Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rambling Post Written on the Bus to Edinburgh

Met up with Robert in Edinburgh for 30 minutes. Swell guy brought me scones.
Having a final destination, a set of days to to countdown to, changes the entire dynamic of travelling. Ever since I bought that ticket from Scotland to Iceland to the United States of America and left Ukraine, I've been “on my way home.” The general ark of this 10 month trip is over and it's slowly sloping downwards.

I'm not sure if I'm finishing strong or not. I think I am.

I'm content with each day and satisfied with the rhythms I find myself falling into. I do admit I've lost my desire to “see” things. Take, for example, my couple hour stay in Newcastle. Instead of investigating or exploring, I was more content on studying. Now, part of that might have well had to do with the baggage I was obliged to lug around or my freshly twisted ankle, but another part was because I had seen towns.

What I crave now are connections with people. I thrive when I can have a purpose to each day.

That's why I'm extra eager for Culrain – a small village with a population of 15.
I'm ready to be able to help. I hope they can use me for hours. I want to go to bed each night exhausted because I've physically accomplished something. I want to be used and feel like I'm pulling my load.

I have a deep craving to feel like I'm doing something and doing enough. This is partially as as result of Ukraine. In Ukraine, I got to help, but I never felt like I was accomplishing enough.

I'm currently on my ₤18 bus trip from Newcastle to Edinburgh to Inverness. We also just passed Shitbottle. The hills are rolling like I hoped they would. Borders of trees divide up the golden and green fields and every photograph I take fails to capture what I see. I'm anxious to be wandering around by foot with just a camera and a bottle of water later on this week. I think that'll feel satisfying.

Before I got on the bus, a small group of school girls approached me asking if it was the coach stop. I told them it was. “What part of America are you from?” they asked. I answered. No matter where I go, if they get me talking, I'll be pegged as a foreigner if I speak in normal tones. If I keep my voice even and smooth and speak in the front of my mouth, they don't ask me where I'm from.

All the service people I've spoken to here have been really chatty. They don't want to just know where I've been. They want to know if I'm really travelling alone and where I'm going. Their questions bumble on and they actually seem interested in my life. I need to start coming up with questions to shoot back at them. “How do you like working at the enquiries desk of the library?” and “Where's the best tree in town?”

I was also reminded that I wasn't in Ukraine any more when I was approached by a librarian after snapping a photograph. “Did you take a picture?” she asked. Since my camera had been up to my eye, I figured she already knew, but I told her I had. “Do you need me to delete it?” I asked. She said if there had been people in it, yes. She told me four times, in fact, that if it had children in it, I couldn't for priv-eh-see reasons, it would have to be deleted. She was polite and not harsh, but it still made my mind whirl. I was back in the world where people cared if you took a picture in a library.

I'm still trying to figure out how walking works here. In America, the general consensus is that you walk on the right side of a pathway. Same goes with biking and that thing we call driving an automobile. But here, they drive on the left-hand side of the road, not the right. Does the path of the automobiles affect what side of the sidewalk the people walk on? I have yet to see a pattern. Well, I did notice a good number of people walking on the left hand side. I was on the right hand side and had to divert my path to avoid them. But, as I looked for a consensus of people on one side of the road or the other, I didn't see one. Just passed Brownside.

I've also decided to have some goals for my time in the United Kingdom.

I want to finish reading Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, in German.
I want to expand my Gaelic by 10 sentences and to read it out loud with minor errors.
I want to spend 30 minutes a day, five days a week, on reading up on history.
I want to ride a bicycle.
I want to talk to a historian and learn from them.
I want to read  the Wikipedia page of every African country.
I want to find someone to exchange letters with when I'm back in Alaska.

Just passed Twizell.

This has definitely turned into one of those rambling posts that I missed being able to type. It feels good to be able to write at any time, hour or place. Like I wrote before, I thought it would be good to try and kick the habit and not write as much, but it left me feeling bizarre and anxious. Those ideas that bottle up in my head need a way out.

Apparently there is a Queen Margaret University.

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