The Devils Pulpit | Finnich Glen | Killearn Scotland

The Devil Pulpit

Deep within the primordial bowels of Finnich Glen, lies The Devils Pulpit. An ethereal grotto, gurgling with red tinged water, 70 feet below the Earth’s surface in Killearn, Scotland.

The “River of Blood” calls to you from the bottom of a decrepit stairway. As a result, down you start to climb. Take care as you scale the steep, slippery and crumbling steps into the chasm below.

Jacobs Ladder into the Devils Pulpit RootlessRoutes 2018
Jacobs Ladder into the Devils Pulpit RootlessRoutes 2018

This flight of 78 steps known as Jacob’s Ladder or the Devil’s Staircase, was built by John Blackburn, the proprietor of the Killearn estate, in the early to mid 1800s. The steps are so very old, they virtually decay below your feet. So be alert as you clamber down into this tiny crag into the earth.

As you are climbing down, it is difficult not to ask yourself if perhaps you have completely lost the plot.

Looking into The Devils Pulpit RootlessRoutes 2018
Looking into The Devils Pulpit RootlessRoutes 2018

But then, you see it!

The Devil's Staircase Finnich Glen
Jacobs Ladder inside Finnich Glen at The Devil’s Pulpit Photo by Elizabeth Whitener 2018

Blood Red Waters of Finnich Glen

Finnich Glen is rich with verdant mossy foliage. Vibrant red sandstone stands out in eerie effect, as do the waters of the blood red burn.

The walls tower above, at points blocking out the sun. Elsewhere, sun streams in, casting  spectral shadows and creating tracks of magical light.

The journey down and back up again, may be perilous… but the surreal beauty of Finnich Glen is undeniable.

Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018
The Devil’s Pulpit Finnich Glen / RootlessRoutes Photo by Elizabeth Whitener 2018

The Devil’s Pulpit is an uniquely featured rock formation, which is often immersed beneath the rambling waters of the gorges underbelly.

Climbing into the glen and the subsequent ascent can be outright treacherous. Even the simple act of parking and walking along the road to get to the entrance is a death defying act.

Making your way out and back to your vehicle in one piece is surprisingly joyous.

Yet once within the vivid walls of Finnich Glen, beyond the sinister name The Devil’s Pulpit, nothing at the “den of the devil”, feels ominous in the least.

Braving the disconcerting climb for a glimpse of the serene and unusual beauty below.

Is it worth the risk?

Does the challenge of getting there make it all that more enchanting?

The Creation of Ashdhu / Ashdow / Finnich Glen

Through millennia the rambling water of Carnock Burn sluiced a short but deep chasm in the terra firma, eventually creating this remarkable glen.

Scotland is greatly made up of grey basalt rock. It’s sandstone and limestone is largely tan to brown. So when the distinctive red sandstone emerges from the depths in which it was naturally honed, it tends to create a rather dramatic sight.

Originally known as Ashdhu / Ashdow , uisge dubh in Gaelic , today Finnich Glen is commonly referred to as The Devils Pulpit.

The actual Devil’s Pulpit is not the gorge itself. It is a circular rock found within the burn.

When the waters are low, they flow around the rock formation giving it an air of mystical powerfulness.

Most who visit Finnich Glen do not even realise that the Devils Pulpit is a simply a stone at there feet and not the actual gorge they stand within.

Quote from a 1933 book “The Campsies and the Land of Lennox”

“Down in the channel is the Devil’s Pulpit, whither he was wont to go when he had anything of importance to say to those of his minions who lived in this area. A long flight of stairs leads to the channel, and when you are there you feel remote from the world. Only the moon is required to produce the most weird and awesome effect.”

There is some Celtic lore involving Druids and even the Devil himself for this place. But most of today’s stories about The Devils Pulpit, its dodgy staircase and the “River of Blood” are of recent provenance, made up by those trying to enhance its mystery. “Cough” bloggers “cough”.

Is The Devils Pulpit a darkly enchanting natural phenomena?

The Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018
The Devils Pulpit / Finnich Glen Scotland 2018

Or is it of supernatural origin?

I’ll leave that up to you.

Descending into The Devils Pulpit / The Devils Steps

It doesn’t look so bad from above when you first start out, but once you descend a few steps… there is no doubt just how cumbersome this climb can be.

Built over 100 years ago, this crumbling staircase is slippery, covered in mud and moss and extremely unstable

Many steps have slipped to new positions, pushed up by an invading tree, making them less like steps and more like slides and hurdles.

There is nothing to hold on to and the rock wall sides are sharp. The offending tree juts out of the middle of the steps, forcing you to climb over and around it part way down.

One step is tilted so far forward, I had to scoot down it on my butt, covering my backend in slimy red mud. So bring towels, but leave them up above. Don’t carry much on the way down, for it is already easy to slip and fall to the unyielding rock floor below.

Once safely past the slimy rocks, over the perilous tree and past the tilted step, you come upon some actual steps still in place. Then the steps just cut off and you must jump or scamper down to the gorges muddy floor.

Yet with feet finally upon the embankment below, the glen floor is still a hazardous place. Remain cautious.

Inside The Devils Pulpit

As you climb the craggy steps into Finnich Glen, if not totally encumbered by the exertion of your descent, you will notice the air cools as you make your way down.

The atmospheric changes are similar to that of the The Glen, in Sligo Ireland.

It is as if you have descended upon a separate world.

The bewitching effect sweeps you away momentarily. A calm descends. Then some white kid with beauty salon dreads starts yelling to his bikini clad, barefoot wife (how the Hell did she climb down here?) while setting up a $6000 video rig WITH LIGHTS, in the middle of it all and you are immediately brought back to reality.

This once illusive and magical place, has been overwhelmed by those looking for locations off the beaten path.

But this path is now certainly well beaten.

Beautiful as it may be, this attraction that has managed to remain untainted for centuries is quickly sliding towards it demise.

Be gentile on your visit. Take out with you, everything you brought in and remain on the path specified.

Looking down on Finnich Glen from halfway down the Jacobs Ladder or the Devils Steps and into The Devils Pulpit and Finnich Glen Scotland 2018

The Devils Pulpit is always cooler and more humid than the area above and a strange dampening of sound occurs, making it quieter than the world above.

The red tinged water is clear enough to see the bottom. The trickling water is clean and cool.

Rest upon the tree that seems to have fallen just right for you to sit and rest. Kick at the water, as sunlight streaks from the sky in Godlike tendrils.

Shoes and socks dry in the Godlike tendrils as people explore The Devils Pulpit and Finnich Glen Scotland 2018

Take off your shoes and leave them to the side so that you may wade into the clear, clean water.

Then cross the stream and head to the small waterfall.

Some will wander beyond this point to the larger waterfall that flows from the rocky outcrop above which is the highest point of Finnich Glen.

The Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018

Keep in mind, the Devils Pulpit can trap people in its steely grasp, as the waters quickly rise. You are now at more than 70 feet below the surface, subsequently there is no phone signal down there.

Finding The Devil’s Pulpit / Finnich Glen

Finnich Glen is located in Stirlingshire, east of Finnich Bridge on A809, about 15 miles from Glasgow. (OSGB36: NS 4961 8489 [10m precision] WGS84)

There are 2 parking spots next to the bridge. It is a pretty dangerous place to park
There are 2 wee parking spots next to the bridge. It is a pretty dangerous place to park

The road (A809) is busy and dangerous. The locals are sick of dealing with inconsiderate people that treat the area like their own personal playground.

Please park respectfully and keep safety in mind, for you and everyone around you.

Unlike what other bloggers advise, enter at the gate just east of the bridge. Above all, do not disturb other areas or go barreling through the trees at another spot. Finnich Glen is on private property. Therefore left in trust for all to enjoy. Please do don’t abuse the privilege.

People live here, hence it is reasonably upsetting to them to see people tromping carelessly about a long beloved place.

Do not park on the verge by the bridge. It’s an insanely dangerous place to park. Don’t block anyone in and be aware of traffic. The speed limit is 60 mph on that narrow and winding roads, subsequently there are a lot of blind spots.

Once entering the wee gate at the foot of the bridge, the slightly obvious path takes you to the left. Flanked by Finnich Glen on the left and fencing to the right, just follow the path via the swath of discarded socks and beer bottles.

” alt=”Path to jacobs Staircase and the entrance to Finnich Glen / The Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018 RootlessRoutes” width=”749″ height=”1000″ /> Path to jacobs Staircase the entrance to Finnich Glen and The Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018 RootlessRoutes

Kids in flip flops and platform shoes preparing to descend the perilous staircase of Finnich Glen Scotland 2018
Kids in flip flops and platform shoes preparing to descend the perilous staircase of Finnich Glen Scotland 2018

Walk along the wooded area between the Glen and the fencing and you will come upon The Devils Pulpit entrance.

You will know you are close, by the trail of discarded wet socks, discarded garbage and likely a group of people seemingly disappearing into the ground.

Take everything you arrive with back out with you and pick up any litter you might see along the way. Don’t be an ass.

Respecting The Devil’s Pulpit / Finnich Glen | The Outlander Phenomena

Due to the popularity of Outlander, along with other commercial connections the visitors to The Devils Pulpit is much increased. Hence irresponsible behavior has led to serious abuses of the landscape and littering is rampant. Consequently, minor injuries and even more, full out rescue operations have become more and more common.

A new caution sign has now been erected at the site of Devils Pulpit / Finnich Glen, so take heed, since many people traverse The Devils Pulpit without appropriate climbing gear.

Often visitors park in dangerous locations with little regard to the locals.

Blocking traffic flow and carelessly walking along a highly trafficked, high speed roadway that has no verge is not only rude it is just plane stupid.

Plan ahead and be conscientious if your surroundings.

