Being a final year international student in London, one of my main resolutions this year is to spend more time appreciating my surroundings and make the most out of my time here in the UK. However, with travel restrictions and the pandemic around, travelling safely was also one of my top priorities. Having enjoyed previous hikes around Peak District and Snowdonia, I realised that I loved adventures outside the city and had a deep appreciation for nature. Therefore, my housemates and I decided to pack our bags and take a short trip to the Highlands of Scotland during our winter break.
Renting a car in the UK
We decided to rent a car instead of taking a train to Scotland, as we heard from others that this would make the trip much more flexible due to the lack of public transport around the Highlands. Whilst planning the trip, we realised that the drive to Edinburgh alone took around eight hours. Although I had my driving license, I was not confident in my own driving skills. I decided to make it up by planning the trip instead, leaving the long drive to the capable hands of my housemates.
It didn’t register to us how long a drive it was all the way up north. This was the first time any of us were driving such immense distances, added to the fact that we were driving in a foreign country, it was quite a daunting experience. However, it was also a really eye-opening experience being able to experience a road trip vibe that we so often see from Hollywood movies and novels. It further strengthened my belief that it doesn’t matter the destination of a trip as long as you are with the right people. From blasting 2010s pop songs to deep night conversations, I find myself getting to know each of my flatmates so much better than already before.
The Highlands of Scotland
Our trip to Scotland consists of constant drives along the route, with pitstops and viewpoints along the way. As we were all really flexible and did not want to restrict ourselves to solid plans during the way, we made constant changes in plans throughout the days. Whenever we saw a magnificent view along the way, we would park our car at the side of the road, head down and take a short stroll/hike to take in the picturesque views.
Scotland has so much to offer in terms of variety. The copper clear lakes were always present along our driving route, giving a calming sensation as you take a stroll along the lakeside. A short hike across some hills could award you with a waterfall at the end of the path. Besides that, we had haggis for almost all of our meals there. Haggis is a Scottish national dish made up of sheep intestines, and it tastes like a sausage.
Overall, our four days and three nights trip came to an end too quickly, and we came out of it feeling refreshed for a new start in 2022. It also reminded me to step back and appreciate the little things life has to offer from time to time, and live in the moment while it lasts