You look backwards and you see…

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I’ve never really thought of myself as an adventurous person. I value stability over everything else, and I will take small adventures where I know I am safe. The world is dangerous but I can navigate it safely when I know my boundaries. That’s not something that can happen when you’re thousands of miles from home. Luckily, the USA and UK share a common language.

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First fire alarm of the trip. This is at my hostel before class began. While waiting outside in my pajamas, I met a guy who was also from the states. He was studying pharmacology at UT and had been on vacation with his family, but decided to stay for an extra week to visit his girlfriend. I also ran into him at the National Museum of Scotland and a coffee shop. 

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I live in and for the future, everything is so clear but always out of my grasp. I ceaselessly work for tomorrow while today remains blurry. Illusions are both reality and imagination at Camera Obscura, where you can spy on the outside world using mirrors and glass. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNBe5OSbMv0&ab_channel=JohnP

The millennial clock shows us 2000 years of human suffering. Though beautiful, its music is sad. Still, it draws a large crowd. Misery loves company.

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We travel to the Tops of Things, also known as Arthur’s Seat. Today, in the grey and the damp, there is beauty and joy. There is also exhaustion. Jet lag is no joke.

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I managed to do the one thing I promised my mother I wouldn’t do- go to a political rally. Alice and Ayat were so bright and optimistic even in the face of panicking economists. 

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I’ve always been afraid of the water, and Lochleven was no exception. It truly was a great prison. However, there is beauty here in the small things.

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Fairy holes and hidden things light the imagination. I am reminded of children’s stories such as Elfrin and the Baby Bluebird, The Fairy Queen’s Ruby Pendant, as well as more grown-up stories of Felurian and Selkies. This warms the heart.

Unmanicured and wild.

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I walk the steps of a world long gone away, told only in stories. Steps older than some countries. This soil is old and has seen many things, the ground and air are wiser here. The wind carries weight.

https://youtu.be/fp5VPxAOhAY

Surrounded by hundreds of drunks, mostly men, we watch modern-day gladiators. We cheer and pray and cry as they lose, and we leave quickly before a fight can begin.

https://youtu.be/D4pyUx9clxo

Just as I get comfortable and excited, Fire number 2

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Some things you simply do not go near. The amount of blood and sacrifice that the green grass saw is something best not to get involved with.

 

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Leaving the city to taste mountain air for the first time.

https://youtu.be/uCoC9GZp4aQ

I grow less afraid of water, I even thought of touching it. If I had to, I could drink it.

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At home, I normally hate grass. It’s itchy and unpleasant, but here it’s like a green carpet will all kinds of wonderful life. Flowers, bugs, more life in one square inch than a modern bedroom.

https://youtu.be/iUQ0crqs8kA

Two weeks in and my mind has turned to magic and stories, no longer quite as methodical as before. While I still see the beauty of foliated sandstone and the fossils trapped within castle walls, I feel the mystery and the energy that inspired so many folk tales.

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Mountains and a large body of water. These are things I am ordinarily terrified of, but they are simply breathtaking. Life is not meant to be spent indoors and behind desks, but rather touching and breathing life.

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Not all those who wander are lost. Except in this case we were lost and we did wander our way into Llandudno. This is where 

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I saw the beauty in the small things- stoned naturally turning to topsoil. I thought it was funny that everyone else found it beautiful after I marveled.

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A day in Liverpool went off its tracks after a train accident, but we still had a lovely time! All plans were thrown to the wind and we just naturally enjoyed being able to explore a new city. We pet dogs, found a festival, ate cheese on toast, went to a pay-by-the-minute cafe, and had a blast. All this without planing expensively.

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After all was said and done, I sat in the food court of JFK airport waiting to go home. Slightly jet lagged and very hungry, I munched on my first meal home in the US (Shake Shack ShackStack with lemonade) and tallied up the final stats:

Days abroad: 25

Miles traveled in a vehicle: 7,681

Miles walked: 112

Meals eaten: 71

Pictures taken: 418

Fire alarms: 4

Adventures had: uncountable