 

Finnich Glen / The Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018 RootlessRoutes
Finnich Glen / The Devils Pulpit Scotland 2018 RootlessRoutes

The Future of Finnich Glen / The Devils Pulpit

Visit Finnich Glen early in the day in order to avoid the crowds, since it is no longer even remotely obscure. Dozens of people visit every day. In result, there are a lot of kids trying to climb down in inappropriate footwear such as like flip flops or even platform shoes.

Killearn Glen which includes  Finnich Glen / The Devil’s Pulpit was left to the Gordon Trust in 1980, on the condition that public access would be maintained to the site in perpetuity. Because of this, overuse and dangerous behavior will inevitably cause authorities to regulate access to Finnich Glen itself. Be kind to your surroundings and attentive to others. Do your best to park safely.

Don’t be an inconsiderate ass or The Devils Pulpit might just get you!

Digital Nomad Scam | Pyramid Schemes without Pyramids

So you want to be a digital nomad? Pay me and I will tell you how!

Osprey backpack Digital Nomad 2017
Osprey backpack on a train from DC to VA

It is big business and it is a scam. This new “travel the world” “digital nomad” MLM industry is outright treachery. These people travel the world by making money in a pyramid scheme. A scheme selling information to others about how they can travel the world without “working”. 

Essentially a pyramid scheme that will likely not help very many to ever see the Pyramids. Although the shithead to whom they have just paid their hard earned money might.

Become a digital nomad they promise. All by selling the same story of how to become a digital nomad to equally unwitting but hopeful souls. In the end they make money on the concept of an idea, by getting others to sell the concept of the idea, to others who dream of that concept of an idea coming true.

But being a digital nomad by squeezing dollars from the backs of others with similar dreams, by promising them independence is… well not independence at all. It is being a money grubbing shill by making others beholden to you with something not likely to ever actually give them what they believe they are getting.

Sure you may actually pull it off. Make enough money to travel and live the life of a digital nomad. Then sell similar ideas to others that in turn might sell these ideas to others.You may even make a fortune from it.

But most will never find a way to put in the time needed, and in the end it is not a sustainable career, nor is it conceptually or otherwise actually what it claims to be. It is a scam and even if you are successful at it, YOU are a scammer.

Deep down, I know you fucking know it. Maybe you don’t care. Good for you. You’re living your dream. Isn’t that what America is all about? Living your dream off of the backs of others? Fuck yeah!

A True Digital Nomad

Ok, so maybe some of those working hard to sell this idea, do not see the harm in it. Afterall, it only claims to be what it is. Yet, hot blonde, bikini clad beauties, standing ankle deep in azure seas, on a desolate beach, drink in hand, buff boyfriend at side is not realistic.  It happens, but it is NOT for sale.

Life on the road is neither that pretty, that easy, nor is it anywhere near that romantic. Half the time it sucks!

The sun is shining, the waterfalls are calling, the birds are singing and I’m sitting in my shitty hotel room trying to get a half decent post written with dodgy wifi and a churning stomach from the shit I should not have eaten the night before, but there was nothing else available when I arrived at 3am.

I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in days, my Mom is upset she hasn’t heard from me and AT&T means nothing over here. My credit card is expired, there is a hurricane heading my way and the ferry I already booked and paid for may not run to bring me to the AirBnB I also already paid for and booked. YAY!

Being a true “digital nomad” is finding a way to make things work for yourself.

Living free of the constraints of the day to day rigors of a typical life. But it also means, lost luggage, missed planes, stolen passports and wandering the streets for hours in search of a decent wifi signal. Horrifyingly discovering the best wifi is in McDonalds.

So there you are, in this beautiful fucking exotic place, sitting in McDonalds a place you would never go to at home, picking at french fries that disgust you, and you would never eat at home, while snotty faced American kids run around with coke products erupting from every orifice, screaming like banshees.

You never see pictures of an exhausted, pale faced, chubby brunette, sitting in McDonalds. Their broken laptop taped together with duct tape, hair knotted, dark circles under their eyes, in stained and dirty clothes now do ya?

Ferry ride on the tail of a hurricane 2017

A life full of travel is full of wonder. Amazing people, glorious food, beautiful landscapes and awe inspiring experiences. It is also, flat tires, false promises. Being sick in a country where no one speaks your language, money lost, money stolen, broken cameras and no cellphone signal.

Sure the digital nomad life is a form of being a free spirit. Seeing the world, meeting amazing people and it certainly has its moments of toes in white sand watching a sunset.

But it is hard work before, during, after and everywhere in between of your travels.  It just IS.

Bikini Clad Instagram Babe

It is an enticing concept. This pretty, young girl hits you up on Instagram asking you if you would like to join her Facebook group of fellow travelers. The group explodes with people seemingly just like you. Traveling or dreaming of travel, trying to find a way to make their dream come alive or working their way through a similar dream and finding it hard as Hell.

There are the pictures of her firm, thin, young body, next to her buff boyfriend on some veranda. The sun setting. Wind blowing her long blonde hair. Maybe she is yoga posing on a rock. Or shot from behind, her straw hatted head looking into the horizon of the setting sun. Behind her some exotic landscape looms.

Yeah right. It took 50 shots and an awful lot of outtakes to get there. Most beaches like that are crowded as Hell. Where the fuck is she anyway? And is her boyfriend a professional photographer? (likely YES!)

It seems so easy. For only $150 or $350… Hell one was $1500. You too can learn how to convince others to hand over their money to learn what you will soon pay to learn.The money will roll in and you will set out on your nomadic life.

Your waist will thin, your hair will grow. Sand will never find its way between the creases of your tight ass.You will skip through the jungle with ease. Your groovy, bearded boytoy at your side. Some… a very few some I might add. Will make a veritable fortune and maybe even travel the world. Albeit on the backs of the suckers they drew in.

Rationalizing their bullshit con job, by convincing themselves that they are truly selling an idea that will help others. Or just not giving a shit how they make their money so that they may travel.

Well FUCK YOU!

Many just won’t be heartless enough assholes to pull it off. Only to be left feeling like hopeless losers instead of the likely better people that they are. Certainly better than the shit heads that lured them into their web of deceit in the first place.

The AMWAY of Digital Nomad ing

Selling promises via MLM marketing is the same or even worse than some of the shittiest products sold via MLM out there.

In the end, at least with AMWAY or Cutco Knives, you end up with an overabundance of unwanted and unneeded product. As well as does half your family. But with “how to be a digital nomad” concept, all you end up with, is advice and the dashing of a dream.

Maybe a shitty book or better yet, an ebook. Advice on how to bilk others out of their money by promising them a streamlined path to their dream, so that they too can become a piece of shit like you and bilk others out of their savings and their dreams.

Yes you can travel the world and be a digital nomad.

No! It isn’t easy.

Being a “Digital Nomad” is not NOT working. How do I know this? Well because I am one. Not working while traveling is really fucking hard unless you have money already in the bank! And… that shit goes fast so you better have a fucking LOT of it!

It is working your ass off doing things you LOVE in order to help support your dream of travel. Or creatively finding ways to cover you as you work your way across the world.

Selling your half assed self help books or pyramid schemes while living off of the dreams of others may be fine for you. It certainly is not illegal. It is in and of itself pretty hard work. But what do you gain? A beautiful instagram, a chance to travel, money and an empty black heart!

Don’t get me wrong, there are good books and advisors out there. Nomadic Matt or Trey Ratcliff and quite a few of the early innovators in this space are fantastic sources for ways to make things work.

There are new and innovative digital nomads discovering new ideas and sharing their ideas every day. Some at a small fee. But it is practical and helpful advice and it never suggests anything like what these pyramid scheme hucksters promise. But for every one of these truly valuable resources there are thousands upon thousands of absolute crap.

If it seems to easy to be true. In fact if it seems easy at ALL then it is bullshit.

If there was some secret way of making such a life work, it would not be a secret for long. Trust me!

The Successful Digital Nomad

Some people get the formula right. Others just get fucking lucky. They ALL work hard enough to get their blog to a point, where they experience money coming in.

This often entails at the very least 4 to 8 hours of work 7 days a week, working on something that may never bring in a dime while traveling and will likely take at least a year or two to hit if at all. Which is really fucking hard.

You have to understand the semantics of social media, write well, understand SEO, take good pictures, be consistent, be tireless in hitting up people to help sponsor, connect, link or 5 million other things you must do to succeed.

Other people have careers that allow them to work remotely. Some are writers, photographers (real photographers not just good picture takers). Programmers, nurses.There are a lot of great careers and or skills that will make such a life easier to obtain. But, the life itself… it just is not easy. Freedom is hard, fucking hard.

Living outside the realm of what is considered “usual” is even harder. Many of the alternately successful people. Those who more quickly than is common built up a way to survive on the road, often have a background in SEO, writing, advertising, journalism or communications.

A knack for storytelling, writing and are skilled at web building. They are organized, committed, focused and realistic. Many saved money for years before hand.

There are world travelers living life on the road who do not go digital but find odd jobs and work here and there. Some dabble in buying and selling or trading their way across continents. There are so many legitimate ways to get by on the road. Hard work, creativity, passion and dedication are the keys to all of it.

But selling an idea to the hopeful to pave the way to your dreams. Knowing full well that most of them have no chance of ever making any of what you suggest could happen is just the opposite of being a free spirit.  It is being a money grubbing, scammer.

Of course you may travel the world. You may even get rich doing it.

But no matter how far you travel, how much you see. You will never really see the absolute beauty in world like those more true to heart.

I know how hard it is and I’m ok with that. You will never see the glory of the world I get to see! There is no glory in living your dream off the backs of others.

Just Like a White Winged Dove | My Austin Texas Transplant

I’d nearly made it through Texas and into Austin without harming anything. Driving nearly 3000 miles with no depressing flattened bunny moments, is a Godsend.

