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Change is not always bad – a personal post (avoid if you don’t like those)


Earlier this year I wrote this post about why I had decided to hire someone to help me with my walking tours. I was emotionally and physically drained and was fast approaching a tipping point. I guess it’s a luxury problem when you grow so fast that you can no longer handle things on your own but I also understand that I am maybe not always the best at sharing my struggles with all of you. I tend to keep things on a positive note and although I’m being 100% sincere in doing that, I do try to look at the glass as being half full rather than empty, it may give you a bit of a skewed image of what actually goes on around here. You don’t see all the nights that the boyfriend goes to bed alone listening to me picking at the keyboard into the night. You also don’t see all the swim meets and band concerts and school recitals where the princess is missing someone in the audience. I’m actually holding back the tears writing this because I feel so guilty every day for neglecting the two people I love the most. Not to mention everyone else.

Of course this is a two way street and I also just see you in your happy holiday mode. I know you all have struggles of your own and until I start that self-help blog I’ve been carrying around in my head for the last ten years it’s completely reasonable that we don’t know these things about one another.

So why am I writing this post? First of all I’m experiencing a bit of a writer’s block because I’ve been so busy lately that there hasn’t been any time left for writing. Writing is something you get good at by actually doing it and like with everything else you get out of practice if you stop. So I thought writing something personal and from the heart was as good of a place as any to start. At least I should know what I’m writing about if I’m writing about myself, right?

Secondly it’s been almost a month now since Ásta started doing the tours with me and although it’s been going better than I could have imagined (it’s so stressful passing your baby to someone else, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do) it’s not without its bumps in the road. Ásta and I are still figuring out the best ways to do things and how to work together. I’m trying not to be a total control freak and she’s probably trying her best not to scream at me when I am.

One of the things I worried about the most when I recruited Ásta was that I would disappoint people by not doing all the tours myself. Tonight someone told me they met a guest who did the tour with Ásta and although they enjoyed it very much they were still disappointed that it hadn’t been me. I get it, you have been reading the blog for so long that you feel you know me. I feel the same way about many of my most dedicated readers and actually feel like I’m the one missing out. The funny thing is that my biggest worry in the beginning was that you would be totally disappointed when you met me in person. I was terrified that you would discover that I’m actually much funnier on paper than in person and, to add insult to injury, completely uncool. Strange how things change.

Even though I understand why this person felt this way, hearing this still feels like a dagger in my (obviously way too vulnerable) heart. I hate it when I disappoint people! Hate it. And my initial reaction was to write a lengthy and appropriately heartfelt post where I would explain how hard all of this has been on me and help you understand why I had to hire her. Hence the dramatic start to this post. An apologetic love letter from a writer to her readers if you will.

But somewhere along the way I changed my mind.

Instead of apologizing I want to ask you to change your perspective a bit. Instead of feeling disappointed about not meeting me, how about thinking about this way: You’ve spent all this time getting to know me, and hopefully I’ve already helped you make your trip to Iceland better in some small way, and now you get to meet someone new that can offer a fresh perspective on being a local in Reykjavík. Ásta has traveled more than I have, she has visited places in Iceland that I have never seen, knows more about the language than I do and she is both nice and super intelligent. Maybe I need to start worrying that you’ll like her more than you like me, now that I think about it. She does get more tips than I ever have! Damn it.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes we all benefit at looking at change as something good. This particular change will give me the time I need to rest so I don’t become a some over-worked and bitter version of myself that neither I or you would like to know. I will have time to start checking out things again that you might like and write about them to make sure you don’t miss out on anything when you visit Iceland. It will give me time to develop our tours further and make them even better because having a extra pair of eyes and ears always helps. Plus it’s not like I’m not doing any tours any more. I am doing more than half of them. And this change will also give you a even deeper insight into life in Reykjavík and that, my friend, will make your stay here that much better!

So please don’t be disappointed. Ásta is doing such a great job that people even sometimes think she is me like this Tripadvisor comment from one of her guests proves. I’m not as irreplaceable as I thought (cue panic!).


I hope you know I wouldn’t be offering you anything that I don’t believe in 100% myself. Plus you will probably run into me during your trip to Reykjavík anyway and it only takes a “hi, how are you doing” on the streets to meet me. I may be uncool and (more recently) replacable but I’m usually pretty friendly.

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  1. You’re right on with everything you’re saying, and I’m glad you decided not to apologize for having a second tour guide. I had a suggestion to offer: maybe you could have Austa also do some writing in your blog so that people would get to know her before they arrive

  2. Sorry, meant to spell “Àsta”, not Austa!

  3. Haha, now I can’t get the accent mark correct – Ásta!

  4. I was trying to cook dinner when I commented earlier and I should have waited and not rushed with what I wanted to say – I think that your readers need to get know Ásta like they know you and having her do a blog post about herself would be a fun introduction, maybe include some photos. Also, having her help with answering the questions you get asked by your readers would be fun for her to post or email, or do some road trips with you that you can blog about together – just some suggestions that came to mind…

  5. A lovely honest post and its always good when people are honest.

    Its funny, I think partly worried that when i met you I wouldn’t live up to my own expectation as an ‘Iceland fan’ and might seem like a total douche bag, or had revealed too much about my mental health with my issues with communal showers, ha!

