A Pause Within Time

“This pause in time, within time…When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is possible only with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one’s own, one’s certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another in close companionship. – Muriel BarberyThe Elegance of the Hedgehog

There really is nothing sweeter while traveling than taking a day to relax near the end of a long trip. I know what you’re thinking: but that doesn’t make any sense, Erin! At the end of a trip you only have a finite number of days to see everything before heading back to comfortable, familiar (and, by extension, apparently less exciting) home. Right?

Well, bear with me here. In my experience, choosing to take a day’s rest in the final week of a trip is extraordinarily beneficial. Now, by a day of rest, I do not mean that you stay in your pajamas in bed curled up with a good book and bottomless tea (although, if that is your main definition of rest – by all means, indulge). For me, a restful day means one during which we do not write anything at all on the agenda. We choose instead to mosey around the village we have alighted on at a completely unhurried pace and simply enjoy each other’s company and the delightful fresh air.

Note: I can confirm that this method of relaxing works just as well if you’re travelling alone – who says you can’t enjoy your own company in the fresh air?

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Saucy Mary’s Tale

“The tale is the map that is the territory. You must remember this.” – Neil Gaiman, American Gods

I’m not sure why I continue to work slowly at this telling of my trip to the UK with my sister so many years ago now. Perhaps it is because a few of my acquaintances like to read it, perhaps it is simply to keep the writing muscles limber as I work on my first novel. Whatever it is, I hope this tale is at the very least entertaining…and at the most an inspiration from which to map out your own adventures.

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Kyleakin

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Jacobite Middle Earth

“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.”

-Steve Bivans

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.

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On to the Wilds of the Highlands

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”

My Fellow Countrymen

“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

 

 

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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.

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Crazy Eights and Scottish Independence

“How maps may look stationary, but boundaries shift, worlds open up, other worlds and civilizations pass away. And none of us is stuck or alone, because coursing through us is everything that brought us to where we are.”

-Elizabeth Hay, Alone in the Classroom

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Discovering Inverness with only the best of travel partners.

    This is a much-belated account of one of the odder experiences Kristen and I had while gallivanting all over the UK and Ireland.

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From hence to Inverness

“But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine

On all deservers. – From hence to Inverness

And bind us further to you.

– William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1.4.47-49)

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The Scottish Highlands – Wild, Untamed, Extraordinary

Summer hiatuses from routine are almost mandatory for Canadians. When half the year is filled with bitterly-cold winter and all you feel like doing is curling up with a mug of tea and writing the long, dark night away…the late summer nights heavy with Ottawa’s saturated humidity are meant to be spent out-of-doors, soaking as much of the heat in as possible – however suffocating it can sometimes seem.

Now that September has suddenly begun, and in anticipation of a late-October early-November trip to France which I will undoubtedly wish to write about, I’m going to try and finish chronicling the tales of the Great Gurski UK and Ireland Trip of 2014 as soon as possible.

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Rest is not Idleness

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

– John Lubbock

  Aviary Photo_130799895008737308This is probably the best type of post to write after a month’s hiatus from the world of writing.

For those of you who have done any sort of backpacking, be it of the hardcore hippie persuasion or slightly more bourgeois itinerary-laden type, you know that at a certain point you may possibly hit a glass ceiling of sorts comprised of too-many-new-things-in-too-short-a-time.

It’s almost as if your mind can only process so much wonder at once. If I could offer any advice in hindsight…It would be to build in a little R&R where no learning is required, only contemplation of all the new information jostling for importance in your overstimulated brain.

We found this, rather unintentionally, in the Silver City with the Golden Sands, or Aberdeen if you prefer.

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In the Hour before Sunset

 “In the hour before sunset, when the rays of the sun lie across the English fields, the old patterns of the earth rise up and the land seems to return to its origins.”

Peter Ackroyd, Foundation

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Actually taken years ago in Oxford, England. But it demonstrates Ackroyd’s point well, does it not?

Travelling is always exciting. Whether you’re going a town over or halfway across the world; for a weekend or a month; for work or for play…there’s nothing quite like it. A chance to leave your day-to-day existence and see what else is out there. Spoiler Alert: What’s out there is usually even more incredible than you think it’s going to be, if you know where to look.

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When Neptune Gives You Lemons…

“So much universe, and so little time.”

– Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero

The late, great, Terry Pratchett was so right. And not only is there so much universe, but still so much of our comparatively teeny-tiny earth, and never quite enough time. So why, one might ask, do I constantly decide to visit places I’ve been before when there is still so much to see?

  I hope the next few posts will make this at least a little clearer. If not – skip to the as-yet-unwritten posts about Scotland which I discovered, and fell in love with, on this trip.???????????????????????????????

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Fare Thee Well, York

“They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited ‘first chapters’. I have indeed written many.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien

Wow, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. I agree with Tolkien… Beginnings are easy, endings on the other hand? And so, for the past few weeks, I’ve written us out of York 5 or 6 times. None of them felt appropriate.

I’ve finally settled on something – it’s a little different from the novellas that were the last few posts. But, well, here goes.

5 Reasons Why 1 Day in York was Worth 3 Posts

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