For those reading who follow AUGUST ETTA on Instagram, I'm sure you have noticed my recent posts from Iceland. Allow me to explain: I have wanted to see and know the world since I was young. My grandmother, an adventure seeker herself, instilled in me this curious desire. I would eagerly await the treasures she would bring home to Texas from afar: photographs, stories, and handcrafted artistry. Thus, 'moved by curiosity' has come to define much of my life. This desire to experience, observe and understand called me back to Iceland where I recently completed a personal journey in one of the most profound and mystical landscapes on the planet (in my humble opinion).
The journey began on my 33rd birthday in Reykjavík. I cycled solo around the entire country over thirty-three days in a clockwise direction. Thirty-three days later I finished the ride on the birthday of a dear friend, Elizabeth, who lost a long battle with cancer in January. My journey had a specific intention: honor passed loved ones while gaining a greater understanding of the universal ultimates I (we) face: life and death/light and dark. Iceland enabled me to confront these juxtapositions in an environment without distraction, in a centering geography of vast space and silence. My breath was the trunk of my being throughout. Each inhalation and exhalation rooted me to the physical and psychological endurance necessary to move forward each day.
I logged over 1200 km, roughly 750 miles in mountainous terrain. The journey was not easy. I never could have imagined the physical demands the geography would require. I had an idea, of course, but was quickly reminded an idea is very different than putting a concept into action. A mantra came to me within the first week, one I repeated daily: the roads will guide, my faith will take me. They did, and my faith never wavered. I mostly used a paper map, Cycling Iceland 2016, for direction and reference. I carried all my gear in my bike panniers and on my back: camera equipment, food, clothing, etc. Side note: I'm likely the only woman who sets out to cycle around Iceland with an electric toothbrush, my favorite French perfume, and lipstick. Alas, I have my eccentricities. Most of all, I had, and will forever have, enormous determination and curiosity.
Striking impressions were internalized and documented. Countless acts of kindness were received from strangers. Memories were embedded like the ash layers defining ancient glaciers, which undoubtedly left permanent marks on my personal history. Everyday I physically and psychologically moved forward, everyday awakened to spiritual truths. I look forward to sharing more from this project on my personal website in the future: katrinajaneperry.com.
In the meantime, the momentum I adhered to during my time in Iceland I carry with me today in developing AUGUST ETTA. I realize the importance of balancing/honoring all aspects of myself now more than ever in my life. The brevity of life reinforces an urgency to live with this awareness. Engaging with nature, spending time with loved ones, serving my community, and using my artistic practice to create opportunities for greater observation requires patience and balance. I will continue to work with intention and in faith good things shall be revealed in due time.
Thank you for your interest in AUGUST ETTA. There are loads of good things to come from my work with artisans in Oaxaca and Austin–in time. And to support this philosophy, a favored quote by Lao-tzu, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." And in my humble opinion, there is no greater example to lead by than Mother Nature's.
With gratitude, Katrina Jane
A (very small) glimpse into my thirty-three day journey cycling solo around Iceland, more on my personal website soon: katrinajaneperry.com.