuous, incestuous in a way, like you just want to be careful who you're dating because everybody could be related.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, that's awful. You're like oh no, that's my first husband. He's too cute. And what's the golden circle?

Speaker 3:

So we didn't do the golden circle, but it's a bit of a route, a tourist route to take, where you get to see a lot. You get to see waterfalls, glaciers iceland is referred to as the land of fire and ice for just for that reason, for the volcanoes. So there's so much you can do. We we did not do the um, the golden circle, but there's still time.

Speaker 2:

We'd like to go back so I have a question about that farm, the dupler farm. So, since there's not so few people, is everyone on the same schedule, like everyone comes, or is there people coming and going all the time? People are always coming and going, oh, okay.

Speaker 3:

So what was kind of nice, though it's very communal. So although meals are not, dinner is all at 8 pm, around 8 pm. So everybody goes into the house, drinks first at the bar, plays games, and then you're called to dinner at, say, eight and it's communal dining. But for lunches and for breakfast you can kind of come and go as you please. But it was nice because it's so small that you meet people from all over the world there, and that was that was really nice about. There's no locks on any of the doors in the entire place and it feels like you're in a home, if you. It just looks like a beautiful house.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and how long did you stay there for?

Speaker 3:

We stayed there for eight days and I will say that we became known sort of as the eight, eight dares, because nobody stays that long.

Speaker 3:

We became known sort of as the eight dayers, because nobody stays that long. Really it felt like family by the end. I think partially. There's a. The reason a lot of people don't stay eight days is because typically it's hard to get. There's only 13 rooms. It books up really quickly. It would be hard to get eight consecutive days but because I'm such a planner and knew I wanted to stay there when I booked, I was able to get as many days as I wanted.

Speaker 1:

Nice. How far in advance did you plan that?

Speaker 3:

I probably planned that almost a year out because I knew that we really wanted specific dates and my husband's entire family lives in the UK. So we were. We were tacking it on to a different trip, so I knew I had specific dates in mind. But I think I have friends who have gone to Depplar since me and I I'd recommend I mean, I think, ideally five nights. I think if you had four or less you'd be disappointed, you were leaving.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Got it.

Speaker 1:

By the time you finished with eight, were you like okay, we're, we're good, like you know.

Speaker 3:

I was. I mean, I definitely was ready on the one hand, but we still there were activities we did not get to do but it was. But I think eight days was plenty. Is there an?

Speaker 2:

airport on the Northern side, or you just okay there is there's.

Speaker 3:

So we flew from you, fly into the international airport, which is near, not far from the Blue Lagoon, and then we drove to Reykjavik to the regional airport and then flew up to Akurey, which is in the north and Akurey, I believe, is our fourth largest city. So it was a short flight and then maybe an hour and a half drive from so it's not easy to get to which I think filters out a lot of people. If you don't want to have to put that much travel into your destination, there's lots of other places in the world to go to.

Speaker 3:

But it sounds like definitely a kind of almost a bucket list right To go to Iceland and really and really I thought so especially when it was sort of the midnight sun, when the sun wasn't really setting until maybe almost midnight and then by 2, 3 am the sun it really never set completely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then I have to ask about the Blue Lagoon. Of course, right when I hear it, I think of Brooke Shields and the Blue Lagoon. But I was curious how long did you spend there? What did you? I'm assuming it was a day trip or so, and how far was it from the Deplar Farm? Right?

Speaker 3:

Well, that was so the Blue Lagoon is. It's so different from the rest of Iceland landscape wise. It's all lava and geothermal pools and sort of the smoke that kind of rises from the milky water. It's right outside of the airport. Maybe it's 20 minutes from the airport on your way to Reykjavik, okay, so I think that, and some people stay there for a few days and they do trips there and they just stay at the blue lagoon. But what we decided to do was, since our flight wasn't till late at night, to come back to DC on our way back to the airport, we stopped there for a day trip and booked ourselves into a part of the Blue Lagoon is called the retreat, and you can book that in advance and you can book it for four hours and you have this special area of the Blue Lagoon that is just for the people who book into the retreat. Nice, that's a special thing to do.

