Outlander-ing Our Way Through Scotland

Hello Dear Readers!

After our initial snafu with the flight situation, Joni, Brit, and I all arrived safely to Scotland. Since all our original plans were a bust (luckily most everything was refundable), we decided to make new, better plans.

And what better than going and visiting all the Outlander sites we missed the first time around?

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Brit trying to go through the standing stones
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The anatomy hall where Claire and Joe Abernathy meet.
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Jamie’s print shop in Edinburgh! (Seriously how did I miss this when I lived here?)
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The set of the governor’s mansion in Jamaica. (Backstory, we were super not allowed in here so Joni and I played dumb and wandered in as if we were lost and confused. I don’t think the receptionist fell for it.)

And although essentially all of our plans were canceled as a result of the flight changes, we still reaaally wanted to go on the private Outlander tour we had booked up in Inverness. So it was that we got up before the crack of dawn to board the three hour train to Inverness:

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Help me I need sleep.

And spent the day wandering around the highlands going to visit different Outlander things. This tour was actually pretty cool, as we didn’t go just to filming locations- we also saw actual clan Fraser lands and real Scottish history.

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Clan Fraser’s current lands
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Culloden, the home of the last Jacobite uprising.
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I can’t actually remember what this is…all I can recall is that the Lord of the castle still lives there and is hostile to visitors, so we skedaddled as soon as he came outside.
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Something else from Outlander! Maybe Joni can help me out with what it is.
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I told Joni we needed to look solemn, as we were standing at a gravesite.

We boarded the train late back home to Edinburgh, exhausted but totally happy. Next stop? London, baby!

-Carissa “I’m the Solemnest” Rawson

A Thousand Photos

Hello Dear Readers!

Before I get deep into my Vietnam posts, I wanted to show you guys all these extra photos that I have. They span from the month or so after Cairo and before Hong Kong, during which I spent two weeks in Edinburgh and two weeks in California visiting family.

Enjoy!

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When I got back to Edinburgh I tried to do all the things I hadn’t yet done.
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These are from my visit to the cat cafe.
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Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
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Celebrating post-exams at the Dome (and Eleana’s birthday!)

 

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Shahnaz’s birthday at the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival
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Took the first train out of Waverly Station. Ended up at Sir Walter Scott’s house in Tweedbank
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Business class back home to California, for which I squatted overnight in an airport like a hobo.
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The Hotel Del Coronado!

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My little sister, Jill, whose baby Charlie is almost due!
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One of my best friends, Monica, came to visit. I will literally never live this karate photo down.

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-Carissa “Help Me I Have a Travel Addiction” Rawson

The Scotland Diaries: Part 2

Hello Dear Readers!

Joni and I squeezed a ton of activities into her visit. My last post focused on Edinburgh and the things we did while there (we did approximately all the things). However, we also spent two days on a tour of the Highlands, which are absolutely stunning, and an entire day on an Outlander tour.

Now, I think it’s difficult to overstate how much we love Outlander.

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We love it this much

It’s a lot.

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Our guide took us to a bunch of random, gorgeous places. She was so cool all I want is to be her friend.

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At the Three Sisters in Glencoe

Standing stones! (No, she wasn’t sucked in)

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-Carissa

The Scotland Diaries: Part 1

Hello Dear Readers!

To say I’ve been overwhelmed here in Cairo is…an understatement. The amount of coursework we’re doing is *intensive*, to put it lightly. So I haven’t had much time to write.

But! I do have tons of photos from Joni’s (of Italy fame) visit to Scotland in the beginning of March. (I know, I’m way behind the times). I hope you guys enjoy!

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Joni tried (and liked!) haggis

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We visited Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, and my school

 We did it up proper with a whisky tasting

I even took her to poutine, which as a Canadian should be her favorite dish. (If my sources are correct)

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Last but not least, we enjoyed a very fancy afternoon tea at the Dome, which was exactly as posh as it sounds.

Tomorrow, more photos!

 

-Carissa

Edinburgh- Dinner at the Dome

Hello Dear Readers!

I truly thought that when I moved to Scotland I’d settle down. Y’know, sit a bit, rest on my laurels, establish a home and a space. And while I have got a flat (and Nala!), I’ve found that far from sitting around, Edinburgh has actually made an excellent base from which to travel.

Of course, it helps that I’ve had quite a few visitors. In fact, just last week, PJ (my older brother, of Dubai fame), came to visit. He was around for about ten days, and while I wasn’t able to skip class to hang out with him, (you know, all 10 hours a week), I did manage to show him a few cool things while he was here.

And then, y’know, we went to Sweden.

What?! It was like $50 to fly there. Obviously I was going to do it. We spent some really cool days in Stockholm, where, as you’d likely expect, it was approximately -1000 degrees.

But before that we had this awesome dinner at a place in Edinburgh called the Dome.

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It’s absolutely  gorgeous inside

Tip of the hat to Shuaib here, who took his cousin and whose photos were so enviable I went the next day.

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Shamelessly stolen without Shuaib’s consent

PJ and I now both have a new favorite drink: the French Martini, which tastes like joy and deliciousness and is deceptively dangerous.

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We experienced quite a few of these at our fancy-ass dinner, which was the best I’ve had since moving to this city.

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Go there!

