October 04, 2016

On the road - Scotland



A photo diary from the road, between Inverness, Oban and Kerrera Island.

I turn 26 the day I leave my Skye family. I leave almost without saying goodbye. It might seem weird, spending your birthday away from home and alone, but this is the third in the row and honestly it feels known and normal. I'm not gonna lie, I was never really fond of birthdays and so being on the move also allows me to escape what I've always seen as a dreadful ritual. The morning is crisp and beautiful. I've always liked that about my birth date – you can already feel summer approaching. Bare arms and my hair tied into a knot, I raise my thumb and three wildly different but equally lovely people give me lifts – the first is a woman who talks to me about her french fiancé and how strange it is to lead a relationship in two languages (we agree on that) ; the second is a young man who studies local archeology but works cutting grass on the side of the road during summer ; and the last one picks me up from a tiny bus stop, and tells me stories and recite ancient gaelic poems in the thickest, most gorgeous scottish accent I've ever heard, before dropping me right in front of the door in Oban.

The hostel here is much bigger and much newer than ours on Skye – they have a big red lounge and massive bunk beds, but for some reason I don't feel comfortable here. I'm elsewhere, trying to decide and organise a move on the other side of the planet. I plan escapes – one to Kerrera, a tiny island south of Oban. A minuscule ferry does the crossing regularly, but you have to stand on the shore and turn a signpost to the black side, so the captain will know someone's waiting to cross. There are only three families on the island, and the kids live in Oban during the week to attend school. I walk around the island with an old british couple who are just the sweetest, and when we stop at the only tea-room to have lunch, I think it's like spending a day out with parents I've never known, and it makes me smile. We walk to a beautiful ruin just above the water, and to one of the only houses there. The owners have placed a small table outside with local crafts, and you can pay through an honesty box. I think everywhere I go this is my favorite part of small communities : the simplicity they come back to, whether it's in the lifestyle or the economy.

At the end of the day, we take the ferry back, and they drive me back to Oban. It's storming, but before night falls the rain stops and the most beautiful golden light falls into the hostel garden. Scotland is quite the tease.

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