Speaker 1:

And so what was your experience? What did you do when you were there?

Speaker 3:

Well, so the Blue Lagoon is enormous, really big, and, like I said, it's just sort of this more boutique hotel part of it called the retreat, and they have these subterranean caves where you can take mud baths, meditation rooms, its own restaurant. There's a variety of things you can do there that are all meditation and relaxation focused, without having thousands of people in the pools with you or walking around and that you have your showers, a private bathroom and it's just. It was a really nice way to end the trip.

Speaker 1:

And was it? Is it expensive? I'm actually just bringing up. It said tours and things like that. I think there's a variety.

Speaker 3:

What we did was probably the on the more expensive side because we booked for these four hours, but I don't remember it being crazy expensive, I think it was more that they only have a certain amount of space. So, again, booking advance is important. I will say overall, Iceland is an expensive country to visit. It really is. I think the airfare tends to be inexpensive, but then you get there and you're like, wow, it's pretty expensive here.

Speaker 1:

Was the food expensive, lodging expensive, everything, yeah, everything was expensive.

Speaker 3:

Even the hotel we stayed in in Reykjavik, which was a modest hotel right in the city, was still very expensive per night.

Speaker 1:

What cost-wise? What's expensive? What number?

Speaker 3:

Well, for a small hotel room in the city, I think we were talking about maybe $700 a night, which I thought was expensive. Farm much, much more expensive. But it's a completely different type of experience and each of the rooms at Depplar the 13 rooms range in size and have different price points. So while it's expensive I mean I don't know for sure now we went quite a few years ago I think some of the less expensive rooms were around the $2,000 per night range. Oh my gosh, does that?

Speaker 1:

include dinner and meals and any experiences as well, that you did.

Speaker 3:

It included just about everything. Just the things that did not include were the whale watching boat ride out to the whale watching and that puffin Island I was talking about. But everything else was pretty much included, almost everything.

Speaker 1:

And that's for the whole family. 2000 a night right. So it's, like you know, 500 a person, ish or something yeah, I mean it's, it's.

Speaker 3:

I mean we would never say it was, uh, inexpensive, but you do get a lot for it okay, sounds good, okay, yeah, what's?

Speaker 2:

the language.

Speaker 3:

There is it all English well, yes, they all speak English and I know that Icelandic is a language, but generally I feel like everywhere we went, english was spoken. Okay, cool. And then I guess we should also talk about Finland. So we went to the UK for Christmas to visit my family there, probably two or three years ago it was right after the pandemic, and in fact it was sort of just on the tail end of the pandemic, because I remember we were in Oslo airport still getting tested to get on the airplane, so, and then from there we went to spend a week around New Year in northern Finland. So we flew into Helsinki I should say Helsinki and then we flew and it was probably maybe a four hour flight all the way up to the northern part of Finland and it was within the Arctic Circle.

Speaker 3:

So it was pretty pretty far north. And you did it in February it was January and because we were so far north, it was we probably had two hours of daylight a day, two to three hours of daylight, so it's like the complete opposite of our summer in Iceland.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm Swedish and Sweden's right next to, of course, finland, and so it's the same there, and they have the ice hotel, you know, in Sweden.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, have you been to one.

Speaker 1:

No, I haven't. I haven't yet. I definitely am planning to go, and we went in 2015 to go see all my family and spent a lot of time there, and then I, even in college, went there and then I did this ship that takes you from Stockholm to Helsinki. So you like, go in the evening, have dinner, um, hang out and have fun on the ship, go to sleep and then wake up in Helsinki, spend the day there and then get back on the ship at dinner time, take the you know, eat dinner, do the same thing, go to sleep and then you're back in Stockholm.

Speaker 1:

So it's like a 24 hour thing yeah, but this looks really amazing and I I've wanted to go in the winter and yet you know, kind of don't at the same time, right, cause it's just dark all the time.

