I knew that moving to Scotland was what I wanted. I have wanted it for a long time. Almost too long, I think, as I was beginning to feel like it should be kept as a glorious dream to dwell on as an ever-present exciting possibility. I believe my mother has done this very thing with her long-time interest in travelling to India. I recently re-read Paulo Coelho’s excellent novel The Alchemist, which addresses this very issue. If you’ve read The Alchemist you will understand how I was re-inspired to live out what I felt was my correct path. If you haven’t read it, do it now.
Good, right? Paulo Coelho is a freaking genius; everything he says is wise and deeply truthful.
The circumstances that lead me to move to Edinburgh at this point in my life are fairly standard. Firstly, because I wanted to, as has already been established. I also graduated from university this past June (2012) with an Honours Degree in Greek and Roman Studies (my Thesis explored the comedic playwright Aristophanes’ use of homosexuality) and a minor in History. Since I have absolutely no desire to become a teacher or professor, this became immediately useless.
I don’t regret my degree in any way – I loved every single second of it (even when I didn’t). But after graduation I felt an overwhelming feeling of “Now what?”
My third reason was an amicable yet heartbreaking break-up with a man I had been very much in love with for over three years. I would have followed him into oblivion (oblivion being small-town Canada; so NOT me, yet where he wanted to end up). A recipe for future resentment, it wouldn’t have worked out.
With no more heavy ties to Victoria, it was the best timing I could ever hope for.
I began the necessary arrangements – gave notice at my well-paying restaurant supervisor job, and began getting rid of my furniture and excessive possessions. I donated about 70% of my closet, and I will therefore feel like I’ve contributed quite enough to charity for a few years.
About a month before my departure date, however, I injured my knee at work. I was on crutches for a week and a half, and still needed to pack up most of my apartment (an attic suite only accessible via a number of rickety stairs). I had to call in favours from busy friends, friends’ fiancés (thanks again, Graham!), and generally rely on the generosity of others when I was usually very happily self-reliant. It was probably the worst week of my life – newly alone in the apartment, injured, helpless and facing yet another major change I was imposing upon myself. I felt like maybe I was going insane.
Eventually I completed the slow process of paring down all of my possessions to fit into two suitcases (what I thought to be the bare minimum I could live with), and moved in with some girlfriends for the last couple of weeks in Victoria (my parents had moved to Ontario a year previous, and felt just as helpless in not being able to help me through my tough time). Once I was off the crutches, I felt like I could maybe still accomplish my travel goals, albeit with a significant limp.
Finally, I left Victoria, and the last bitter couple of months, behind.
When I landed in Glasgow, I walked out of the airport feeling exhilarated.
I’d arrived! I was here! Has anyone mentioned ME yet? I walked up to a friendly-looking man to ask where I could catch a bus to the train station to get me to Edinburgh. The man replied to my question in a very heavy Glaswegian accent. “Oh, pardon me?” I asked. He repeated himself. “I’m sorry, could you say that again?” He did. “So, um, it’s , um, that way?” I pointed a random direction; he shook his head and said the same thing again. I thanked him and I as I left, all I could think was: what have I done?