As I chased childhood memories of a white sandy cove on Scotland's west coast, a girl of around seven danced in the waves beside me on the beach. Flapping her arms with a pure wide smile, she looked as swell as a gull in the March sun. As I continued along the sand dunes, tap dancing to some French jazz tune, I felt like I was that little girl.
Alone and free, I was glad to be home from Seoul for a few weeks, one of the most crowded cities on Earth, where I had often felt lost amongst the crush of people, the skyscrapers and loudspeakers.
Home, Aberdeenshire, castles, tearooms, whisky distilleries. Oppressive in its own way, I borrowed mum's car and drove as far as I could go, to the West coast of Scotland, and parked on a silent coastal road somewhere near Arisaig.
Along the coast lay crumpled glens the colour of my grandpa's brown old cords. The chimneys of a few white crofts smoked in the cloudless blue sky. I thought of stoic women rocking alone by the peat fire, looking out at afternoon trees as the timeless sea sparkled with the faded reflection of a million stars.
For an hour or so I ran along bay after bay, crunching seashells to white powder under my bare feet, feeling glad as I scrambled over wet rocks and peaty bogs, kicking sand into the brightness of the sun and the twinkling sea.
Soft sand slipped beneath my feet and Marram grass flicked my knees, carrying me closer to the wild islands traced blue across the pale sea. At a perfect little beach I stopped and sat by the salty sigh of the sea, hugging my knees in the clean cotton breeze.
A single seagull soared across the water, Marram grass glinted and danced in the clear light as the sun slipped below the islands across the ancient bay. After three years running from country to country I was finally home. As the crescendo of clapping waves washed over me I felt it, totally at peace with the stars, the silence and the sea.