I didn’t actually mean to embark on this journey at the beginning of September. In November of 2020, I handed in my notice at work, due to stress, and also knowing that I didn’t want to die as a barman. I want to be a writer of course, and my plan is and was back then, to travel simultaneously. I didn’t actually end up leaving until August this year, which might be one of the longest notice periods any employer has ever received, but unfortunately a lot has changed in the world, and I guess quite a bit in myself as well.
I wanted to get lost, to try and find myself after losing that to working full time in customer service for a number of years. Sadly, due to the Covid situation forcing everyone to take staycations, I couldn’t even find any campsites let alone accommodation who could squeeze me in when I tried to plan my week long hike along the Norfolk Coast. I was pretty dismayed, but after speaking to some of my friends, I made the decision to go to Scotland, and planned my travel and accommodation on my phone in the pub in about ten minutes.
Things within myself changing seemed to have really meant straight nihilism to me, seeing as the world seems to getting much worse and my mental health and relationships felt like they were deteriorating, I had a feeling that I might as well live as much as I can in case something happens, one way or another. Bleak and pessimistic, sure, but somehow an invigorating approach to life, and it led me to thinking; “I’ve never been to Scotland, so I should probably go.”
So off to Edinburgh I went.
It was a 7 hour journey, with two stops from Norwich, then to Ely, then to Peterborough, and then on to Edinburgh, which by the way, are some of the nicest trains I’ve been on in England. They even have an app you can use to order food and they we will bring it to your seat, if you really want to feel like you’re living in the future.
Coming from Norfolk, one of the flattest parts of England (second only to Cambridgeshire, apparently), every time I see mountains, I find myself transfixed by them. There’s always a question that pops up in dating apps that asks ‘Mountains or beaches?’, and although I can enjoy both, I don’t think a beach can make me feel the same way a mountain does. As I explain in the video, despite napping, eating or finding a drink, I accidentally stumbled across Arthur’s Seat, just round the corner of the parliament building. I only went to explore, but once I saw it, I wanted to get close to it, and then my feet just moved closer and closer. It was a beautiful experience, the closest thing to a good exploration I’ve had for a well, despite it being a well known path with dozens of people coming and going at various speeds. I had heard of Arthur’s Seat, but I didn’t know much about it honestly, and I most certainly didn’t expect it to only be twenty minutes away from my hostel. As I wandered past the parliament building, I found myself crossing the road, and first walking perpendicular to the mountain, I found a path that led slowly and up to the mountain, and I found myself wandering up the inclining path.
Half way up, I began to lament the fact that I hadn’t eaten or brought a bottle of water, but the views were something else, as it was approaching sunset, and I was able to see all of Edinburgh before I even managed to truly explore its streets. Halfway up, I saw that there was someone struggling equally as much as myself, an Edinburgh resident called Bovin, and we were intermittently chatting as we climbed, his new workout routine, as he told me. We met again at the top, I touched the beacon as was required, and we spoke as the wind rolled around us. I saw him taking a photo of a beacon and laughing, and he told me it had recently been repainted, only a couple days before someone had graffitied it with some nonsense about Covid being fake or something.
On top of that, I had also noticed some memorials and tributes, and he told me that a woman had tragically died just a week or two prior, and that she was allegedly pushed. Of course I didn’t put it in the video, but it was heart-breaking to see the tributes dotted around the paths. It was humbling in a way, to remind myself that I was in a wild area, literally within throwing distance of the city, and that beauty often harmonises itself closely with danger.
I staid at High Street Hostel, only five minutes from the train station, and it was a truly ideal place to go. It’s a comfy hostel, strangely filled with a lot of Edinburgh residents due to Covid interfering with people’s living arrangements. Everyone I spoke to was extremely nice, however it seemed to have its share of cliques, which is extremely strange for a Hostel, which are normally supposed to be havens for people to meet and befriend each other. The volunteers were pretty stuffy, despite us supposedly exiting the pandemic, according to the government and no-one else, a lot of them pushed past me in the communal and kitchen areas. There was a bit of a weird atmosphere there for sure, I could see people by themselves who were by themselves clearly wanting to interact with other people, but no-one seemed that interested in integrating. Of course, I would have loved to interact with them myself if I didn’t struggle with my anxiety, but it really highlighted the weird atmosphere.
Of course, I did enjoy myself. It wasn’t a perfect trip, and a lot of that was due just to how I was feeling and where I was in my life when I went. I had a great time filming everything, especially the museums, and it was a huge amount of fun to actually temper my filming and try some interesting angles and what not, and I hope that shows in the end product.
I hope you enjoy, and if there’s a bit you like, I’d love to hear it! I genuinely love talking about my videos and I love making them.