Trial By Fire

Clearly by my last post, you all know I certainly felt in over my head upon arrival. And it was undoubtedly difficult, especially as someone who doesn’t know how to pace herself or when to quit. I had also forgotten I can experience things like homesickness and loneliness, for all my big talk about about traveling solo. Despite all that, after getting to know my host and hostess better—and realizing just how kind they are—I’ve hit my pace and am well-poised to enjoy the rest of this experience.

And what an experience it is! The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Fest is taking place this weekend, and my hostess and I went to a ceilidh to celebrate. I feel like Lydia Bennet when I say I danced every dance!

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Travail

The difficult moment as a travel writer: Do I write about the negatives?

Yes, travel is wonderful. It opens you up to all new experiences and horizons and ideas and people. But it’s difficult—no coincidence the root of travel is the same as that for travail—and how much of that should I write about?

But you see, this trip is nothing like what I expected.

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Traveling With Others

I am very, very hesitant to travel with others. So many of my travels have been alone, which I’ve loved. When something goes wrong (because things always go wrong when I travel), I don’t have to worry about anyone else. I can go out and meet new people when I need a friend, but I can always get away when I need to be alone. Traveling with someone else can be terrifying.

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Solo on the west coast of Scotland.

And yet I’ve broken this rule several times. Continue reading

Airplanes and Emails and Sheep, Oh My!

If you haven’t seen me in person for a few days, here’s the look that’s been pretty much plastered on my face this whole time:

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This expression, but hopefully less … red. Excuse the photo quality.

Today I took the final step of booking my flights, so it’s official and I can finally announce it: I’m WWOOFing in Scotland this spring!

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Packing Toiletries

Something you should probably all know about me now before we move on any further in this blogger-reader relationship is that I hate packing.

I mean really hate it.

If I could go around the world with nothing but a passport in my pocket, I would, but I also like to have things like clothes and a camera on hand. Enter: lists. Specifically, my packing list, which I created in a .txt file in high school and have been adding to ever since, so now it’s a fairly comprehensive look at what I’ll need for any given journey. Thanks to that list, I can achieve results like this:

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Look! The zippers all close!

But I still hate packing … especially toiletries.

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Travel Recollections: Kids on a Plane

Today’s post is an early draft of a travel recollection I’m still wrapping my brain around a year and a half later. Forgive disorganization or rambling; just think of it as seeing into a writer’s brain a little bit before usual.


 

When you see an annoying kid waiting for your flight, never inwardly pity the person who’ll be stuck next to him at 36,000 feet. Don’t tempt fate. You’re just asking for it. You know it’ll just end up being yourself.

When I found my seat on the Friday-morning flight back to Madison and saw it was the aisle companion to the kid’s window seat, and when I saw that his dad sat in the row ahead of us with no intention of moving closer to his son, I buckled my seatbelt with more force than was necessary. I often like to be left alone in flight, but today of all days, I truly needed the solitude. It would figure I get stuck beside the annoying kid. Continue reading

My Next Trip

Every trip needs to have its seed of an idea. Early last summer, it was when I told my officemate, “I think I want to invite my BFF to go to Scotland with me,” and my officemate said, “If you do, you should totally take a bike trip through the Highlands.”

Three months later, my BFF and I were slogging our bikes up hill and dale through Scottish downpours for a week. And we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

The day I learned my rain jacket isn't waterproof.

The day I learned my rain jacket isn’t waterproof.

Today I started to really think about my next Big Trip. Continue reading

A Capitol Museum

Along with a tour of the capitol building, I also wanted to visit St. Patrick’s, the State Museum, and the State Library. Unfortunately, I have now learned never to trust anything the internet claims about opening hours in the capital of the Commonwealth, because when I went to the library on Saturday morning, I couldn’t get in. But St. Patrick’s was beautiful, and the museum was well worth the price of admission (which was $6 with my AAA discount).

The lady at the desk told me to start at the top of the museum where the animals and dinosaurs are because they’re everyone’s favorites, and I smiled politely but thought, “That sounds kind of boring.” Instead, I turned absolutely 6 years old when I walked into the room, which was quiet, empty, and alive. I was sure everything I saw was going to follow me around and attack the moment I turned my back.

Augh! The dinosaur is going to get me! It's aliiiiive!

Augh! The dinosaur is going to get me! It’s aliiiiive!

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