We left Scotland on Saturday and headed to Dublin to start off our week in Ireland, the longest stay in a country we've had yet. It's taken me a while to find the time or the will to write about it at all. We spent four days in Scotland between Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow. While the experience itself was fantastic and all a part of what travel and life have to offer, it wasn't necessarily the most uplifting.
The Scottish countryside itself was quite dreary - not to say depressing, because it wasn't. It was beautiful in its own way, much like a rainy day or a mountain being engulfed in misty clouds. It was beautiful but also painful. While I write this post from a train rolling through the Irish country at dawn it's easy to see how the cheerful, bright side of life is easier to digest. My experience in Scotland was nothing like what I had expected. I imagined meeting with an old friend was surely going to enliven the entire trip and if anything be one of the best parts. Instead it turned out to be a very insightful mirror into the past. A past that can no longer be attached to or tethered to my present. A sadness from the past I am very, very, happy to leave behind.
Stirling, where we spent most of our time is a tiny college town, nestled between Edinburgh to the East and Glasgow to the West, with a very interesting air. As soon as we arrived both Lauren and I picked up on it. It made me feel like I was a child again growing up in Victoria under a thick cloud cover - anxious and nervous. The entire city seemed to be vibrating on this level, full of a mostly student population which, by default means an anxious population. While it was an adorable little town it just felt... uncomfortable. In contrast to Alesund which had absolutely nothing happening but was alive and breathing at a slow and comfortable pace, this felt heavy.
So instead of being an invigorating experience, it was a blood boiling realization of growth. What an intense way to digest the fact you are no longer the person you were in a place and time. Thankfully it was an example of growth toward the positive and not the negative. Our very last night we spent in Edinburgh being serenaded by our hostel's live band. A mix of soulful Zeppelin, Little Richard and Kanye West covers had both Lauren and myself tapping our feet and smiling. Lauren fell in love that night and a hilarious and drunken Swansean dad tried to sell me on his 18 year old son, after explaining that it was very kind of him but the age gap is a definite no for me, he continued on to say "He looks just like David Beckham..plays for Swansea City FC" turns out he has two other sons he was happy to try and pawn off to both myself and Lauren. We joked a ton with him and had a lovely time. Already things were turning around as we both felt some more levity and room to breathe, maybe the gin helped but I'm no scientist. The end was near as we drank, laughed and looked forward to our flight out in the morning.
Before leaving for the airport in the morning we went for a small walkabout on Arthur's Seat which is a beautiful park in Edinburgh with amazing hills. Even if we couldn't explore it as much as we wanted to it was a welcome breath of fresh air and open space. Unfortunately it was a heavy week and it shook me up a bit during the trip, I needed a couple days of recovery once we arrived in to Dublin. Instead of exploring the city as much as I would have liked to I spent some time running and relaxing. I made Dublin more of a rest stop and place to ground myself in my actual reality and leave the travel rhythm behind. Behind, past, long ago, exactly where all of that weight and energy belongs.
We are just at the beginning of our time in Ireland, it will need a massive post of it's own at the end of the week. So far the energy in Ireland has been light and healing. It has been absolutely incredible and continues to blow me away every day.
I'll leave you with the sunrise I watched while writing this post.