“There will be no lovely luxurious time while the fizzing drink cures the head and the coffee sends out soothing noises and smells from the percolator.” – Maeve Binchy, Whitehorn Woods
I am now about halfway through the telling of this particular adventure and I thought I would take this post to pause for a moment – a luxury one does not often have on a backpacking trip, no matter how conscious one attempts to be to the need to rest and recover.
“It’s possible that a hidden symmetry is often at work as we stumble our way through life.” – Elizabeth Hay, Alone in the Classroom
There are so many things about life that never cease to amaze. It feels like only yesterday I was last here, stumbling my way through a maze of past feelings and thoughts to try and convey them intelligibly to those who choose to read my words. And yet, here we are more than a year later and I am finally returning to the written word. What a year it has been.
“I picked up The Hobbit. And I began to read. I was swept off to a green, green Shire in a far, far land, and my soul has never returned. I suppose it never will.”
As with everywhere else Kristen and I visited, I could write so much more on the adventures we encountered in Inverness. Considering how long it’s already taken me to tell this story, however, I think it’s best to move on.
My final parting thought about Inverness would be my remaining confusion surrounding the fact that we didn’t visit the fields of Cullodan while there – tantalizingly close as they were. Instead we took a bus out to a small village of no repute and traipsed up to some anonymous farmer’s field for a picnic and reading session in the grass.
I’ve spent a surprising amount of time in the intervening almost two years thinking about why I didn’t insist on a visit. Finally, two Outlander books later, I think I know why. It’s going to sound strange, maybe even ludicrous to some, but here goes. Continue reading “Jacobite Middle Earth”→
“Moments like this act as magical interludes, placing our hearts at the edge of our souls: fleetingly, yet intensely, a fragment of eternity has come to enrich time.” – Muriel Barbery
I’m going to use this post to weigh in on a subject that anyone who travels a decent amount seems to have a very strong opinion on: Whether running in to fellow-countrymen while abroad is good or bad.
First of all, I would like to question why this is even a debate. Unless you are from the tiniest village on the tiniest island in the middle of the Pacific from which no one ever leaves – you will probably run into at least one person from your home country at some point in your travels.
If your reaction to this inevitable encounter is to scream and run in the opposite direction, well…that’s a bit dramatic.
– Latin phrase commonly attributed to Julius Caesar
Photo Credit: Kristen
Well, it took about two months longer to get here than it did in reality but finally…Kristen and I reached the York City Walls.
And a glorious sight they were.
One of the incredible things about the UK, and most of Europe come to think of it, is how extraordinarily interactive their large-scale historical attractions are.
Unless you’re visiting an art museum in which most of the works of art are in constant danger of being damaged beyond repair, the historical enthusiasts and authorities alike across-the-pond are remarkably supportive of proactive exploration.
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
-Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
By design, Kristen and I only had one day in the hectic, fast-paced, distracted and distracting metropolis that is London, England. Neither of us are huge fans of big cities and we were anxious to get out into the glorious English countryside.
As we stepped out of the dimly lit tube station into the afternoon light we blinked in surprise at how green it was. This was London right? The big, cold city we had been determined to spend as little time in as possible?
“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
-James Joyce, Ulysses
Disclaimer – I did not put any hyperlinks in this post so if there are any, they are ads. Don’t click. Or do. Up to you. Free will and all that jazz.
For those who, for whatever reason, enjoy reading my rather long entries, I know it has been forever. Life is rather skilled at getting in the way of ones best intentions, is it not?
I’m going to attempt a rather ambitious task here – a multi-part series regaling the people of the internet (read: the 4 people who actually read these, 2 of whom are my Mum and Dad) with tales from the trip my sister and I took to the UK in May. It was, quite possibly, one of the most enjoyable and insane trips of my life — and yes that includes the madness of Berlin in the spring. What’s that? I’ve never told you that story? Ask me some time. It’s a good one.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
First thing I did upon getting home from the last celebrations of 2013? Read my New Years Resolutions from last year.
New Years resolutions are an interesting concept. Sure, if you think about it, the shift of the calender year seems arbitrary and contrived at best, another holiday we are forced to observe – ever noticed how most parties clear out soon after midnight? And those poor New-Yorkers-For-A-Night having to force their way through an unending sea of humanity just to get to bed before the sun rises… All that trouble to note that another year has come and gone and the world is still here – smaller, perhaps, but still here nonetheless.
“For a work of this kind is never a monologue – it is an uninterrupted conversation with those of the past whose thoughts we study, and with those whose task it still is to build the future out of the heritage of the past. And this conversation goes on, after the work has been completed and has become, itself, part of the past.”
– Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (1943)
As per usual, it has been forever since my last post. I’d like to say it’s because I am a fascinatingly eccentric freelance writer with old money who only deigns to write something down when a strike of brilliance hits.
It’s quite the opposite. While I may be quite eccentric in my own way (is that redundant? I think eccentricity implies uniqueness…) I am also a barely-financially-independent grad student with a penchant to take on way too much and only the best of intentions to recommend myself to those few who spend their hard-earned time to read this blog and… well… humanity at large.
“This is the place that sustains me. This is where I have planted myself. It is a refuge where I restore myself.”
– Oscar-Winner Daniel Day-Lewis on his home in Wicklow
This is so long overdue it’s incredible but I feel as if much has been accomplished today so I can allow myself a wee bit of time for musing and writing, right?
It’s high time I introduced (or re-introduced) you all to the wonders that are encompassed in Ireland’s Wicklow National Park, also known as my 2nd…3rd? 4th… OK one of my MANY homes (there’s no limit on this).