If I had to sum up my time here in one quote it would be this…
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware” – Martin Buber
Whether it be a physical destination or just a new state of mind, this trip has challenged me in many ways. This past weekend I traveled with friends to the Isle of Arran. This trip involves a subway ride to the train to a ferry to a bus to the hotel we stayed at. The journey there was ultimately smooth and the isle was beautiful. Before I get into details of the purpose of this post, I want to comment on our accommodations, because it was easily one of the best B&B’s I’ve ever stayed at. The hospitality at the Corrie Hotel was incredible. As we visited in the middle of winter (off season) the hotel was not actively serving lunch. It was mid afternoon, we were so hungry, and the next bus into town wouldn’t be for another three hours. The hotel staff went out of their way to make us lunch anyway; lentil soup and cheese and tomato sandwiches, it was delicious. This hotel also has a few resident dogs who like to hang out with guest on the couches in the bar. For any dog people, when you’ve gone two months without your little puppy, this is heaven. Pure heaven. On top of this, the hotel is located right next to the ocean, our room even had an ocean view. It was perfect for a getaway weekend.
As I mentioned before, travel can lead to both literal and figurative destinations. This post is intended to be more about how I’ve reached a new destination mentally rather than the physical aspects of travel. (although it is the physical aspects which led me to this new state). I unfortunately got sick on this trip and needed to leave a day early. Traveling home, alone, was an adventure for me. So far on this trip (I am ashamed to say) I let everyone else figure out the travel plans, which buses, trains, subways, ect. to take. Now, I was all on my own. The first part of the journey was simple, there was only one bus that came to the stop I was at, and again only one ferry to take me off the island. There were no chances of messing this one up (outside of missing the ferry). Luckily, I made it back to the mainland with no issues. When I got to the train station however, my train wasn’t there, another train was, but it had the wrong final destination. As it was about to leave, and I had just arrived I hopped on in hopes it was at least headed in the right direction. (praying I wouldn’t inadvertently end up in London). Luckily it was the right train, but it wasn’t going all the way to my destination, instead it was stopping several stations early. I had to then take a bus to a different train station, get back on a train and take that back to my station. I made it successfully (internal cheers for myself). I got off the train and headed to the subway, my final transportation, the mode of transportation I’ve taken most in Scotland. Surely this would be the easiest trek as I’ve used this station several dozen times in the past month. Wrong. In my sick foggy state, I got on the subway in the wrong direction, rode two stops before realizing and had to swap trains a way down the line. Feeling foolish, exhausted and grumpy, I walked the remaining mile to my flat, crawled under the covers, and ended my day at 6pm.
What’s my point of this rather mundane story? Part of travel is learning about yourself and stretching yourself to do things you might not think you can. Traveling alone in a different country is a thought that would have terrified me a year ago. But I did it, and with little trouble. Yes, there were a few bumps, but nothing insurmountable. I’m actually very proud that I was able to get myself back without having to rely on someone else to help me. I look forward to more solo travels in the future.