Ana Raab


During the summer of 2016, I traveled overseas completely on my own for the first time. Over the course of seven weeks, I wandered through Scandinavia exploring the Swedish heritage of my grandmother, made my way to Berlin by train, and confronted the stark beauty of Iceland—stretching myself along the way.

Follow my past and current journeys here.


In the weeks leading up to this trip, every time I mentioned Iceland I would hear the same word in response: surreal. And now I understand why. From the moment land came into view as we flew in, between the plane's descent and hitting the tarmac, the weather went from bright sunshine to gray clouds and rain. With vast stretches of flat, stark volcanic earth and tumultuous skies above, the landscape truly is otherworldly. For a while I couldn't quite put my finger on why. Then a fellow traveler I met today (who kindly offered me a seat in his car sightseeing for the day!) pointed out the fact that there are virtually no trees dotting the landscape. And it hit me YES that's why this place looks so strange! Flat, desolate land everywhere you turn, with vegetation certainly, but no greenery taller than a few feet. It really does feel like you're standing on the moon, if the moon were covered in moss. And the sky...there's something about the sky here that feels different than anywhere else in the world. Misty, heavy, hanging close to the earth. Surreal indeed.