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?
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:
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.
We boarded the train late back home to Edinburgh, exhausted but totally happy. Next stop? London, baby!
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.
-Carissa “Help Me I Have a Travel Addiction” Rawson
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.
It’s a lot.
Our guide took us to a bunch of random, gorgeous places. She was so cool all I want is to be her friend.
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.
Tip of the hat to Shuaib here, who took his cousin and whose photos were so enviable I went the next day.
PJ and I now both have a new favorite drink: the French Martini, which tastes like joy and deliciousness and is deceptively dangerous.
We experienced quite a few of these at our fancy-ass dinner, which was the best I’ve had since moving to this city.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
Tomorrow I’ll bless you all with more extraordinary photos of Fraser Island’s extraordinary features.
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.