My Life Immersed in The Sharing Economy

We are here in Iceland because we are volunteering for a non-profit, for the summer. But we are also living in the most ‘Sharing’ conditions that I’ve personally experienced, even with our shared house in London (and five-six roommates at a time). Iceland is well-suited to the sharing economy that has been taking off for a few years. It makes sense because we are volunteering, but we seem to have veered off into a communal existence for this summer in Iceland.

We share:

  • Rides. Iceland is well-known for hitchhiking, but we also share rides with those who live on our camp if someone happens to be going into town.
  • Food. We eat leftovers from the summer camps that come to stay and also have communal meals with the others volunteering and working on the campsite.
  • Cars. There’s a single Jeep that we share with those who have a driver’s license.
  • Bikes. Our main transportation to and from work, from a big shipping container filled with bikes in various states of repair.
  • A single washing machine. It’s busy.
  • Accommodation. At some point, the house we’re borrowing from the power company might have as many as ten people staying in it.
  • A pet? The cat now knows me as the Food Lady, since I feed her often.
  • Clothes. Our staff uniforms are in a neat stack in the basement, and we share the fleeces and vests for leading programs.
  • Climbing equipment, archery stuff, and various kinds of activities on site.
  • A few very overworked routers.
  • Skills.
  • Two Kitchens.
  • Campfires.
  • The showers on campsite, which are geothermally heated and AWESOME.

We don’t share:

  • Toothbrushes.
  • Bedclothes. Seriously, me and Russ have separate duvets in the Icelandic tradition.
  • Underwear.
  • Plates.
  • Socks.
  • Contact lenses.
  • Secrets.

It’s working really well for us, actually. Due to traveling for several years on end and having few personal possessions, the ability to have access to a car or rides basically whenever needed is great. Our room and board are paid for in hours spent working, and we are able to spend next to nothing while on site. I took out cash at the ATM in the airport three weeks ago and I still haven’t run out, even with our big trip to the Westfjords.

Life in the Sharing Econom requires a lot of communication and a bit of patience, but it can work well even among strangers. We’re adjusting well and it might eventually be hard to go back to a more individualistic way of doing things.

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