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Wish Nation

Of Ice Hotels and Scandinavia

Ice Hotel Cody Wish
On one trip the bookstore many years ago, I purchased “1000 Places to See Before You Die” and proceeded to carry it around with me to different locations for days despite the fact that it’s 1,200 pages long.

Of all the places that author Patricia Schultz recommends the reader visit, the one that stayed with me even as I relegated the book to the floor of my mother’s Honda was an ice hotel in Iceland.

Years later, my father and I decided to travel to Norway while I was studying abroad in England. We took a cruise up the coast line to the arctic and had the opportunity to visit an ice hotel in Kirkenes. It was a surreal experience, seeing in real life what I had only imagined from the pages of a travel book. 

Each room in the ice hotel had a different fairy tale inspired sculpture built into the wall and multicolored lights illuminating the space. The rooms were detailed works of art, made all the more impressive because of the inevitability of melting. Anyone staying in the rooms had to suit up in top-of-the-line warm clothing and sleep in the cushiest sleeping bags I have ever seen.

Some of the wishes I connect with the most are the wishes to travel to foreign places. There is nothing quite like envisioning a faraway destination and then seeing it exist in real time. 

Wish kid Cody got to visit an ice hotel, too, and from the pictures of his adventure in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, it seems like it was just as eerily fascinating an experience as mine. He had much better reasons for choosing to travel to an ice hotel than I did: an interest in architecture, a Swedish pen pal and a love for cold weather.

Cody’s wish reminds me of a theme I’ve noticed lately in wish stories – how the small details can sometimes become far more memorable than the overarching concept of the original wish. Cody’s experience ranged from trying lingonberry juice and sleeping under reindeer fur to reconnecting with his pen pal. The details become the memories to look back on in later years. 

Wishes can take a child to uncommon, distant locations or give them the tools to create new memories where they are. Read more about wishes to travel to places like Australia and Italy


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Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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