This farewell was my final one. I can tell. Maybe not forever, but at least for the next phase of my life.
Today, when the plane took off from Glasgow Airport, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t sad. The familiar sting of nostalgia wasn’t looming. I didn’t feel like I was leaving home—I distinctly feel like I’m going home. A new feeling towards Canada.
On Day 5 of my hike, I had a stretch of walking where I saw no one for about 4 hours. A few songs I heavily associate with my years in Scotland came on my headphones and, of course, I cried. Hard. It felt so freeing. I can’t liken the feeling to closure because it isn’t closure—I don’t have a resolution for a lot of the stuff I went through. Most of the places and faces I’ll miss and cherish forever. But it was a deep letting go that has needed to happen for the last 5 years since moving back to Maple Syrup and Hockey Land.
You know the saying “don’t look back, you’re not going that way”? I disagree completely. Our life is full to the brim of moments—instantaneous little snippets of good, bad, beautiful, ugly moments.
Taking time to reflect, to look back, are necessary steps for processing our inner workings. When I’m hiking up a big hill, the struggle becomes more and more worth it each time I look back to see my progress.
There’s nothing wrong with looking back even though you’re not going that way. I think the problem lies in staring back longingly, contemplating every different outcome you could’ve experienced. Gazing back at the past is different than just taking a quick peek. That’s what I was doing with my travelling days for a long time—romanticizing the person I was and things I got to do while living in Scotland. I felt free and happy and more “me” than ever. I realize now that happiness comes in many different forms. I may never again feel the same way I did when I lived in a place that will always suit me perfectly, but there’s a chance for me to grow and feel new feelings in all sorts of places.
Being back at school studying with a smattering of the smartest people I’ve ever met, exploring more fulfilling career opportunities, finding hikes in my backyard, napping in the hot summer sun, these are all things that have been making me incredibly happy the last little while, and I may never have found them had I stayed in Scotland (particularly the sun naps). Leaving behind a happy feeling doesn’t mean you’ll never feel one again. It’s simply an opportunity to find happiness in unexpected new places.
Perhaps one day my life will lead me back to Scotland, to the hills that have become so familiar and the friends I can’t ever replace. Until then, I plan on embracing every moment the next few years bless me with. I’m so happy and at peace where I am now, and this trip has helped me understand what I really need now in life—to settle. To plant roots. To start building a bit more stability into my every day. I’m not entirely sure what that looks like yet or where that’ll be, but I have some ideas and am making plans to get there.
So, this is my vow myself to keep doing more of what I love—more of what lights up my soul. Singing, lifting, running, hiking, biking, reading, dancing, creating, chatting, cooking, learning, loving, and, of course, writing mushy blog posts that should probably feel like an overshare but don’t.
Scotland, thanks for the happy memories, thanks for the haggis, thanks for the hills, and most of all, thanks for helping me begin my journey back to myself. I can’t wait to finish what you started all those years ago.