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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Bly

Iceland Adventure Goes Wrong

In the Summer of 2017, my husband and I backpacked through Europe. Our very first stop was Iceland! We were so excited because it was a place we had always dreamed of going to. The way we traveled was pretty relaxed. We chose a destination and a hostel but planned absolutely nothing in between. As you can imagine, this left us pretty lost (literally) and sometimes frustrated, but at the same time, it gave us such freedom and reliance upon the community we would meet.

We were young 19 year olds, and because of that, we weren’t sure if we would be able to rent a car. Sure enough, we weren’t, technically, but we decided to try our luck anyway. To my shock, my husband walked out of the rental stand with car keys in his hand, a grin on his face, and a little wifi router for our car so that we could have navigation!

We got into the car and quickly realized that the driver’s seat was on the opposite side than what we were used to. Plus, it was a manual! Thankfully, my husband had always driven manual, but this would be our first time driving on the other side of the road! A little nervous, we did a little happy dance, jumped in the car, and laughed about how we were so surprised we actually got one.

We only had about 48 hours in Iceland, so we wanted to make every moment count! We headed to our Airbnb, took a quick power nap, and then jumped right back into the car and drove around all hours of the night (thanks to the sun never setting)! As we exhaustedly headed home from experiencing the black sand beaches, the hot springs, and the incredible waterfalls, we saw a flicker of light from behind us and realized we were being pulled over. Now imagine this - we were on a road in the middle of nowhere, it was 4 AM, and two GIANT officers walked over to our car and said 3 simple words. “Are you American?”

We nervously said yes, and the police officer pointed at my husband and said, “You, come here.” Jacoby mistakenly took both our phones and walked to the cop car, where he was escorted into the backseat. The terror I felt ran through to my bones. I didn’t have a phone to call for help (the help I would’ve called was currently taking my husband “away”). I didn’t know how to drive on the other side of the road, much less drive manual! All I knew to do was cry. At the moment, I was terrified, but looking back now, it’s honestly a funny story.

Long-story-short, my husband was given two options as he sat there in the backseat of the cop car. They said, “You pay here and now - $500 USD on the spot (OUCH!), or you go to jail.” Is that even legal?! It was the craziest thing, but obviously, the only option was to pay and get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Jacoby reluctantly pulled out his card, paid the officers, and came back to the car.

What relief I felt when he told me we were free to go! It was enough for me to not care about the $500 at all. It was such a crazy story and a scary experience, but it will forever live on as a memory I will never forget.

Do you have any memories from traveling when things just went a little wild? We would love to hear all about them in the comments below!

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