Hello Scotland, my old friend - its been awhile. I’m back, for the first time since 2019, this time to set off on a long walk that I’ll share over the coming weeks. I’m happy to be visiting again, but this time, I left a big piece of my heart Stateside with a wilderness ranger in Maine.
I’m delighted to introduce you to Andy, my handsome park ranger. We took this picture on the 10 acres of land we will be building on later this year. We’re going off grid in the Maine woods, and I’m so excited for our future adventures together - from hiking to house building. (If you’ve gone off grid we would love to hear about your experience, we have so much research to do!)
My long time readers may recall that back in 2016 I walked away from the 9-5, trading my high heels for hiking boots, and started this blog. Since then I have tried my best to live my life with a commitment to authenticity, courage, and hope. I’ve followed my intuition when others around me didn’t understand. When even I didn’t understand. I was content to wander solo, walk my own path. Despite how cliche it sounds, we really do only have one life to live, and I couldn’t bear to live mine in a fluorescent cage when my spirit needed to wander. I found freedom, strength and independence. My intuition has served me well, time and time again.
Last year I followed that intuition alone into the Maine wilderness, in my quest to climb Katahdin 11 months after breaking my Calcaneus (heel bone). I could never have guessed when I set off that I was about to meet the love of my life. After my successful climb (yay!) it rained most of the week and my leaky tent forced me to change course. I ended up crossing paths with Andy on the steps of his ranger station. We both knew from that first day we met that something was happening - an adventuring woman and a park ranger finding love in the Maine wilderness - eat your heart out Hallmark!
I’m excited for our future together. We are both writers, and love the outdoors. After this trip I will be joining him for his ranger shifts, in a cabin in the woods, where I will spend my time exploring, writing from the ranger cabin and volunteering in the wilderness. We will also be spending a lot of time building our home. I have started Moody Mountain Diaries as a separate space for life in Maine, off grid ventures and wherever life takes us (and we might just get lucky enough to have some posts from Andy…) I’m also thrilled to be living in the same state as my family, who I have missed dearly over my years of living around the US and recent years of travel.
Rest assured that I will keep this blog running - this is not the end of Scotland for me, it is simply the turning over of a new leaf. As I have said before, life is full of seasons. It is up to us to handle the changing of seasons with joy, patience, grace and hope, and go into new seasons richer from our experience - wiser, more tempered. Some things we take with us into new seasons and others we leave behind. My season of self discovery shaped me into the woman who was ready to find love with a man who was also growing into a new season in his life. And I can’t wait to bring him to Scotland in the future!
I will also continue to run my Scottish groups, and if you’re interested in assisting on any of my admin teams, let’s talk! (Scottish Wanderlust, Scottish Wanderlust Kitchen, Scottish Wanderlust Book Club, Scottish Adventure.)
Thank you for your interest in my story. What lovely, supportive readers you have been over the years. Thank you, sincerely, for being there through my ups and downs, through my musings, my thirst for adventure, my quest to find the kindness and authenticity I know still exists in this world. I turn 40 next month, and I have no plans to stop writing, wandering, and living outside the box.
I’ll update you soon with my plans for this visit. Because of my limited time and ambitious walking goals this trip, please accept my sincere apologies for missed meetups etc. I SO appreciate the heartfelt offers of “kettles on” in homes across Scotland, you all warm my heart with your kindness. And finally, in an abundance of caution, I have decided not to attend Culloden events this year to help keep my body as healthy as possible for my walk.
I don’t know for sure what the next 2 months will bring, how my body will hold up. But I am going to put one foot in front of the other, see where my feet take me, and raise some support for Scottish Mountain Rescue while I walk. And if all goes well, I’ll be writing a book afterwards.
I hope you all can find the desire and the courage to get out there and live your life, being true to yourselves. The right path looks different for each of us. Its not always easy but we just have to follow our internal compass one day at a time, being patient with ourselves. It is worth the effort to turn fear of the unknown into hope and resolve to live an authentic life. I hope I don’t sound preachy - I just want so badly for people to discover that there is more to life than material stuff - it’s people and experiences that are the true value in our fleeting time on Earth.
To Andrew, my love - thank you for supporting me, for falling in love with my adventurous spirit, and for not clipping my wings. These are the same wings that will always bring me back to you, and our home on Moody Mountain.