Photo courtesy alosha 26
Editor’s Note: This was written last week while on my trip through the UK. This is being posted a week after it was written, upon returning home.
I am writing this while sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Stirling, Scotland (actually I am sitting at the cafe on the right side of the street just past the pink banner in the picture). The scene around me is exactly how I pictured a European city cafe would look and feel. Narrow streets filled with shops housed in ancient buildings. This trip has been a whirlwind of sites and history.
In nine days, I’ll have traveled to eight different cities. All of them with histories dating back to the 1300s and some even older.
Here’s a brief log of our journey through Scotland and the UK. Flew into London where I got a 24-hour plunge to see as much as I could. Hopped on the train and traveled to Edinburgh. Then went to Newtongrange (my father’s hometown as a child), St. Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow, York, and Manchester. We are traveling by train and bus so I’ll get to see a lot of the countryside.
As part of this excursion, I have been trying to be more present throughout the journey.
I don’t know if you struggle with this, but there are times when I travel that I get too caught up in the plans or the next leg of the journey that I miss the current scene surrounding me. I focus on the itinerary or long for the luxuries of home or something else other than experiencing the beautiful world out there.
The problem with this is you miss the world around you. This trip, I’ve made a conscious effort to remain more present. Simply telling myself to be present has helped thus far. The magnitude of the trip has also helped. This is a once in a lifetime type of trip. Traveling with my father in our family’s homeland. It doesn’t get much better.
During this trip I find myself getting lost in the history of my family and a country.
First, Scotland is beautiful. We are spending most of our time just south of the highlands. The weather is cool and moist. The whole country is green and lush. And people are warm and friendly.
Second, since I’m on this journey with my father, I have the chance to learn a great deal more about him and our family. This is probably the most extended period of time I have spent with my dad in my life. With many opportunities to talk over coffee or a pint of the local ale, I get to hear about his childhood, his dreams, and his thoughts about different life experiences. It’s time that can not be replaced.
I will write more about this trip in the coming weeks, after some time of reflection and recuperation. Stay tuned.