A&M's Travel Highlights: Part 1

During our year abroad spent living in Scotland (August 2009-2010), the husband and I learned more about international travel, cultures, people and living then we ever thought possible. Even when we weren't traveling, every day held a new experience and fresh perspective. It's amazing what living abroad, even for a short time, can do for you. It's more than just a quick plane ride and a hotel stay... so much more. You learn to appreciate things you never even noticed before, you develop a deep and sincere appreciation for someone else's culture and you learn not to forget your passport on the way to the airport (yeah, that totally happened).

Lately, we've both been nostalgic about our time spent in Scotland. Some of the top questions we were frequently asked upon our return was if we missed it and would we have stayed. The first answer is a definite yes, the other is, well, we'll go with "unknown." We certainly thought about staying, it crossed our minds, as the question so often does when you spend any great deal of time in a certain location. We played out the scenario, what we would need to do for it to be possible and so on. Then we went home to Texas for a week-long visit six months into our stay and realized how badly we missed home. Thus it was only natural that at the end of our year across the pond we returned to the Lone Star State and began eating Mexican food and listening to country music like they'd gone out of style.

But parts of us miss the simple lifestyle we enjoyed there, the wonderful friends we made and the opportunity for travel. After a whirlwind holiday season back in Texas, we were exhausted and have burned up the road between Houston and Dallas more than I care to admit. Packing up our suitcases had become a familiar practice - we traveled every month in Scotland, then lived out of our bags for over four months when we returned home while waiting to buy our house. Not to mention, we took off to Dallas when we could as it was easier then without having to manage our four pets, who, at the time, were staying with our parents.

When we zipped up a suitcase to go home to Dallas for Christmas, I began to miss it. I missed looking up the weather report for Dublin or Prague or Rome and working out a wardrobe that would best fit in my bag. I missed charting some of the top tourist attractions and buying tickets to get into the Vatican or the Louvre. We had gotten so used to to packing it up and winging it through international airports, and we loved it so much. The spirit of adventure and the unknown. While it's not realistic for us to think we could have continually kept that up, or have lived overseas without becoming despairingly homesick, we still hold out hope to continue our adventures in the future. We hope to make it back to Hawaii (a favorite of mine and where we spent our honeymoon), take a cruise to the Greek islands, visit friends in Australia and perhaps revisit Prague in the summertime (it was amazing during winter).

With all that said, it's no surprise that we've been daydreaming about the amazing trips we took while abroad and I wanted to share the  highlights with all of you here on the blog in picture form. Of course, I've blogged about each and every one of these experiences in full, so I'll provide the appropriate links in the photo captions should you wish to read the whole story! I've also broken up the year into a three-part series, as it's way too many photos to post in one sitting, so stay tuned for the second and third posts in between regular post material in the coming week or so.

...without further ado, I begin our Travel Highlights series!

We begin in August 2009, when we very first arrived in Scotland.

Fresh off the plane in Aberdeen, located far north in Scotland.

The husband coming home from his first day at work across the pond.

The Nissa Micra we drove during our year there. Tiny!

The very first road trip we took to Huntly, with a stop in Dufftown (pictured here), the home of many famous whisky distilleries like Glenfiddich.

Meeting up with new friends for strange beers!

Our first trip to the beach in Aberdeen, which is the North Sea. It's icy cold.
One of the beautiful photos I took while I enjoyed dog walking during my first few weeks in Aberdeen.

Enjoying a stroll 'round Aberdeen and admiring their colorful landscaping before winter took it all away.

Our first true Scottish event! The Highland Games in Braemar.

For our anniversary, we ventured to Inverness and took a horse back ride above Urquhart castle on Loch Ness. 

Visiting one of our favorite castles, Dunnottar, which was nearby in Stonehaven. 

A crazy Halloween in Aberdeen - we were a cowgirl & cowboy!

Our first real trip, which we took to Dublin with fellow American friends.

The door to our flat and how we managed to get stuck inside.

An amazing trip to Paris - c'est la vie!

A Christmas wish come true! My mom and step-dad visited us in December 2009. Read about our two week-adventure from snow and castles to trains and fiddles here, here, here and here.

We spent New Years (Hogmanay) in Scotland's capitol city of Edinburgh. It was so cold your beer nearly froze and there were more than 80,000 people on the streets.

Well, folks, that's all for 2009! Part two will dive into the first half of 2010, and part three will round out our one-year adventure with some of our most standout trips and experiences to date. Keep an eye out for those in the coming week or two, in between regular posts. I look forward to traveling down memory lane with you again soon!

1 comment:

  1. I so enjoyed reading this post! We ALL enjoyed your time in Scotland and all the trips you took! You did an outstanding job of blogging your adventures so we could all share in them! Looking forward to the next 2 parts! I sometimes still watch the year in photos slideshow with music you made!


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