Where have I been lately? More important: Where am I going? Scotland!
After too long a siesta, I am happy to report that I’m back on the blogging trail. And the destination, I can now reveal, is none other than Scotland!
Diligent readers of these random posts will recall that I fired up this digital soapbox last fall just prior to a nine-week stay at the home of golf. Now, it appears virtually certain that—starting in May—I’ll get to pick up where I left off and continue, well, pretty much indefinitely.
Excuse me while I pinch myself. Again. After several years of my wife and I planning and dreaming about living abroad, this is really happening. The stars have finally aligned. The time is definitely right.
For starters, our three daughters are now all in their 20s and have begun to traverse their wildly divergent pathways into adulthood. The nest is empty, freeing us to create one of our own that will accommodate their regular visits.
Meanwhile, our respective careers have matured to a place where they’re no longer location bound. That means we can pack up our Los Angeles incomes and transport them to a part of the world where the cost of living is decidedly more manageable. It’s a huge strategic advantage. We’d be crazy if we didn’t fully leverage it.
For me, an emerging component of that work is this blog as well as the writing of golf-themed books, including my debut novel, Machrihanish. Some of this can be done from America. But to truly soar, I’ll need to have both feet firmly planted on authentic Scottish linksland. And, very soon, that’s exactly where I’ll be just as often as I can manage it.
The seeds for this momentous move were planted in 1997 when I made my first pilgrimage to the game’s birthplace. I returned in 2002 and have made at least one trip to Scotland every year since. Those visits cultivated friendships with several UK folks, including some who live in the Scottish Borders about an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh.
In July of 2011, my wife and I spent two weeks in Kelso, the region’s market town. We both fell head over heels for the bucolic landscape, dotted with quaint burghs connected by a network of twisty two-lane roads. Envision the Shire from Peter Jackson's “Lord of the Rings” movies. The Borders is a close cousin.
Then came the extended stay last fall. That very intentional trial run that left no doubt—short of the required visas—that we really could make the Borders our home. After all, after running the numbers, it made rational sense. And, after searching our hearts, it had become an emotional imperative. As I asked my wife rhetorically the morning after we returned to Los Angeles in November, “How is it possible to be home and yet also be homesick?”
Now, the application process for his-and-her three-year visas is in motion. An international mover has been booked. We had a huge yard sale over the weekend, offloading a ton of stuff that’s simply not worth the cost to move. We’re quickly winding down our presence here. And we’re gradually establishing a new one over there, including securing a lease agreement on a home in Kelso.
As you can imagine, I’m staring at a rather daunting “To Do” list. Blog posts over the next month could be a bit hit and miss. But rest assured that once this whirlwind of extracurricular activity runs its course, I will hit the auld sod running. It all starts the first week of May with a trek north to the Highlands to revisit Royal Dornoch after an 18-year absence. Then I’ll drive south for my annual week-long stay in Machrihanish. Only, this time, I won’t immediately board a plane bound for LA after it’s all over. How cool is that?
Time to pinch myself. Again!