Roadtrips & Puffins

Latrabjarg, the place of my wildest dreams.

A place of wide open wilderness. A place filled with the most adorable of sea birds – Puffins.

By now, if you’ve done any amount of research on Iceland, you will know that the weather can be completely unpredictable. After a rather snowy and cold day spent exploring Snæfellsnes Peninsula, we were a little apprehensive about driving in the west fjords the next day. We planned to head to Latrabjarg; the westernmost point of Iceland, and home to some of the highest cliffs and seabirds. With snow in the forecast, i was feeling anxious about the drive out there. Especially after reading about how treacherous the road can be. However, Latrabjarg was the place that i was looking forward to the most on this Iceland trip. So, Full send and we’re on our way out to the iconic cliffs. After briefly driving through a few clouds, we were greeted with the most warm and welcoming sunshine for our drive through the mountains.

The drive definitely was no easy feat.

If you ever decide to head out there, please make sure you drive slowly! The road is quite narrow and windy, and its unpaved. So its essential to take your time, soak in all the amazing scenery and enjoy the drive.

We arrived at these cliffs after about 5 hours on the road, and man was it ever worth it. The sun was beaming down on us – making it warm enough to walk around in a light sweater. Felt a bit bizzare, seeing as we were stuck in what felt like a blizzard the day before.
Standing on these magnificently tall cliffs on the ocean, truly felt like you’re standing on the edge of the world. And it also makes you realize just how tiny you are.

We began hiking up and searching for the puffins

We hiked up to the highest point of the cliffs and disappointingly had not seen a single puffin. But thankfully the views were more than worth it. We enjoyed the hike and frolicked around taking in this otherworldly scenery.
However, we came here with a purpose. And that purpose, was to find some puffins. So after soaking in some of the most breath-taking views in the world, we decided to make our descent.
The parking lot got closer and closer, and we still hadn’t seen a single puffin. Until, i spotted a fellow photographer lying flat down on the cliffs, immersed in shooting something. And there it was. I was initially blown away by how small they are. I’m not sure what i was expecting, but i definitely thought they would be bigger. And man, are these birds ever adorable!

And just like that, a million appeared!

They were EVERYWHERE! had we just hiked past them without noticing?
We later found out, that puffins tend to stay closer to the shore on the lower lying cliffs, so the higher in elevation we got on our hike, the further away from the puffins we got. We also found out that they tend to hangout on the cliff’s in the mornings and mid afternoon to evenings. We started around 1 and it wasn’t until probably about 3 that we spotted our first one. All in all – i still definitely recommend hiking to the top at Latrabjarg, because it left me almost speechless. It’s a place that you just have to experience to believe.


Did you know, That puffins mate for life?

If that’s not the cutest thing, I’m not sure what is.

This was definitely a HUGE highlight of our Iceland journey.

And let me just say, The west fjords may be the most magical place i’ve ever been. On our drive home to our Airbnb we had booked for the night, we got to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets. We finished the day off, by bathing in a hidden hot spring right across from the cabin we were staying in.
Its safe to say this was one of the most blissful days i’ve ever had.

Why Iceland?

As you can probably already tell from my portfolio, i am extremely inspired by the cold northern landscapes and everything they have to entail. For as long as i can remember, i have always been so mesmerized by waterfalls, glaciers, beaches, volcanoes etc. So as you can imagine, Iceland seemed like a geological dreamland to me.

Anyway, i figured i may as well make a post giving some insight into my connection with Iceland, and why its my favourite place to photograph.

Lets start with my first trip to Iceland.

It had been about 2 years since i had extensively travelled abroad. My last trip prior to this, was when i went to work as an Au-Pair in Spain ; and what a trip that was. I was 18 at the time, and this trip definitely came with its fair share of challenges. Anyway – thats a topic for another time. However, my experience abroad left me with alot of feelings of anxiety and self doubt.

Needless to say, in my heart i knew travelling was something i not only wanted, but needed. And in order to get over my anxieties surrounding travelling, i just had to take the plunge, and book a trip.

My brother and I decided to drop everything and go backpacking around Europe for a couple months. While planning and coordinating getting time off work – i was able to get an extra week off at the begining of September. My brother unfortunately, couldnt leave Canada until a week later. And it was then that i decided, it was time to finally visit the Country of my dreams. Solo.

Iceland was all i had talked about for months

And when the day came for me to step on the plane, a bunch of dormant anxieties surrounding travelling came rushing back. I remember phoning my dad and telling him that i didn’t want to go anymore. And i will forever remember him saying to me “Steph, if you like you can turn around and come home. But i think you’ll really regret it if you dont at least try” and he convinced me to just take it one day at a time. He told me, to at least give it a week. And the next week, turned out to be the best damn week i’ve ever had.

I think its the fact that i pushed myself when my anxiety was telling me to give up… that gave me such a special connection to this place.

As soon as i set my feet down on icelandic soil, i knew i was in the right place.

It was over the next few days, that i fell in love.

I set off from Reykjavik and began exploring the south coast – undeniably one of the most magical places you will ever see. Around every corner you turn, there is a magnificent cascading waterfall, or a glacier, or a field full of horses running wild and free.

Its no wonder i became so enchanted by this country.

I have often felt as if iceland is the earth expressing itself in the most raw way. You have all of this untouched wilderness, and with the bubbling hot springs and waterfalls the whole country just feels so alive.

This whole week i spent in iceland, felt like it was just me and the earth. I felt this amazing connection that i still cant exactly put into words, but essentially (at the risk of sounding cliche) i feel like i found my soul in Iceland.

Anyway, Thank you for reading – and now you have the answer to the question that I get asked all the time “Why Iceland?”

Its interesting, how at home you can feel in a country that you’ve never even set foot in before.

Do you have a special place that feels like home? Share with me in the comments below!

All images found on this blog have been shot & edited by Steph Gaul