Whenever I tell people that I spent a semester at the University of Stirling or that I'm moving to Edinburgh, I get a incredulous reaction. People seem excited for me, don’t get me wrong, but I repeatedly find myself responding to one question: Why Scotland?
|An ancient castle-turned-bed and breakfast!|
Each time I’m asked this I draw a blank. To be honest, I can’t really remember how or why I fell in love with Scotland. I don’t have any familial connections there, or any friends who visited the country before me. Before my first visit, I wasn’t a Braveheart fan, nor a whiskey drinker (I’m both now). I’m a vegetarian, so I didn’t make my trips for a heaping serving of haggis or fish and chips. And as much as I enjoy tartan, bagpipes, and Highland dance, I never gave these things much of a thought before I applied to study abroad at Stirling.
The truth is, I found Scotland sort of randomly, without much reason or forethought. You might say I chose it because my school offered a reasonably priced program within my field of study. Also, people speak English in Scotland, but with an accent to give it unique cultural flavor. Other than these vague ideas, I didn't give my location much thought; so in retrospect, I may not have chosen Scotland for the best reasons.
Now I don’t think any of that matters. Like in most blockbuster romantic comedies, I fell in love accidently, messily, and a little inconveniently (by the time I decided that I loved Scotland, it was already time to go home!).
|My new friend the Hairy Coo (Highland Cow)|
So I suppose the moral of my little story is simple, and a bit hackneyed. Don't worry about where you should and shouldn't go and why, just travel, and go where feels right. Don't worry about where things won’t turn out the way you expect, no matter what you do. I never planned on jabbering on endlessly about the real story of Braveheart, and whiskey, and haggis and hairy highland cows, but that’s what I do now.
And I love it, so it’s all good.