Travel Diary - May 7th, 2010
"Right now I am somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean . . . I flew from Detroit to Chicago this afternoon and it's now 2:27 AM Chicago time, and it is 8:29 AM London time . . .
Travel time to London: 2 hours and 1 minute. Time is such a weird concept to me right now.
My mind still can't completely comprehend the fact that a plane, a piece of steel made my humans, is taking me to a completely different country, landscape, culture, and time. I'm traveling in a way that I have never experienced before as this is my first time flying to the UK. It probably won't stink in that I'm actually in Europe until we land and I start to take it all in.
Note to Self - Within the first 24 hours of landing:
- See a man in a kilt
- Hear some Scottish accents
- Locate a red phone booth
- Get some European coin
. . . All these things should make the mental puzzle pieces much clearer."
". . .
I wonder if when I look back on this adventure later in life, I will feel like my time here was when I felt most alive. The free, adventurous, and independent spirit in me right now thinks the odds are good that this trip is going to be amazing and life changing!
I wonder if it'll all seem like a dream someday, like I didn't really step foot on the land of my distant ancestors. . . Like maybe I just dreamed that I saw the rolling green hills and only heard the sounds of bagpipes in my mind's eye (ear?) alone. (Case in point as to why I invested in you, travel journal - write it down!)
My heart is so full of anticipation and excitement and, to quote Alice in Wonderland, I am determined to keep my "mostest" alive for as long as possible! I can't help but feel a sense of awe that I am even on this plane right now, and I am so thankful that God lead me down this path. I worked a lot of overtime and had a lot of sleepless nights to save for this trip on top of my college classes, but still, I don't feel worthy. And I wish there was something I could do to reciprocate just how much humbleness I have inside me and the love that I have for God and his goodness. I fear I can only make small gestures, though, in comparison to His influence and blessings in my life.
Note to Self - Do more unexpected acts of kindness."
". . .
People are such interesting creatures. I am sitting next to a young man who has a distinctly British accent (and who chuckled at my American pronunciation of Glasgow earlier - it was a total Hermione Granger correction moment!). Even though I am not interested in or attracted to him, every time he speaks my ears smile. I wonder if my American / Midwestern accent is as recognizable and as strange or alluring to him? He tells me about his job in London and I sort of loose focus of what he's actually saying as his words seem to bend and shape themselves differently over his lips, through his teeth, and from his throat in a way that mine never could. I'm fascinated . . . And now need to pull my ears back in to avoid sounding too creepy here! Let me just look away and pretend to re-read my connecting flight information.
. . .
It's 9 AM London time, we are still in the air, but the ladies of the aisles are passing out what I hope is fresh, soft bread for a light breakfast snack . . . I can only hope for so much on a plane, right?!
Travel time to London: 1 hour and 32 minutes . . ."
Travel Diary - May 7th, 2010 at around 10 PM
"We have finally left London and flew into Glasgow on a pretty small plane at around 1:40 PM Scotland time. We are staying in a very quaint countryside bed and breakfast that seems to be located so out of the way that it would be impractical for business! But it is a cute stone house with a tiny little bar packed with what I assume to be locals. (Checking off my "within 24 hours list quickly" lol)
As we began our decent into Glasgow, I looked out the small little window on the plane. What I saw literally made me stop and stare as my iPod played a perfectly timed Scottish score in my ears. I felt as if I was looking at a different time, a completely different time, when people like Jane Austin would have been inspired to write about old world things like square farmhouses surrounded by herds of free roaming sheep and where mallard ducks floated lazily on ponds. I almost expected to see Elizabeth Bennet swinging from a tree or chasing her sisters among the endless green fields."
". . .
Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, but I feel like it has a very homey feel to it; very quaint and put together. The people I've met so far seem to have an incredible tenacity for helping others (especially us clueless American-types) and they all seem to have such a pride in their homeland. Which is also my original homeland thanks to my ancestors on my maternal grandmother's side of the family.
