Today I return to Scotland. It’s been seven long months since I returned home from my last trip, and yet those months have, paradoxically, gone by quite quickly. Still, now I’m in the air: Milwaukee-Newark-Edinburgh.
I have three weeks to crawl up the navel of Scotland, from Edinburgh to Perthshire to Speyside to Easter Ross to Orkney, and I’m with my dad who just so happens to be a fellow Scotophile (Caledonophile?). The stops on this trip are some of my favorites in all of Scotland and I’m going at the best time of year (regarding light, weather, and tourists). There will be rain. There’s always rain. But I’m ready to see Scotland again. The three trips I took last year were so close to each other that I was gone for 11 of 27 weeks from March through mid-September. The winter break has rejuvenated me.
I become a ball of nerves leading up to a trip, especially Traveling Savage trips when I’m usually traveling solo. I don’t know if this comes through in my writing – maybe it shouldn’t – but it’s a part of the adventure. Too many other travel blogs I read seem like one big orgasm of hedonism, but my experience has never been that way. It’s always complicated with highs and lows and mental struggles. The nerves have been ratcheted down for this trip, though, since I won’t be traveling alone.
Yes, despite the awesomeness of what I have planned, the beauty of Scotland, and the fact I’m not traveling alone, I still miss Sarah when I’m away. What can I say but that I found the right one and I don’t like leaving her behind. Additionally, at this point I don’t have another trip to Scotland planned for this year so I’m not sure when I will return.
For my liver. By last count I have 15 distillery visits scheduled not including the five-day whisky festival of Bacchanalian debauchery up in Speyside. Then there are the breweries. I think there should be some kind of rebate program whereby you can submit all the corks from your empty bottles of Scotch to the Scotch Whisky Association and in return they send you a new liver. Or I could drink less, but…nah.
This will be the lasting feeling when I’m old and gray, though it’s quiet and easily missed in the hubbub of excitement and anxiety now. Scotland is my Elysium and this trip marks my eighth visit in nine years. I’m grateful for first world opportunities, for the chance to pursue a dream even though it might elude me, for Sarah’s endless love and support. It’s all very humbling and character changing.
So off we go to Caledonia. To Pictland. To Alba. To Scotland. Stick around, why don’t you?
Plans & Happenings
While I’m away in Scotland my posts will be less topic focused and more in-the-moment slices of life on the road, though I will continue to do Picture This on Fridays. Please become a fan of Traveling Savage on Facebook and follow along there as I will certainly post more frequent status updates and other Facebook-only content like photos of the day and notes.
What else is happening? Right now this trip is all I’m thinking about!
If nothing else, travel removes us from our bubbles of comfort, familiarity, and safety. Though there are nerves and anxiety as that bubble pops, I’ve found that invigoration is always on the other side. I just have to make it through. And that always cheers me up.