My perspective, as with most subjective people on this planet, is ever changing. So that being said I write this blog about my trip to Scotland completely out of the fever of inspiration, the lows of disappointment, the ephemeral feelings of fear and loneliness and of course the irrational period that comes during and post jetlag.
I will most likely continue to change my views on this experience but I can’t see ever being the same person that I was before I went.
I believe that the only way to truly experience something is to do it. To read about Scotland, to look at photos of Scotland to fantasize about living there is complete peanuts to the actual experience.
I chose this journey alone.
From what I remember before I went, I believed that if I want to do something. I do it. I don’t see the point in waiting. Life is so very short.
But here is what I know now.
The great alone brings extra challenges in a foreign country. You do not have a home base to feel normal; there was no “safety bubble”. I was an American surrounded by a world that was completely alien. I learned to survive and thrive in that world. It was terrifying and completely fascinating.
If I went with someone, I wouldn’t have had to pay attention to how the social dynamics were different. I wouldn’t have had to adapt to feel happy. I wouldn’t have had the chance to understand that society. To see it’s awesome, it’s troubles and how the people of Scotland really are these days.
I left everything that I was. I observed, I existed in that society and survived.
Scotland is a beautiful country. With mountains, trees, moss, whiskey, golf, people who care about the happiness of each other and a well established history that we tourists love.
But, Scotland is in pain.
These days. Their main… well…their only serious money is made through tourism. There is this feeling there. The tourist bubble. I saw it everywhere. And it was so completely obvious, I hated it. They were giving the tourists exactly what they wanted. “you want bag pipes? Ok here. You want tartan? Here is all the tartan. You want whiskey? Here. GO here. You want hiking gear here. Take it. Here is all the castles you want. Here is your bubble. You can completely enjoy yourself and not know what is really going on. That’s ok don’t worry have a walkers cookie. LOCH NESS MONSTER.”
Walk a couple of feet past the main street and you see life outside of that bubble. It’s a country that wants independence. It’s a country so small that it just gets by and hopes that more tourists come. It’s a country with an immigration problem. It’s a country with a struggling wool industry. It’s a country filled with closed stores, chains, tourist traps and emptiness.
It is a country filled with people who care about each other.
In Scotland. They care a great deal. They are (for the most part. When comparing to America) a more “we” society. Most of the people I came across were not focused on themselves. They wanted to help each other, because it was the right thing to do and it helped. I saw not one person attached to their phone screen. (not to say it didn’t exist, just way less noticeable) People actually said “hi” when they saw you. After living in that society for 2 weeks, I finally heard an American. I was shocked to see how mean we can sound, how we can be so focused on the self, how so many of us don’t even want to hear the perspectives of others, let alone understand them. We go to Scotland and we take America with us.
Take my perspective with a grain of salt.
I believe that American society is suffering. I believe that we are way to addicted to our own personal needs. We want so much with zero actual effort. We are lazy and we are alone and we are forgetting how to not feel this way.
All perspectives deserve to be understood.
There was more personal growth to my Scotland trip. But these were the lessons that I believe are worth telling the world about.
I now return to my job, my animated short, and the life ahead of me.