Nobody is a Stranger in Scotland

Once in a while you meet someone you didn’t quite expect and that person ends up imprinting a part of themselves onto you, whether they were intending to or not. And yet, you walk away from that experience being extremely grateful.

Hospitality and friendliness among the Scottish people is no secret. My friend and I experienced this throughout our travels around the countryside in guesthouses/B&Bs we stayed in, distilleries we visited, etc. Back in 2019, my friend’s Uncle Jimmy greeted me at the airport then welcomed me into his home for the night and hosted me for a full day taking my jetlagged self around Glasgow and treating me to a classic Scottish dinner: spicy curry. (A small side benefit to worldwide colonialism is bringing some tasty cuisine back to your home kingdom.) I recall how much the whole day and experience of his openness blew me away because I had only met him adjacently *one time* at my friend’s wedding seven years prior. I still talk about it with friends when that trip to Scotland comes up.

A similar opening of arms and heart greeted us upon this visit to Glasgow. On our last day in Scotland, Tim and I met up with a local whom he had met three years prior at a pub. We’ll call this local Allan because that’s his name. He told Tim next time he was in town to let him know and that they’d meet and hang out again. Promises were made and words were kept. After breakfast, Allan met up with us in our hotel lobby to be our local city guide. We had provided no guidance or clues on what we wanted to do, so Allan took us on a walking tour as he saw fit. He would not so discreetly be looking up factoids on his phone if he didn’t know something and be admirably patient with our indecisiveness when he’d ask, “what do you want to do next?” as we’d simply shrug nary a thought to be found in our heads.

What struck me with Allan, similarly to Uncle Jimmy (I have adopted him), was how open and friendly he was from the onset of first meeting me – and as I’m told also with Tim during their first encounter – without knowing me from Adam. And yet not only that, but also all the generous and mindful actions he took towards two relative strangers: picking up drink/meal tabs, transit tickets, observantly noticing when I felt out of place at the pub while a football (“soccer”) game was on, and making sure we “did something I wanted to do next,” to so thoughtfully buying me a nice tea mug “just like he has at home” to keep us connected after I returned. He had no reason to be so kind, yet I am eternally thankful to have been a recipient of his joyous and giving spirit.

Oh, he had some unexpected party tricks up his sleeve like balancing a full Guinness atop the edge of an empty glass and he did it with such elegance and humility.

balancing guinness

We don’t have enough Allan’s in the world. We need more people with no ulterior motives or expectations of anything in return in our interactions and relationships. I’ve already been marinating on how I need to change my perspectives and heart to embrace this type of more open and generous living.

What if we didn’t look upon strangers and new people with a side eye and so much caution? What if we worked towards having a more generous and welcoming presence to strangers who may one day turn into friends? Truly, nobody is a stranger in Scotland. I already have an invite to come back to visit Allan and I’m going to work on how to make that happen in the not too distant future.

And the teacup is lovely.

mad hatter tea cup

Best Supporting Actor

Be the best supporting actor role in everyone else’s story

Me, Me, Me

American culture has an odd obsession with celebrity and being a star and unique. We are taught to see ourselves as important and as the center of our universe. Individually we are each the point from which all things revolve and rotate around. We each matter, probably more than the next person! It’s ok for goals, personal freedoms, and desires to take precedence over any unexpected repercussions in our ongoing quest for self-gratification. It’s self above all else. 


How to Care for Singles During a Quarantine

Let us remember to look after one another

Life is rarely easy. No matter how independent or self-sufficient or introverted we are or say we are, we need other people. For interaction, companionship, to love & be loved, for help, and so much more. In-person interaction is vital to our existence. However, that’s not something we all have easy access to, currently exacerbated by the current situation with COVID-19/Coronavirus. 

More Americans are living alone than ever before. Almost one third of the population lives alone. (I count myself among that population.) Like many introverts and so many memes, we’ve been “training for this all our lives” because we more often choose those times of solitude from interaction. Mildly funny, but a poor reflection of our current reality. That hasn’t previously excluded being alone in public, like coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. 


Your Presence is Requested

“Presence with others is first about showing up.”

Presence (Amy Cuddy)

Who are the most important and influential people in your life? Growing up, very likely it was the friends and family who you were around and see on a regular basis. They showed up for birthday parties and graduations. You hung out in each other’s homes just doing whatever, sometimes nothing in particular. Simply being around each other was enough. In high school, college, and into your 20s, regularly being around people this was often still the determining factor in who you were close to and you mattered to you. That setting could be a school, church, or your job.


On Vulnerability

Definition: “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded”

(courtesy of Merriam-Webster)

At an undetermined point during my youth, I made a decision. Being an INFP and generally anti-confrontation and avoidant of difficult or painful situations, I became more intentional about trying not to put myself in places where I could be hurt or emotionally wounded by others. What better way to avoid pain than by avoiding activities that could involve pain? So what if some of those same activities also had the opportunity for real connection, warmth, love, and healing? Guess I missed out.

The goal was to protect me from any more pain.

Musings Photos

Open Seating

Well before I got interested in photography, I always found myself drawn to empty spaces, to those quiet places. The ones most enticing are those found against the loudest of backdrops. They pull me in with their temptations of possibilities and of unheard and overlooked stories. It’s in the stillness which listening is best done.


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In the last few years, the written word has gained increasing importance in how we connect and communicate with people. As we rely on writing over speaking because we all have come to hate phone calls because… reasons. And because we also don’t live in a TV world where friends decide to meet up to chat about the most mundane and vital of topics, we are left with text messages, instant messaging, emails, etc. The problem is we can be terrible at saying what we mean.


You Are Who You Are When Everyone’s Watching

“You are who you are when nobody’s watching.”

Stephen Fry

Be on your best behavior! Whether you are a leader in an organization or a parent with kids or someone else altogether, who we are is on display for the world to see and take in, In the minds of others, internal notes and understandings about your character and demeanor are constantly being logged, revised, erased, rewritten, tweaked. In case any of you are wondering, yes I am doing this with some or many of you on a semi-regular basis and reflect on who you are and how you became the person you are today and who you may become in the future. Call me curious about the human condition.