Fort Williams, Scotland

Getting up to the Isle of Eigg and my volunteering opportunity was definitely an undertaking. Instead of trying to do it all in a day or two, I decided to take my time and experience more then what I could see from out the train window. I also may have been determined to ride the Harry Potter train, something I will neither confirm nor deny.

Fort Williams is about a 6-hour train ride from Edinburgh and cost me about 30 pounds, something I found out later was a very good deal. I left Edinburgh the morning of the 7th and spent the day with my eyes glued to the passing countryside. There were tons of deer and bucks on top of the stunning mountains, rivers, lakes, and fields. Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. With my own private show, the 6-hour train ride passed quickly and I arrived in Fort Williams to sunshine.

My preferred method of travel accommodation involves looking up places to stay, but not actually booking them until I arrive. Typically, this works out really well, but occasionally it comes back to bite me in the ass. This was the case in Fort Williams. Upon arrival I discovered almost everything was booked full. The cheapest I could find was a private room the size of a closet for 45 pounds a night. Ultimately, I am glad I had that space for privacy, but in the moment, I was really frustrated. In addition, the Harry Potter was completely booked for the following day. For about 2 hours I was really irritated. I didn’t want to stay in a town where I was spending so much for lodging, and had been dead set on arriving in Mallaig a day early. However, everything worked out perfectly.

In all honesty I didn’t do much in my two days in Fort Williams. It was one of those times, as occasionally happens when I am solo traveling, where I feel the pangs of loneliness intensely. My own company feels stifling and I can’t shake the feeling my loneliness is a reflection of myself. This is nothing new. Every solo trip I have taken has had moments like this. I remember a day in Peru where I sat in my bed, cried, and ate Nutella out of a jar. While uncomfortable in the moment, I am actually thankful for these periods of discomfort. Without failure, I arrived on the other side with a newfound sense of identity and peace. It’s through those moments that I am learning how to completely love myself- as cheesy and cliché as it sounds.

When I was not laying in my bed napping I found myself eating in cafes, trying “authentic” fish and chips and walking the rainy streets in search of chocolate. I emerged the next day happy and content. I was on an adventure, and I could do whatever I wanted. To give you an idea of my mental state the next day here is an excerpt from my daily journal entry:

“The weather today is gloomy. Most shops are closed, and a layer of light gray clouds cover the sky. Occasionally it mists. On this lazy Sunday I am tired and want nothing more than to read a book by the fire place. And I can do just that. I don’t have any pressures other than the ones I place on myself. Once I let go of the pressure to see everything I can embrace the need for relaxation. I can read, write, edit pictures, and update my blog. I can do whatever I want, and no one can stop me. I think I’ll take a nap.”

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