Spewing toxic emissions into the atmosphere is one thing. But death or injury in my vehicles wake is quite another.

Sadly, with my “driving the world” lifestyle, such is inevitable.

Blood Moon
Full buck moon. Picture not my own. RootlessRoutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buck Moon / Deer Lunacy

On this weird, cloudless yet starless night, the full buck moon was bright red. Drawing wild eyed deer to the roadways edge. 

Like packs of starving zombies seeking to sate their ravaging hunger. Suicidal Whitetail await in the shadows for just the right vehicle to drive by.

Deer in forest. Picture not my own
Lurking deer

In my mind I could see them. Pawing at the periphery. Waiting in the twiggy wedge of where the forest meets the road.

Moon crazed deer are the bane of rural Texas roadways in Summer and Fall. But not only deer succumb to the full moons lunacy. On Summer nights like these, a deranged contagion maddens more than the jittery, spindly legged, frantics.

Although unseen, denizens of the Texas wilderness hide in the shadows. Lurking at the brink of the unlit road. Waiting for me to drive by.

I scanned the verge with sharp intent. Hands gripping the wheel in anticipation. Ready to respond.

As Austin neared, the forest thinned and turned to sprawling ranchland. Not out of the literal woods yet, I loosened my grip but maintained a keen eye.

Hello Austin Texas

About about 100 miles north of my South Austin, Texas destination, traffic thickened as it now always does when nearing Austin. I began to relax.

Less than 100 miles from my destination and no casualties. Then something flew in front of the car and vanished. I knew it was a goner.

It was nearly dark, so it could have been a bat. Texas is home to millions of little bats. But I knew that whatever it was, was likely stuck in the massive grill of the Lincoln.

Menacing bug laden grill of my Lincoln Aviator. RootlessRoutes Austin Texas 2018

I’d not seen it do the customary ‘swoop of the dead’ over my hood. So I imagined it wedged between the evil teeth if the Aviators shameless grin.

I drove on.

The sprawling Texas ranchland faded to subdivisions. I drove across Austin through the late evening traffic, so common to this place. Venturing on to my mother’s house in South Austin.

Arriving exhausted, I merely glanced at the menacing grill of the Lincoln upon unloading and saw nothing.

I awoke to take Mom to do errands. It was hot. Three digit hot.

The bug laden grill showed no sign of a body, so I offered the little creature a moment of silence in recompense and went on with life.

The Heat (Heart) of Texas!

The next day was hot. Like the rest of the US, Texas was searing. Daily aspiring to triple digits or close, with just enough humidity to make it soul breakingly bleak.

As I traversed South Austin to help my Mom with chores. Instead of dodging moon crazed deer, I now evaded the blank eyed, soccer Moms, that dot Austins cityscape.

These dough eyed creatures, drive and roam about as if they have no real destination in mind. Such Austin transplants wander the parking lots and shops in a daze similar to the deer.

Swaddled in organic yoga pants and t shirts with ironic sayings, they prance about believing they too are “weird”. Their freshly dyed purple hair, a beacon of their unacknowledged privilege.

I prefer the crazy deer.

The deer are much more competent at blending into the landscape than are this new breed of Austin Moms. Fueled by their vapid superiority, they don’t even notice themselves blocking the way, driving to slowly or cutting you off.

And Ye Shall Arise!

We stopped at Michaels craft supply and walked the length of the strip mall to TJ Maxx.

The heat was better this day, yet too oppressive for my Mom. So I slogged off through the Texas heat, to get the car and come pick her up.

RootlessRoutes 2018 Austin Texas
Rootless Routes 2018 Austin Texas

How could that be?

RootlessRoutes 2018 Austin Texas
Rootless Routes 2018 Austin Texas

There’s no way it could be a second bird right?

White winged dove
White winged dove behind the grill. Rootless Routes 2018 Austin Texas

Yet there she was, screaming her wee head off and waving her wings about. She looked a right mess too.

I opened the trunk and the dove flew out. She stumbled around the parking lot, mimicking the soccer moms and flew off into the expansive Texas sky.

How could that poor little sucker have survived? Eighty miles an hour in front of a searing hot radiator? Three whole days driving around town in 3 digit heat?

There is no way to know how that little bird survived her predicament. Yet, she now too was a transplant to Austin, Texas.

Maybe she’ll dye her hair purple, buy a Subaru Outback and start prancing around parking lots in ironic t-shirts.

Going Nomad | When Nowhere is Home

I’ve gone nomad.

I officially don’t live anywhere.

I guess I am now a wanderer, a vagabond, gypsy, tinker, drifter.

RootlessRoutes The world is my home
Nowhere is home or the world is home?!?

Technically being a nomad means nowhere is home. Or everywhere…

I went nomadic about a year ago with little warning or planning.
Camper life. Fan Lee Liner Vintage camper
1971 Fan camper will soon be my only home.

Dumped my apartment.

Started downsizing.

Purchased a vintage Fan Lee Liner camping trailer (which is not quite ready) and I started to roam.

Routes of the Rootless RootlessRoutes

This move was made not out of need, but of desire.

A desire to live a life as a nomad, means being more in tune with my principals. A life with new and unexpected challenges.  My passion for travel and a dream to be a full time traveler.

When nowhere is home, your construct must change. Overcoming unfamiliar trials and impediments becomes the focus.

As I rely more on myself I hope to become less bound to and less reliant on material things. I’ve always been halfway there anyway.

As adaptable as I tend to be, I don’t know how well I will acclimate to this new way of life. And that’s part of the allure.

A Nomad Travels Light

I’ve lived out of a backpack for long periods of time with no issue. But I always had a home to drop my bag at in the end.

Can I happily travel about the country with my large 16 year old cattle dog and neurotic cat and not go insane?

Am I already insane?

RootlessRoutes backpack
Osprey backpack on train from New York to Norfolk

Almost everything I own held within the confines of 200 square feet?

Is that really what I’m going to do?

Vintage camper
Trial run with dog in vintage camper AirBnB similar to mine

Hell fucking yes I am!

Will the act of living life on the road, be equal to the fantasy?

Likely no, but nothing ever is.

I have no expectations, no preconceptions . I’m just going to take things as they come. Remain as open to my next disaster as eagerly as my next bliss.

I know this is not going to make my life easier. I like  grappling with learning new things. I’ve always seen myself as a wanderer, so a ‘gypsy’ I have become.

My life feels more fulfilling with new problems to work out. New obstacles in my way.

So many people are driven by fear of something different, but security is a scam.

I might lose my fucking mind living in a tiny trailer constantly on the move.

I won’t know until I give it a try.

Nowhere is home to Dew the nomad cat and she hates it
Dew the cat likes to meow mile after mile after mile

Perhaps I’ll lose my shit and drive us off a cliff after the 5000th mile of Dew the cats endless meowing?

Maybe I’ll writhe with glee every time we pick up to head to the next place.

When Nowhere is Home

I’ve driven and flown from Virginia to Providence or Boston 12 times in the past year. Virginia to Austin to Portland and Seattle 4 times in the past 6 months.

I’ve driven over 5000 miles of Scotland, 1300 miles of England, a wee bit of Wales and almost 800 miles of Ireland. I think I’m ready for this life on the road challenge.

I survived the travels across the US, stuck in my SUV with cat and dog while staying at AirBnBs.

Through wild rainstorms, outrageous snowstorms, forest fires, trains jumping off of bridges and traffic straight from the bowels of Hell, and I seem to have revelled in each adventure. I suppose I really do have some sort of gypsy soul. But will being a full time nomad be as exciting to me once living in it?

A Nomad Needs Friends

Saturday I head out of Portland to Austin in the SUV.

I will then make my way to Virginia, finish work on the camper and then off I will go.

Nowhere will be home for real. I will be living a gypsy, wanderer, traveler, nomad life quite literally.

I’m in the thick of my vagabond life now. After over a year long soft launch. The hard launch is nipping at my heels. There’s no turning back.

I have no idea if I will love this challenge or despise it, because it is merely an experiment.

Follow along with me on my going nomad adventure, and we’ll find out together.

Drive the Scottish Borders to Edinburgh | Scotland Road Trip

Scottish Borders Rootless Routes Scotland 2017

The Scottish Borders are quite different from much of Scotland, nonetheless distinctive from bordering England.  Additionally the Borders are full of exceptional wonders and unexpected gems.

Flanked on the Northwest by England’s Northumbria and Cumbria. The North Sea to the East, the Lothians on the North, with South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway to the West.

The boundary line between Scotland and England wavered riotously through the centuries, consequently creating an even more stormy relationship than the two countries already had.img_3926

Known for an impressive collection of abbeys, due to the Scottish Borders being the perfect location for Kings of yore to prove their dominance. How else to show who’s king then to erect enormous religious houses right along a regularly disputed border? This typically pissed off the English (especially Henry VIII) as a result, the Scottish Borders have one Hell of a bloody history.

Rootless Routes Scotland Road Trip 2017
the Scottish Borders are simply gorgeous in October.

Detour Through the Scottish Borders

My journey began from a friends house in Frodsham near Manchester heading for Edinburgh on the M6. Due to randomly deciding to make my way to a smaller roadway at about Gretna Green, I found myself deep in the Scottish Borders. A place I had not visited and knew little about.

Upon hitting the Scottish Borders on A7, I exclaimed to an empty car “Holy shit!” (I likely have it on my GoPro video).  It was the first time of many I’d expound to an empty vehicle because of the unbelievable beauty or wonders I witnessed in Scotland.

The Scottish Borders are magnificent, and largely unscathed by over tourism. Filled with so many things to see and do, it would take a week, if not more to see them all.  I don’t know why so few people seem to know of it, but hey… let’s just keep it a secret between you and I. At least for a little while.

