From time to time I find myself struggling to deal with the different callings I feel coming from my mind and heart. One of the things I find hard to deal with is my intense need to live in the middle of chaos, almost as if attracted to it, opposed to my eagerness to emerge myself in the wilderness, to listen to the sound of nature, and be smashed by the power of views on which no human hand had a part to play, views that make tears come to my eyes, views that make me feel small and understand how irrelevant we are, mere humans, mere dust in the universe. How insignificant. How little.
After all, what are men compared to rocks and mountains? What are we compared to the vast blue ocean, to a heavy cloud sky? I like to think we are naturally part of it. We are animals after all, born to live in this amazing, beautiful planet. And what makes me sad is how often we forget about that. About how wonderful the Earth really is, the miracle it actually is. Looking to the solar system, as far as we know, this is the only planet with an ocean, a breathable atmosphere, a temperature that allows all sort of living beings. A beautiful, scenic planet, that we humans destroy everyday. That we take for granted without a blink of an eye. And, yes, I am including myself on it.
This is why we need to go and see things. This is why we need to travel. We were born to be nomads. And as we became this “evolved” thinking being, we have the power to choose it, to do it. We need to allow ourselves the journey of self discovery, to be humbled by the beauty of the world. Although the theme of this post is natural heritage, I also speak about the the the parts of the world built by humankind, the cultures created by human minds, our History. Even though it might sadeness us sometimes, it’s what makes us who we are. As humans, we were gifted or perhaps even cursed with this inner fight – the natural against the artificial. Chaos against peace. Instictint against reasoning. Impulse against restraint.
And traveling allows me to come to this sort of realizations. Perhaps because I have also loads of time to allow myself to be philosophical. When you live emerged in chaos, in the not always so charming life of a big city, trying to survive and make a living for yourself, often you forget how little those big things actually are. If you’ve shared the same feeling, you’ll know I am not contradicting myself. Life is made of paradoxes, and I am one. As we all, as humans, are.
Travelling has been allowing me to fill an empty space that I’ve always felt in me. More than impulsive shopping, more than the reading, more that going to art galleries,more than the writing, the painting, the photography, all things that are part of myself, seem almost irrelevant when compared to travel, and what I get from it. It’s priceless. I get something from each single trip that becomes part of myself. Scotland, for some reason, has filled my heart. I felt like I belonged, I felt like I wanted to stay. I wanted to know more. I wanted to dive in those mountains and perhaps just get lost and forget about everything else in the world. Because everything less seemed so far away, so irrelevant.
I did fall in love with Scotland. Edinburgh conquered my heart, and the highlands took it away from me. I am in love with Edinburgh, but also with Scotland. From the city we made a one day tour through the highlands having as a final destiny the famous Loch Ness. the cliché is a definite truth: is not about the destiny, but the journey. I was speechless. I had seen amazing mountain landscapes in my country, Portugal, that will leave you breathless. But the Highlands are more than incredible. Mysterious, majestic, inviting and at the same time menacing and intimidating. As if some sort of hidden truth, or darkness was calling the animal living inside me. I wanted to get out of the road and run to the mountains.
Even though, realistically, I’d just die in less than a day if I did that.
But now, let’s stop my philosophical wandering. We were lucky enough to get more than a guide. A true storyteller, a Scotsman in its sixties, with a lovely scottish accent, that I could hear for hours. He told us about the Klans, about the battles, the enmities, the Jacobites, the British Crown cruelty and thirst for power against the strong headed scottish willingness of becoming independent. He told us about Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, a story that always saddened me, enlarging my knowledge on History. Wearing a kilt made of 100% wool, with 7 meters, hand stitched, as he explained us, this man was also a great singer of traditional scottish songs. Twelve hours traveling seemed like nothing – the views entertained my eyes, and the stories caressed my ears. Eric, that was his, had 50% blood and 50% whisky in his veins. And, thanks to him, I felt I was living another Era. A outlander emerged in a highland experience.
We got to the Loch Ness by lunchtime, and went on a cruise in the largest lake in volume in the British Isles. The water of every single Lake in England and Wales would not be enough to fill Loch Ness, not even the world’s population. So, it’s not surprising that people wonder about a monster, Nessie, living in the deep waters of Loch Ness. The reason why we chose the Loch Ness was not particularly related with the monster… we obviously did not expect seeing it. But it’s almost like Stonehenge, right? Deep down, no matter how sceptical you are, we enjoy the mystery, the dark side, the possibility of the unknown.
And I am pretty sure Nessie is not the only secret in the highlands. There must be thousands, but are not for us to discover. Let them remain as they are, a mystery, and let our eyes wander in the surface of what we can see and admire. Let us not think.