I settle down in the stiff blue train seat headed south to Perth and stare in awe at the book placed like the crown jewels in my lap. It is The Outlandish Companion Volume One, and nestled upon the first page lays the signature of THE Diana Gabaldon.
I glided out of the coach bus to meet the soft earth at my feet. Surrounding me were walls of ancient stone with green fields that went on for miles. To be honest I was not happy about my location. Our destination for the time was to visit the grave of Rob Roy, a Scottish Robin Hood-like figure.
I’ve found a new version of myself here in Scotland. And while I’ve been trying different and new things, and seeing a different world, there is a lot about this beautiful country that brings me back home.
I spent my evening hours at the River House restaurant with my classmates, officially ordering my first alcoholic beverage. I felt overwhelmed by the elaborate names blended onto the pages of the menu, and it was a few minutes before I finally decided on a strawberry Bellini cocktail.
As a class, we’re about to board a plane for Scotland, and all I hear in my head is the sweet singing voice of country legend Willie Nelson. At this moment, I think I have a good idea what to expect because I have been on this road before.
Walking through the Culloden Battlefield, I felt somewhat out of place. Here I was in 2017, pulling up on a bus, camera in hand. I was a tourist. It is hard for me to completely understand the deep meaning this place holds for Highlanders.
The joy and exhilaration of traveling is something to be appreciated. Over the past couple of days as I have traveled through the vast and glorious mountains and valleys of Scotland, there is one spot that has made the most memorable impression of serenity.
I personally do not consider myself an especially spiritual person. I’ve never associated myself with any particular religion, never been able to disconnect my mind enough to accept the things I cannot see or touch.
As I trudged up the hill, I cursed myself for not taking the advice that so many others took. I can reproduce the clear image of my professor saying, “start hiking now and your body will thank you.” He was not wrong, but with the William Wallace Monument in sight, I took a deep breath and pressed on.
Our first stop was Stirling Castle, which I was beyond pumped for. As we got closer I started to finally wake up. My adrenaline started to kick in from seeing a new place in a whole new country, and it was a castle, so who wouldn’t be excited?