Scottish Borders Road Trip Routes

Below is a list of some of the places I discovered. Some are fairly well known, many are quite obscure. There are far too many included for just a one day drive, so I ‘greened’ all of those that were my  favorite. I will create a second Scottish Borders Route that takes you along the coast once I am able.

I have shared links (where available) for all stops along the way. Do call ahead to make sure everything you wish to visit is open before you head out. All times and observations are approximate and subjective.


the Scottish Borders to Edinburgh

Road Trip Route I

Gretna Green to Edinburgh – Trail of the Stuarts – Interior Route

About 100 miles total (161 Kilometers)

  1. Gretna Green
  2. Hermitage Castle & Graveyard
  3. Jedburgh
    • Jedburgh Abbey
    • Mary Queen of Scots House
  4. Cessford Castle (not the most exciting on this list)
  5. Kelso Abbey
  6. Dryburgh Abbey
  7. Melrose Abbey
  8. Innerleithen
    • St Ronan’s Well
    • Traquair House & Brewery
  9. Neidpath Castle
  10. Edinburgh

1) Gretna Green – Gretna Green

In the mid 18th-century English marriage laws were tightened forcing couples to wait until the age of 21 before they could marry without their parents’ consent and their marriage had to take place in a church. Scotland, laws, well yeah, not so much. So with Gretna right there on the border, resulting in, well you can figure it out.

The ensuing new laws meant Gretna became a marriage hot spot. You could marry your first cousin, your sisters 10 year old friend. IN result, running off to Gretna with the stable boy, became a rather regular thing. It’s a fun little town to visit and check out. And as one may expect, it has an awful lot of wedding chapels.

Starting at Gretna Green you can follow the Borders Historic Route , yet none of the suggested stops along that route were particularly interesting to me, you may feel different.

Photo Alert: Plenty of great photo ops

Sheep Alert: Some sheep roam freely in the area

Parking Alert: Fairly abundant amount of free parking

Next Destination: Hermitage Castle Drive Time: 45 minutes


2) Hermitage Castle & Graveyard – Hermitage Castle

Newcastleton, Roxburghshire TD9 0LU

Hermitage Castle Rootless Routes
Hermitage Castle the Scottish Borders on my 1st Scotland Road Trip

Known as the “Bloodiest Tower House in Britain” this ominous ruin, located deep in the wilds of the Borderlands, is a beautiful drive and a quick but memorable visit. The area is abundant with wildlife. Click here for info Hermitage Castle

Photo Alert: Everything is extremely photogenic, particularly the castle interior

Sheep Alert: It’s the Borderlands expect sheep to show up anywhere and everywhere

Parking Alert: decent enough basic car park

Kid Alert: I’d keep an eye on the kids

Additional Information: about 600 feet (200 meters) from the car park you will see a grassy (sometimes muddy) path. Portions of the path are steep. You will pass the Visitor Center for tickets along the way to the castle. Watch your step. Steps into the castle are steep

Toilets: I believe there to be toilets in the visitor center

Worthy Local Stop: Jedburgh Abbey – Abbey Bridge End, Jedburgh TD8 6JQ

Next Destination: Mary Queen of Scots House Drive Time: 45 minutes



3) Jedburgh – Jedburgh

The Village of Jedburgh is a wonderful and ancient village but somehow I missed this Abbey. I drove around but could not find it. It’s freaking HUGE too.  I returned to visit it on my way back from the Highlands a month later. It was well worth it for the history itself, let alone the amazing condition it is in, but it was NOT as close to Hermitage Castle as I expected.

If you are short on driving time, I’d skip heading to Jedburgh. The journey ads 65 minutes total drive time to the trip. There are other similar (but not quite as impressive) Abbey’s along the way. Depends on how much you like Abbeys.

Abbey Bridge End, Jedburgh TD8 6JQ

The remains of this abbey are impressive and largely intact. Building started in the 1100’s, but continued for nearly 80 years. This long expanse of building time created a wonderful conglomeration of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.

Jedburgh is the largest of the four great abbeys including Dryburgh, Melrose and Kelso. They are all worth a visit for those of us who never tire of such things. When looking for it you will see the Abbey on the hill dominating the sky.

Alternately, Cessford Castle is sort of the least exciting Castle on this trip. If you skip Cessford, you make up  for at least half the time lost if you choose to do Jedburgh Abbey

Photo Alert: Great Photo ops here

Sheep Alert: N/A

Parking Alert: Adequate public car park

Kid Alert: N/A

Next Destination:  Drive Time: 

Next Destination: Mary Queen of Scots House Drive Time: 2 minutes


Queen St, Jedburgh TD8 6EN, UK

FREE TO VISIT or  £1 for an audio tour (it’s worth it)

A weird yet wonderful place in which Mary may have never actually stayed. Nevertheless, worth checking out. Opened in 1987 on the 400th anniversary of Mary’s death, this house belonged to the Kerrs of nearby Ferniehirst Castle, which is probably where she may have been cared for instead. The house has an interesting feature, a left-handed staircase built for the Kerrs (who were left-handed) in the 16th century, to enable them to wield their swords more easily.

Photo Alert: Not a top photo site.

Parking Alert: N/A

Kid Alert: Kids may be bored by this

Toilets: I’m pretty sure there are toilets there, if not there should be some close by

Additional Information: 45 minute tour is extremely interesting

Note: Be careful not to enter the Mary Queen of Scots BnB into your GPS

Next Destination; Cessford Castle – Drive Time: 20 minutes


4) Cessford Castle – Cessford Castle

Kelso TD5 8EG, UK

FREE TO VISIT

Atmospheric ruin of a formerly massive L-plan castle, entrenched in history. Rising to three storeys in the main block and four in the wing. Confirmed from the 15th century and likely earlier. There remains a portion of the large courtyard wall. It is deemed dangerous to enter, but people still do. Although the address says Kelso, this location adds 40 minutes to your trip and was not one of my favourites.

Photo Alert: Fabulously photogenic. Numerous great selfie spots

Parking Alert: Off road car parking only. Do not block anyone or park in a designated passing place.

Kid Alert: A lot of open space to run around, but the castle is an unstable ruin

Toilets: Nothing close by

Additional Information: N/A

Note: Visit and enter at your own risk

Next Destination: Kelso Abbey  Drive Time: 20 minutes


5) Kelso – Kelso

The ancient and simply sublime burgh of Kelso has been the focal point of painters since the 1600’s and remains as quaint and lovely today. A welcoming market town, the drive to Kelso is stunning. Worth stopping for a bite to eat or pre booking a place to stay during your road trip to Edinburgh.

40-44 Bridge St, Kelso TD5 7JD, UK

FREE TO VISIT

Scottish monastic architecture is unique and Kelso Abbey, is a prime and earliest example of style. It was one of Scotland’s largest and wealthiest religious houses. Founded by monks invited over by King David I in 1128

The abbey was founded by monks invited by King David I. Nothing remains of the actual monastery, but what remains of the church is considered to be one of the greatest architectural achievements in medieval Scotland.

The little burgh of Kelso is absolutely gorgeous, hence it is well worth the visit. If you’re interest in seeing absolutely everything on this road trip route, booking a place in or near Kelso would make a great middle point.

Photo Alert: Gorgeous photo ops at every turn

Parking Alert: Free parking in Kelso Town Center

Kid Alert: N/A

Toilets: At the visitor center

Additional Information: 

Next Destination: Dryburgh Abbey Drive Time: 20 minutes


6) Dryburgh Abbey – Dryburgh Abbey

St Boswells, Roxburghshire, TD6 6RQ

This abbey is a bit off the beaten path and not as popular with tourists. Hence why I like it so much. Found in a rather secluded forest. A wonderfully quiet and contemplative place. Established in 1150 by Premonstratensian canons in 1150. It is a lovely spot and worth the drive, since it is much less frequented by visitors than the other abbeys on this road trip route.

Photo Alert: Endless. Start looking for photo ops as you near the site.

Parking Alert: Small car park

Kid Alert: N/A

Next Destination: Melrose Abbey Drive Time: 20 minutes


7) Melrose Abbey – Melrose Abbey

Abbey St, Melrose TD6 9LG, UK

Not quite as obscure as some of the others on this journey. Yet right along the way and a really lovely place to have a look and see. A need to see if you are a Scottish history buff or a fan of romantic feeling architecture and lore.

Founded as a Cistercian monastery in 1136… and then the English … Rebuilt in the 1380s. Its active end came at the Protestant Reformation of 1560, the building is remarkably unmolested by the test of so very much time.

It is believed that the heart of Robert the Bruce’s is buried here. fabulous Medieval object collection in the Museum.

Photo Alert: Great photo ops

Sheep Alert: It’s the Borderlands expect sheep to show up anywhere and everywhere

Parking Alert: Pay and display public car park 75m from the abbey (Scottish Borders Council). On-road parking nearer the site. Free parking in Winter.

Kid Alert: N/A

Additional Information:  Watch your step. Steps into the castle are steep. This location can get quite busy

Toilets: At the visitor center

Next Destination: Traquair House Drive Time: 35 minutes


8) Innerleithen – Innerleithen

Innerleithen, a prominent golfing community and simply a lovely, if not quirky little town. Originally mostly an agricultural village. In the early 19th century, the sulphurous “healing” springs known as St Ronan’s Wells began drawing people to the area. The resulting Spa and Resort saw visitors such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Scott helped to popularize Innerleithen with his novel Saint Ronan’s Well. As St Ronan’s Well’s popularity grew, the need for a golf club became obvious. St Ronan’s (golf) Club started in 1827 with the first St Ronan’s Border Games that continue to this very day. The Innerleithen Golf Club was formed in in 1886.

3 Wells BraeInnerleithen EH44 6JE

Quirky little visitor center offers information on Innerleithen history, as well as the story of the wells. Situated on a hillside, overlooking the Leithen valley with pleasant gardens.  Here you can sip from the well or purchase bottle of water its water.  An interesting stop for those that enjoy quirky, historic and quaint. I love the entire area.

