Hi there! My name is Lilly. I have a passion for Scotland that has swept me off my feet, and this blog is a place for me to share my adventures and research of the Scottish Diaspora around the world.
I have both adoptive and biological ties to Scotland. I was born and raised in Maine and adopted when I was 8. Since then I have been part of a family with a Scottish ancestor named Mary Turner, who immigrated to America in the early 1900s. My family cherishes its Scottish roots - and in times when I’ve felt conflicted about my identity, they have encouraged me to claim this heritage as my own. So a love for Scotland has been cultivated in me through this connection.
But it also felt like there was more…..And then a few years ago I had a breakthrough in my research of my biological roots when I discovered Gideon Augustus McKenzie, a mariner from Nova Scotia who died in Gloucester Massachusetts in 1904. This was the tie I needed to ultimately confirm the blood that runs through my veins is from a Highland weaver named John MacKenzie from Inverness. John’s son James immigrated to Nova Scotia during the Highland Clearances in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden.
In October 2016, I spent 5 weeks wandering around Scotland solo. It changed my life. I learned quickly how to drive on the left and put 3200 miles on my rental car that trip. I climbed my first munro. I ate haggis. I drank whisky. I met strangers who I now call friends. Somehow, Scotland has always been a part of me. But after that first trip I had seen it, smelled it, walked for miles, breathed the air, felt the weight of tragic history, walked in the footsteps of my ancestors, stood completely alone in abandoned ruins. The ancestral callings had found a way to move through the Scottish blood in my veins and guide me back to Caledonia. "You're a MacKenzie," they whisper, "find your way home.”
When I returned to the States I started my blog and have been blown away by the response. My life is now consumed by Scotland. America is home but I visit Scotland as often as I can. My most recent trip was 6 months long.
I felt the stirring to adventure, and I followed. And now, you find yourself in the midst of my story. I hope that it will stir your soul, and inspire you to have your own adventures. Where is your joy, your happiness? What makes your heart sing, your feet skip on their own accord? What makes the rest of your cares fall away? Whenyou find it, grab hold of it. Cling to the moment you knew you found it. For me...you guessed it! My heart sings the song of Scotland. My soul overflows with rolling pastures, munros, sheep, stone houses, thistle, "heilan coos," friendly Scottish folk, and bagpipe melodies. I still feel the smile on my face as I excitedly jumped out of the car to explore. The weightlessness in my step as I hurried to see the view. The deafening silence of winter in Glencoe interrupted by the crunch of deer footsteps. My voice as I spoke out loud to the wilderness - "I'm in Scotland!"
I invite you to come along with me as I tell you stories of Scotland, share photos of my journey, paint pictures with my mind’s eye. If you have never been to Scotland, I hope to inspire you to go. If you have been and long to return, I hope to be a kindred spirit to share your longing. And if you're from Scotland, I hope to show you your country through fresh eyes and remind you what an amazing place you call home.
My sincerest thanks for stopping by!