A truly life changing hike

February 14, 2017

How hiking the Laugavegur trail inspired Anushila to pursue her dream of being a professional photographer

Anushila Shaw trekking the Laugavegur trail

Anushila Shaw trekking the Laugavegur trail.

In August 2014 Anushila Shaw decided to go for a hike. She had a few things in mind while looking for the perfect spot for it; it should be safe for women to do them alone, the path should not be crowded with tourists and not too warm climate.

Anushila, who was a New York lawyer at that time, knew she wanted travel to Europe for her holiday and soon her mind was set on Iceland as her perfect destination. As a photography enthusiast, Anushila knew that the “beautiful Icelandic wilderness” like she puts it herself, had to be explored from the outdoors.

Geothermal activity seen on the Laugavegur trail

Geothermal wonderland

“Since I had no hiking experience, a guided trek was the best way to get my feet wet. I had no intention of doing a longer 6-day trek, but I was booking at the last minute and had few options. In retrospect, I’m so glad I went with the longer option; every day was different, interesting and fun! […] I chose Trek Iceland because of their responsive customer service. Styrmir Bragason and his team were wonderful about answering my (many, many) questions and they made me feel safe and confident in my decision to trek with them. “

Anushila joined the 6-day Laugavegur Trek that takes you along the famous Laugavegur trail in the Icelandic highlands and to Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass. The landscape traveled through is absolutely unique and every day is different from the last one when it comes to scenery “It’s hard to imagine that you can walk over mountains, hills and glaciers, and through valleys, forests and a vast desert in just four days! “ Anushila said.

But how can the Laugavegur trek be life changing? Like said before Anushila was practicing law in New York when she decided to join the hike. In short her experience resulted in her quitting her job to pursue her photography career full time. When she trekked in Iceland it was the first time she traveled as a photographer and not just “a tourist with a camera”, like she says herself. She organized her gear and planned her trek the best she could. She did not only end up with lots of beautiful photographs but also the discovery of how much she loved being a photographer. “For the first time in my life, I discovered what it means to be passionate about something” she states and continues on “After I returned from Iceland I was inspired to join a local hiking group in New York and also started taking night classes in photography. Eventually I realized that photography is my calling, and in 2015 I made the big leap into professional photography.” When asked how her experience on the trek was Anushila simply said: “I can honestly say it was life changing.”

We asked Anushila if she had some tips for others thinking about joining the Laugavegur trek and we let her have the last word:

“The most important tip is: Don’t be afraid! I was the least prepared person to make this trip, having no experience with long distance hiking.  If I can do it, you can too.  Follow the suggested packing list provided by Trek Iceland.  Pack lightly, but be thorough. Icelandic weather is very changeable and it can get very cold, even in August.  Good hiking boots, a sturdy backpack and all weather clothing are crucial.  For the photographers out there: I used a Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW backpack to carry my hiking and camera gear.

We would like to thank Anushila for sharing her experience and pictures with us. All of these photos were taken by Anushila on the Laugavegur trek. You can visit her website and see more pictures here: http://www.anushilashaw.com/