So today my Highlands road trip comes to an end as I head to Edinburgh then back to London. I woke up early that morning and it was so peaceful in the campsite, everyone was either still asleep or went out already. I walked around to have a look at the place in day light before I take off, and it’s truly a wonderful site and my extremely short stay didn’t do it justice but hopefully there will be a next time.
I had ran into a nearby fish and chip place the other night so I passed by for a quick breakfast before hitting the road. I had roughly a little less than two hours of driving till I get to the airport in Edinburgh and since I started really early that day and had more time than I needed, I decided to take it slow and marvel at the landscape in the Loch Lomond Park while driving through. There was absolutely no need to rush myself this time.
So I put on some nice music and drove calmly by those serene morning sceneries enjoying the melodic sedative feelings that were besieging me that day. I can’t really remember what I was listening to that morning but I have always enjoyed singing out loud to whatever music I had on. I enjoyed my weird and epic playlists as my sister calls them and have to admit that Coldplay played a major role in those playlists 😀
Oh God it was so peaceful and quiet that morning which made it all so surreal and I felt heartbroken to be leaving! Ultimately, I reached the airport, dropped off my red Fiat 500x, and headed to Edinburgh to enjoy the few hours I had before the train took me back to London for the weekend. Edinburgh couldn’t have been any more welcoming, it was sunny and beautiful when I arrived. I walked around, had some food, and enjoyed some really good live rock/bagpipe music. I felt really bad that day when I was driving out of Skye and now that I was leaving Scotland, the feeling was immense. I guess it means that I had such a blast and that’s basically the whole idea, right?! Great times are bound to come to an end, they can’t last forever but they are indeed curved into our memories till the end of time.
What a trip that one was and it wasn’t only because of the new places I have seen or what I have done but also because of how it remolded my personality. My first hostel experience when I was in London a couple of weeks earlier wasn’t that great! It left me feeling utterly out of place and for the first time ever I wasn’t at all comfortable about my veil, I got concerned about performing my daily prayers in the room that I didn’t pray at all during the whole trip! That felt so bad I have to say, being forced to skip prayers so it won’t get any more awkward! The experience in Scotland was the total opposite, all my hostel stays were great, the people were super nice and accepting and though I didn’t feel comfortable enough to pray in the room still, but being treated without prejudice helped shake off the feeling of not belonging.
One of the best encounters I had that time was during my second night in Edinburgh. I was moved into a long stay female dorm where an Argentinian opened the door for me and once she saw me she asked where I come from and seeing me veiled and everything she told me oh God I have lots of stuff to ask you about. I was so tired that night wanting to sleep badly, but we ended up talking for almost two hours discussing religion, points of view, and how everyone of us saw things from a different perspective. It got even more interesting when an Algerian-French lady joined the conversation.
It was such a great opportunity to clarify some misconceptions about Muslims and Islam. To show that not all of us are the extremists who are talked about in the media and that most of us are as normal as anyone else but dressed differently.
That encounter was a good exercise to learn how to cope and accept our differences. It surely strengthened my conviction in myself, who I’m, and what I stand for and that one should always seek acceptance instead of feeling apologetic about oneself as a person just because of being different. Isn’t this how it’s supposed to be in the first place? To be received and accepted as human beings for who we are with disregard to race, skin color, and religion. We should be appreciated for our own ideals, intellect and characters because this is what a person is all about and nothing else.
The obstacles I went through during my first day, though they kind of broke me down a little, but they also toughened me up to a great extent. I was able to think my new situation over and find a solution to the mess that has happened in spite of how gloomy I felt back then. That was a very important lesson to learn, to know how to turn things around and always being able to see that break in the clouds.
A few years ago, I had a very serious car accident while driving back to Cairo from the North Coast on the highway. I didn’t get injured physically but psychologically I always faced insecurities when it came to driving on highways or even going past a certain speeding limit. It took me a year to have the courage to drive my car again on that same highway or even to be confident enough while driving through the city. Going on that road trip melted away all the self-doubt I still had buried inside of me due to that accident. For the first time I was driving a car other than mine, worried only about traffic rules and not being in a different car. I felt more confident to press that gas paddle a little, and get rid of the fear of going over a 100 km per hour! And though I acted all girly sometimes asking for help every now and again, those long drives were a great factor in strengthening my grit.
I can keep going on and on about the returns of this trip forever, all the encounters, great conversations and the awesome people I met along the way made it all so special. Wrapping it up here is causing me tremendous nostalgia. It was one of the greatest trips I have ever had, a trip that caused me a severe case of post vacation blues 😀 I can’t curb the urge to go back to Scotland, to re-familiarize myself with what I have come to know by now and to discover that that is still unknown. But above all, I can’t wait for my next road trip 🙂