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Out of the Door and Down to the Street All Alone


UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 11 April 2014 | Views [203] | Scholarship Entry

We bought the plane tickets before the house was on the market. The beginning of a great adventure (hums Lou Reed).

I had to call my friends, almost to apologise for what we had done. We had already decided to go, and it had been like a month and a half, and we hadn't done anything about it up until then. So that night I clicked to confirm the flights to EDI. All-in!

The house closed on the day before we left for the UK. We partied in our empty house that Thursday, our stuff had shipped the week before. I will always remember the last night in the El Segundo Holiday Inn in a big-ass suite with lots of friends and pizza. We sold the car that we drove to the hotel to Minh and Suzie. It felt like that scene from the new Star Trek movie where James T. Kirk tossed his motorcycle keys to the guy as he boarded the shuttle for Star Fleet. We bought a car the week before we got there, sight unseen, on recommendation from a friend. Never do that!

In-country, the cobble stone streets make a hum under the car tires; and the dangers come from the right, not the left, when you step-off the curb. There was a culture shock at first that left me sort-of punch-drunk: flavours, smells, (it seemed like there were onions in everything and that was OK), colours (I never saw so many hetero guys in Salmon dress shirts!).Suggestions are actually requests, and irony is a highly valued form of wit. Little details, like looking at the numbers on the coins to see what you are paying, wear you down on those first days. But like a ski-jumper, you just lean-into that air and keep steady and land it, right.

I learned to feign hardness of hearing to get a Scott to repeat his words, unintelligible depending on where his accent is from. But this kid from New York must have had a bunch of Scottish immigrants for neighbours, because the humour fits me like a glove. I knew we'd be alright.

So we began to venture-out, block-by block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood, town-by-town, searching for the best coffee and the finest fish & chips; in search of the mythical haggis.

I have never yet reached a saturation point. Every city, every town, and in each village (whether there is a castle or a tower or just a dinky monument, or a store boasting the best ______ in Scotland) brings adventure and every person in every place, is a wealth of insight into this short life as we circle the sun.

Scotland has been my reward for all the challenging people I have put up with throughout my life...

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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