Sometimes, you fall in love with a place.
While studying abroad in England this summer, I was able to travel to Scotland solo on one of the long weekends. I was apprehensive with no prospect of company save my own, but it worked out. There’s something wildly freeing about traveling alone, a sense of actualized potential in doing all the things you never thought yourself capable of. You find your way on your own. You sit down in coffee shops and read books for an hour, just because you can. You sit down and people-watch, and people talk to you. Everything becomes filled with a certain quality of spontaneity and recklessness, and everything becomes more tangible and personal. There are no friends to recap each experience in play-by-play detail, but instead the fierce pride that comes with self-discovery.
On a day that epitomizes the joy of self-reliant travel, I took a train to Loch Lomond after a quick Google search of “Scottish nature near Glasgow.” Camera in hand, I was able to stop at every sight that caught my eye, meander along dirt paths and wooded trails at an easy pace, and spend the day in self-fulfilled contentment.
Here, the loch, viewed from the crest of an evening hike, made me feel more small and free than I ever have.
Tons of owners were playing with their dogs, throwing sticks for pups that never got tired running back and forth.
This made for some happy minutes of dog-watching.
… Although some dogs struggled a little more than others.
When hiking alone, you can hear, smell and feel the stillness.
Rolling hills of green bordered each hiking path and made for some insanely gorgeous views.
Walking paths along calmer parts of the loch were dotted with an ever-increasing array of plants.
One of many pebble beaches, like none in California.
Wildlife was plentiful, with every turn holding a new kind of honking, barking or calling.
In the evening, boats docked in the harbor swayed gently as gusts of wind came in from the lake.
It’s a beautiful place, and one I hope to return to. Until next time, Scotland.
Contact Kai Ridenoure at [email protected]