The Impulse to Escape

There’s Nothing Like a Rough Tax Season to Make You Want to Escape

There’s Nothing Like a Rough Tax Season to Make You Want to Escape

If you’ve been reading these pages for a while, you might think I seem a trifle obsessed. This is especially true during tax season, when the stress and long hours make me dream of escape. It is not unusual for me to spend six months reading and meticulously planning my escape.

Last year was an exception. Originally, Martine and I were going to go for a long drive through the Southern States. Then I noticed that the temperature topped out at about 100° Fahrenheit (that’s 37° Celsius) every day . For us, that reminds us more of hell than a vacation, so we made a last-minute switch to Vermont, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. We can do the South some other time, perhaps when they all turn Democrat. (Hah!)

The year before (2011), when we went to Argentina, I read so much Argentinean history and literature that I got some incredulous responses from the locals.

Because Iceland’s summer tourist season is so short (2-3 months at maximum), I don’t have six months; but I am embarked on an ambitious reading program to reacquaint myself with the great sagas (I am re-reading Egil’s Saga, Njals Saga, and Grettir’s Saga) and deepen my knowledge of Halldór Laxness’s novels as well as adding some newer authors to the mix. Fortunately, Iceland now has some excellent mystery writers, including Arnaldur Indriðason, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and Edward Weinman (the latter Icelandic because of his long acquaintance with the country).

Whenever I have a few spare moments, I am checking out Icelandic websites, particularly with regards to the availability of public transportation (I will rent a car only if Martine comes with me) and accommodations. Many Icelandic guesthouses accept only guests with sleeping bags, which is not my preference. After a while, sleeping bags smell worse than old sneakers that are used daily in a heat wave.

I love to research a vacation. After a hard day of pumping out tax returns (like today), I prefer to put myself into another time and place. And Iceland will do nicely for this purpose.