Some Highland Adventures
Oh boy have I been gone a while. Before I get into how mentally exhausting abroad can be if you’re living with mental illnesses, I wanna pump up this blog with a couple fun, exciting things I’ve done while in Scotland.
Firstly, I ventured to the Highlands with my study abroad group from IFSA-Butler and traveled to the emerald greens of hidden waterfalls to the rocky mountains up north. I discovered what whiskey smells like while distilling, and how it blackens the trees in contrast to the white of the stony factory. I watched a shepherd hand-sheer a sheep with the little squad of sheepdogs parading around him like puppies ready to pounce on each other.
We made stops in small, quiet towns to get lunch or eat ice cream while traveling again and again to new spots like finding secret bits of culture nestled in the fabric of the land. We went to Inverness and a group of us walked around the city, getting to know the quirky local bars and the very large, not very ‘local’ Morrisons in the smack middle of town.
The highlight of the trip was going to Loch Ness. We didn’t stay for long, but I made sure to collect some magical rocks for my family as a souvenir, mostly because I’m cheap and didn’t want to buy a shockingly expensive keychain. Someone had fallen into the water and declared that Loch Ness had pulled them in and everyone immediately asked if their phone was okay. Which. Really speaks to something ingrained in us, but I mean. I’d be worried about the phone too. (It was okay. The phone that is.) I took some classic tourist-y pictures with different sizes of the study abroad group and then took whatever moment I could to just stare out and imagine Nessie glaring at us.
The mischievous thing. I didn’t spot her, but according to our tour guide, people had spotted Nessie in the Thames so she could just be on holiday. Or maybe she doesn’t exist. You decide that. Although Loch Ness was the gem to the trip, with its natural beauty and mythos, I also enjoyed the architectural beauty of the castle we visited.
The gardens were painted like that of Versailles and the castle, while I meandered through it, aged the more we circled into different rooms. Stuck in different parts of history, the detailing of the gold leaf in what was at some point a bedroom and the static of the antique toys in the child’s playroom haunted me. I just stood in the middle of one of the rooms, just thinking. Wow. There could be ghosts. Very Victorian Spiritualist of me I know. When we exited the castle, there was a falconry display going on in the Wonderland-inspired gardens. A beach stretched out before me, something that was a symbol for all the contrasting things encompassed on this trip.
Castles, beaches, towns, myths and history, battlefields and the great Loch Ness: all of these things would ensure that the Highlands trip would be a key memory for me when I go back home.