Angela and Chris Dowin have been full-time travelers since they sold all of their possessions last year and decided to book a one way flight to London. Their life at “home” was good, but they realized that there was a whole world out there to see. They get around from place to place with their camera and travel bags documenting the world along the way. Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of Angela and Chris, of Nomadic Lifestyle, in Scotland.
1:00am – We break up the last log in our fireplace as we wrap up what will turn out to be our second to last fire in our small beachside cottage. A fireplace is a rare luxury and since our plans involve warmer weather in the summer we’ll probably not have a fireplace for some time.
Chris and I arrived in the town of Nairn, Scotland a week ago and will say goodbye in a few days to head off hunting for the famous Loch Ness monster. Until then, we are content to explore this sleepy beach town, but realize that we need to sleep sometime so we can catch the morning light.
9:00am – We wake up feeling rested, but with a slight headache (maybe too much wine by the fire) and are excited to explore a little more of the town we have called home for the last week.
9:30am – Traveling isn’t without some monotony. We spend some time doing our chores before we head out. We load our clothes in the washing machine, empty the dishwasher, check our e-mails, and manage our Twitter followers. On the advice of Scott Eddy, we follow and unfollow users on Twitter every day to maintain a healthy fanbase. We try out best to do this every day without fail because there is a limit to how many people you can connect with every day.
10:00am – Clouds are starting to roll in and it looks like rain, so instead of going out we decide to stay in and work on some blog posts while waiting out the rain. During this time we map out some more of our European itinerary.
3:20pm – There is a break in the clouds so we head to The Tea Room downtown for some yummy Rooibos tea. We’re determined to experience afternoon tea while we’re here in the U.K.
3:45pm – The Tea Room is closed so we head to the nearest Co-Operative where we buy the fixings for tea and head back to the apartment to make our own.
5:00pm – The sun is shinning! We head to the beautiful beach here in Nairn for a stroll and to take some pictures.
8:00pm – We build our last fire in the fireplace we have here in Nairn since we leave here Tuesday.
3:00am – We head to bed after spending far too long reading by the fire.
10:00am – We wake up far too late to experience the sunrise and Chris starts making our usual breakfast of eggs and bacon. I take the time to do Twitter work, check e-mails, and general tidying of the site.
12:00pm – It’s a beautiful day and we decide to go out for a walk and explore more of the town we’re calling home for the last full day. The sun is warm and the breeze is gentle so we head to the beach.
1:00pm – We reach the end of the beach after about a mile and a half walk. It’s high tide. We wanted to walk into the forest that borders the beach. We’re out of luck though because there’s a small “river” that splits the beach and forest. The water is too deep to cross without getting uncomfortably wet. We seriously consider crossing anyway, but decide that our shoes won’t be dry enough for traveling by tomorrow.
On the way back we collect shells at the request of a friend back in the states. We also keep our eyes open for some interesting looking pebbles for another friend in England. Sometimes the best gifts are free. It’s a great way to spend a calm afternoon.
2:00pm – We walk back into town and decide to visit the Tea Room for a pot of Rooibos tea. Success!
3:00pm – We have a late lunch back at the apartment and finish up our latest video on Nairn for YouTube. We have a great Internet connection here and we’re hard pressed to get out a video before we leave.
6:00pm – We head out again because we hate being cooped up inside. Photography is a lifestyle for us so we decide to get some sunset shots around the pier. As we walk to the pier we notice that the tide is extremely low. Chris and I look at each other. Without saying much we make a last minute direction change to the beach once again. We are so determined to explore a new area and want some adventure.
6:40pm – We reach the bridge tthat separates the forest and beach for the second time today and find that at low tide the river flows out to sea and is fed by the marsh. At high tide the river is fed by the ocean and flows into the marsh. We aren’t going to be turned away this time. Since the tide is so low we wander out into the soft sand until the river flow tapers off to only an inch or so deep. We walk across the “river” and back up the other bank.
We find a bridge that leads to a path into the forest. Without hesitation we charge into the forest and hike back towards the direction we came. We listen to the birds and take in the serenity of the area. There are no cars or noises of any kind around just birds and the ocean. We enjoy our adventure and wandering without a plan. I feel like I’m twelve years old again.
8:00pm – We arrive back at the apartment and it’s still plenty light outside. We’re far north in Scotland (the same latitude as Alaska and Moscow) so we aren’t worried about being stranded in the dark. We make our last dinner and pack up our belongings. Tomorrow is a travel day.
8:00am – I wake up excited and bounce out of bed. Chris makes breakfast again and then we finish packing up a few loose ends. Our train won’t be for a few hours so I take some time again to manage our online presence.
1:00pm – We say goodbye to Nairn and wander over to the train station to catch the train to Inverness.
2:30pm – We meet a very drunk and excited Scotsman on the train. We only understand about 10% of what he is saying, but he’s really excited to be able to “blow off some steam” and get away from his family obligations even for a day or two. He has three kids and shows us plenty of pictures. The most we can do was nod and say “that’s great”.
