Girl Gone Traveling: On the train to Edinburgh

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

June 11, 2014, Wednesday, 11:54am, London time

I’m sitting on a UK East Coast train to Edinburgh Scotland, facing the wrong way and it’s causing a bit of motion sickness but it hardly seems even a nuisance with how I’m feeling right now.

There are two elderly Scottish women talking quietly at a table next to me and their accents are making my eyes water with memories of talking with my Grandmother, Christina. I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to understand anyone when I get there, or how I’m going to keep myself from bursting into tears at the slightest conversation.

I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m finally going to Scotland of all places. I want to add on to the stories I’ve started writing while in Chicago and London, but I have to record these moments, at least for a little while. I’m sitting next to a window and despite the legendary overcast skies and rains of the United Kingdom, it’s a beautiful sunny day which makes it difficult to see my laptop screen as clearly as I would like. I see my reflection instead. Dark blond hair, gray tee-shirt, gray and white striped scarf, and bright red headphone wires hanging from my ears down to my laptop. I can barely see these words.

Out the window are things I’ve seen before while traveling around England. Little towns with thatched roofs, sheep, cows, and horses, car parks, and even the ‘little old man walking with his dogs and walking stick”. It’s true, you know. At least some of it is; what we see in the movies or television shows about British country life. There always seems to be an older gentlemen wearing a hat, knee-high boots, walking through a green field with a cane or walking stick, wearing a sweater or jacket with tweed-patched elbows, and a dog or two following behind or running ahead. I’ve seen ‘him’ a lot. If the train slowed down enough I could get a photo, but that won’t happen.

The view I love the most on these trains is when I can spot the tips of castles or churches far away from the tracks of this train, often violently interrupted by the sudden shock of a different train going the opposite way and seeming like it’s only an inch from my window, but seeing even those tiny tips and spires from a distance makes my heart race a little. I think of age, of history, of how many events, loves, loves lost, and deaths have happened at the places of which I can only catch a glimpse.

As we pull into the towns on the way from London to Edinburgh, sometimes there are buildings or churches that are closer to these tracks and hold just as much fascination for me as the ones whose spires I can only view. I see homes and farms and flats (apartments) stacked on one another, and I admit it – I try to look into the windows of these homes if I can. I want to know what they’re doing and what curtains are hanging in their kitchen. Who are they and what is their story?

I felt at home the moment I stepped off a plane at Heathrow five years ago. I wonder if I’ll feel the same when I walk out of the Waverly train station in Edinburgh in a couple hours.

Spiritually, what if I was here before in another life and that’s why I feel so connected? I often wonder if I’m supposed to be here now; for good. I have a home and a life in the states, but often feel empty and disconnected. Not from my husband, family or friends but in general – a bit out of place. Inside. In my heart. I don’t feel that way here. Here I feel whole and at peace. Fulfilled in a way I obviously can’t seem to put into words.

I struggle with this, sometimes daily. I just realized I lied in my own journal entry. I do sometimes feel disconnected from everyone at home. Why am I trying to make it seem ‘better’ while I’m writing to myself?

It’s so green, except when passing random fields filled with bright orange flowers. Weeds, I’m sure, but still beautiful. It’s a burst of color in the middle of all the green. I want to know what those flowers are. In the middle of these fields there are sometimes small, tiny buildings with walls or a roof missing and a tree growing right out through the top. They’re always by themselves, standing alone, without anything or any other buildings seemingly near them. What were they a part of? How old are the stones and what purpose did the building serve when it was built? Some of them look as if they will turn to dust if you blow on them just right.

No more typing for now. I feel as if I’m missing something out the window that I should see, even going by this quickly. And despite the bit of motion sickness, I’ve found that I kind of like not being able to see what’s coming.

12:30pm London time.

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