The A-Z of Me

My wardrobe mainly consists of outdoors kit, all with its own job to do – keep me warm, keep me dry, help me stay on my feet. Most of it is brightly coloured or patterned. Some of it is like an old friend and we’ve seen many adventures together and unless it physically drops off me (hopefully that won’t happen), then we shall see many more together. Then there is all the other bits and bobs I manage to fill a bag with – DSLR and usually a change of lens, a notepad and pen (old school, I know), a bottle of water and more recently, a gimble helping me to take video. All this STUFF doesn’t define me but it does make it easier for me being a Scottish travel blogger and to do the things I love. Here’s the A-Z of me, some obvious and others not so much.

The A-Z of Me

is for my favourite season – Autumn. Why? The whole package really – crisp cold air in my lungs, fungi popping up all over the place, the sound of geese flying overhead as they migrate for the winter and of course the trees changing colour. This is all closely followed by Spring as my second favourite bringing new life and more wildlife spectacles.

B is for this blog. It’s inception, a pure (happy) accident. A way of getting new content on my photography website when we moved. I started an online diary and the accompanying social media profiles. Just blethering about our daily life as Scotland’s newest residents. At the start of 2018 I gave it it’s own domain as it had totally outgrown it’s original humble beginnings (what a learning curve that was).

C is for curious. As a photographer I get paid to people watch and I love it! I’m curious to see how people engage with one another and of course, take photos of what happens in between. Some  might call it nosey but I love looking through gaps in the fence (not in a creepy way), laying on the ground to watch a ladybird move across blades of grass and I have a thing for doors! They conceal so much history, personal stories, the truth.

D is for Dude. My very patient, understanding, calming influence and partner of over fourteen years. He has some dodgy taste in music and never comes out of a supermarket with just the things he went in for, this always makes me laugh! But we wander through Scotland making memories (someone pass me bucket) and there is no-one else I would rather go through life with.

John O'Groats, Caithness, North Coast 500, Scotland Travel Guide. Man and woman stood beneath the John O'Groats sign.

is for “every day is a school day.” For me, practical and hands on learning is the way to do it. Dates, battles, names all have a better chance of sticking if I am at a castle and I am reading it in bite sized chunks, rather than reading a book. The whole blogging thing still continues to blow my mind each time I think about all the technical stuff I have learnt in the last four and a bit years. There is always something new to learn. I wonder what it will be today?

F is for filthy sense of humour. If there is a tone, I can usually lower it. I put that down to working for the Police as a civilian custody officer. Some would say that is not anything to be proud of but actually I like laughing and having fun, it’s all very harmless.

G is for golf. I had ten golf lessons many, many years ago and have never done anything with it after that! Was it pointless? No I don’t think so. It distracted me from a rather messy break up at the time. Fifteen plus years on and now living in Scotland I think I need to give it another whirl. Golf needs more women, don’t you think?

H is for hugging trees.  Yes I have been known to hug a tree. Yes I regularly place my hand on the bark to feel the tree’s energy. So what? There is something kinda special about touching something that has been alive longer than anything I have in the back of the pantry! Magnificent beings. Please hug a tree out on your next walk, I promise you will be glad you did.

I is for Iceland. Dude and I visited Iceland back in January 2014 and had our first Aurora Borealis sighting. A feint white line moving in the sky I must admit was a bit disappointing. But what an experience – standing in a field full of strangers in the pitch black and freezing cold. Iceland is a stunning country but I would like to return when there is more hours of day light. Iceland, Travel Blog. Woman stood in front of steaming Geysir. She is wearing a big down jacket and hold her camera

J is for journal. I don’t write a daily journal but I do like to write about holidays and our city breaks. My first one was when we went to Nepal for nearly a month back in 2013. At the end of each day trekking in the mountains I would spend just 30 minutes writing up the days trials and tribulations, they are a brilliant reminder of my struggles and that time I ate a vegetable bhaji that contained a whole chilli (in my defense it looked like a green bean!).

K is for kite. Dude and I have a kite that has never actually been flown (in 14 years) but has been packed on to the parcel shelf of the car and been on many road trips with us! Cornwall, Pembrokeshire coast, Lake District and all over Scotland.  In fact, as I think about it now maybe I should set up an Instagram for it. Joke! No particular reason it’s never been flown, it’s either too windy or we totally forget about it.

