Happy New Year’s everybody!! As you probably gathered from the title of this post (and perhaps from my Instagram feed), I’m ringing in the New Year in Iceland. !!! I’m still pinching myself. This trip was definitely spontaneous – i.e. we just booked our flights a few weeks ago. Basically on Thanksgiving morning, while I was putting the turkey in the oven to roast, B nonchalantly said: “Wanna go to Iceland for New Year’s?” I just about dropped the turkey. I looked over at him to see if he was joking. "What?!" I asked incredulously. He smiled. "I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights and I just read that this winter they're at an 11-year peak. We should go!"

I love many things about my husband, but one of my favorite things is his spontaneity. He loves to travel, but he hates planning ahead. If he decides to go somewhere, chances are it's less than a month away. Once the prospect of travel is dangled before me, I can't think about anything else. A few days later, I had our theoretical trip planned: from flights to AirBnB accommodations to restaurants to glacier treks - I was ready to go!


We have some good friends - Victor and Becky Paguia - who are just spontaneous as us, so we asked if they'd be up for coming along. Amazingly, they said yes, and we all booked tickets a few days later. So here we are, on the last day of 2013, in Reykjavik. After a quick 5-hour flight, we arrived this morning around 6 a.m. (1 a.m. EST) and headed straight to bed. Given that this is the dead of winter, Iceland only gets about 4 hours of light per day, roughly from 11:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. It is so surreal for it to be pitch black outside at 10 o'clock in the morning!

We'll be here for a week, spending a few days in Reykjavik (we're hopefully heading to the Blue Lagoon tomorrow), then heading south to the Jokulsarlon Glacier for some hiking, then to Hotel ION, an amazing new lodge (pictured above) perched on the edge of the Thingvellir National Park. From the pictures I've seen, Iceland is just stunningly gorgeous. I cannot wait to explore this magical place over the next few days. Fingers crossed we get to see the Northern Lights while we're here!!


So today is Day 50 of The Cookbook Diaries. It seems fitting that New Year's Eve is the half-way point of the project. It's been an amazing journey so far, and I haven't missed a (week)day of blogging. But given that it's a new year, and given that I'm in Iceland, I'm going to take a pause from the project for the next few days. I am in desperate need of some time to reflect and to refuel.

The past few months have been nonstop and frankly, I feel a bit depleted. This trip could not have come at a better time. I'm so excited for all that 2014 holds, and I want to start the year off replenished and refreshed. I'm going to spend the next few mornings - in lieu of blogging - taking long walks, reading, journaling, and praying. I'll be back on the blog next week - full of tales from this trip, and hopefully some exciting revelations for the cookbook and beyond.

Thanks everyone for your amazing support and encouragement through this process. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve celebration, and that 2014 brings hope, joy, peace – and the courage to pursue the dreams of your heart.

Feel free to follow along my Iceland journey on Instagram and Facebook! See you next week!

xo, Anna

Photos courtesy of © Art Gray, Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, Torfi Agnarrson, Kristbjorg Sigurjonsdottir