September – 2013 – Digital Nomad

Archives for September, 2013

Preserve the Parks

My very first travels, ever, were family vacations. Every summer, my parents would pile all of my brothers and sisters into our van and then head west for weeks on end. I learned quickly that “travel” meant three things—enduring Nebraska, visiting national parks, and surviving on Nature Valley granola bars. I remember so well how…

Homecoming Scotland 2014

Back in January, I tracked down my great-great-great grandfather at the ScotlandsPeople Centre. This month, I traveled to the other side of Scotland and saw the land of my maternal ancestors. I walked the same streets of Glasgow that they walked, went to their church of Paisley Abbey (check out the view), visited their last…

Glasgow Music

Every city has its sound—Manhattan’s taxi commotion and Sydney ferries, or Cairo’s car horns and New Orleans’ trumpets in the streets—though try and define it too much and you’ll miss the music of the place. To be a good traveler, you really only have to listen. I’ve been listening to Glasgow since the eighties—ever since…

Foraging in the Forest of Knoydart

It too me thirteen years to travel back to Knoydart, but took less than thirteen seconds for me to fall in love with the place all over again. I owe my entire discovery of this rare corner of Scotland to Jackie Robertson who picked me up hitchhiking so long ago and showed me the loch…

Return to Knoydart

Thirteen years ago (this month), I traveled to Scotland for the first time. I was a student and I was quite seriously broke—I remember well my empty refrigerator and the simple zeros in my bank balance until one fine September day when my housing deposit return showed up in the mail. I cashed the £250…

Hiking in Skye

There are two secrets to happy hiking in Scotland: waterproof clothing and lots of time. Show up in the Highlands with a plan to reach such-and-such peak on such-and-such day, and Scotland will laugh in your face and spit rain at you. Better to draw a big circle around a set of calendar days and…

The Other MacDonalds

I never tasted crushed popcorn dust atop sweet and salty corn soup or whisky foam or caramelized grapefruit—until I came to Skye. Arriving in Scotland, I expected haggis and herring, potatoes and porridge—but when I licked my first spoon of morning porridge at Kinloch Lodge, I was hit with the most wonderful brown sugar and…

Sabbath on Skye

On Sunday, everything is pretty much closed in Skye. Well, almost everything—at lunch I managed to grab a haggis sandwich in one village, and another pub let me use their Wi-Fi on the condition that I bought a drink—but otherwise, come Sunday, it seems the entire Isle of Mists shutters their windows in strict observance…

The Storm

Nobody is more weather-obsessed than the islanders of the Outer Hebrides—of this I am certain. From the moment I first landed in Barra, every person I have met has first shook my hand, then told me their name and delivered a 48-hour forecast. “We’re in for a wee blow tomorrow,” said one man in a…

Bagpipes in North Uist

In New York City, your waiter is always an actor—In Scotland, they’re all musicians, or better yet—pipers. By night, David Provan (age 18) serves guests at Langass Lodge on the Isle of North Uist (yust). By day, he studies (and plays) the bagpipe at the University of the Highlands and Islands, which has a campus…