“We travel not to escape life, but to ensure that life doesn’t escape us”


Helene Casanova (senior, Computer Science) traveled to Iceland over Spring Break. She graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her adventures on this amazing Nordic island!

What made you decide to spend your 2019 Spring Break in Iceland?

I decided to spend Spring Break in Iceland because last year I had a layover there and in the 19 hours I was there, I knew that I needed to come back one day. Fast forward a few months and my coworker (Jake) and I found out that round trip tickets to Iceland ended up being relatively inexpensive so, we booked the tickets.

What was the very first thing you did after landing?

Once we landed, we headed straight for the Blue Lagoon. Our flight was a red-eye and the perfect introduction to Iceland was a dip in one of their geothermal pools.

What was your favorite experience?

My favorite experience was definitely snowmobiling on the worlds 3rd largest glacier. The views were breathtaking and our tour guide around the glacier was extremely knowledgeable about the glacier and the environment surrounding the glacier.

Did you eat any local cuisine that you hadn’t tried before?

I had food combinations I never thought would actually go together. Every morning I would have a cup of coffee, two slices of bread with ham and cheese and a side of blueberry jam. Jake was brave enough to try a reindeer burger!

Did you learn any Icelandic phrases?

“Þetta reddast” which is the motto meaning it is what it is. The tour guide who took us around Reykjavik taught us this phrase because he and many other Icelanders live by this motto. I feel like this motto is the perfect one for a college student. For example, if you spill your morning coffee you say Þetta reddast and grab a new one.

Was there a souvenir that you really wanted to buy but talked yourself out of purchasing?

Wool Sweaters.

Will you go back to Iceland? If yes, what is one thing you really look forward to doing that you didn’t get to do this trip?

Oh definitely. I really want to go earlier in the winter so I have a better chance of seeing the northern lights and the ice caves.

 What location is next on your exploration list?

Next, I want to take a road trip across the US as I’ve only had the opportunity to see the East coast. I want to see what the rest of the country has to offer!

The following are three great quotes about traveling. Which resonates with you the most and why?

  • “Jobs fill our pockets, but adventures fill our souls”
  • “Traveling. It leaves you speechless but then turns you into a storyteller”
  • “We travel not to escape life, but to ensure that life doesn’t escape us”

“We travel not to escape life, but to ensure that life doesn’t escape us”   This one resonates the most with me because as college students are always working on the next project or homework assignment and running to one of the many jobs we keep. I found out last year that you have to slow down and that sometimes you need a nice break. Even if it’s a ten-minute walk around the block or a 6-month backpacking adventure, the world is there for exploring. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone contemplating traveling?

I know that not everyone has the means to go to another country so, if you can, I would just go for it. Throw a pin at a map and go there because the world has so many different cultures and ways of living. I know I was once in a place where traveling was not an option so, take a walk outside and enjoy nature because sometimes the greatest adventure can be in your backyard or the Wentworth quad.

Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us, Helene! #deanlove