Smelling the sea air,
seeing the landscape,
engaging with the wildlife,
walking the streets,
visiting graves, kirks or homes,
researching the documents and seeing the names and the stories come to life.
We yearn to return. The pull is strong. We plan our next visit. Maybe this year, maybe next, maybe in the future, but we will return. With family or without. To research or to tour. We plan the routes, we plan the sights, we plan the days.
We find ourselves, more and more, living in Scotland in our heads. We join and like Facebook groups and pages that bring us our homeland on a daily basis in our newsfeeds. We watch documentaries about the history, archaeology, architecture of Scotland. We surf the web and dream about our return. All of this leads to a deeper understanding not only of our homeland, but the struggle our ancestors felt at leaving.
And it helps us to understand why so many stayed loyal to their heritage after the emigrated. Their friendship groups were other Scots. They carried on the traditions of food, culture and worship. It really is true that you can take the Scot out of Scotland but you can never take Scotland out of the Scot.