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29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Friday, August 26, 2016

Traveling to a More Secular Country...Iceland

(Iceland in June)
I've decided that I would write about experiences that have really changed my outlook the last few years on my travels both home and abroad.

Yesterday, I wrote about Macedonia, today is a more general feeling when I traveled to Iceland.

Iceland is a beautiful place (really, to me, everywhere is), and some of the sights I saw, I had never seen and may never again.

The people were wonderful also. They were accommodating, they were helpful, kind and wonderful to me and the other coaches that were there working a basketball camp.

Western Europe and especially countries like Iceland have grown more and more secular over the last few decades. Their feelings and beliefs on God or religion have grown more and more cultural and less personal, at least that's what I read about Icelanders.

I can't explain what it was, but it felt different there. It felt as if there were no real connection with faith and because it is important to me, I felt disconnected. Religion was ridiculed around me, and I had a couple of conversations that started hostile, but turned into respectful disagreement when it came to Christianity.

I really don't have anything to put a finger on because the people were so good to me and you can tell they love and care about their families and their country. I'm not sure.

Maybe it was me and my pre-conceived notion of what I would encounter when visiting.

But I am still confused sometimes on my time there.

I met some wonderful people that I still am in contact with today, but I felt something different about my experience. The people were not poor or struggling and did not "need" me or anyone else.

Would I go back?

Absolutely.

I often wonder if it was what I was going through at the time and very well could have been, as I had my first real panic attack and had a full heart work out before leaving.

I pondered my mortality more during that time and as I needed the comfort and support of close family and friends, I was in this wonderful, cold country, but not getting that attachment.

Who knows, but I would be willing to bet that my experience there has more to do with what I was going through than the country.

I'm not sure.

And it's something I can't let go of wondering.