Photo Alert: Plenty

Sheep Alert: any sheep in the area appear to be fenced

Parking Alert: Plenty of parking

Kid Alert: Kids may like this funky little place.

Next Destination:  Traquair House & Brewery Drive Time: 10 minutes

Traquair House the Scottish Borders Rootless Routes Scotland 2017
Traquair House, long connected to the Stuarts. Innerleithen Scottish Borders Scotland Rootless Routes

Visit Traquair House | Just Do It!

My entrance to Traquair House began with stumbling on completely unperilous rocks on a flat driveway, resulting in landing flat on the ground on top of my iPhone. I entered the grand historic property, covered in mud, with ripped knees, bleeding and clinging to my disemboweled iPhone. The staff were kind and in return helpful. They all seemed sincerely concerned about my well being, upon seeing my disheveled state.

Traquair House is the oldest still inhabited house in Scotland and I absolutely love this place. The drive through Innerleithen is… “Holy crap!” amazing. The roads tight, with high stone walls on either side, make it an interestingly challenging drive for US Americans.

The history of Traquair House, especially pertaining to the Stuarts (later the Stewarts) is just about as rich with Scottish history as it gets.  Lived in for over 900 years. (Gosh, 900 years? I’m American. We think older houses were built in the 1950s.) With a quirky and extremely knowledgeable staff that all love the house and its historical background. I spent hours chatting with various staff members about obscure historical facts with glee.

  • Traquair House History

Gifted to James Stewart in 1491, who became the 1st Laird of Traquair. The famous Bear Gates were closed in 1745 after the Bonnie Prince rode out and the 5th Earl promised him they would never be opened again until the Stuarts gained throne. Consequently, they were never opened again.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart continues to call this extraordinary place her home and her recorded revelries in some of the rooms are just fantastic. The brewery is well worth the visit as well. Do not miss this hidden gem. I’d move in, if they’d let me!

Photo Alert: Limitless photo ops

Parking Alert: Nplenty of well signed parking

Kid Alert: I think Kids will enjoy this.

Food: Cafe and Tea Room

Shops: Bought a great handmade celtic not ring here.

Toilets: Bathrooms on site

Additional Information: Self designed tour and guides on premises to answer questions are just awesome

Note: Maybe go to the brewery first so you have time to walk it off

Next Destination: Neidpath Castle Drive Time: 20 minutes



9) Neidpath Castle – Neidpath Castle

Tweeddale, on A72Peebles EH45 8NWNeidpath Castle

Mostly utilized for films or as a wedding venue, but luckily, they were setting up for an event when I drove up. I was permitted to look around, but did not meet the owner or get a tour. If you call the owner they will set up a private tour, which is likely well worth it. Sadly my camera battery had died and I had just crushed my iphone at Traquair House so I was unable to take photos. Picture courtesy of the Neidpath Castle site.

Photo Alert: Holy crap, this location is fantabulous. You can get great pictures of the castle from the hill across the way

Sheep Alert: I did not notice any

Parking Alert: There is a car park there

Kid Alert: It’s pretty cool, I think kids would enjoy it

Additional Information: 

Next Destination: Edinburgh Drive Time: 50 to 60 Minutes depending on traffic and where in Edinburgh you are headed.

10) Edinburgh – Edinburgh

Read more about visiting Edinburgh below!

Edinburgh Above & Below:

Less Touristy, Obscure & Free Things to Do & See in Scotland’s Capital

Walking Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle upon a bed of volcanic rock.! Photography by Elizabeth Whitener 2017 aka januarymoon.

End of trip

Isle of Skye | Scotland Road Trip | Scottish Highlands | NC500 | II

The Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye. Rootless Routes

Scotland Road Trip | Isle of Skye | Part II 

Isle of Skye road trip route itinerary. Total trip time, about 8 hours. Find everything you need to know for your Skye road trip and more, right here. Check out Part 1 here.

Isle of Skye Road Trip Route Itinerary Part 2 / Fairies in the Skye

  1. Skye Bridge
  2. Portree
  3. Fairy Glen
  4. Dunvegan Castle & Gardens
    1. Seal Watching Tours
    2. Guided Tours
  5. Neist Point Lighthouse
  6. Fairy Pools
  7. Skye Bridge

    A Quick Note

    First read Driving On Skye – What To Know Before You Go prior to planning your Isle of Skye road trip.  Splendor on The Isle of Skye Scotland offers important general information about the Island.

    Times are approximate and vary based on individual needs. Both Isle of Skye road trip itineraries can be completed within a day, if you stick with the general timetable offered.

    A map is included at the end of this post. The letters indicated on each location, correspond to those on the map and the written directions.

    Although I did not travel Skye on my own, I am regularly a solo traveler. Everything on the itinerary is appropriate for solo travelers. The Island is friendly and safe (crime wise). It is not a good place to hike along public roads. You should have some sort of transportation planned ahead of time.

    GPS can be dodgy in the Scottish Highlands and even more so on Skye. It really is important to read the above mentioned “Driving On Skye” to help you best prepare and understand the key challenges to visiting and driving on the Island.


8 Fairy Filled Stops on The Isle of Skye

Note: Scheduling this route back to front (starting with The Fairy Pools, works out well too)

A] The Skye Bridge / Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich / A87

Take the Skye Bridge from Lochalsh. Once you’ve crossed the bridge onto the Isle of Skye, remain on A87 by taking the third (3) exit on the roundabout. After 32 miles you take a right onto Bridge Rd / A855.

Photo Alert: The lighthouse on the wee island of Eilean Bàn (White Island) below, is a particularly nice shot, as is the bridge itself. Best time for Skye Bridge photo opportunities is before you get onto the bridge.

Kid Alert: Check out the lighthouse on Eilean Ban as you cross the bridge.

Approximate time: 3 minutes

Toilet Alert: Main Rd, Broadford, Skye (about 10 minutes after the bridge) on A87 after the Cooperative, across from parking lot, next to church on right

Next Destination: Portree – Drive Time: 45 minutes


B] Village of Portree / Port Righ

Portree. An adorable fishing village. The ‘Capital’ of Skye. Portree is the only actual village on the Island. It can get very busy. Be prepared for that. It is difficult to find a sit down meal if you have not booked ahead here or anywhere on the Island. There are supermarkets, shops, petrol stations and restaurants. Portree is a lovely spot for photographs. The Visit Scotland visitor center is easy to locate.

Don’t dawdle. Enjoy it, but be on your way. You can come back later if you wish, it is not a huge detour on your way back after the Fairy Pools.

Photo Alert: About 15 minutes after Portree is where you will find some of the best views  (and shots) of the ‘Old Man of Storr” if you wish to get some decent pics along the way. Once past that point, you may not be able to see it well until you have hiked up to it., which is included in this route. Isle of Skye | Scotland Road Trip | Scottish Highlands | NC500 | I

Toilet Alert: 1) Bridge Road behind Somerland Square, across from courthouse 2) Off A87 at the Aros Center. You’ll find no toilets for a bit, so make haste and be smart.

Approximate Time: 30 minutes – Total Trip Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Next Destination: The Fairy Glen – Drive Time: 25 Minutes


C] The Fairy Glen / Gleann nan Sìthichean 

I adore the Fairy Glen . I spent two (2) hours romping about the alien like terrain, covered in a sea of vivid green grass and foliage. The Fairy Glen seems exactly the sort of magical landscape in which any respectable fairy would choose to dwell.

A land rife with superstition, folklore and legend. Located so near Dunvegan Castle, where an ancient “Fairy” flag is displayed with pride. It is ironic that the “Fairy Glen” is little connected with lore or superstition. It is no doubt magical to behold.

Tourists have mucked it up a bit with ridiculous stone circles, that local volunteers eradicate regularly. If you are moving rocks about in places like this, you are an asshole and the locals do not appreciate it. Neither do the visitors that are NOT assholes.

Great spot to picnic. No facilities, but there are some benches about.

Please do not utilize the Fairy Glen as your personal potty. The locals are really sick of it. Plan your bathroom breaks like a grown up ahead of time. Or give me your address and I’ll come pee on your lawn, see how you feel about it.

Photo Alert: Everything is fantastic opportunity for great photos at The Fairy Glen, but sweeping views from the top come out extraordinarily well.

Sheep Alert: Sheep roam freely on this road and during lambing season April – June. little sheep inexperienced with roads and frightened by cars are unpredictable. The sheep with horns get very protective when there are  lambs around.

Toilet Alert: There are public toilets at the Ferry terminal in Uig

Parking Alert: Parking is a pain. There are a couple of broad laybys on the way and a very rough small bit of extremely rocky spot of dirt right after the little pond on the left. Beyond that, it is difficult to park when the lot fills. If you are up for a little walk, you can park in Uig. 

Pothole Alert: Large jagged rocks and rough spots abound

Kid Alert: Kids will either love it or not care at all. There is a lot of space for them to run about. The hills are steep but rolling enough that there is not really any treacherous cliffs. This would be a great place to picnic and run off some steam, before locking them down in the car again.

Additional Information: If you pass the Fairy Glen (on your right) there is really nowhere to go but to turn around. You end up at a private croft. Please do not park anywhere but the obvious locations or in Uig. Do not use passing places as parking space.

Approximate Time: 1 hour – Total Trip Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Next Destination: Dunvegan Castle & Gardens Drive Time: 45 Minutes


D] Dunvegan Castle & Gardens  <–Click for website

 Dunvegan Castle. A privately run, magnificently beautiful destination. Full of history, lore, remarkable gardens and outstanding views. The McLeods have lived in this castle for centuries and continue to do so to this very day. Within the castle walls hangs the “Fairy Flag”

Chock full of history, Dunvegan Castle and Gardens still stands today. The McLeods chose to stay out of the last Jacobite Rebellion and in so doing, kept their amazing home. Ironically they ended up connected to Flora MacDonald and have items belonging to the Bonnie Prince. If such history is in your interest, it is really cool stuff to see.

