I can't remember the exact moment I fell in love with this land. Maybe it was when I stepped off the plane to see the huge advert, "This is home."
Something felt right. I knew it was just a silly advert, purposely put there to make people feel all warm and fuzzy. But it felt like a sign, just for me. I certainly seemed to be the only person stopping to take a deep breath and smile at the grey, drizzly clouds.
Maybe it was seeing how so much is green, even in the dead of winter. Hmm, dead of winter? Everything felt so alive! There's something about the green in these parts that just makes you feel good.
Or maybe it was my first spring here when everything really burst in to bloom. The brilliant yellow of the oil-seed fields, standing there defiantly challenging the sun, the blossoming pink cherry trees and white elderflowers, the spiny purple thistles, the red poppies, the multi-coloured garden boxes of tulips, the orange and red in the hedges, and the beautifully manicured gardens through every gorgeously old and new town. And the colour of the sky! When it's blue, it's really blue.
The clear waters and salty air of the beach. You can't beat the beaches. You can walk a while and be all by yourself, or come along a dog and his owner, both looking quite happy to be enjoying their walk. A smile and a 'hiya' from you both and you can continue on your way, enjoying the peace and calmness of mind that only being in the fresh air of the outdoors can bring.
The amazing Highlands. The first time I drove through these glens, carpeted with gorse and pine and heather. They're nothing huge, they're not the Rocky Mountains. But there is something awe-inspiring about them. They make you feel so small and unimportant. Looking mighty with their sometimes craggy tops, half hidden by clouds. It's no wonder that there is such a walking-culture here. It seems like the hills just cry out to you, "So you think you can reach my heights? I dare you."
I remember the first time I drank water from the hills as it bounced off the rocks, coming down from these mighty places. It was amazing and we tried to bottle it, but the life it had was gone after a couple days. It needed to be constantly flowing, joining with the rain and the mountain air, always renewing.
I think more than just falling in love with Scotland, I've fallen in love with the land and being outdoors again. As a child I was always outside, playing in the mud or running around the neighbourhood. Always an imagination for creating adventures. One often forgets that in childhood, we can be perfectly entertained for hours with our imagination and dirt. Creating our own world and enjoying the beauty of it. We grow up and we feel the need for someone or something else to entertain us. Is it because we think we deserve it or are we scared of the quiet within ourselves?
Walking through the woods, I feel so at peace. The air filling my lungs satisfies my being like a favourite meal filling the belly. It smells of bright green plants and dirt, new growth and life. The sounds of the bumblebees flying around like tiny bombers; legs fat and yellow from collecting pollen, the medley of birds, the wind blowing through the trees and barley in the fields. When I stand still for just a moment to reflect on how everything works together and how tiny we are, I have the overwhelming feeling I want to be a part of it, not just an observer. Working with the land; not against it, and strengthening the land; not weakening it. Growing new things and nourishing the body of both the earth and us humans.
So here I am in Scotland. Running around barefoot and collecting dandelions like a wild woman. You can expect various stories of my experiences in this lovely country, cycling, driving, walking, and camping; and my anecdotes of self-sufficiency and such, musings, recipes, and whatever else I feel like putting on here.