A Travellerspoint blog


Trudging through the city I feel like an outcast. Hiking boots, sloppily layered clothing, hair in wild disarray. We squeeze past women in summer dresses, men in trousers and button-down shirts. At shopping centers, the doormen look somewhere above my head. I slink by. What do they know--I could be shopping here. I buy MAC makeup, I am not averse to fingering a silk scarf. I belong here, too, I want to tell them. If this time I'm coming just to use the restroom, you can't say next time I won't buy a pair of jeans or, well, at least a pair of socks.

And when we pass a fancy restaurant, that sense of being shut out grows more acute. Gulping, I need to remind myself, we could afford to eat here if we wanted to. We could belong to that world--those people aren't just strangers, blurry faces in fancy clothes. I have fancy clothes. I could walk in there right now. There's no sign...

I never confess these thoughts to Chris, who would find them ludicrous. But we can't afford it, he would say with a laugh. We don't belong. We're outdoor creatures and we belong outside with the pollen and the fleas and creamy, lingering sunsets and mysterious birdcalls and moist night air. No overpriced dinners for us. (No tinkling teacups and elegant spoons and wine glasses so thin they look like they would break on your teeth and small desserts served with small dessert forks all drizzled in fruit compote and pristine tablecloths and snooty waiters and innocuous contemporary music playing in low volume no we don't belong to this world.)

That's the city. It seizes me up. All the places we can't afford to go. Suddenly I long to be something other than the bystanders we've been for the past 12 months. Give me a role, life! Or. Well, on I go.

* * *

Group sneeze at our campsite in Milngavie (pronounced Mull-guy, apparently)

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Outdoors Edinburgh

Pleasure in a sun-baked back on a brisk Edinburgh morning. This week we get sun, and all the vacationers are out of caravan and tent to bask in its feeble rays. The smell of everyone else's good cooking all around. Kettles warming for coffee and tea. Coffee and tea are sacred here. Assumed you must drink it. Offered every hour or so. I drank two cups our first morning but had to pee the rest of the day. No more.

We walk everywhere, too cheap to pay the three pounds each way in and out of the city. And why not--won't we be walking across the whole of Scotland? From Mortonhall Caravan and Camping, we take roughly two hours to arrive in Old Town. Thank God for 10 pm twilights.

Bah. I can't wait to eat any longer. The neighbors' bacon is killing me.

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The National Monument of Scotland on Calton Hill

Bill pillars, tiny man

I really don't like my strange expression here, but it's a nice shot of Arthur's Seat in the distance

Teehee, Chris looks dorky

We're back at Arthur's Seat because of course we had to climb the side we didn't get to climb the day before

That's a good-looking seat, if you ask me

The city's all right, too

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

They make this royal treasure collection look like some cheesy Disneyland ride entrance

Won't you let us into the Queen's summer palace?


Never go anywhere without your obligatory plastic bag

All of Edinburgh lies below

Yup, we're at the seat

It's that pretty time of a long summer evening

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

First Day in Scotland

We were so tired we fell asleep on a park bench

How very British!

Back side of Edinburgh Castle

East Princes Street Gardens

So happy to be in Scotland!

Our trusty navigator

The Invisible Hand!

I'd almost rather not have a statue erected of me if a seagull were going to sit on my head

Trapped in a booth

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)


Today was a true spring day. When you are outdoors most of the time, weather talk is not mere idle chatter but can define the contour of your days. Thank God for well-made clothing and tents.

I feel suddenly droopy.

Posted by chschen 10:57 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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