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Sólheimajökull. Photo by Author

The Land of Glaciers, Hot Springs, and Fermented Shark

Iceland is an amazing, magical country for many reasons. Despite having a peak of 2.3 million foreign visitors in 2018, there are still many places where you could enjoy total solitude and not see another human being (or car) for hours. Some spots feel like you’re visiting other planets, with some of the most beautiful waterfalls and landscapes known to mankind. But I’m going to focus on the more unique experiences you can have during your visit. These things aren’t completely exclusive to Iceland, but the combination of all of them probably are.

Hike on a Glacier

In case you’re interested in the genre

I am by no means an expert in progressive metal. I wouldn’t consider it my favorite genre. In fact, I probably dislike 90% of progressive metal (and rock) that I hear. I find most of it to be too cheesy and ostentatious to listen to. I consider many vocals in the genre to be downright annoying. So, why should you listen to me then? Well, this is the stuff that does break through and get my attention. It’s crazy how the releases on this list don’t even span a full decade, but that tells you when I was busy finding…

My early tastes getting into music were mostly alternative rock and metal. But somewhere in there, I took a liking to an artist that did not fit the rest of my collection at all — Tori Amos. The first album I got into was Little Earthquakes. There was something about this piano-heavy, stripped-down, emotion-laden record that I connected with. But then, many questions whirled around my head. Is this a guilty pleasure? Should I admit I listen to this? Does this make me less manly? After a while, I just didn’t care anymore and realized no one else really cared…

Most people are not born enjoying “screaming,” “harsh vocals” or “death growls” in their music. Most people immediately cower away from them like a scared puppy, an extremely foul stench or a disgusting cockroach that suddenly appears. “Why does he have to scream like that?” “Why are they so mad?” “You can’t even understand them!” They’re possessed!” I have heard so many variations of these quotes over the years. I never try to “push” extreme metal on people, but I will embrace it if they already like it.

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Morgana Photo — Public Domain

So, how does one learn to tolerate these vocals much less enjoy…

When someone asks what kind of music I like, I nearly have a panic attack. I’m very introverted so that makes the conversation much harder. I usually keep it simple and say something like, “I like a lot of metal and electronic stuff.” This is usually followed by the other person asking if I like a certain artist, which is usually nothing close to what I like. I have to awkwardly say “never really got into them” or something. This begs the question, why do I listen to all this obscure stuff? Why not just listen to The Rolling Stones…

Are you sick of the same old Top 40 Music? Looking for something more adventurous and outrageous? Well, then this list is for you! These are some of the weirdest, or most unique albums I own that I consider to be some of my favorites.

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1. Devil Doll — Dies Irae (1996)

One hasn’t truly lived until they have heard Devil Doll. That’s a shame because there are very few people who have heard it. It’s probably the most outrageous artist in my collection. Enter the mind of Mr. Doctor (the mad genius behind Devil Doll), a world filled with…

Travel. National Parks. USA.

Relatively Overlooked, But They Shouldn’t Be!

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Photo by Author

Americans love their National Parks, but some are much more visited than others. It’s my personal goal to see every single one — I’m currently at 37. These parks deserve a little more attention — they have fewer visitors despite being relatively easy to get to.

Acadia (Maine)

It’s no secret there aren’t as many National Parks in the eastern part of the country compared to the West. Acadia sure is a bright spot, though! The visitor traffic here isn’t that low, but that has a lot to do with being near large population centers. …

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Discovering the next new album or band that I love is one of the things that keeps me going, especially music that is relatively obscure — and that’s been the case as long as I can remember. Here’s a look at 12 albums that shaped my music taste early on, roughly in chronological order.

1. Pink Floyd — Dark Side of the Moon

When I was quite young, my dad had this CD and I loved it. I wanted to listen to it all the time. I always listened to it while playing with Lego’s in the family room or…

Jason Kolenda

Traveler, Photographer, Music Enthusiast

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