Far from the madding crowd

Landscape at Milton
Landscape from a nearby hill. 16 Sept 2018

Yesterday we arrived at the Milton of Cambus Farmhouse Airbnb (in Doune, Scotland) that I had booked on Saturday when I decided that another two days of train trips to get back to London from Edinburgh was too much.

As we arrived, I realized it was the best decision I had made for this trip. Feeling a bit weary of train travel, these two introverts on the road on day 11 were feeling in need of open space, field of sheep and cows, fresh air and time away from crowds. Here at the farmhouse we received those wishes.

Cows at Milton
Cows, rather curious about us. 16 Sept 2018

Our hosts, Rosemary and David, have been so kind. Knowing that we lacked transportation, they picked us up at the airport and even offered a lovely dinner for a small fee, even though they do not usually provide that. We are the first guests that have arrived without a car, and they seemed so willing to make us feel at home.

My only regret is that we do not have longer to stay here. They are travel writers, and they publish a number of Simple Guides and Safari Maps covering places here in Scotland as well as East Africa. Their books on the Maasai Mara region and Kenya are beautifully illustrated and get me thinking about traveling there, even though this area was not high on my list before.

We told them last night how this experience of staying with them is “breaking the curve” on every Airbnb (and regular B&B) experience we have had so far. David explained that they have often had such good treatment while traveling, and they like to provide what they would want to their guests, as much as possible. What a lovely way to look at hosting.

Sheep at Milton
I tried to get closer to the sheep, but they were not fond of strangers, so they ran in the other direction when I approached.

During this trip we have had 6 other Airbnb hosts, and they varied widely in the quality of what they were able to offer. Some were limited by the space and neighborhoods they had, so that was not within the control of the hosts. Some were highly interactive and others more withdrawn and absent.

As introverts, we do not need or want constant conversation with our hosts or other guests at the Airbnb. But I think it is important to feel welcome, or at least feel as though we are not an imposition on the host. Learning some history about an area or receiving suggestions about local activities is a precious part of hosting. Feeling welcome and cared for is such a great gift.

We fly back to London today for our final Airbnb in Canary Wharf before returning home this Wednesday. I am so grateful for this time and for our journey together on this trip. I am sure to process it and write more in the coming weeks. For now, I am just grateful we have had time away to rest and relax. I am starting to miss my cats and my own bed.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Sheep on hill
It is idyllic countryside, here in Doune, Scotland. I will miss it when we leave. 
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Wellness Wednesday – off the grid

When was the last time you took yourself truly “off the grid”? 

This means: no computer, no internet, no phone. Just fresh air, big sky, and lovely space all around you?

Remember when phones used to be objects mounted on a wall of our house somewhere? When they didn’t constantly go everywhere that you do, like digital leashes?

I do. But for the 16-18 years (?) I have carried a mobile phone with me. It has become indispensable. I sometimes ask: What did people do before having cell phones? Where did they get their information before Google?

Sometimes it is good for us to allow our minds a little boredom, a break from the constant stimulation. This Wednesday, I am recommending you try that, for 12 hours or maybe 24 hours if you are really brave. Power it all off.  If your work is dependent on being online, you may have to save this for a weekend.

Then: observe what happens to your thinking, your emotions, your conversations.

Phone addiction is a real thing. It works on a principle called intermittent reinforcement. You may not even realize how those little pings and dings affect you until you turn them all off.

But it can be cured. The answer is to go without, and to have regular breaks from all of that stimulation. In the same way most of us get a 11-12 hour fast each night after dinner and before breakfast, we can “fast” from technology. And it has distinct benefits for your concentration, energy and relationships.

I encourage you to give it a try. While I am on my break this week, I am trying it as well. Given that my favorite meditation app is on my phone, this is tricky. But I can always record my meditations in my trusty little notebook, pen and paper old-fashioned style, and then log the sessions later.

Please let me know if you try this and what you discover in the comments.

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

St Croix State Park base camp