I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
— Mary Anne Radmacher
Wow, what a journey. I am returning feeling totally LIT UP inside.
My affirmation | mantra | intention for this adventure: SURRENDER TO THE MAGIC.
For someone who likes to take the lead, is paid to plan, and considers herself the captain of her soul, surrender is harder than it sounds.
Lucky for me, I had the freedom and privilege to totally surrender as I traveled with a longtime Icelandic expert and Aurora Chaser (one who seeks out and photographs the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights), Jamen Percy.
An International Award Winning Photographer, Designer, Dreamer and Doer, Jamen is magical. But his magic doesn't just happen, it takes intense dedication and persistence to master the art of Aurora chasing. With 10 years of experience and a lifetime of passionate curiosity for art and wildlife, Jamen has become dialed into the natural and modern worlds. I'm convinced he's part jaguar.
Jamen and I met at Burning Man one serendipitous sunrise two years ago. I walked by wearing a vibrant rainbow fur coat and he was shooting his, What is Burning Man? Project where he profiled 100 Burners and asked them the age old question, "What did you come to Burning Man for?". He asked us to each choose one word.
My word was: DEEPENING
We stayed in touch and this year at Burning Man we did another photoshoot together, which was definitely a highlight of my burn. I was especially grateful for his epic shots because I didn't take a single photo. I did this purposefully to be fully present but that also meant I left capturing the experience up to chance.
After the burn, Jamen casually invited me to go Aurora chasing, it was one of those, "oh if you're ever in town or have a week off and nothing to do you're welcome to join me!" and though I'm sure he was sincere, I doubt he thought I'd take him up on it ;].
Life is either a great adventure or nothing.
— Helen Keller
With an invitation like that, even if it was more of gesture, felt like a full-bodied HELL YES to me.
So I said "YES" and we made plans. Little did I know, Jamen spends 6 weeks a year in Iceland chasing the Aurora every year. He even started a small company that leads tours called Aurora Chasers. No big deal, right? And all I can think is --->>>WHO ARE YOU???!!!
Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
Fast forward to 10 days in Icelandic, Viking territory and all I can say is, the journey is the journey.
It was never about the Aurora.
It was about getting lost in the majestical and experiencing moments of highly potent bliss.
It was in the pure joy I felt galavanting across the black sand at Vik Beach.
It was in the deep peace and serenity I felt floating in the geothermal hot springs at Myvatn Nature Baths.
It was meditating in the snow of the Hverfjall volcanic crater underneath a blank canvas sky.
It was Zumba dancing with Yule Lads (Icelandic version of Santa only there are 13 Yule Lads and they are part troll part human!).
It was seeing the human within the superhuman. The diligent, behind the scenes work of capturing just the right lighting at Grjótagjá, the geothermal lava cave.
And waking up in the wee hours to line up the perfect shot of a starry midnight production at sea.
The word "passion" comes from the Latin root "pati", which means "to suffer". To a man as passionate as Jamen, suffering for his art is minimal in comparison to capturing the great wonders he sees and the awe he hopes to inspire.
For me, this journey was about filling my love cup up until it overflowed, gushed even.
It meant COMING ALIVE and allowing myself to be RAVISHED BY LIFE.
I often say my end game is to live a life rich in life experience and I don't take that commitment lightly. Yes, I have a strong sense of purpose, a grand vision, I want to make a difference and do work that matters in the world.
I also want to surrender to the magic, knowing we are only promised this one wild and precious life.
So the questions is, what will you do with yours?
At present, my passion is travel and adventure. Not to see sights, but for the education. It's about being challenged, taking risks, expanding my comfort zone, and making eye contact with the unknown universe.
So whatever it is that is calling your spirit, whispering ever so softly or maybe maddeningly loudly to your sweet soul, answer it. And when someone invites you (however casually) on a once in a lifetime opportunity, I implore you to say YES.
DISFRÚTALO (enjoy it!)
With love and gratitude,
*All photography by Jamen Percy, Badass Aurora Extraordinaire.