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-Carissa “ohmygoditsnearlychristmas” Rawson

My New Life- Stories From Home

Hello Dear Readers!

As you all know by now, I’ve spent the last few months assuming my new life as a full-time student of Arabic at the University of Edinburgh. If you missed that post– congrats! You’re now in the loop.

That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped traveling though. Aside from making my way all around Scotland and England, I’ve also hit up a few different (mystery!) countries, which I’ll talk about in my upcoming posts. Until then, enjoy these photos from Scotland, my most favorite place in the world:

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My grandparents came to visit mere days after I moved in. We had a blast being tourists together!
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My apartment as seen from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle. Yes, I am that close. 

 

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Me, immediately after arriving and realizing I’m wholly unsuited for Scotland’s weather. Where’s the sun?
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Photos from my weekend at Dalhousie Castle, where I drank copious amounts of champagne and practiced falconry. 
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I journeyed to the highlands to feed a “hairy coo” and even found Nessie!
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Reunited and it feels so good! 

– Carissa “Can I Live Here Forever?” Rawson

 

Fraser Island- Squad Goals

Hello Dear Readers!

Oh, where to start with this? I view my trip to Australia as being in two parts. One, by myself, and two, with my amazing new friends.

Now I don’t want them to get big heads or anything, since I know they’ll be reading this, but basically I made the best friends ever and hanging out with them truly made my trip.

Or whatever.

So! How did I come to meet this fantastic group of people?

Well that…is a little less exciting.

After my days in Brisbane, I caught a train up to Airlie Beach, where I crashed in (yet another) hostel before getting up early to catch an overnight trip to Fraser Island.

Now, the brochure for Fraser Island mentions four wheeling from one insane natural wonder to the next on an island made entirely of sand. And you know what, that brochure was freaking right. Fraser Island is super cool, with tons of things to see, and its only population being tourists and a single beach resort.

That being said, one of the coolest things about traveling alone is getting to meet new people.

Right?

So it was with no little amount of hostility that I moved to the front passenger seat, alone, because the tour guide wanted to make sure that everyone else had a seat first. This meant that I got to sit up front in silence while the entire rest of the bus chattered and made new friends.

Yes, I’m still bitter.

Anyway, our first stop on Fraser Island was a place called Lake Makenzie, which is simply breathtaking. It’s the only lake of its type, and I made sure to get in and swim, despite the water being approximately freezing.

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Practicing my RBF

After our stop, I climbed back in the front seat and we headed down to the resort for lunch.

Luckily, at lunch, two people happened to sit down next to me. Two Scottish people.

You all know that I love Scots.

So I immediately introduced myself and quickly decided that we were going to be best friends despite any evidence to back this up. (Hi Katie! Hi Shuaib!)

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At the Champagne Pools

These two were traveling up the East Coast, the same as I was, and we bonded over our shared interests while continuing to journey around Fraser Island. Late in the second day, we met Katie and Cassi, when we attempted to break into the bus and accidentally ended up breaking the bus instead.

Oops?

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Cassi, Katie, Me, Katie and Shuaib

Anyway, Katie (the second Katie) is from Brighton and Cassi from New York, and we all ended up sitting together at dinner, spending several hours chatting before heading off to bed.

I’d like to note here that the rooms were advertised as quad rooms, but with the exception of me, every other group had two to a room. I’m sure my roommates were pleased when I third-wheeled on.

Yay!

Tomorrow I’ll bless you all with more extraordinary photos of Fraser Island’s extraordinary features.

-Carissa “I Have Friends!” Rawson

I’m Scottish Now, Y’ken?

Hello Dear Readers!

Just a short post today assuring you all that I haven’t, in fact, died. I’ve just been busy moving internationally and attempting to figure out how to live (not travel) in a different country.

That that end, look how cool Edinburgh is!

Ok, I’m saving all the rest of my photos for future Edinburgh posts. Stay tuned!

 

-Carissa “Y’ken” Rawson

Choices

Hello Dear Readers!

Missed me? I’ve been gone for a few weeks now- and I promise I have good reasons why. First, I just spent three weeks in Australia, where my internet access consisted of…well, almost nothing basically. I might as well have fed my phone to a kangaroo for all the good it was worth.

But I’ve been back for a few weeks now, and I’ve been struggling to make one of the most difficult choices in my life.

You guys may have remembered that I said I was attending the University of Edinburgh in the fall. Such was the plan for most of this year, as I made my way around the world, hopping from place to place and having the time of my life.

However, a few months ago I was offered my dream job. My dream job.

And I took it. I made plans to move my life (and dogs) across the country and settle down for what I hoped was a good long time.

But there was always something in the back of my mind. Something wondering…a niggling little thought.

What if I went to Edinburgh? What if?

 

So I was stuck with a problem. Dream school or dream job? You guys will recognize this as a gold-plated problem. But a problem it was indeed. Because, you see, these choices were 180 degrees different, and choosing one essentially meant I lost the other. For good.

Like I said, I chose my dream job.

But then the what ifs got me.

And I realized that while my dream job was the dream for the person I was- the girl who lived to work and, essentially, just wanted to be a badass- my dream school is the dream for the person who I want to be.

And so, for the first time in my life, I am choosing the risky road. I am choosing happiness. I am choosing me.

I’ll see you all in Scotland.

-Carissa