The Time I Peed My Pants in Iceland

At the ripe ol’ age of 30 something, I peed my pants.  There; I said it. It’s embarrassing, but it happened. How did it happen you ask?

I was on day 4 of driving the Ring Road of Iceland solo and didn’t realize how aggressive my itinerary was for the day.

Most of Iceland is remote with few villages, so it’s not always convenient to stop and pee like a civilized adult if you’re out in the countryside. Thus far, though, I had managed without issue.

Being an avid camper, I’m familiar with having to handle my business in the wilderness, but this was different. The day’s scenery took a turn away from the rolling lava hills I’d been seeing the first few days, to flat low grasslands. And it was busy season for Icelandic tourists.

I turned off the main highway headed for Hvitserkur, a black beach with a unique natural structure in the water. I didn’t realize the beach was over an hour away from the main road and that the road to it would be vacant.

Image of Hvitserkur during low tide

The road to Hvitserkur was a dirt one, causing plenty of bumps as it wound around the hills and cliffs of the fjord.  The route was beautiful. It was also a single lane shared by vehicles traveling each direction.

There was no way to pull over without partially blocking the single lane to traffic and the scenery provided short grass or steep cliffs.

While I was remote from civilization, the frequency of vehicles traveling to and from the rock formation was just enough to ensure someone would see me if I pulled over. Even if only for :30.

Then there were the cliffs preventing me from pulling over. There was no place to relieve myself without stopping in the middle of the road.

No matter how much I wanted to, pulling over was not an option.

There weren’t any restrooms or building back along the main route either. I hadn’t seen a public building in nearly two hours. It was getting urgent.

I decide to push my bladder to the max and carry on in hopes there’d be a restroom at my destination.

I finally arrive and, alas, there are no restrooms. There was, however, a sign saying restrooms were along the route a few miles back.

I’ve had to pee for over an hour now and urgency had passed 20 minutes ago. How did I miss restrooms up the road?

No time. Perhaps, if I head to the beach I can find a spot?

Reaching the amazing rock formation I was here to see required traveling from my uphill location down to the black sand beach.

Hvirstirkur in my sights
The view of Hvitserkur from atop the cliff

There were two ways down the cliff, either the 2-mile walking path that gradually led you down, or straight down.

My bladder was short on time, and I was watching a few people climb up one area of the cliff, so I decided to go down the quick- and not so easy way: straight down the cliff.

It was worth it! The formations, the beach, and the panoramic view were all stunning. I managed to sneak in a few pics without tourists, too.

But oh, still no place to pee…

I looked around for a place to hide and do my business, but alas. The open beach front had too many visitors. I could see for miles in every direction- and so could they.

I took my photos, took a breath of fresh air, and now it was time to get back up that hill and find that mysterious bathroom!

Climb the Cliff
View of the cliff I had to climb from Hvitserkur

Going down the cliff was easier than going back up. Both hands, and knees were into the side of the hill as I pulled myself up. Step by step I pull.

I made my final lifts then ran to the car.

There was only one building back along the route, a hostel.

Iceland Restrooms
Restrooms along the route near hvitserkur

As I pulled into the parking lot and identified the restrooms the countdown was over. I was too late. My bladder let go. The moment of joy and desperation were enough for me to pee my pants.

I ran to the restroom to finish, but it had happened. My pants were wet.

I stood there, a 33 year old woman. Plenty of tourists from all walks of life were there by then, too. The embarrassment was almost so great, that I forgot my sense of relief.

Thankfully, all my clothes were with me so I strutted back to the car to grab fresh clothes. (Girl’s gotta walk it off!) I returned to the stalls and change.

A wave of relief comes over me. It was all over.

Or so I thought…

As I go to exit the restroom, the stall door jams.

I can’t get out. I’m locked in.

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