This beautifully maintained castle is extremely significant when it comes to key points in Highland history. I found the place enthralling. The Gardens vast, diverse and extremely well tended. Loved every minute of my visit here.

Photo Alert: Photo opportunities everywhere. Check out the gardens and walk behind the castle to the edge of the waterfront. Fantastic photo opportunities. Mostly outside.

Sheep Alert: N/A

Toilet Alert: to the left just before you get the the actual castle (I believe there may also be toilets in the parking lot)

Parking Alert: Large, paved, well marked parking lot. Kinda comes up suddenly on your right. There is a gift shop and toilets in the parking area

Kid Alert: Some kids will find the castle boring. Lots of stuff not to touch. There is a special kids tour offered at the castle. I’d call ahead.

Approximate time: 40 minutes castle 40 gardens – Total Trip Time: 4 hours 50 minutes

Next Destination: Neist Point Lighthouse – Drive Time: 35 minutes


E] Neist Point Lighthouse (Glendale)

Neist Point . Stunning and picturesque. A remarkable location. If you enjoy remarkably scenic views, amazing photo opportunities, hiking, wildlife and/ or lighthouses, Neist Point is not to be missed. It is a bit out of the way and only offers views. It can get crazy busy there. You must be the  judge if it is worth it based on your desires. Fantastic photo opportunities.

Regarded the finest viewing point on Skye for dolphins, whales and even sharks. The area is a treasure trove for bird watching. If you are a birder check this out.

An fairly easy 15 minute walk from the car park, but the stairs down & back up to the point are pretty steep.

Photo Alert: Endless photo opportunities. If you head to the first hill to the right of the parking lot, you can quickly get good shots of the lighthouse without trecking out to the point.

Kid Alert: Good place for a picnic or snack.

Kid Warning: There are many steep drops and ungated cliffs. The sheep can be garrulous, especially in lamb season. Keep an eye on your kids.

Parking Alert: Parking is plentiful, but the car park fills up

Pothole Alert: If the lot is full, the extended area can be a bit rough for parking

Approximate time: 1 hour – Total Trip Time: 5 hours 25 minutes

Next Destination: Fairy Pools – Drive Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


F] The Fairy Pools

The Fairy Pools are magical and  lauded place for hiking and wild swimming. This collection of naturally occuring watersheds, fed by a myriad of springs and waterfalls is  exceptional.

Located at the base of the Black Cuillins in Glen Brittle, near Carbost, Isle of Skye.

The site is well marked (well at least comparably) and more established for visitors. Fairy Pools “Glumagan na Sithichean” The extremely rough and rocky car park fills up quickly. There is no barrier to keep from backing up over the steep edge. At least there is signage.

Rootless Routes 2018 Isle of Skye road trip II
Glumagan na Sithichean Fairy Pools sign Isle of skye

Unlike the Fairy Glen, The Fairy Pools have a long history of Norse and / or Celtic fused Scottish lore connected to them. The mineral rich waters have been long known for their healing abilities. Similar to Clootie Well lore, the Fairy Pools luckily are not littered with offerings. No rotting rags hanging about.

The Fairy Pool, Isle of Skye. Rootless Routes. Scotland 2018 by Elizabeth Whitener
Vibrant green pool of The Fairy Pools f Glen Brittle

Sadly most of the legends of the area were passed down through word of mouth in Gaelic and are either lost or not available for public consumption. None of my research brought forth any actual tales.

The hike down is easy enough for most. After a very long day the mildly steep incline at the very end with the sun beating down on me was kind of a bitch and there is nowhere to sit or get away from the sun to take a break. But for the most part anybody with average mobility can do the 40 minute walk there and back with relative ease

Photo Alert: Photo opportunities everywhere.

Sheep Alert: Sheep hop out from everywhere and tend to graze along the hiking trail. No, they are not tame, nor do they like being approached.

Toilet Alert:  (Pee before you get there)

Parking Alert: Fairly large car park / parking lot, graveled with large jagged rocks. The lot gets busy, people park randomly and at the very end of the lot, it is difficult to see where the land ends, so be careful. Use your parking break and skew your wheels.

Kid Alert: I think this much for real small kids, but a solid walker can do it. It does take an average adult 20 minutes to make it to the first pool and 20 minutes more to get to the last one.

Approximate time: 2 hours  Total Trip Time: 7 hours 30 minutes

Next Destination: Sky Bridge – Drive Time: 35 minutes


G] The Skye Bridge / Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich / A87

You’ve been here before. This road trip is complete.

Next Destination: Done – Drive Time: 8 hours 5 minutes


Useful Information:

  1. Southwest of the bridge is Balmacara, where you can find petrol and a well stocked Spar (convenience store / small grocer).
  2. Balmacara Hotel has a nice little pub like restaurant in the back (I did not eat there)
  3. The Clachan and The Dornie Hotel both serve great food, just a few minutes beyond Balmacara, in Dornie. Dornie is right across the way from the Eilean Donan Castle. Check their hours. Call ahead if you can. The Clachan serves food later and both places get packed at times.
  4. Eilean Donan Castle is just 15 minutes SW of the Skye Bridge. The castle is extremely photogenic with fantastic photo opportunities from the outside. When the castle is closed you can get great shots and the gate (although it looks locked) is often unlocked allowing visitors to cross the walkway to the castle.
  5. Dornie  is 15 minutes SW of the Skye Bridge. It’s a great but miniscule little village. There are a couple of shops  and restaurants there. Eilean Donan Castle is across the way.
  6. Plockton is about 18 minutes from the bridge and is a fantastic little village with gorgeous views and a few shops, pubs, inns and restaurants. It is a heckofa crazy one track road drive (I loved driving it). Itis a romantic spot. Well worth the visit! Note: The locals are impatient with slow drivers.

 

A] Sky Bridge

B] Portree

C] The Fairy Glen

D] Dunvegan Castle

E] Neist Point Lighthouse

F] Fairy Pools

 G] Sky Bridge

Skye Tours & Alternative Transportation  / (Scot owned and Scotland based)

Chas MacDonald of Spirit of Scotland offers various private and small group tours with a focus in Clan history, Clan gatherings, wildlife viewing, photography as well as personally curated themes of your choice. He also offers tours by More Gay the Gordon. A unique perspective with a like minded guide that delves into history of gay Scotland as well as LGBT exclusive tours.

Rabbie’s is a highly regarded small tour operator in business for over 20 years, that has maintained their top reputation even after becoming a rather large company.

You can find information on bus services to and on Skye here

Cycling routes and bike maps, in and around Skye.

Hiking routes maps and trails on Skye.

Traveling with kids?

Gay centric tours of Skye.

The Fairy Glen of Skye Scottish Highlands Scotland’s North Coast

img_2520
View from Castle Ewen of The Fairy Glen below

Deep in the farthest reaches of the Scottish Highlands. Tucked between the gold, amber and brown monolithic peaks of t-Eilean Sgitheanach. Across winding, single track, sheep filled roads. There is a land that the Fae call home.

img_2989
A fairy trail below Castle Ewen

The Fairy Glen

Where eerily ridged and ragged, irregularly shaped hills and dales are flocked by mossy green vegetation. An alien world, amongst an already seemingly alien background of monochromatic tones and craggy mountains.

There it is, blanketed in a lush and vivid velvet verdancy. Castle Ewen calls to you, so you begin to climb. You wander through the worn paths of those that graced this mystical expanse before you.

Castle Ewen and the highest peak in the Fairy Glen

Time stands still, sheep bah and graze. New lambs bleat, suckle and frolic in the sun. As you  climb you periodically gaze up at the flat topped peak, drawn.

At certain angles the tower above appears to be man made (Fae made?) as do the miniature rock fronted burrows below (Fae den?).  As a result of the scenery, atmosphere or perhaps something even less tangible, you get a sense of magic.

The hills are steep but not too daunting. You stop to catch your breath. A calm falls upon you. A cool wind kisses your cheek and there you are at the apogee of The Fairy Glen.

img_2520
The Ferry Glen from above

Gazing out across the greenery, to the brown and golden ranges that surround you. Waterfalls, pastures, bluffs, lochs and roadways are all in view. Yet none of what you see beyond the point at which you stand is in any way as green or as lush.

The Fairy Glen Skye
View of distant waterfalls from the Fairy Glen

 

 

The Fairies of the World

There are so many things one could say about the Fairy Glen. If only one could find the words. So easy tis it, imagine magical, delicately winged creatures living here. Like “The Glen” in Ireland, it is simply surreal.

As you stand there, communing with whatever it is that seemingly created this magical place, it is hard not to believe that if the Fae lived anywhere, this would be a place of choice.

Each little  mound, sculpted by their wee fairy hands and tamped down by their wee fairy feet. Every rock flown by iridescent wings and tapped into place with fairy spit and fairy dust.

It takes little imagination to know this place as The Fairy Glen.

Geological anomaly, The Fairy Glen
A Fairy Glen or a geological anomaly

Science? Magic? Or a Little Bit of Both

In the non magical world, The Fairy Glen is a geological anomaly. An ancient landslip, that landed in just the right location to create a semi micro climate, allowed simple mosses, grasses and lichen to flourish and grow on the rock. As the plants broke down and rock eroded, the rocky base became rich with fertile soil, encouraging a normally much more hostile environment. Years of sheep poop likely helped too.

Yet even though the rational mind knows the scientific rationale behind the flourishing surroundings on which you stand. It remains difficult not to feel a sense of the unreal and revel in the magic of such an pleasingly atmospheric quarter.

