Hello! My name is Hákon and I am the owner & sole inhabitant (excluding my sheepdog Skuggi) of Traustholtshólmi. To give you some background, Traustholtshólmi is a sustainable and private island. It is a place of stunning beauty, untouched by modern development, it is an island within an island. Spanning approximately 57 acres, my island is located just 3 miles from the mouth of the glacial river Þjórsá and has been in my family for generations. The river also has plenty of seals which are easily observed by visitors. And actually one of my favorite activities is to go out on the river late in the evening, shutting off the boat engine and just drift down, waiting for the seals to swim up to swap stories with me! The island’s food sources are divided into three seasons: In spring, wild geese nest on the island and their eggs are harvested and served up with freshly picked herbs. Summer is salmon season, which runs from June 10th until the beginning of August. During this time, there is usually salmon to be found in the nets, although nature can at times be unpredictable. Nevertheless, wild salmon will be on hand from June and throughout September. In the fall season, the vegetable harvest will be ready and so the focus moves to wild herbs and earthy vegetables.
I'm a bit like my island: I'm welcoming, I love nature and I like a little isolation. The island has been in my family for generations and I started going there as a young boy. I grew up running around the island, harvesting goose and duck down and eggs from its various nesting sites and observing the nesting ravens which return yearly to raise their young there. When I grew older the island became mine and I started spending all of my free time there, but I am a carpenter and as others, I have to work. Here in Iceland the high season for builders is the summer time so too often I worked away my summers and didn't spend the time I wanted at the island. This made me unhappy and I decided to do something about it; so I came up with the idea of inviting guests to my island, to have them experience the things I experienced over the years. But I can't just build a hotel. It is, first of all, my home; so I have to do something that I find beautiful and fun.
So my plan is to open it up to visitors interested in having a unique experience in an unique location. Guests will be greeted on the riverbank where I will be waiting to ferry them across the river to the island. Once there, they will be shown to their Yurt and presented with the island’s facilities. The guests will then have about an hour to get settled and take in the surroundings on their own before I gather the group for a tour of the island. During this walk, visitors will learn about the history of the island and its surroundings—spanning all the way back to the first settlers of Iceland. During the summer season, guests can then accompany me as I tend to my nets and haul in the catch of the day. The fish will be dressed and prepared right there on the riverbank so that guests can enjoy fresh sashimi straight from the water. This will be the starting dish to a three-course feast. Visitors will always be presented with a unique meal experience and enjoy coming into first-hand contact with their food sources. Sharing stories by the fire is a great way to end the day. Usually, the fire will be built outside but on cold or rainy days, guests can enjoy sitting around the fireplace inside the largest Mongolian yurt, which serves as the common area for all guests staying on the island. The Yurts are fully made up with warm down bedspreads and offer a unique and unusual experience, along with breathtaking views of the river and the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. In mid-August, when the nights start to get longer, the Northern lights glimmer in the sky over Traustholtshólmi. The absence of light pollution on the island makes this rare and beautiful sight particularly mesmerizing and the lights are reflected in the river all around, with the waves making them refract and dance on the water!
It is important to me to keep the island and the island experience pristine. My electricity comes from a windmill. I collect rainwater, and food comes primarily from the island. I grow Herbs and vegetables in my gardens. I fish wild salmon in the river and guests are given the opportunity to experience a traditional way of catching the wild salmon, using a net! My ideology is built on the principals of eco-tourism; placing equal importance on preserving the islands natural state and have the guests directly contribute to my island’s sustainability and cultural preservation
I love that I can be on my island and concentrate on building it up into the place I want it to be. Like any business I have to do office work and bookkeeping. I guess that is the least fun part, but I'm building my own dream and that is motivating, so nothing about it is bad, if you now what I mean. One of my best moments on the island was last summer was when I did a pop-up restaurant with the only Michelin star restaurant in Iceland, ''Dill''.There were 20 guests that got tickets to this event. Their master cooks came to the island and made some gourmet food for the guests, and for this one day I didn't have to cook. I just stood there and tried to learn a thing or two from the masters.
My days are not typical at all. Every day is different from the one before. Sometimes I'm at the island, sometimes im building, and sometimes I'm sailing my boat in the Caribbean. I guess I get up like everybody else, have breakfast, do yoga and go do what has to be done that day. But it's definitely not all fun and games. Being in the island, for example, requires constant work: building, digging, fixing, fishing, gardening, etc... but i do love it! If you are interested in learning further about my island, check me out here