Road Trip Rambles and Reflections

You might have gathered from my recent posts that things have been a little tough of late. I've been trying to tread water in a pool of darkness and fear and fog, making it harder to stay afloat by being tough on myself too, and growing increasingly tired of the whole thing. So when a medical professional suggested that I ease up and try to treat the rest of my time off work as a holiday, I decided to take their advice for once and to take it very literally. When my friend managed - at a week's notice - to secure some time off work.. well, it was like it was just meant to be!

And so it was that we found ourselves booking some last minute accommodation, squashing our bags into the back of my car and setting off for a little Highland retreat.

Day 1: Peterhead - Aberdeen (pick up Lesley) - Huntly (shop stop) - Fort Augustus. Day 2: Fort Augustus - Portnalong, Skye. Day 3: Exploring Skye.
Day 4: Portnalong - Drumnadrochit (coffee stop) - Aviemore/Nethy Bridge. Day 5: Exploring Aviemore & surrounding area. Day 6: Nethy Bridge -
Oyne (lunch at Gadie's) - Aberdeen (drop off Lesley) - Peterhead. 

We traveled from the East coast of Scotland right off to the West and back again. I drove my wee car over 700 miles in 6 days, passing through mountains and valleys, along the windiest of single-track roads with rivers and waterfalls and lochs by their side; no phone or 3G signal and no sign of people for miles upon miles.

We were often isolated, mostly disconnected and more than occasionally lost. But we were also surrounded by breathtaking scenery, delighting in getting away from everything, exploring new places and enjoying each others company.

I don't know about Lesley, but I feel like it was really good for me.

There's a model of health and well-being that says that every individual should be looked at holistically and that very few problems, if any, can be traced back to one single cause. Each person is seen as being made up of physical, social, psychological, emotional and spiritual (or meaning-giving) parts - all overlapping and interacting with each other - and in order to see a significant improvement in a person's well-being there usually needs to be change in multiple parts. *

I think there's a lot to be said for this model. 

I also think that our little week away ticked almost every box. I walked for miles and breathed fresh air and ate good food, regularly; I talked and I listened with excellent company; I worried less, let myself off with more and nothing was so scary; I laughed often, cried little and actually experienced 'happy'; and most of all I felt that delicate, intimate connection with God that comes only from opening your eyes to the world that he made and all of its beauty.

I came home at the end feeling refreshed and renewed - like I'd had some kind of system reboot, or my soul had started a much needed spring clean. Six days away hasn't solved all my problems or made life any less tough - that's a lengthy journey that I've still got to walk - but I think perhaps it's given me a bit of a kick start.

Most importantly, it's given me hope: a gentle reminder that the world is full of light, that each moment is precious and that life can be full of goodness and meaning when you grasp its tiny joys with both your hands!

It was an amazing week & I'm incredibly thankful for the lessons & reminders it opened up to me. I was so very challenged & blessed. 

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for The Lord has been good to you."
Psalm 116:7

(* Holism is actually a bit more complicated than I've made it sound because the individual should also be understood as existing in a context influenced by environmental, economic, social and political factors, underpinned by particular ethics and values... but let's just stick with the five parts for simplicity.)

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