Preconception of Iceland

Before I did any research on Iceland, and well before I actually visited the country, I wrote down what I thought I knew about the place. So, think of this description as a snapshot of what some random West-coast American might think about Iceland from hearsay and pop culture. (Of course, actually going there will change this picture dramatically.)

Iceland is a big ice-covered chunk of rock way up north, populated by a collection of pale-skinned people all crammed into one large city, close to some killer geothermal pools that are probably very relaxing to sit in. The population is so small they have to be careful who they date, but they’ve mostly solved this problem with detailed bookkeeping.

Having nothing to exploit on their rock in terms of natural resources and not much of a tourism draw, but consistently bearing the best skin color, hair color, and height for social navigation, they have naturally turned to banking and finance as the means to stay at first-world levels of comfort. From a sideways perspective this isn’t too far from the plundering behavior of their ancestors, just white collar instead of blue collar.

Nobody does any crime because Iceland is too cold, but people struggle with depression a lot.  This ironically makes Icelanders a very interesting and engaging people to talk to.  This is also probably why they spawned Björk.  Occasionally their snow-covered rock explodes a little, dumping hot ash into the air and blocking the sun, and there is some fatalistic worry over this but soon everyone goes back to ignoring it.

Icelanders probably throw really cool parties.  And hey, don’t hate them because they’re beautiful and smart.  Do business with them instead.  You’ll live longer.

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