Why I Jumped at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Why I Jumped at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon


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.


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.


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


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.



In April 2013, lifestyle photographer Jinna Yang left her corporate fashion job, luxury apartment and life in New York City to travel the world. She started sharing stories of her adventures on Grease and Glamour, inspiring others to live life with purpose and follow their dreams. Jinna’s work has been published in Conde Nast Traveler, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, CNN Travel, Yahoo, BBC World Radio, and hundreds of other media outlets around the world.

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!


Bathroom goals.
Don't nourish your fears more than you nourish your hopes.
I used to be the kind of girl who would look at photos of new places behind the screen - exotic, wonderful places - and wish I could leave my old life to go see these sights in person.I stopped wishing behind a screen, and became that girl - the one standing and soaking in those sights in person. And it wasn't easy - it took a long time, and I had to hit rock bottom to do it. But if I can do it, so can you.Research, save, ask, and plan. Be the person you've always wished you could become. Live the life you've always wanted to live. Start today.
My love, you have to learn to let things go - memories that don't make you smile, things that don't add true value, and people who don't make you feel the way you should - happy, loved and beautiful.You have to close the wounds you've been left with - for yourself, and by yourself. Because if you don't, you'll always look back, wishing, wanting and regretting things that weren't meant to be in the first place.And on those nights when you feel alone, like no one will understand you or have the answers to your questions - remember that loneliness is designed to help you discover who you are - so that you'll stop looking outside yourself for your worth.I believe in you.
Believe you can, and you're halfway there.#Marrakech
The cost of not following your heart, is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.
Just three of the THIRTEEN courses you get at @zumanewyork when you order their tasting menu.Must. Keep. Eating. ????
Oh, she's so pretty, he's so handsome. ...Does it even matter?
There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance. I think we need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others. -John LennonGet out of your own way.With love, from the @mo_newyork ????
So maybe your waist isn't the right size, or your face isn't the perfect shape - maybe your laugh is a little too loud at times and your words make mistakes. There will be days when people don't understand you, don't believe in you, don't want you to continue. There will be moments when it seems like the only thing going right is your ability to do wrong. But how boring would you be if you didn't have your quirks, your f-ck-up's to laugh about tomorrow, maybe next week? How useless would time be if you didn't have those moments to push past, keeping you on your feet? Some days will be harder than others, some nights colder than most - but the sun always rises and so does your soul. So please shine like you do, struggle when you must. Life wasn't always meant to be easy, my love, but don't ever give up. ?? #morningxmusings | @greaseandglamour
The more you love your decisions, the less you'll need others to love them. You were born to be real, not to be perfect.
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