melrakki family

Dear Melrakki Family,

It is Christmas night and I am thinking about each and every one of you and the memories we created in the Westfjords. It's the best Christmas present I have received this year: being in your presence, listening to your stories, and letting me be a part of your life. I feel very lucky to call you my family. I would like to start by saying that there aren’t enough words in the universe to express how much you have all impacted my life over the past month. Ever since leaving Iceland, I have felt a deeper emotional connection to the things I love: writing, photography, and exploring. I have woken up happy every day knowing that I have all of you in my life. It's a constant fuel that keeps me motivated and feels like second nature at this point. I don't want to let any of you down.

Before our epic Iceland adventure, we were all distant strangers traversing the universe in scattered places around the world. Before entering our first meeting at the Kex Hostel, I hoped that everyone was nice and kind. I couldn't have dreamed up a better outcome. On my way home, I wept tears of joy and sorrow. Joy because you all have taught me the art of getting in touch with who I really am as a person and what I am capable of. It was a healing trip for the mind and soul. Being on the road, all I can think of was how special the moments were: fleeting and trapped in the present. I think we can all attest to that. I felt sorrow because I missed all of you the second after hugging and saying goodbye. It was hard to go home. There isn't a doubt in my mind that we will find each other in a magical land together some time soon. 

After the 5-day experience, I believe that the universe has the magical ability to bring incredible people together. It was such a rewarding experience to get to know you all in the Kviar Lodge in the Westfjords, away from civilization and constant connection. We were lucky enough to experience it off the grid and connect with each other. Through the snow and the Northern Lights, we conquered the trip together. I'll never forget the small moments: nights we spent editing and admiring each other's photos, tripping and falling down the 2-inch stairs, and laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. Those are the snapshots I'll take with me for a long time. 

Lastly, I love you all. I am so, so lucky to have you in my life. Each and every one of you possesses a grand capacity for greatness. You are all so talented and I would like to thank each and every one of you: 

GUNNAR - You have the kindest eyes. Your warmth and gracious personality make people feel at ease. I am grateful for the lessons you have taught me. Thank you for teaching me the art of storytelling with photography. Also, thank you for keeping me warm with your mom's lovely Icelandic sweaters. 

STEVEN - Your sense of humor can light up an entire room. I will never forget holding down the shutter for 90 seconds with you under the Northern Lights. You have unlocked my potential to be a surgeon in my next life.

JULIAN - You have taught me the power of not taking things too seriously and the power of having fun. There's always time to get away and detach from a busy job. The backseat of Melrakki 2 wouldn't have been the same without you. 

PHOENIX - You have taught me that you can come out of every hard situation and end up on top. Your editing skills are stunning. I hope I can master Lightroom like you one day. I'm absolutely blown away by your talent and perseverance. I'm excited to be partnering with you on a project.

MICHELLE - You are a beaming ray of sunlight. You are one of the strongest women I have ever met. Our chat on our last night made me realize the importance of surrounding myself with positive people. Thank you for being one of them. I'm so glad you decided to stay in Reykjavik. I'm incredibly jealous and wish we were all there with you. 

ALDIS - You're a man with brilliant jokes. I still find myself laughing out loud to myself when I think of them. I will never forget how many cameras you packed for the trip. Thank you for rubbing salami all over your face to catch Rufus. Your love story inspired me not to overthink romantic situations.

MOR - Thank you for being an incredible roommate on the trip and allowing me to talk your ear off when I am jet lagged in hotel rooms in England. You possess great talents in healing. I think my body would have been completely shattered if we didn't practice pilates after our days of shooting. You are an incredible photographer. 

DONNA - Our last conversation in Iceland moved me. You taught me that you can’t recreate memories with the same people and that I have to cherish the present. You are wise and hilarious. We are all so lucky to have your sense of humor on this earth.

JOE - Your humor makes my stomach and jaw hurt. You have changed my outlook on life. Over the past month, I've become more positive because of you. I feel much lighter in the way I navigate the universe. I feel forever indebted for everything that you have taught me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come along on the trip. P.S. You're my sartorial style icon. 

The best days are yet to come. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with me. I hope our paths and cameras cross soon.