“I have arrived… Now I only have to learn why I have come.”
Outside Aberdeen, June 2006
That journal entry was written on my second trip to Scotland, a sort of Grand Tour, when I set off to explore the country, its landscapes, ecology, and history. My first trip had been in 2004, a three month journey around the UK, a “once in a lifetime” trip. I visited England and Wales, but it was Scotland that caught my attention. I have returned every year but one since then, for travel, study, volunteering — and always a bit of walking.
Part of the answer is the country’s Cultural Landscape. With my interest in the dynamic relationship between people and place, I found the visible history written into the Scottish landscape fascinating. Over 5000 years of cultural interaction with the land is there to see. It is a country replete with beautiful, wild landscapes juxtaposed against stone ruins that hint at the larger story of past people who once inhabited those lands.
Modern Scotland has amazing landscapes as well as people who are friendly, warm, and open. Both have welcomed me back, time after time. I’ve traveled across the country, but have spent most of my time in a few places. Read where and why on my Scotland Places page.
I am a walker, and Scotland is a country that is a delight for anyone who enjoys traveling on foot. Walking has allowed me to better understand Scotland, from the rural communities, to the natural environment, to the history of its people. I’ve covered hundreds of miles, including several Long Distance Paths.
Stories of Stone
From this complex and beautiful country, I have learned much about my own homeland of Montana and the American West. Stories of Stone for a Woman of Wood is my on-going book project, a narrative to capture and share the experiences and learnings from my time in Scotland. The manuscript bubbles along, but I fear it may never be finished, simply because my relationship to this small, special country is always growing and as I dig in deeper, learn more… well, the story keeps growing as well.