L is for left handed. I am left handed. I don’t turn the paper all squint when I write nor can I cut fresh bread or cheese straight to save my life. I use my knife and fork as a right handed person does and during my golf lessons many moons ago I played right handed too! Go figure?

M is for music. I will listen to most types of music from folk to the Rolling Stones but when I’m out walking I enjoy nature’s orchestra. My favourite playlist at the moment is Country music and songs from the TV series Nashville.

N is for nature. Ever since I can remember I have LOVED being outdoors, getting my hands dirty, catching (and releasing) grasshoppers so that I could see them up close and been mesmerised by the rolling hills and their ever changing beauty. Non of this has changed except I now view nature through a camera or a small hand lens too.

O is for Oban. The Oban to Craignure CalMac ferry holds a special memory for us. It’s where I asked Dude if we could move to Scotland after (another) incredible week in Mull. He said yes and the rest is history.

P is for photography. This is probably the most obvious out of my entire A-Z of me. It happened most unexpectedly after a car accident and I was unable to drive. I started off with a compact camera, then onto a fixed lens Fuji and then my first Canon with kit lenses. I am completely self taught and I don’t think I have ever even read an instruction manual. Learning to use my camera properly, where I am in total control has been exciting, disappointing at times but also really rewarding. It’s not very often you will see me without one of my cameras.

Photography, Scotland. Camera set up on tripod in front of snowy mountain

Q is for quiet. Not one of my strong points! I can’t sit still or quiet for very long, I’ve always been the same. As a child I hated being sent to my bedroom (this happened regularly) because of the silence and even now if I go into the kitchen to boil the kettle, I put the radio on first.

S is for social anxiety. I have shied away from quite a few social gatherings with fellow bloggers and a local photography group because of this anxiety I feel. A fear of being judged as a blogger/photographer or for my size stops me. When I talk to people my face turns red and I get all hot and stumble over my words. I didn’t even realise it was a thing until fairly recently. I have met a few Scottish travel bloggers and they are lovely but that was always on a one to one basis and had a great time. So please don’t be offended if I don’t turn up to the blog meet. It’s not you, it’s me.

T is for always on time. I hate being late. I hate rushing and I hate people who keep me waiting. Okay, that last one is a bit harsh as most of my friends seem to have no concept of time but I still love them anyway. I’ve always been the same. In my mind, 10 o’clock means 09:50 not 10:10.

U is for umbrella. Not a fan. On crowded streets they can potentially have someone’s eye out and with just a whiff of a breeze there is always the risk of the damned thing turning inside out or whisking you away like Mary Poppins across the roof tops. Not a fan. Although, I did use one as a parasol one summer in the unforgiving heat and I needed some shade whilst working. Just that one time though.

V is for variety. I get bored very easily and don’t even like eating the same food two nights on the trot. We like varied travel plans, days out, experiencing new things.

W is for wild swimming. My quiet place. Having started swimming in lochs in Scotland just last June when the water was a balmy 14°c I was happy to have achieved my first winter swimming in just a swimsuit. At it’s coldest the water was just 1.5°c with a thin layer of ice during a visit to the Cairngorms.

Lui Water, Mar Lodge Estate, Scotland. Clear river water with high river banks and trees

X is for Xtra pair of ribs. I discovered about ten years ago after having an x-ray on my neck that I have an extra pair of ribs! To give them their proper name, cervical ribs. Estimated that just 1 in 500 people have this, I think it’s kinda cool. It normally freaks folk out when I tell them. I can’t feel them and I didn’t even know they were there until the x-ray.

Y is for Yes. I love saying yes to new adventures and challenges. After visiting Nepal and trekking in the mountains I realised that I am more capable of toughing it out than I thought. Embrace opportunities. Say yes to more.

Z is for Zealous. I have boundless enthusiasm to experience as much of nature and Scotland as I can. This place makes my heart pound out of my chest. I get excited at the thought of roadtrips, new places to swim and making new memories. But over all, I get excited at being able to share them across my social media and when I talk to friends. I want everyone to find their own version of Scotland and love it as much as I do.

So, that’s the A-Z of me. It covers some of who I am and what makes me tick. I found that actually more difficult than I thought it would be. Some letters I came up with multiple things and some I really struggled with. I hold my hands up to asking for help from a couple of my closest friends.

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