This distant northern country might be the most popular tourist destination of 2017.
It’s a place where the wind gusts so strong it will literally tear the door off your car.
It’s a place where the landscape morphs and changes before your eyes such that you can see geological time.
It’s also the country which publishes and translates the most books per capita in the world.
Yes, I’m talking about Iceland.
Unfortunately, this tiny island is also being absolutely hammered by tourism.
It’s an easy flight from both North America and Europe, and low cost local airlines like WOW make it a cheap one, too.
Arrivals in 2016 were approximately 1.7 million — compared to a population of 330,000.
The infrastructure can’t take this many people, and the nation doesn’t seem prepared for it either.
Most visitors cling to the island-encircling paved Ring Road, staying in campgrounds and making the usual well-trodden tourist round of waterfalls, lava flows, geysers and hot springs.
And I guess that’s not surprising, because this is probably the most photogenic landscape I’ve ever seen.
But there are still corners of this fascinating island that remain largely untouched by outsiders.
Last year I rented the biggest 4×4 I could find and spent a couple weeks exploring the uninhabitable central highlands of Iceland on the sort of tracks you will only discover with topographical maps.
You can get a glimpse into this incredible arctic desert world in the Nov / Dec issue of Outpost magazine, on newsstands across Canada right now.
I think this might be the longest feature I’ve ever written for Outpost. And I’ve never seen anyone else write about the interior of this island. Even so, I had to leave a great deal out.
Iceland is a very strange place.
The landscape is magical, and at times it feels like exploring another planet.
The people are rugged, well read, self sufficient, and proud of their heritage.
The food is interesting, and the local schnapps tastes of the land.
Exploring the central highlands left me wanting to go back there to live for a year, just to experience the return of the light after the long winter darkness.
I hope you enjoy this story. Pick it up before it vanishes from newsstands forever.
Don’t have access to Outpost at a bookstore or magazine shop near you? Pick up this issue direct from the publisher HERE.