“I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, deedle–ee–dee…”
“Kate, this is so dumb. You know not to follow random trails. You know that. You’re ridiculous.”
“(Spanish accent) mañana. (Attempted French accent) mañana. (Back to Spanish) manzana! (Chuckling)”
Those are three examples of conversations that I’ve had with myself, and that’s just conversations I’ve had today.
Traveling alone, it seems, inspires me to talk to myself. Sometimes about the scenery I’m seeing (“oh my gosh, is that for real?”), sometimes I just break into Pocahantas songs (“you think I’m an ignorant savage…”), other times I’m chastising myself, or making up my own songs, or playing word games…and then sometimes I realize I’ve been talking to myself for the last ten minutes about who knows what.
and who knows why? I’m not sure if other people talk to themselves while they hike or walk alone, but for me it seems to put me in a better mood. I feel less alone, like I can express my moods and excitement even though I am by myself. It’s gets me through the solitary days spent with me myself and I. (That’s not to say I don’t get lonely. I do, I so do. I miss my Joseph and my bed and all the comforts of home like my kitchen!)
Most of my time in Scotland has been spent solo, but yesterday I met several people I really enjoyed sending time with. They were all from France –Pierre, Alex and clotilde — and all mathematicians. Together, we hiked the Pap of Glencoe, laughing and talking about the French education system, midges (the bastards), the sun (which had made us actually concerned about a sunburn. In Scotland) and loads of other things. It was great and easy and I so appreciated their willingness to spend time with me and basically spend their entire day speaking in a language that wasn’t their own. We laughed and saw some beautiful sites together during the day…
…and at night we giggled while playing dominos and laughed out loud while we attempted balderdash in English — and aside from a few language issues, it went awesome and they loved the game enough they said they planned to purchase it.
By the end of the day, we were laughing like old friends, at Alex’s love of dominos and excitement at getting to play, at pierre’s love of cakes and all things pastry, and of the pronounciatiob mistakes and mishaps that they were making.
In the morning before they headed out, they all said that anytime I was in France I should look them up — that me or me and joe would be welcome to stay with them.
I love meeting people traveling who “fit” me. It’s a very life affirming experience.
Today I was on my own again And since it was another day of no rain (kinda –teeny drizzling here and there), I decided to hike alone. I left my hiking plans with the front desk…
…and walked the four miles to the start of the hike. Through land that made me realize why Scotland is so green. Because it’s just a big bog. And if you aren’t careful — which for a millisecond I wasn’t– you totally get off track from the main trail and end up ankle deep in sucking mud and wondering what you did to deserve this.
But anyway, EVENTUALLY I found what I thought was the trail I was looking for (the people on it gave me a clue) and headed in. The hike was short but sweet, which was the intention on this cloudy/possibly-going-to-turn-rainy day. It was full of water and waterfalls, a little exposure, lots of nice stone trails and a zillion million views.
After the hike, I had my first hitchhiking experience. There’s a parking lot at the top of the trail where a lot of people pull off just to take pictures and get on their way. I awkwardly hung out while pretending to read my map, and waited to seeif I could spot a safe ride option. I was thinking either a couple, or a group of older folks, and avoiding people with children(cause I figured they’d feel weird about a stranger with their kid) and dudes, old or young (just cause.). So anyway, I was lurking and I saw them. The perfect group. A middle-aged couple and their slightly older than middle aged friends speaking English (bonus) and smiling and talking about hiking munros. I took the plunge.
“You guys headed toward Glencoe?”
“Would you be at all willing to drop me a few miles up the road?”
“Oh” (Pause.) “…ah, why not?”
Ha! Success! They let me shove in with them in the backseat and we made very friendly, nice, only slightly awkward conversation and when I hopped out of the car a little later with a huge thank you and smile, they said it was a pleasant and nice surprise to have met me.
So, yeah. Now I’m headed back to the hostel to check in (so they don’t call mountain rescue on me) and then I’ll read and write and plan and perhaps meet some more people who “fit” me.