This time tomorrow, I’ll be back in the Outer Hebrides.
(Assuming, of course, FlyBe doesn’t mess up our plans, like they do for so many travellers to and from the islands.) And just why am I excited about visiting the Outer Hebrides?
The short answer is: it’s home. While home is here, in our little apartment with colourful cushions and a living room view of the Manhattan skyline, home is also the Outer Hebrides. These islands are home in a way that’s difficult to explain succinctly, or to put into words that really convey the sense of connection that comes from living there.
I’m excited to see my family and friends, some of whom I’ve not seen in person since I left in December 2014.
I’m excited to see my best friends’ babies, and their new homes, and hear about their ups and downs and the stories that only ever really come up when you’re face to face and belly laughing about something only the two of you understand.
I’m excited about browsing whatever art exhibition is on in An Lanntair (this one, featuring a peat stack inside the gallery, remains one of my favourites). I’m excited about catching up with my old colleagues at EVENTS Newspaper, and hearing about all the developments in the local news community.
I’m excited about popping into Delights, my favourite cafe in Stornoway, for a coffee and a malteaser slice, chatting to the owners and the regulars I used to chat with every morning before work. I’m excited about trying out the new coffee shops that have opened since I was last in town, and I’m excited about visiting the new Harris Distillery, on the shores of Loch Tarbert.
I’m excited about eating fish and chips, greasy and salty and sweet with vinegar. I’m excited about Stornoway Black Pudding and potato scones, and the flavoursome sandwiches just waiting to be picked up at 40 North on the West Side of Lewis. (Not to mention all the foods I wrote about in this expat story.)
I’m excited about smelling the sea when I step outside the front door, about walking on the beach in my wellies, about strolling through the Castle Grounds after it rains, when the smell of damp leaves and grass and rhododenrons fills the air.
I’m excited for all these reasons, and many, many more.
And in order to truly appreciate them all, I’ll be attempting to do something of a digital detox while I’m visiting the Outer Hebrides. Away from the laptop screen and iPhone glare, I want to be right in the middle of all those moments I’m excited about (so if things seem a little quiet on here, you’ll know why).
This time tomorrow, I’ll be back in the Outer Hebrides – and it can’t come soon enough.
Is there somewhere you get excited about returning to? How do you feel about returning to the place(s) you call ‘home’?
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