Why I Jumped at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Why I Jumped at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon



JOKULSARLON GLACIER LAGOON Iceland

It’s cold, hailing and I’m on maybe 10 hours of sleep for the past two days, but nothing was more worth the extreme weather than the experience of hopping on ice chunks from a melting glacier in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It takes around 4 1/2 hours to get to the area from Reykjavik. I hopped on a small group tour with Extreme Iceland Tours.

JOKULSARLON GLACIER LAGOON Iceland

I had seen plenty of photos of the lagoon before I even thought to leave New York City for Iceland, but the photos will never do this unbelievable place justice. The wind was crisp yet heavy, but it gets absolutely unbearable when you climb to the top of the hills to get an almost aerial view of the lagoon.

The mountains surrounding the lagoon look like they’re photoshopped into the background – picture perfect and they seem to go on forever. You can’t see where the mountains end and the sky begins. But I thought the glacier chunks looked lonely so I decided to give them some company.

JOKULSARLON GLACIER LAGOON Iceland

So the first thing I got when I posted the photo below on instagram was, “WTF. ARE YOU CRAZY?”

JOKULSARLON GLACIER LAGOON Iceland

Well, no. Maybe just a bit naive.

I didn’t find out until after I decided to hop across melted glacier ice chunks that Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake in the world. I don’t recommend trying this for yourself without proper footwear and some serious man parts. Fortunately, I didn’t feel the glacier chunks move an inch when I stepped on them, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

Fear had paralyzed me in so many ways – the fear of taking a risk for an unconventional life kept me chained to a cubicle for years. I used to fear change, not being able to live in a luxury apartment, losing the ability to afford designer clothes and shoes I could barely walk in, making less money than my peers and the thought of never achieving my dreams.

But I traded in all of those fears to be scared of falling into the world’s deepest lake filled with floating glacier chunks instead. And you know what? I didn’t fall. The risk I took to leave an unhappy yet rationally/socially/fiscally responsible life back in New York City may have been unconventional, but now I’m living a life that I had only dreamed of, and it’s all because I had the courage to jump.

So go ahead. Take that leap.

It may not be over a floating glacier, but following your dreams will be worth every ounce of fear you feel. Eventually the fear will fade, and you’ll realize that you’ve been capable of more than you ever gave yourself credit for.

P.S. This stop was just one of the many as part of the South Coast two-day tour with Extreme Iceland Tours.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jinna Yang

My name is Jinna - daughter, photographer & journalist. I left everything to live the life of my dreams. In April 2013, I quit my full-time fashion job to travel and photograph the world. I started Grease and Glamour to help inspire you to explore the world, live with purpose and never lose hope.

More posts by Jinna Yang
  • http://www.moveinmode.com/ Ines Pink

    Wow! tha’s incredible… I think that what you did is really great and I talk about your choice, your courage to “jump” and to choose.
    This is life, girl!
    p.s. I love your instagram profile too : )

    • greaseandglamour

      Thank you so much Ines! I appreciate your sweet words so much! <3

  • Ian Pollard

    Awesome post!! Your descriptive words and beautiful photography leave one imagining and dreaming of being in this magnificent place with you ;)

  • Steven Bodo

    I’m so happy that you broke out of the cubicle and went on this trip. I’m sure you are already planning the next one to somewhere else.
    Funny you put up that quote from Instagram, was it me? Sorry. We all care about you, you know.

  • Andrea Ævars

    I love your blog so much.

    You really do capture the spirit of Iceland with your writing :)

  • Bob DePlachett

    I had to come back to read your words about leaving it all behind. Very inspirational and to tell the truth, I did it once and only then did I discover Heaven. An old friend told me when I arrived there, “Beware, You are in heaven.” I didn’t get it totally until I slipped and went to hell, only then realizing that one should never take Heaven for granted. Live while you can, all! Thank you, Jinna.

  • Dorine

    Thank you so much for this amazing story and your words of wisdom… i’m a dutch girl currently living in Sydney Australia for 9 months. Away from all the people i love and cherish.. scared of meeting new people and petrified of doing things i have never done before. Still i WANT to do things i never done before and i want to follow my dreams! Therefor I just booked a hostel for one night and im already nervous about spending the night there, but your last words were just the words that i needed to read right now.
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story with the world ^_^

  • BJ

    Quote after quote are going forward to my 17 year old on her long, long backpack trip with her class before starting her senior year. She is a product teen…make up, clothes, shoes, no direction. I have been looking for words she would hear in her heart. You have given them to me.

  • Jesse May

    I happened upon your blog today, and have enjoyed clicking around. :) Your words and pictures make me want to travel, too! What amazing experiences! Thank you for sharing.

  • Ultrabomb

    Jökulsárlón’s the deepest lake in Iceland, not the world. It’s only 250 meters deep at its deepest. The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is 1,642 meters deep at its deepest.

  • http://www.racingcourne.wordpress.com/ racingcourne

    *sigh* leaving the cubical would definitely be a dream. But I am not fearing not being able to buy designer stuff or luxury living but what would my source of income to travel be? What about saving for my retirement fund? A nice, cozy little house?

    That ice chunk looked like a penguin when I first glanced at it!




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Please take risks. Don't let fear of the unknown push you into an existence of what-if's - a life swallowed in regrets.

Please tell your mom you love her, even if she wasn't there for you as much when you were a child. Send your best friend a cat meme and make her smile today. Surround yourself with people who are positive, people who uplift you, people who make you laugh and people who make you believe that you can do anything. Because these are the people who will catch you when you fall, and that support is exactly what you'll need to have behind you when you take these risks.

You live one life. And nothing is promised, or guaranteed - that includes the traditional idea of success and security - so why not just jump?

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Stop being unhappy with yourself. Stop wishing you looked like somebody else, or that people like you as much as they like someone else. Stop trying to get attention from those who hurt you. Stop hating your body, your face, your quirks - love them. Because without those things, you wouldn't be you - and why would you want to be anyone else? Be confident in yourself. Smile - it will draw people in. And if anyone hates you because you love yourself, stick your middle finger in the air and say screw it, my happiness will not depend on others anymore.

Love yourself. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Because you deserve that much.

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In just the past year, I've -

Left my full time career,
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Had to sleep on friends' couches for months,
Filmed a reality show,
Shared my father and family's story with the world,
Traveled through Italy, Iceland, Croatia, England, Sweden, Denmark, Mexico, Morocco and France,
Fallen in love in New York,
Signed my first lease for my very own apartment in Brooklyn,
Been published in The Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, BBC World, CNN, Time, Yahoo and hundreds of other media outlets around the world,
Climbed to the top of the tallest mountain in North Africa,
And woken up every single day grateful to be able to follow my dreams.

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