Extreme Travel | Adventure Sports

A life in adventure: Sigurdur Bjarni Sveinsson, South Iceland adventurer

WideWorld’s profile series on the big names in adventure meets the man behind South Iceland Adventure
A life in adventure: Sigurdur Bjarni Sveinsson, South Iceland adventurer

When you think of Iceland, you think adventure. Just the name is enough to spark a passion for the outdoors. It’s a place that has captured the souls of millions of visitors worldwide, and making the adventures happen is Sigurdur Bjarni Sveinsson, Managing director and owner South Iceland Adventure. A volunteer rescuer and fireman and a trainee paramedic, his business guides daring visitors through the most spectacular regions of the country.

What kind of adventures do you love?

I love a bit of everything. I´m fond of personal adventures, off-the-beaten-track hikes, volcano hikes, glacier climbs, mountain biking, snowmobile tours and super jeep tours. My goal is to get more extreme in my adventures and try out thrilling challenges such as wing flying suits, snow kites, and extreme mountain climbs. Adventures that get adrenaline pumping and remind you that you’re alive are what I love.

What’s your perfect destination?

In my dreams, I would say the top of K2. In reality, it’s places here in Iceland. Both of them were in the winter on the northern lights South Iceland adventure tour. The first is in Landmannalaugar (popular tourist place in the highland), having red wine and beer, relaxing in a natural hot pool, bathed in the Northern lights. The other one is at my grandfather’s hut in central Iceland, the northern lights filling up the sky, changing colours of green, blue, and red, dancing with the shooting stars. I see the northern lights all the time, but being in the wild alone or with friends, where there’s nothing interfering with their beauty – it’s not possible to put in words.

What sports do you love?

I like most sports, but prefer football and golf. I played rugby for short period, which was good fun.

Who’s your adventure hero?

The snow kiter Jerome Josserand, founder of Iceland Kite Experience . On the other hand, if Richard Parks beats the 737 Challenge, he will go on top of the list as a model to all outdoor adventure lovers. Good luck Richard!

What would be your desert island discs if you could choose only three?

Sigur Ros to enjoy good memories, Eddie Vedder to respect nature and the island, then Nevermind by Nirvana, to get the hell out of there.

What’s your favourite book by an adventure athlete, explorer or traveller?

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson.

What’s the best piece of travel advice you’ve been given?

The two I remember are simple but say it all: “Walk the talk” and “No guts no glory”.

What’s the most extreme adventure you’ve had?

It was on a winter Super Jeep tour, going to Landmannalaugar. A snowstorm hit us, 35 m/s, blowing one metre of powder up in the air in -15°C. Extreme conditions, and extreme adventure. We fought the ridiculous weather for 12 hours with 5 metres visibility, and in the end, we had to sleep it off. (See tour description at http://siadv.is/?portfolio=landmannalaugar-winter)

What’s the best piece of kit you’ve invested in?

My Swiss Leatherman.

What adventure sports are you going to try next?

South Iceland adventure ones, naturally: snow kite challenge and ice climbing.

What’s the one thing that would make your travels better?

Knowing that global warming had been reduced.