The farm stays were a major surprise to Justin as he figured he’d be shacked up in a corn crib with hairy beasts. Wrong. These were comfortable, rooming houses with modern plumbing and shiny, stainless steel, shower stalls. The owners were friendly and spoke some English, in addition to Icelandic that uses every unused consonant in the alphabet, along with a crapload of vowels. Kjalkafjardartungur. Traveling east, the lack of infrastructure shows up as a single-lane tunnel with no lights. Reliefs are blasted in the rock every 1,000′ to accommodate passing. The scenery becomes much more stark and foliage nearly disappears. The terrain is smoking, and sulphur permeates the sinuses. The next 4 days are spent on the moon with a giant glacier field forcing you around the perimeter of the island. The wind is atrocious. Whenever Mr. Jost felt like walking the perimeter of a volcanic cone, he paid for it with hypothermia. Towns are sparse and people have gone extinct. As he drops south and heads west, the road signs tell you to stay on the highway as quicksand lurks on the gravel plains. This side is an unforgiving, giant gravel pit, devoid of life and will swallow your insignificant existence, gladly, if ever you had enough drama on this blue bubble. As the terrain solidified enough to build a filling station for cars and stomachs, Justin stopped to observe the asteroid that he was driving on. Just down the road was an enormous glacier trying to make its way to the sea. It creaked and groaned, and off in the distance, he could hear mountains of ice calving into the river headwaters. This was the theater of nature performing for the bacteria of humanity. The seats were mostly empty. Half a dozen modern apes were on hand to experience the show that runs continuously. If you are looking for the meaning of life, stop at the matinee given at the Vatnajokull National Park, you will not be disappointed. As you toil through life, do stop and smell the roses of existence.

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