Speaker 3:

It's funny you say that, because when I told people here at home, or anyone for that matter, that we were going to Finland in the middle of the winter, most people thought we were off our rockers or like why would you do that? And I I wrote this in my post selfishly I really wanted to see the Northern Lights.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's what I was going to ask next if you have a chance to see that I had a bucket list for me.

Speaker 3:

That's me too. Convinced my family why who? I was really the only one in my family who had any interest in the Northern Lights, and on top of that, they're so elusive that you're never really even guaranteed to see them Right, even in a place like Finland where, from what I read, the odds are the best. So I had to come up with some other reasons why we were going to have a great time in Finland, and, as it turned out, we really. The darkness just doesn't matter at all. You do everything you would be doing during the day, but you do it in darkness, and it kind of made it even more fun for the kids. I mean, we're dog sledding and it's dark, and we're snowmobiling and it's dark, but it's only, you know, noon or one in the afternoon.

Speaker 3:

And the sky turns all these beautiful colors, so it's not like a light switch, of course. I mean you get all these beautiful variations in the sky Purple, lavender is pinks, the trees are beautiful, everything is snow covered and we went ice carting and the way that they do all the activities there. They know that people get cold, so everyone is dressed well. They give you all the gear so you don't have to worry that you haven't packed a park.

Speaker 2:

Oh really, no, that's neat.

Speaker 3:

A lot of the lodges know, because they don't want their guests to be cold and uncomfortable and in between they have breaks with you know, whether it's like warm hot tea, or the warm juices for the kids, or'd grill sausages over an open fire. They work hard to make the experience welcoming.

Speaker 1:

Nice, that sounds like fun. And then I just remember, like at the ice hotel, you sleep in a reindeer skin or something like that, and it keeps you warm, even the glasses. I can imagine how was your experience First off. What was the temperature? How cold was it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it was cold. It was cold. It was definitely below zero, quite a bit like maybe 10, 15 below, and that's just not my comfort zone at all, no one's comfort zone. But again, we were dressed really well. You're never doing an activity long, so long that you feel like you are not going to make it Wait a few days. We're hovering around, you know 10 degrees, but even so it's so exhilarating. Dog sledding is exhilarating, it's. The dogs are yapping and screaming and barking their heads off waiting to be released, and once they're released, I'm cold. I'm cold. Yeah, they just off waiting to be released and once they're released.

Speaker 3:

I'm cold, I'm cold. Yeah, they just they're so excited to run and then they start running and they're quiet. The landscape is just completely hushed and it's like being on the moon. It's so quiet and beautiful. So I mean, my kids will say and I think when we went they were probably 15 and 17. Okay, one of their favorite trips.

Speaker 1:

Oh really, tell me what was a typical outfit to during, and how did that change during the day?

Speaker 3:

Right when it was cold you're moving. Yeah Well, so depending on the activity, so if we were going snowmobiling, we go into the gear hut and you were put in these snow suits.

Speaker 1:

that they had. I was thinking like skiing, right, you're just wearing like ski gear instead.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, just like that. But they have everything for everybody's size. They've got boots, they've got the helmet, they've got the thermal gloves. You bring your base layers, just of course, um, but they and goggles they give you, they'll give you everything you need. So the chances of being cold are really, are really slim, and there were times that we even got warm.

Speaker 3:

Uh, the only activity we never got warm was when we went ice carting, which is really kind of like going around an Indy 500 track. All four of us had our own ice cart. Oh, it was so much fun. It's not bumper cars, like people are like, oh, you're bumping each other. No, you're definitely not wanting to bump each other.

Speaker 3:

It's a go-kart and you're going around and around the track and I think my son was so young he didn't, he. I mean we were worried that when he got his driver's license he was going to be a menace to society, but it was really fun. But that was our coldest day and because you're in a go-kart and you're not really, I mean, you're not doing anything aerobic, you're just driving. That was the day we were coldest, but every other day we were fine and by the end of the day, because of the sauna culture which I'm sure, uh, kristen, you know a bit about because of Sweden. They um love their saunas and you get into a sauna at the end of the day and relax, and I mean they're called the happiest country for a reason, I think.