Directions to The Fairy Glen:

The Fairy Glen is located in the North West of the Isle of Skye. Sadly, it is not as obscure as it was once, so to get there you can simply enter it into your GPS as The Fairy Glen.

It will likely take less than an hour to get there from anywhere on the Island of Skye by automobile.

Take A87, which at one point turns into Dunvegan Rd (but also remains A87). Just follow it around until you see the sign for the Fairy Glen. You will see cars parked about 1/2 mile before the actual location, but I was able to park on a dirt patch directly in front of the sight.

Please PLEASE do NOT park in any passing places. It is illegal, dangerous and just plane rude. Do not park in a way that obstructs the road, obvious sheep crossings, or that in any way negatively impacts the locals or the environment.

To Know When Visiting The Fairy Glen:

There is no admission fee or attendants there. There are no toilets or parking specifically for The Fairy Glen. It still can get very crowded. Even tour buses show up there.

There is really no need for a walking map once there, but here is  a link nevertheless.  If you get turned around, just a small trek up one of the hills will allow you a view to anywhere you need to go. It is easy to traverse the area by meandering. Some may find it difficult to get to the top, but that is ok, there are plenty places to walk that are only mildly hilly. It is worth the viewing, even if you do not intend to, or cannot walk around.

I think kids would enjoy it there just as much as adults.

Although you could essentially walk for miles around The Fairy Glen, you likely could walk around, climb and photograph within an hours time. I personally spent 2 hours there and enjoyed it.

I suggest you wear hiking shoes if you have them, it can get pretty muddy.

A rain jacket is also suggested.

Photography Advice for The Fairy Glen:

When on the road facing the glen, there is a hill behind you. This hill is an excellent location for snapping shots, as is the top of the glen itself atop Castle Ewen.

Good to Note:

Be careful that your GPS does not confuse The Fairy Glen in Uig with the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle (also on Skye), nor the Fairy Glen Park in Wigan, or The Fairy Glen Hotel in Penmaenmawr.

Other places to visit when in the area Dunvegan Castle and the Fairy Pools.

Visit Nashville… or Not!

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Nashville Skyline

I decided to visit Nashville. Driving from Virginia Beach to Austin, Texas is about a 23 hour drive. I know I can drive about 16 hours with two (2) pit stops… in general, with little issue. I planned to drive I 95 down the Eastern Coast then head South to avoid bad weather. I’d shoot through ‘Nawlins to see some friends, then head for Texas, driving to Austin via Houston (which is always an iffy bet)

After the sudden freeze and snow along the Southern route made the mid South route seem no more appealing, I found that heading semi diagonal through the US, was a better plan. This new route would bring me through Tennessee, allowing me to stay a night and visit Nashville or Memphis.

The chance to visit Nashville or Memphis, both places that, in all my US and world travels, I had only ever passed through, seemed a more expeditious, as well as a more interesting drive plan. Although the distance was a little longer, research suggested that stopping to visit Nashville, would be the fastest route this time of year. So… I decided to visit Nashville. I should have chosen Memphis!

As soon as I crossed the border to Tennessee, people started driving like assholes. And yes, I found out later that it wasn’t just me. Tennessee is on the top 10 worst places to drive list repeatedly year after year. According to a 2016 SmartAsset  study.

Tennessee is one of the least insured states in the country, with 20% of people not having car insurance. Tennessee also has the 18th highest number of deaths per thousand drivers. One positive is that they are in the better half of the country for DUI per thousand drivers at 5.7.

I was  not sure if it was due to the Holidays or if Tennessee drivers are just dicks. I’ve traversed thousands upon thousands of driving miles, just this year alone, through various states and countries, and I can tell you definitively, there was an obvious change in driving style and courtesy immediately upon entering the state of Tennessee. It was not a pleasant change.

The weather turned. The sky grew dim. The rain came down, and it seemed as if half of the drivers were distracted on their phone or trying to force me off the road. Crammed between construction barriers in a torrential downpour, after 14 hours of driving with a meowing cat. Cement barriers to my left with dual cab semi’s to my right, that swayed perilously close to me either carelessly or due to wind, so I kept my fingers clamped tightly around the steering wheel and my face close to the windshield for quite some time. Man! I was glad to discover that my AirBnB was finally near at hand and I was excited for the chance to get some time out of the car and the chance to visit Nashville the next day.

The AirBnB was a bit on the outskirts of where people tend to most like to visit Nashville. Although technically still Nashville, it was more like an older suburban neighborhood. The area was a mix of older houses, some beautifully maintained some quite ramshackle with cars on cinder blocks and garbage in their yard. Fairly high up on a curvy hill, it overlooked whatever the Hell was behind it. At night it was just some pretty twinkling lights to me. I was so grateful to find a comfortable and warm space for me and my critters to chill after the intense drive.

Not Nashville
Not Nashville

Although quite a nice place, I did note that it was the first AirBnB   (of many stays) with an active alarm system. The note mentioning no parties, since people tend to visit Nashville for bachelorette & bachelor parties, caused a bright red flag to shoot up in my head. I’d seen such warnings before. Fort Lauderdale when it was at its very shittiest, Tijuana, at its very shittiest too, Cabo at its shittiest of already shitty points. Yeah I ‘ve seen it before.

I’ve found  that places that tend to invite such type parties are for those who cannot afford Vegas. Often these locals were heralded as cool party towns for far too long, had turned to shit from all of the parties and were now cheap, dirty, loud, depressing hasbeens. I have been to more than one of these Hell holes, over marketed by those that had jumped onto the ‘make money out of the party’ bandwagon. Yet I hoped for the best this time. The AirBnB was pleasant. I fed the animals and we settled in and slept well. I planned to explore and visit Nashville in the morning.

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Bachelorette Party

I debated visiting Loveless Cafe which is often first on the list when you visit Nashville, although actually on the outskirts. Every review indicated a tourist trap, but I decided to give it a shot.

Nowhere near downtown. Historic and at times infamous by its reviews, even two (2) days before Xmas the parking lot was packed. I lucked out and it was a short wait. (One of the many bonuses of solo travel). The wait staff was pleasant enough. The food was just ok. There was really nothing special about any of it for me. Beyond some cool pics of the iconic sign, it was pretty much an out of the way drive, for an adequate over priced breakfast. But maybe it was me. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Loveless Cafe

Nashville Downtown 

I’d read that it’s a bitch to try and park near Lower Broadway when you visit Nashville. But found that you can park for free on or around Titans Way by the Nissan stadium, on non event or non game days. (If unsure you can often find a parking control person driving around the area to ask)

Today, often mistaken for the Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge, the former Sparkman Street bridge, built in 1907-09, is now the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and it is an easy walk across from the stadium to downtown where most wish to visit Nashville, culminating only blocks from “Lower Broad”

There are a fair amount of steps up to the bridge, but it is handicap ramped and it has elevators at both sides (that are not always working). It is worthy to note that there are plenty of places along the bridge to sit and rest if stamina is a concern.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

The bridge offers really nice views and photo opportunities lending to great pics when you visit Nashville. I strolled along stopping to get some skyline shots and took note that I had passed 3 or 4 cops in the short time I had been in the area. I thought it a bit unusual to notice so many police, midday on a weekday, but at the moment I didn’t think about it much.

Nashville’s skyline is pretty nice. Especially the building that looks sorta like Batman. (Turns out that building is indeed known affectionately as the Batman building).

I spent some time shooting the city and the bridge then began to journey down the latter half of a bridge. I could see a cop standing on the sidewalk next to a garbage can and a big bottle of bleach as I approached the end. As I neared “Please move to the other side of the walkway” plump cop barked at me. I had no reason not to oblige. I wondered if it was the bleach bottle that had him concerned and kept on trucking.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center RootlessRoutes Nashville 201

Upon crossing the bridge the first building you may notice is the Schermerhorn Symphony building. It’s New Classical style, not to be mistaken for the Parthenon in Centennial Park, which is more Greek Revival and equally odd for a downtown in deep South America, and the country music center of the US.

I turned right at the bottom of the bridge and in a couple of blocks found myself on the neon lit street of Honky Tonks on Broadway (Lower Broad). Reminiscent of Austin’s 6th street, but far more vibrant and… well… Western. The phosphorescent like glow of the renowned “Lower Broad” street humming with Nashville’s notable country western signage calls to you, as you near the street most often lauded as the heart of “Music city” and likely the most important stop for those that come to visit Nashville.

Being so close to Christmas and a colder, grey day, I was surprised to find the sidewalk was still moderately busy with tourists. I imagine it was likely quieter than usual. As I passed the construction barriers and eyed the cranes above I couldn’t help but feel a sense of resentment towards what felt to me to be a sort of pseudo countrified gentrification or sterilization of the place, similar to what happened to Austin, Texas.

I did not enter the Johnny Cash Museum (although I am quite the fan) and slipped by the Patsy Cline Museum as well. It just all felt so very contrived to me. Maybe it was me, but it all sort of felt like the “Disney” version of what this infamous street once was known to be. Maybe not quite “white washed” but as if a bunch of people from LA and Brooklyn had taken over these grand old institutions and had reinvented them into more effective and likely more money making, shells of what they used to be. Maybe I just have a bad taste in my mouth from what happened to Austin. Or maybe after weeks of travel, I was just having an off day for myself. But I just wasn’t feeling Nashville at all.

Lower Broad
Lower Broad (Broadway) Nashville 2017

I walked the entire strip, once more taking note of the surprising amount of police. (which is quite unlike Austin), took a few pics and decided I just wasn’t feeling it and headed back for the bridge.

I took a different street back landing me one street shy of the bridge entrance and was surprised to find a rather large homeless encampment right under the bridge. Passing a posse of bicycle cops as I navigated my way to the bridge entrance, I noted one more time, the seemingly enormous amount of police presence. There seemed to be cop lurking at every corner.