I keep thinking about her, today, my grandma Jean. I keep thinking about how I wish she could be here with me and we could explore this place together. I wonder about what she might tell me. What would she find interesting? Would she have stories from her family about their life here in Scotland?"
Travel Diary - May 8th, 2010
sometime after 7 PM
"We toured the city (downtown) of Glasgow all day today. The bus drove us around to different parts of the city from the Clyde River to the Cathedral to George Square. The buildings are all very victorian; it's all so beautiful and it makes me want to explore for hours on foot with my camera in hand. Alas, the group only has so much time to see different spots.
Note to Self - Come back and explore for hours.
Even the residential homes are a reflection of the old Scotland where Lords and society beauties spent their days. I want to stay longer. Get a cool period house that looks like it has been transported through the realms of time and just live here for a while. I just want to take in the lifestyle for a year or 5.
I've also noticed that all the people seem to have a very unique fashion style. Someone could probably walk down the streets of the shopping district in a high fashion haute couture get-up and fit right in. Everyone seems so fashion forward, yet somehow relaxed. I felt too plain in my jeans, walking shoes, and tan tee with my hair down and blowing everywhere in the cool breeze. To my credit, however, I am a traveler . . . And my crazy curly hair was 80s size by the end of the day so maybe I looked unique in my own way . . .
Another funny thing is that the weather has been so nice; warm, sunny with a few clouds, and just the right amount of wind. I packed a raincoat, a mini umbrella, and it took me FOREVER to fit my forest green boots ("Wellers" as they call them here) into my suitcase in the anticipation that it was going to be misty and a bit chilly for the whole trip. Apparently, it is cold, rainy, and icky back home in Michigan right now (the irony is not lost on me).
. . .
Tomorrow we are venturing into the Highlands (insert crazy excited dance here!) and will be hiking through some of the picturesque scenery."
Travel Diary - Edinburgh, Scotland
"We are in Edinburgh and it rained today - first time all trip long! Today, I ducked in from the rain and sat at this cute little coffee shop called The Elephant House Cafe. While I sipped hot coffee, I felt a sense of magic. ⠀
The Elephant House was actually made famous as a place of inspiration for the writer J.K.Rowling who sat writing much of her early Harry Potter novels in the back room overlooking the Edinburgh Castle! Seeing this view for myself, I wondered how anyone could NOT believe in magic while looking at a place like this!"
". . .
While I was growing up, I was the weirdo who loved to go to the library on the weekends (and on my high school lunch break). We didn't have a lot of money, but reading books from the library is free and, thus, books and storytelling became this addiction for me. Books were my constant inspiration and source of adventure; they were and are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient teachers. ⠀
While sitting in this coffee shop in Scotland, a place where one of my favorite stories was imagined, I felt an overwhelming sense of magic because a good book makes you want to live in the story. A book is a door that you open and step through. I felt like I could get lost in a world made of books, coffee, and rainy days. I think Roald Dahl said it best when he said, "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."⠀
After finishing my coffee and dashing back out into the rain, I planned to continue to discover magic in the everyday moments and in the photographic stories that I get to tell!"
. . . That was the end of my Travel Diary entries for my trip!
The rest of my time in Scotland was documented mostly through the photographs I captured. I brought along with me my old film camera to document things in black and white, and I also captured some wanderlust-inducing images on my first digital camera. I saw everything from towering mountains (complete with a bagpiper dressed to the nines) to Loch Ness to a working sheep farm to small sea-side towns to wooly Highland cows (or "coos" as it is pronounced there!) before we ended the trip in London.
I sometimes wish I had stuck with writing down the events of each day throughout the entire trip, but at the same time I remember being so wiped out from exploring all day that as soon as my head hit pillow, I was out.
I have made a pack with myself going forward that I will write down more of my thoughts when I travel because it's been so fun looking back at this time in my life and re-reading how my mind narrated the adventure! This travel journal along with all the photographs I captured will be something I always cherish, and I hope you will consider documenting your travels, even in a small way, the next time you head out on an adventure! I think in 40 years, it will be so amazing to look back on life and relive and share these memories again!
Photographer: Courtney Carolyn Photography
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