Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Travel

James Arterberry and his friends danced their way around Iceland - and the result is brilliant

By Sara McMahon

  • The group in Skaftafell National Park James Arterberry, an officer in the United States Navy, travelled with three friends to Iceland this past July; his older brother, Thomas, their good friend, Chad McMahon, and Chad’s girlfriend, Lauren Linesch. Photo/James Arterberry

James Arterberry, an officer in the United States Navy, travelled with three friends to Iceland this past July; his older brother, Thomas, their good friend, Chad McMahon, and Chad’s girlfriend, Lauren Linesch. The group spent ten days in Iceland and managed to visit every corner of the country during that time. Upon his return, James made a lively video where one can see him and his friends do a little dance at many of Iceland’s most famous attractions.

 

According to James the group had always dreamt of visiting Iceland. So, after saving some money and coordinating time off with all of their respective employers, they were off to realize their dream.Their trip began in the West Fjords, where they explored the Látrabjarg cliffs and Patreksfjörður, Tálknafjörður, and Fossfjörður. During this time they rarely encountered another person in the remote countryside. Of all the sights they visited, Látrabjarg, Skaftafell National Park and Dettifoss waterfall were the most memorable, says James.

The foursome then ventured south and thus began their long journey along the Ring Road, stopping first at the Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall. From there they drove to Landmannalaugar in the central highlands and spent two days hiking the Laugavegur trail.

 

Stirring the pot by Goðafoss waterfall. Photo/James Arterberry

 

“I had never before witnessed such other-worldly scenery in my life! Neon green moss covering the vast expanses of black lava fields as far as the eye could see. We also encountered a group of German hikers along the trail, who saw us, smiled, raised a fist in the air, and yelled, "World Champions!" We encountered the very same German hikers two other times at Skaftafell National Park and again in the North part of the country, and they never failed to remind us who had recently won the World Cup. Iceland is such a small country,” James explains enthusiastically.

North of the “Wall”
Their next destination was Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland and the Skeidarárjökull glacier – the very first glacier the group had ever laid eyes on.

“All four of us stopped there for hours to silently observe and appreciate the beauty we were gazing at. The glacier was eerily black and blue, and cloudy mist was rising from different crevices. We had no comparisons we could make in our own lives to what we were looking at but compared it to things we had seen on television. Thomas remarked that we were looking at "North of the Wall" from the HBO Game of Thrones series.”

“Iceland exceeded my already extremely high expectations, but what I hadn't expected was how nice and hospitable and welcoming the Icelandic people would be."

They then went on to hike Skaftafellsjökull outlet glacier – a hike that would last close to nine hours. The group only returned back to camp after having run out of water. After camping in Skaftafell they piled back into their rental car which, according to James, had begun to stink of sweaty socks and muddy boots, and headed towards East Iceland and from there to North Iceland. 

“Iceland exceeded my already extremely high expectations, but what I hadn't expected was how nice and hospitable and welcoming the Icelandic people would be! Everywhere we went, we were greeted with an eager local who couldn't wait to assist us in directions or to poke fun at our silly mispronunciations of the Icelandic language. We wanted to see as much as possible so we had to sacrifice a couple of detours that were too far off the beaten track, but rest assured we will return for Iceland STP: The Sequel!

Stirring the pot
As for the very entertaining video of the group dancing all over Iceland – Iceland Magazine asked James to elaborate on the unconventional yet inspiring dance move he calls “Stirring the Pot Dance”.

“Thirteen years ago in Washington DC, where I´m from, I was celebrating my good friend, Zach Wenner's Bar-Mitzvah. We went out onto the dance floor, placed our feet and knees together, and started spinning our legs around in a circle, while keeping our upper bodies as still and upright as possible. We started slow at first, then faster and faster, seeing who could outlast the other before eventually losing balance and toppling over like a top. Over the years we continued to perfect the dance, eliminating the speed and competition aspect of it, and transforming it into an expression of silliness and happiness.
"The dance became synonymous with my identity and followed me through high school, into college, and my young adult life. Two years ago, my good friend Tyler Gordon, came up to me and asked me if it would be ok to name my dance, "Stirring the Pot." He explained that from both a literal and figurative standpoint, the title fit and I couldn't have agreed more! The circular motion of the dance resembled the act of stirring a big frothy hot pot of soup on a stove, and I had always used the dance to liven up a scene at a party or dance or nightclub, or to 'stir the pot' so to say.”

 

Stirring the pot in Iceland. Photo/James Arterberry

 

This is not the first time James films himself doing the dance out in the nature – he’s already danced his way across twelve national parks in the States. The idea, he says, was given to him by a very good Navy friend of his named Rachel Weidemann, who sent him a photo of herself stirring the pot from on top of a volcanic mountain in Hawaii with the caption: "Sometimes in life, ya just gotta Stir the Pot!"

“I dropped everything, requested two weeks of vacation from the Navy, and drove to as many national parks in the Southwest United States as I could. When I learned that I would be travelling to Iceland, I bought a new camera and tripod and couldn't wait to commence my third instalment in the dance video series.”

He adds: “Stirring the Pot is not just a dance for me, but a lifestyle I have adopted. I´m terrified of monotony and I love diversity in all walks of life--whether it be through work, social scenes, athletics, and my photography. I will continue to stir the pot in this silly game of life we play, and cannot wait to join hands with both new and old stirrers alike.”

Watch the video below: 

Iceland Stirring the Pot (Hindsight-Audien), by James Arterberry

 

Related content

Editor's Picks