Speaker 1:

Did they do the happiest country? Pardon, they're called the happiest country.

Speaker 3:

I think it's known to be one of the happiest countries on earth, isn't there? Well, there's uh, okay, so it's interesting because Sweden has the highest suicide rate, something like that, and then I know from it is Finland and I'm curious unless I'm wrong, but I was just doing some research and, uh, I think that there is a little bit of controversy about what means by the half, what it means to be the happiest country yes, but I think it's also just because they're outdoors or so, uh, like they're.

Speaker 3:

75 percent of the country is forest. Yeah, covered, but no, that'd be worth me re-looking into, but I do recall that Bhutan was supposed to be the happiest country on earth, so maybe they're competing yeah, okay, and do they do the cold plunge?

Speaker 2:

that's what you always hear about. Yeah, sauna, cold plunge did you do that? No, I didn't know, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think you're just in general. You're in a cold plunge all the time. Right, exactly, I don't see what's the?

Speaker 3:

point to me was just not my cup of tea, but the sauna. The sauna was great and I think that our guide had told us to bring a beer into the sauna and pour that over the rocks and then it kind of makes this really nice. I mean, I'm not a huge fan of beer, but that yeasty beer smell, kind of fills the fills the air. Cool, my husband, my husband, liked it. Did it give you a buzz? Yeah, exactly it did. It was different.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, the sauna. Actually I have a sauna at my gym and I swim twice a week for a mile and it's cold, it's outdoor and all I think when I'm like right now too, it's kind of cold. So I just think, go to the sauna as soon as I finished my swim, get warm. Um, so I see this picture you have here with the dog sled and it's uh, and it is light, it looks beautiful.

Speaker 3:

What time of day was that? I mean, I'm guessing that that was probably around 11 or 12, because that was really the only time of day that it was light at all, and then it would just get increasingly dark. I remember I think I took some pictures of my son and husband had gone snowshoeing from the lodge with headlamps at around one or two because it was getting dark, and there they were two o'clock. I was really wondering if they were gonna get lost out in the wilderness, but they made it back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, good thing.

Speaker 2:

Wow, all right, well, so I think we're gonna get into the rapid fire questions. So I totally switched them up from our normal. But, kristen, feel free if there's any other questions you have for Jamie.

Speaker 1:

How much money should someone put aside for doing something similar to your what you did for Finland and then for Iceland? Like budget wise, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Huh, well, that's a very good question. I mean, there's a lot of different price points that you can do these trips and, like I said, iceland tends to be pretty expensive. So for a week, I mean, if you want to do it sort of the way we did, I would say you could be looking at, you know, $20,000. I mean not that you can't do it for less, and you can certainly do it for more. And then for Finland, I think a lot of Finland was a lot more reasonable, so definitely less than that. And there are so many different types of Arctic hotels you could stay in that you can see the Northern Lights while you're sleeping in your bed looking out. So I think there are more reasonable choices to be had in Finland.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and I forgot. Where did you see the Northern Lights? How did it look? How long was it going? Did it? Was it just spectacular?

Speaker 3:

It really was. We had two nights where we saw the Northern Lights and they, I mean just like green swashes of paint through the sky. I mean exactly. I will say not to burst anyone's bubble with their photography, but the iPhones and your cameras make the colors look much brighter than they are when you're in person.

Speaker 3:

So that was a little bit surprising, but it was really spectacular to see. And, in case I didn't say it earlier, I know that the reason I wanted to go there was to see the Northern Lights, but it's really more just a bonus. I think that there's so much else to do there that go to Finland to see the beauty of Finland and then, if you see the Northern lights, consider yourself fortunate.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then I was going to ask food wise, but I don't know if Carol's going to talk about that too Cause.

Speaker 2:

I'm not going to talk about food, well, just just one yeah, one yeah.

Speaker 1:

I was just curious, like what were the foods like in both places? What was a typical thing, I'm assuming, like stews and soups?