    I guess in time as your new recruit become part of the brand to readers, if they visit they will be expecting either of you, rather than now where its quite new abs the whole concept has been just you for So long (If that makes any sense at all)

    Random query – do you get thunder storms in Iceland? I’m up early as one just rumbled through & I’ve never seen a landscape photo with lightening in Iceland so I wondered

    1. Haha, I had no opinion of you whatsoever after the whole shower debacle other than you just don’t like taking communal showers 🙂

      We don’t get many thunderstorms here but on very rare occasions they happen.

  6. Auður – you’re doing exactly what is needed. I find that blog readers come to feel they own the writer (similar to how fans of pop groups feel) – so having a little space (or buffer) is appropriate. This is your business and it needs to grow. Anyhow it affords those of us who’ve done a tour with you an opportunity to meet another Reykjavikian to chat with and share experiences. Don’t fret about it too much though, as you say, þetta reddast! Jem

  7. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts – so american haha! No i kid you.

    It seems your baby has now gone off to school, a new phase. I am sure there will be more daggers as it cant happen overnight that peoples expectations change. but i am positive they will with time!

    Also, to get a little hippy dippy philosophical, this change isnt permanent either, it will change too. Ásta may leave, or you might hire 5 more, or you may one day decide you prefer it being small and simple again, who knows! As long as you follow your heart day to day, it will all work out and you will end up exactly where you need to be in 6 months, 2 years, 20 years.

    You are doing the right thing – even if that changes tomorrow =)

    bestu … shoot i forgot how to spell it . Kveður?
    matt / @strangepork

  8. If work was taking you too much time and preventing you from spending time with the ones you love, you did well in delegating and emptying your agenda a little bit. Work will always be work and who matters in life is your family! Never feel bad for not giving all you can/have to strangers, as such is reserved to your family and friends, as it’s normal.

  9. A lovely honest post, and it’s always good to show the real life behind the brand every now and again – other small business owners in particular will identify with your feelings! I think having Ásta do a guest post now and again might be a good way to introduce her into the brand and people’s hearts, a good idea from the other commenter.

    As your business grows, it can be really tricky to find a balance. I can reassure you that, 6 years into mine, things are a lot less frenetic and my friends and family know me again. Good luck getting there – you’re doing so well so far!

  10. Just my perspective- we recently took your tour and one of the things I loved about it was the feeling that I “knew” one person in Iceland. I read your blog start to finish in the weeks leading up to my trip. But the tours will always carry your voice, even if it’s not your personal voice people hear on the tour.
    As for personal, well, your story was inspiring to me in other ways. I planned my trip to Iceland within the space of a month, after being laid off from a job I loved. I needed a change of scenery and a chance to think about reinvention. And your story reminded me to follow my dreams. So while I still haven’t found the path I was meant to take I did start a Facebook page and launched a small business (seasonal, temporary, but something) and you inspired me in part to do that. Never question change. Just recognize when it is needed and go with it.

    1. Wow, I’m glad I could inspire you to embark on your own journey! Good luck with your venture – my business was only supposed to be seasonal in the beginning too 🙂

  11. Audur You are a caring and sensitive person, and I enjoy your writings. We took the tour with you last summer, and had an interesting and worthwhile time. That said, you deserve to have a life outside our your work. You earned it. I’m sure your new co-tour guide is doign a great job, and don’t let negative grumpy people get you down. There are people who will always find fault, and you must not let them get to you. I wish you the very best and think of you fondly. (I’m the person who gave you some crayons and a lip chapstick). If you ever come to Boston, Massachusetts, I would love to be your tour guide. Sincerely, and with great faith in you, Laura Herring.

  12. Thank you for the support everyone!

    I hear what you are all saying about Ásta writing for the blog. The problem is that I can’t expect her to want to write a blog, it’s not everyone’s thing. However, we have got some ideas about how to introduce her more and now all we need is time to actually do it.

    Ásta has been doing the tours for almost a month now and I still haven’t been able to actually take a day off and I got piles of stuff I need to do. Maybe I’ll spend my next “day off” prioritizing the todo list 🙂

  13. I love that this is taking off/expanding and that you need to take on someone – you deserve the success! You’ve put a lot of hard work in here. I was also going to suggest you have a few blog posts about Ásta so people get to know her. The cool thing about getting to ‘know’ Icelanders over the internet is that you’re so friendly, and just as friendly in person, and I think that is what people like and are looking forward to 🙂