Meeting Mr. Right changed my life

The other day someone asked me how I felt about Iceland and especially the gay scene. “Acceptance” was the first word that sprang to mind. “Why?”, you might be asking. Well to explain I have to tell you the story of how I settled in Iceland early 2007 not knowing anything about the country nor any Icelanders 5 months earlier. But before we get to that part, let’s back a bit and then slowly move forward.

I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, which is a solidly southern part of the US with all the religious and conservative attitudes that implies. Son to a southern baptist minister, I attended private religious schools my entire childhood. This and with no openly gay role models to look to – I only knew that Ellen DeGeneres was a lesbian and that was a bad thing – had the effect that I didn’t become fully aware that I was gay until around my 20s.

So I spent most of the time that others might have spent dating, on my computer learning to be a 3D artist. My first jobs took me all around the US and it was finally in Austin, Texas, that I got to stretch my legs into the gay community. But I still did not feel comfortable being out to everyone, especially at work. My internalized homophobia and guilt whenever I tried dating guys for longer periods also meant I never gave myself a fair shot at relationships. After a few dates I’d feel so bad I would consciously or subconsciously find reason to end those relationships.

This and the fact I fall quite left on the political spectrum, which made living stateside increasingly frustrating, led me to think I wanted to emigrate to another country. Since I had traveled in Europe I made plans for Germany, France, Switzerland, Finland and wanted to visit more as well.

Taking the leap

As I began planning my departure a popular website I knew mentioned Iceland as an interesting vacation destination. I had forgotten there was even a country up there on the map, let alone knew anything about it, but was intrigued so I did a bit more research. On I searched for guys my age in Reykjavik and one of the results was a red-haired guy I had seen before when browsing the site. So I wrote to him mentioning that I might visit and was hoping to make friends to go dancing with while here.

I have a thing for accents so after our first chat I asked if I could call. He gave me his number thinking I would not call, but five minutes later we had our first „actual“ conversation. It only lasted a few minutes but I thought he sounded so cute and friendly. We started emailing daily, chatting on MSN and calling frequently. This was pre-skype so I ran up quite the long distance phone bill.

After about a month I decided to book tickets to Iceland so we could meet. I made it my first stop, with my time in Switzerland and Germany immediately after. As the date approached, I wondered how much time he would want to spend with me; a single evening, several times? About a month before my trip he told me I could stay with him the whole time if I wanted. My excitement levels rose, but having experienced so much disappointment, I didn’t let myself get too invested.

A cathartic experience in a far away land

I remember touching down in Keflavik, seeing vast lava fields covered in moss as the plane got lower, like an alien landscape and thinking: “will this ever feel like home in the

 "...he led me out to his car where we had our first kiss."

“…he led me out to his car where we had our first kiss.”

future?”. When I left customs the cutest guy was waiting for me with a sign. He was both shorter in person than I expected and more handsome. We hugged and he led me out to his car where we had our first kiss. After so many long months talking it was so good to be with him in person and just share the same physical space.

The ten-day visit was a whirlwind of tourist sites, meeting his parents, watching the fireworks from a golf-course, and a new years party that would have seemed lame and overpriced in any other setting but became a memory I cherish since it was our first time dancing together. I even managed to cook american style dinner for his family, who were incredibly welcoming, which was such a change from how my parents would have reacted, had I been out to them at the time.

Afterwards I went to Europe for my planned stays which were fun but zoomed past as I missed my Nordic cutie. Thankfully he asked me to move to Reykjavik and having no other plans and at the prompting of my best friend I flew back. Because of my previous work in 3D I quickly got a job at CCP, a game studio in Iceland and that‘s how I got my visa in the beginning.

It was in Cafe Cozy, a now closed gay bat/coffee shop in Reykjavík, that I first outed myself to a random stranger, a friendly woman who asked who I was there with and I made the leap to say “my boyfriend.” She simply smiled and asked which one he was. I remember thinking how amazing it was to live in such an accepting environment.

Coming out to the immediate family

Since then life has dramatically changed for me. I soon after came out to my immediate family with a letter telling them that I had someone special and they needed to know this part of my life I had been hiding. According to dad my mom cried upon reading my letter, but to their credit they‘ve made a complete turn around. They visited Iceland which I think helped them see how healthy and normal my relationship with my husband is (we married in 2009).

Today my mom loves my him, wants to always be kept up to date on our lives and we have even done a family vacation with both sets of parents to a beach house in the states. My younger sister also came out to my parents so they’ve had some practice in acceptance.

After moving here I have lived in 3 different apartments, gotten a cat, moved to Germany, moved back (without cat), bought a house, got a dog, worked on a kid‘s TV series and feature-length animated film, started a bakery and a small app development studio. The only thing that might have been possible for me stateside is the cat bit, and sorry cat owners, but that was the least exciting part.

Looking back this is an experiences I never even dreamed about as a kid. I feel so lucky for everything, from being able to afford a house in a city with jobs (a rarity stateside for someone younger), to equal legal rights. This is the kind of life I wish for everyone on earth, especially because we have a long way to go globally. Even if the weather is not always perfect, or a glass of my favorite beer costs a bit more I am so grateful to live on this island paradise.

By Ben Chompers

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.


Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.


    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.


        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.


        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us

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