Speaker 3:

A lot of that, I would say, in Iceland. A lot of the food was. There's a lot of fish, of course. In Iceland we had a lot of Arctic char, salmon, things that we fished right out of the lakes and then cooked a lot of lamb, a lot of vegetables like mushrooms, and then they have, like their famous yogurt skewer, s-k-y-r skewer yogurt icelandic yogurt and for finland it was also a lot of fish, but then, um, believe it or not, reindeer.

Speaker 3:

So they have reindeer farms where they you can ride, rain, ride on sleds where reindeer are pulling it, but then they also you finish by eating them. Yeah, hopefully not the one you just rode. Yes, reindeer is, um, it's apparently a very lean, healthy meat and that's something that is an important part of, uh, the diet there is. It, is it gamey? It is, uh, not a gamey gal.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think it takes a little getting used to, but apparently good, a healthy, lean meat with a lot of barbecue sauce, a lot of a lot of spices yeah, we definitely pushed uh our kids comfort zones with with food in both of those places and I think they appreciated it yeah, and so finland had reindeer and fish and what were.

Speaker 1:

Did they have a lot of vegetables, or did they have other things too? I don't know if it was there.

Speaker 3:

They import it? They had a lot. They did they have. I mean, I I'm that's a very good question. I don't know what they import, but I know that they, because so much of the uh, so much of the country is forest covered that I'm sure that there's a lot of vegetable, a lot of mushrooms and things like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, in Sweden they have amazing strawberries. I went there in July. Everyone takes the whole month off. I don't know if that's the same in Finland, but probably. But they did have a lot of produce and I what I always uh, what stood out and it was like a long time ago, like 30 years ago, but it was, um, everything was just smaller ago, like 30 years ago, but it was, um, everything was just smaller. Everything's small there and and actually it's more normal and we are super sized, yeah.

Speaker 3:

That's what I remember. Everything's bigger here, but yeah, I think that they are um, have a lot of fruit, uh, and vegetables, berries, things like that. In fact, now that I recall when we were in Iceland, one of the breakfast would be this skewer yogurt, some really that. In fact, now that I recall when we were in Iceland, one of the breakfast would be this skir yogurt, some really thick, hearty oatmeal, and then lots of berries and things to put on top of it. All local, lots of fresh herbs.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, yeah, we did. There was a lot of dill in Sweden and, I'm assuming, probably there too, and then did they have assuming breads, pastries, anything famous that was really popular, that in both places that you were like, wow, I would love to have this again and it was really yummy the.

Speaker 3:

There was a pastry shop in Reykjavik called Broudenko and the line would form. We were told this in advance. You had to get there, maybe first thing in the morning, whatever that was, and there'd be a line around the block for their pastries and I would tell you what they're called, but I can't pronounce any of their names at all. They just were like 14 to 20 letters with like almost no vowels, and, uh, you would just go to the window and point to the things that looked good and everything was delicious uh filled with butter.

Speaker 3:

What was the pastry shop called filled with butter? What was the pastry shop called Broud and Co? B-r-a-u-d. Broud and Co.

Speaker 1:

And because Reykjavik's so little, it's just very easy to find. Yeah, oh, that sounds good. And then so that was Iceland. Was there anything in Finland that stood out?

Speaker 3:

I mean, I think that there were also pastries, but I can't recall anything standing out like that. I mean of course, the thing that stood out the most for me was the was the reindeer. Just you know, mentally thinking about what I was eating and I'm not a big fan of herring and those types of really strong fish, but herring was very popular. I'm not opposed to trying it but, fishy fish or not, it's not my style I agree that's great.

Speaker 1:

Well, no, thank you so much um super interesting and loved to see um your pictures and what you've done and yeah, sounds very. Yeah, I thanks for you opened my eyes for my, my friend, dina travel agent too All right.

Speaker 2:

So let's talk about my final question set. So what do you think is the best age to go to Iceland? You know, because some things are better when the kids are young, Some is just not great for kids period. Any advice on that?

