Adventurer of the Week: Bethany tastes the Icelandic Guiding Adventures

adventurer of the week
two smiling people in an ice cave
Bethany facilitated the wilderness first responder training to guides and went on a tour with us to experience the Icelandic guide life. Since the early 90’s, she has worked as an instructor, which includes snowboarding, river guiding, therapy, Mountain bike coaching and more. Her job showed her how important it is to use the outdoors “as a catalyst to personal growth and healing”.

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

I had the opportunity to facilitate wilderness first responder training to guides in Iceland and the training was sponsored by Icelandic Mountain Guides.   

​Extending my trip, I was able to explore Iceland through a few day trips and a tour with IMG. As a guide myself​, I was immensely impressed by the integrity IMG embodies.


How long was your stay? Did you travel solo or with a group?

I travelled for a week and worked with Icelandic Mountain Guides for 3 weeks.

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

IMG took me on the Golden Circle & Glacier Getaway tour as an introduction to Iceland and to experience a taste of Icelandic guiding adventures. The tour fit nicely into my available dates.

I wish every guiding company held such a high standard on safety and experience as IMG does.

Bethany Elson

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

While most would imagine I would say the landscape and amazing nature, the most memorable part of the trip was our guide Pascale and the cohesiveness she cultivated within the group. Her leadership and emphasis on "the Icelandic experience​" all the while she was focused on our safety was fantastic and highly memorable.  I wish every guiding company held such a high standard on safety and experience as IMG does.

Also, the first responder courses were so much fun (but I imagine you would need to ask the students). I had the privilege of working alongside an instructor from Sweden and both courses were filled with such wonderful people.  Professional and excellent student participation throughout the courses and the most prepared bunch of guides and outdoor enthusiasts I've worked with!  It was quite impressive and really speaks to the Icelandic culture of being prepared for anything!  These guides truly exemplified this trait!


If you had to describe your experience in one sentence, what would you say?

​There is no place like Iceland and you must go (and go with Icelandic Mountain Guides!)​


What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

​It was my first visit in Iceland (but for sure not the last) and I was surprised by the progressive culture! Icelanders seem to have one foot in the past as they put exceptional focus​ on preserving their culture and rich history. The other foot is planted firmly in sustainability and protecting the natural world and sharing what they learn with the rest of us.


If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

I hope to return someday soon!  I would very much like to ski in the north and bike around the island​.


What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

The changing weather of Iceland is spectacular ​and makes you feel alive and part of the natural world! More preparation= More fun!

​Plan to buy one item made from Icelandic wool. I purchased the same sweater I noticed on our guide and wore it many days of the trip. There is something magical about the wool!


What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure?

​I feel so lucky that my work takes me to amazing places! This fall I'm off to Ecuador for a biking adventure.​

Until then, work is taking me to Crested Butte Colorado, the mountains of Wyoming, and the beaches of Costa Rica, Santa Cruz and San Diego.  ​My dream adventure is to return to Iceland and enjoy the company of wonderful people and to be surrounded by nature that is truly alive!

Bethany's adventure is only one of the many features that make for an unforgettable experience. Book your tour and join us for an excursion that is guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime.

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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