Elisabeth Rohm's Blog: The Real Reason I Took My Daughter on a Road Trip Through Iceland
Elisabeth Röhm is a busy mama!
Best known for her roles as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order and in films like American Hustle and Joy, the actress is currently starring as Aria Price on her Sony Crackle show The Oath.
Röhm, 45, is also a proud mom to daughter Easton August, 10, whom she shares with ex Ron Anthony.
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In the spirit of the strong independent mama and babies we’ve been discussing as of late with these recent changes that have happened within my family, I have been more and more inspired to show Easton a reflection of the fierce, unstoppable female she is and will continue to be. I want to lead by example, make choices and create opportunities that show her, through my actions, how brave I am and therefore how fearless she can be!
We want our little ones to know in their gut that there is nothing they can’t do and to empower them in every way, right PEOPLE.com? Of course, nothing matters more than doing it on a daily basis on the home front, but it has become important to me lately to see the world together and take Easton out of her comfort zone by opening up her heart and imagination with travel.
I travel a lot for work but that doesn’t really count. It’s a far cry from actually taking a trip with your child that’s uninterrupted by work, stress and other demands. I remember how pivotal it was for me when my dad took me to Japan and when my mother took me with her to Greece. It’s an eye-opener for a kid to buckle in and go see just how big the world is, and nothing creates more love and connection when we’re able to focus on those we love without distraction from the grind.
I recently had been traveling for work in Canada and we had been missing each other an awful lot. It felt like it was the perfect time to squeeze a little alone time in with Easton before the holidays, which we’d be sharing with all our family soon enough. So at the last minute, I decided to take her to Iceland, a place we’d both been curious about from the Icelandic ponies to the Blue Lagoon and all that ice in between. And it was EPIC!
So this mother-daughter duo jumped on a cheap flight to Reykjavik for four days and I’m so glad we did, creating a memory, taking a risk together and opening our minds to other places, people and cultures. I am happy to share our Icelandic adventure with you!
Our four days were essentially one massive road trip. We spent every night at a different hotel and went on a journey I hope Easton never forgets. These types of trips have been especially bonding for Easton and me, and we’ve grown to love our road trips as a way to connect, whether in the U.S. or internationally.
When we landed, we took off in a rental car at 5 a.m. in the dark of night to drive the Golden Circle and see the Gulfoss waterfall at sunrise and the local geysers nearby.
Coming from Los Angeles, it all felt a bit like we had been dropped into The Lord of the Rings. It’s almost like doing Outward Bound, going to Iceland, and the road-tripping feels more like off-roading in the movie Mad Max: Fury Road!
And we eventually did that, too: the real deal off-roading on day three, when we spent five hours driving the whole southern coast of Iceland. Weaving our way down a two-lane road, we finally ended up at a hotel that felt more like a place National Geographic photographers thaw out for the night before they go photograph the 850-year-old glacier we explored the following day. Yes!
And by explore a glacier, I mean we actually descended down a staircase of ice steps, holding on to ropes, with headgear, into an actual ice cave. This adventure could grow hair on the chest of any man. You strap on ice picks for shoes called crampons and trek across the 100-mile glacier that is literally 850 years old. We only walked a few miles but the glacier is massive!
Not only had I taken Easton out of her environment, which was a gift, but I also showed her an empowered Mommy who was like Indiana Jones, which I think can impact a daughter forever. That five-hour Mad Max road trip was treacherous, gorgeous and magical as we barreled through buckets of rain and heavy wind to see all the waterfalls (it’s literally the land of waterfalls) and the black sand beach in Vík, with its geologically amazing cliff of basalt columns that is out of this world, PEOPLE.com.
It was all a mind-bending experience — and we didn’t do it fancy, either. We did it economically as we slid it into the schedule before Thanksgiving, and with the holidays upon us, we had to budget. But it was worth every penny to see Easton’s face light up while her mama unfurled adventure after adventure.
I highly doubt, after this type of trip, that my daughter will ever be able to get away with saying, “I can’t do that,” or, “That’s too hard.” This trip tested our limits and helped us both build a little bit of character. Children never seem to forget trips they took with their parents — just like adults treasure those experiences too, but we also become stronger by seeing those we love exhibit strength and bravery in the moment. The trip was gritty and exciting and we were tested, which I hope will be a memory for Easton to draw upon later when she’s challenged.
As an aside, Iceland is so different from any place I’ve ever been, with vast, open landscapes. Few trees remain because the Vikings took them all for ships, and supposedly those trolls we saw in the movie Frozen really do exist there. So that was pretty cool too!
We ended our trip by going at 8 a.m., when it was still twilight (the sun is only out this time of year for about six hours), on a final road trip to the Blue Lagoon. And it is all that and a bag of chips! We soaked in the hot water and ice-cold air for about an hour, then took off for the airport.
The glacier, the waterfalls and that black-sand beach were things I’d never seen before, and now our vocabulary for our life experience is more rich, diverse and colorful. Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore! It’s a wild, raw and mystical-looking country, and because the world is so huge, I can’t say if I’ll ever get to return — but I will never forget it. It was a trip that had girl power written all over it!
We must expose our children to how big, beautiful and diverse the world is so that their minds are big, beautiful and open to others, and show them how powerful they are so that they know they don’t have limitations.
I hope that Easton (as I’m sure you hope your children are) is brave, powerful, curious and open-minded to this big world we live in, and knows she is capable of anything. I hope this trip gave her a greater sense of that.
The only thing that didn’t work out were the Northern Lights, but there’s always next time …