Speaker 3:

Both Iceland and Finland are great for kids of most ages, but if you really want to have family adventures where you're all taking part in some of these dog sledding, snowmobiling, maybe you'd want your kids to be sort of over 10 or 12, depending on the kid, of course, and how adventurous they are. Younger than that, you might not be able to do some of these things, and maybe it's nice to wait until they're a little bit older. So I definitely think and I mean I believe that my kids at 17 and 20 would go back to both of these places tomorrow and do the exact same thing. So I don't think. I don't think you grow out of it.

Speaker 2:

Okay, and then, if you had to choose Iceland or Finland, to go back, to which one would you choose?

Speaker 3:

to choose Iceland or Finland. To go back, to which one would you choose? Oh, iceland, I think Iceland, although. I it's a very hard choice, but yeah, back to Iceland because I have not yet seen sort of all the volcanoes and the waterfalls and I'm very much into wildlife and I think that I'd like to go back and photograph some of the wildlife there.

Speaker 2:

Is the volcano active?

Speaker 3:

There are, from what I understand, hundreds of volcanoes, and yes, I think that they are, and I think one just in the news not that long ago in Iceland. So, yes, there's active volcanoes.

Speaker 2:

And what was the hardest thing about the nighttime in Finland, the extended nighttime, I should say.

Speaker 3:

I'd say for me, waking up, because when you're waking up, even if you're waking up at 9 am, it's pitch black outside. So I found that challenge to wake up when it was dark and are they? Big on coffee there.

Speaker 2:

Are they tea country?

Speaker 3:

Oh no, the coffee was in the room. I mean, I really I think from my bed I could reach the machine, turned it on. I was not getting out of bed without a coffee. But I think that they're both tea. I don't know if as a country they are coffee drinkers, definitely tea, but when you're a tourist I think they know that we need our coffee Right.

Speaker 2:

Okay, and what kind of money did you have in Iceland and how did you exchange it?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I would tell you that we needed to carry very little money. Credit cards taken everywhere, in both places.

Speaker 2:

Okay, okay great, not a problem.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I think that in Finland it's the Euro and in Iceland it's the Icelandic Kroner, but credit cards really taken everywhere.

Speaker 2:

Okay, just the final question of like a this or that, or beach or a mountain vacation. What do you prefer? Mountain, I used to say beach but now mountain. Oh, that's interesting. That's funny Cause I guess I get older. I used to be all about the beach and hot and then, as I get older, I'm like definitely something nice about.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I grew up in Redonda beach my whole life you had that every day. And now mountains. Where are you going next? Well, uh, for spring break, we are going to the caribbean.

Speaker 1:

We are going to saint bart's in about two weeks, so fun, very excited been there before.

Speaker 3:

I have been there before. We are, uh, we're going, as, uh, three of our four members of our family are going with some friends for spring break and it'll be a nice, relaxing, nice relaxing trip. But finally, since we're talking about arctic, um, my daughter and my stepfather and I are going to arctic, uh, norway next June, a year from this June, so maybe in the future we can talk about polar bears.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, absolutely, I, yeah, I'd love to talk about the trip they sound like fun trips?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, all right. And so where can people find your blog and your Instagram and all that good stuff?

Speaker 3:

Sure. So my website is IamLostAndFoundcom, and that's where all my writing is and all my inspiration for travel, and my Instagram is IamLostAndFound underscore, and those are really my two main channels, my social platforms.

Speaker 2:

Great. Okay, we'll put those in the show notes as well, so people can follow you. So thank you.

Speaker 1:

So much this was so much fun. I really appreciate your time and insight into um. We've not seen Iceland and Finland and uh, really eyeopening, and uh, on my bucket list for sure.

Speaker 3:

Oh, thank you so much, I'm really glad.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely All right. Have a great weekend, thank you.

Speaker 2:

Bye. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the podcast, can you please take a second and do a quick follow of the show and rate us in your podcast app, and if you have a minute, we would really appreciate a review. Following and rating is the best way to support us. If you're on Instagram, let's connect. We're at where next podcast. Thanks again.

Travel Blogging and Planning Tips
Travel Blogging and Family Adventures
Iceland's Depplar Farm Adventure
Traveling in Northern Europe
Food and Travel in Nordic Countries