Johnny Cash Museum
3rd Ave S Nashville TN 2017

Turning onto the bridge I came face to face with 6 or 7 more cops and the area I had been detoured around earlier was now festooned with yellow caution tape. Going around whatever the Hell was going on over there, I found myself drawn back to the rather pretty city skyline and paused to take more pictures at the midpoint on the bridge that offered rather pleasing views of the stadium to the right and the city to the left.

Two young women were peering over the bridge down towards the water. Their intent gazes drew my eye to whatever it was that had them so entranced. Below to the right, by the greened area between the stadium and the river I saw to tiny spots of activity on the cement canal way at the water’s edge. Leaning against the railway I peered down at the orange and black dots to discover what appeared to be two (2) dogs eating something they’d pulled from the river. Due to the height and distance, even with my phones camera lens zoomed, I could not fully make out what was going on down there. So I decided to investigate.

Crime Scenes & Packs of Feral Dogs

I noticed a couple before me walking their dog, appeared to be headed to the waters edge like me and figured that they were checking out the situation as well. We spoke momentarily and they asked me if I had passed the crime scene? “Crime scene?” I questioned, having earlier surmised it was simply a suspicious container issue.

“Yes,” said the woman quite matter of factly, “there was blood everywhere.”

“No shit” I thought as I mentioned the dogs to the couple. They hadn’t noticed them, but proceeded to walk with me in the dogs direction.

Once in view I could tell it was an older golden retriever and a young black dog, eating what appeared to be the very dry and ragged remains of a duck.

The retriever looked ancient but pure bred. My guess was someone had recently dumped the poor dogs. Contemplating my next move, I heard the women state from behind me. “Someone should call someone” indicating to me that this someone was not going to be her. I searched out Nashville animal control and called them, they answered quickly.

“Yes!” said the woman answering the phone. There are a few packs of feral dogs in the area that we’ve not been able to catch.”

“Packs of wild dogs?” I repeated stupidly

“Packs of feral dogs!” She repeated definitively.

“Packs of feral dogs.” I replied resignedly.

Murder scenes and packs of feral dogs. I decided to head back to the AirBnB. I had lost my desire to visit Nashville any further. But first I needed to grocery shop.

Nashville is made up of a serious of antiquitous highways, interstates and freeways. Creating this weird mishmash of driving up and down circular on and off ramps in order to get to a place that would be easy to get to, if not for all of the all of the damned highway ramps. After circling around 3 or 4 times I found myself in what was obviously some nasty, projects.

Downtrodden even for inner city projects, I must have passed 3 or 4 more cops on the way and at this point wanted nothing more to do with this visit Nashville idea.

As I passed the small decrepit houses I recalled similar parts of Norfolk Virginia and how my sister had stated (about Norfolk) that it was one of the ugliest most depressing city she’d ever seen. Pulling into Kroger on Gallatin, I called my sister to share in the obtuse hilarity of my experience in Nashville. The homogenized Lower Broad, the pervasive police presence, murder scenes, packs of feral dogs, swathes of garbage, disintegrating projects and now a cop sitting in his car in the Kroger parking lot, apparently monitoring the area. YAY!

“What?” she squealed into the phone “Packs of feral dogs?” “Really?” I think she almost didn’t believe me.

The Kroger was small but decent enough. I dropped my huge travel purse in the cart and started scrounging for the needed items. I noticed there seemed to be staff that looked a bit like security milling around, but I just needed a few groceries for dinner then I planned to hole up in my AirBnB with the critters and head out first thing in the morning. A pleasant voice crackles through the speaker system, that went something like this. Attention Kroger shoppers! Local law enforcement would like us to remind you to be aware of your surroundings. Please remain alert to those around you and be sure NOT to leave your bag or wallet in your cart unattended! Thank you for shopping at Kroger!”

Are you fucking kidding me? I mean I’m not in East Detroit? I just couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of there. I called my sister immediately back once I was back in my car.

“What? she cackled incredulously. I heard Nashville was like the next Austin.”

“Maybe Austin in Hell!” I replied. “We’ll get the Hell out of there she commanded!”

We left at daybreak!

My Rootless Routes Travel Blogging On The Road

Rootless Routes
Lake Quinsigamond from AirBnB 2017 Elizabeth Whitener
View from AirBnB on Lake Quinsigamond. Shrewsbury Mass

Today,  I am truly rootless. The view from my window will be ever changing from this point on. Rootless Routes is no longer a concept, it is a reality. But can I write well enough, post consistently enough, draw viewers enough for this blog to self perpetuate and help me to carry on?

Rootless Routes
Dew checkin out the view Providence Rhode Island AirBnB 2017

Why Rootless Routes? Rootless, because I have no home rooted in just one place, just a vintage travel trailer that is not even yet in my possession. Routes, because I plan to keep moving along, sharing the tales of my journeys, and well. my rootless life on the road.

Mark's place in Virginia
Virginia Beach Virginia

I write to you from my friend’s place in Virginia Beach, writing before preparing my SUV for my next journey, which is to Austin, Texas. As I sit here writing, I feel the ever present call to pack and get ready. Yet I know I must keep blogging consistently to meet my goals, so I am trying to keep posting. Posting something interesting with good photographs regularly enough is really really hard for me. And it takes me hours.

I love to write and take pictures, but getting them all together and posted in a cohesive manner is just as hard as I expected… maybe even harder. I am unsure how to focus on both things while still getting everything done.

I am quite new to blogging. When I check out other travel logs, Rootless Routes seems an anomaly that doesn’t easily fit into any one category.  Is this a good thing or am I fucked?

Elizabeth Whitener
Me

 

Every barrier has a window to the sky. It is just that, doors do not need to close for me to go running off looking for another one to pry open. If that makes any sense.

Newport Rhode Island I think
Massachusetts somewhere. I don’t remember where the Hell this is.

This new sojourn, living on the road and working on Rootless Routes, is not so very far off of my already rather remote but well beaten (at least by me) life’s path. Having traveled alone across the country (USA) and abroad since I was 17 years old and then with my son as he grew, this new life is not so very far a stretch from where I stood not very long ago. As is my way, I have not well mapped out some format or plan to make money or the best way to “sell my blog” to the masses, yet this year, after a few changes in my life came about MY STORY, I decided it was time to fulfill this particular dream of traveling and writing about it and suddenly here I am. Living on the road and writing about it.

Massachusetts 2017
Shrewsbury Mass

Hopefully, my abrasive charm, mediocre photography, repetitive and long winded writing will eventually create an interesting enough blog to help support my desire to travel full time. If not, well fuck it. I’ll just find another way.

After all, Rootless Routes at its core, is not actually about creating a successful blog, but about creating a lifestyle that lives up to the term Rootless Routes. But the blog doing well would sure fucking help.Edinburgh King George V Park 2017

King George V Park Leith Waterway Walkway Edinburgh Scotland Rootless Routes 2017

Currently I am living off savings and money made from my etsy shops (Renegade Revival Vintage) (Lightly Sauced Retro) that I have been opening and closing randomly.

Van Life
My new home. 1971 FAN Lee Liner

I am unsure that with blogs like Rootless Routes, by just writing what you wish to write over well researched content, will anyone ever see it?  In a realm such as travel blogging, that is extremely saturated, it is crazy difficult to build much of an audience. Add in the fact that I have the attention span of a drunkin’ gnat, that my tempestuous nature means that my style of travel, my posting style, even my ability to post regularly is completely scattered and erratic. That in the middle of all of this I am attempting to sell almost everything I own, fix up and move into a travel trailer, while traveling around the US and abroad and yet need to somehow bring in money… well it is kinda nuts.

Scottish HIghlands 2017 NC 500
Rootless Routes in Arnisdale Scotland 2017

Seriously, with travel as my new way of life, completely on the road with short visits and jaunts staying at friends, family and periodically AirBnBs (or the like), the ability to worry too much about formulating the Rootless Routes blog in a manner that will bring in visitors and views is well… not very realistic. I am quite unsure if I can bring Rootless Routes to the level that I would need for it to support making this life a perpetual reality. So if I can’t, then what? Being ‘rootless’ and writing about my routes, seems redundant if nobody wants to read about it. I suppose it will end up being a wait and see thing.

Rootless Routes HIghlands of Scotland
Glenelg Scotland 2017

I suppose I am a bit of a non conformist, that has stayed pretty true to my anti establishment sort of roots throughout most of my adult life. I raised a son on my own and we road tripped a great deal. When he was 13 we spent 3 months on the road just traveling the US from Florida to Northern California. I’ve lived in New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California (both Southern and Northern California), Texas, Rhode Island with fairly long jaunts in England and Bali. So I have been more rootless than most in my 50+ years on this planet it seems.

Dew enjoying our AirBnB in Shrewsbury MA

I guess for now, Rootless Routes is where I live. Me, Dew the cat and Roadie the dog.

 

Roadie in Providence RHode ISland

Since I do not yet have the travel trailer in hand, I will be driving across the US in just my SUV. I leave for Austin in tomorrow (hopefully) to see family and friends. From there I will head to Portland to see my son and his crew, then I am off to Seattle to help my friend Laurie prepare her house for sale. Once the weather is solid enough for me to pick up the travel trailer,I will then once again be heading back across the US to Massachusetts.

Regardless of the outcome of this blog, the adventure that is my life is always real. After 50 years on this planet I realize there is no way around the fact that traveling is home to me and that I know how to make things work when I need to. If it isn’t this blog that will support my life on the road, I will certainly come up with something else, I always do. I am hopeful though that in getting to know me and following me along the way, I will inspire… if not at least entertain my you enough to keep this thing… Rootless Routes and Routes of the Rootless, keep on keepin’ on!