The time I was troll in Iceland

When I say this to people they usually make a face and ask “Excuse me?” This I think to this day is one of my weirdest traveling stories and it is in my CV as a conversation starter

How did I get this job?

So, as I’ve told you before, I always wanted to travel. When I turned 18 I said to myself “I am a grown up now, [or so I thought] time for a travel adventure after I graduate!” A family friend suggested trying volunteer work abroad with Service Civil International (SCI). You only have to pay for your trip, and they give you room and board in exchange for your work.

So I went online and looked at their database for positions. Since I was part of my high school theatre group – and am still a big fan of acting/role play etc. to this day – I looked under the keyword ‘acting’. There was one that read, you have to dress up as a troll in an interactive museum. I said great, let’s go there! Where is it? Iceland?! Umm… Okay!

I remember planning my trip for the next couple of months, and my Grandma hearing me mention Iceland several times when she finally asked:

  • You talk about Iceland so much, can you show where it is exactly? – I get out a map. – Oh! That far away!

(I’m from Hungary.)

Touch down

I went far far away, landed after 5 hours of flying with my huge suitcase (I went for 3 weeks) and took a bus to Reykjavik. I figured I could walk to the office I was supposed to go to, and of course, I sort of got lost. Of course, the guy I asked for directions was a French tourist and had no idea… I continued along the road, visibly confused when a guy stopped his car and asked if he could help. I told him the address I was going to, he offered to give me a ride. He had his teenaged son and his girlfriend in the car, so I thought this lowered the chances of the guy wanting to do me any harm. I took the ride. S I made it to the organization’s centre: an office and a place to stay for a few nights before getting to work.

In a few hours I got pointed to the bus I was supposed to take to Stokkseyri – 45 minutes out from Reykjavik. This was roughly a 300 people town on the ocean shore with 1 main road winding through it. (I actually just checked Wikipedia there are 445 inhabitants. Iceland’s number of inhabitants doubles every summer because of the influx of tourists.) Funnily enough, this small town also houses 2 museums, a bath, and a family park. These were all in the hands of one couple, who employed several volunteers for the summer.

The Work

There were seven of us that summer taking shifts as staff in the family park, ghosts and trolls. I’m not kidding.

As trolls and ghosts in the Ghost Museum and the Elf, Troll and Northern lights Museum, we had to dress up in costumes and scare the visitors. Hide in the dark and jump out. The grown-ups were usually more scared than the kids. Some were convinced that the troll worked with a motion sensor and started waving their arms around in front of me. I jumped up when they were still, on purpose 😀

** You can follow the story in the upcoming articles on Saci’s (Sara Vitrai) blog: