Words by Hildur Guðbjörg Kristjánsdóttir, Midgard co-owner, guide, multi-tasker, mom of two, runner, biker and nature lover!
These are questions I frequently get when I tell people where I am from. I grew up in a beautiful little country side area called Fljótshlíð. In my opinion one of the most beautiful areas of Iceland, not biased at all. From first grade to the seventh I was in a class with 4 other boys. My whole school had about 25-27 students. Yes you may think this makes you a bit odd and maybe it does but for me it was a privilege. Growing up in such a small community worked well for me, allowed me to shine and be independent and it was very safe. I spent all my free time outside playing. Jumping over ditches, biking, hiking, swimming in ice cold rivers, horseback riding and so on. Every spring me and my brothers went for a long hike to seek for eggs. We collected eggs and sometimes we managed to “bread them” and get little baby birds.
I did miss out on ballerina lessons but I am sure I would have sucked as a ballerina anyways.
I didn’t have waterparks, movies or tivoli but nature was my adventure park.
I think that growing up in such a close relationship with nature has formed me into the person I am today. I am most definitely a nature lover and I prefer spending as much time outside playing as I possibly can.
When I was a teenager I moved to Reykjavík for high school and later University. I lived there on my own and really liked this small charming city. I had no intention of moving back home. I wanted to travel the world which I did a bit and I planned to continue with my studies and work in Reykjavík. It was not that I didn’t like my small area anymore I just thought there weren’t that many job opportunities there for me.
Every summer I went back home to my parents and I loved spending bright long summer nights in the countryside. My boyfriend Addi (now my husband) joined me and we lived three summers together at my parents place and worked in Hvolsvöllur (town next to Fljótshlíðin).
At that time Addi had started working with Siggi at his startup company. It was a tour operator company called South Iceland Adventure, later named Midgard Adventure.
In 2013 Addi kind of tricked me to move back home and I started as a summer employee at South Iceland Adventure (later Midgard). I was heavily pregnant at that time and I did not have a driving licence for big trucks so I did not guide tours but this was a fun summer. I mostly worked with my computer in my lab at Siggi’s house organising tours, itineraries and some finances and jumped on tasks where I was needed. Arranging equipment, guides and cooked food on tours.
My mother in law, Björg, also started as a summer employee that summer and she liked it equally as much as me, quit her old job and became the CEO of the company. It was the dream situation for Addi to work so closely with his bossy wife and mom
In the autumn I had my baby boy and we started to build our house in Fljótshlíðin. So after all I ended back home in beautiful Fljótshlíð where I grew up. I was happy to give my boys the similar childhood in this safe and beautiful environment I grew up in.
We often invited our guests for dinner at our house after tours. My mother in law, our marketing manager, our guides all lived with us for some time so at one point our house was kind of a Midgard home as well. After we opened Midgard Base Camp we had our guest for dinner there and now that is a place for our family and friends to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Midgard Base Camp is our second home.
Today I work at the office, guide, serve food at the restaurant, plan events and do whatever needs to be done. The company is still run by friends and family and most of the staff is related if not blood related, have been integrated into the family.
People also often ask me if it isn’t difficult to live and work so closely with my husband, friends and mother in law. No it isn’t, we are all quite like minded people we love our nature and we love welcoming our guests to Midgard Base Camp and showing them our beautiful country. We spend a lot of our time together working but our job and our free time is kind of the same thing.
So what do I do for fun in my tiny village in the middle of nowhere ? I still spend most of my time outside playing, running, hiking, biking even sometimes swimming in the ice cold rivers and just enjoying life with my family, friends and our lovely guests.