3:00pm – We end up following a stranger to the bus station after he overheard us talking about the bus. He says “Bus to where?”. We reply “Fort Augustus, down by Loch Ness”. He says “Right, this way” and starts scampering off towards the turnstiles. He looks back once and says that we are going this way because there was some construction and the normal route is closed. There are plenty of other people heading our way so we just follow along and smile.
Before long we find the bus station filled with backpackers and locals alike. We spot the bus that will take us to the famous lake with the number 919 glowing at the display on top. We head into the station, buy our tickets, and buckle up for an hour ride along the water.
3:51pm – Precisely on time we arrive in Fort Augustus, Scotland at the bus stop in front of the gas station/grocery store. We walk the short five minutes to the abbey that will be our new home for the next four nights.
4:00pm – We get a little lost on the abbey grounds. Oddly enough we have been following directions given to us by our Airbnb host and they haven’t gotten us into the building. I am staring at a side door trying to punch in the code . After another minute a groundskeeper approaches us and asks if we need help. When we give the name of who we’re supposed to meet, the groundskeeper jovially walks us to the front area. We meet Charles who gives us a tour of The Highland Club and shows us around our room.
4:30pm – We hastily get into running clothes and book a time slot for the pool, sauna, and steam room for 5:00pm. We can’t wait to spend some time relaxing.
6:30pm – Neither of us are up for shopping or cooking so we walk into town to a restaurant called The Bothy. The host greets us and asks how our evening is going. We laugh to each other because evening sure is bright in the Highlands.
12:00pm – We make some lunch in our room after an uneventful morning. We head out with the goal of playing some giant lawn chess. We end up getting lost in our own excitement around the grounds.
2:00pm – We want to book a boat cruise on the famous Loch Ness. We walk down the side path of the grounds that leads along the water. We find the boat tour office easily enough and book our slot for noon tomorrow.
4:00pm – We go for another run. We’re trying to stay fit while traveling and running is the most portable exercise. We run up a canal road with small shops and restaurants. The canal has some neat locks so we take a few pictures and keep moving.
5:00pm – We reward ourselves for going out for a run by visiting the pool and sauna. It’s one of the reasons we elected to stay in this old fort. It’s easy to get yourself out and moving when there’s a sauna to come back to.
8:00am – I wake up with the sun shining in my eyes. I realize that it’s very bright for this time of day and wonder if I’ll get used to having the sun up all of the time. I look around, but our room isn’t equipped with drapes to block out the light. We both get out of bed and make our usual breakfast.
8:42am – We both head to the club lounge. We decide that we should get our Internet work out of the way early because the lounge is the only place with a connection to the web. This is also hurt by the fact that the connection is only a single DSL line and becomes slow when too many people are on at once.
11:00am – We finish our work in the lounge and thankfully no one was around so everything was smooth.
11:20am – After grabbing a few things from our room we run off to the docks for our Loch Ness cruise.
12:00pm – The Loch Ness cruise sets sail. We order two teas from the cafe onboard and take in the gorgeous sights from the water. There are tons of photo opportunities and we waste no time snapping away at everything. There’s a mountain in the distance just behind the old fort and it looks breathtaking.
12:30pm – We get a great presentation from the skipper of the boat on sonar and some of the history of the Loch. The lake was carved by glaciers and has some very dark waters. Divers have a hard time seeing, but we can get an idea of what everything looks like through sonar. There are even caves down in the water!
12:55pm – The cruise ends with no sightings of Nessie. The monster may have been a very large fish or some creature hiding in the deep. We may never know.
4:00pm – We go for a run, but decide to go further this time. We had passed an old wooden bridge on our first walk into town and decide to go down a path that will take us there. To our delight we find some very photogenic swans playing in the water just in front of the bridge. They come right up to the camera and we spend a few minutes recuperating for our run back.
5:00pm – Once again we make our way back to the pool, sauna, and steam room. We just can’t get enough of the luxury.
7:30am – Our last day at the abbey has come too soon. After stretching our muscles Chris convinces me to go for an early morning run. This way we can spend some more time wandering around in the afternoon.
12:00pm – We eat lunch and head out for a game of chess in the cloister. It’s our last day so it’s do or die time. We set up our camera on the tripod and get the remote ready. We’ve never played life-sized chess and want to capture the moment.
5:00pm – Yes, we go to the pool, sauna, and steam room again.
6:30pm – We decide that dinner tonight should be at the onsite restaurant. We walk by it every time we go into town and the smells from the kitchen make our mouths water. The place is called The Boathouse Restaurant and serves up mediterranean cuisine. I am delighted as I look over the menu because I love lamb dishes. I end up ordering a lamb dish with pita and rice. Chris gets the same, but with chicken. We relax by our window seat and goof around taking pictures and videos of everything.
7:40pm – We get back to our room and start packing up our things for the second time this week. We watch one of the DvDs we found in our apartment, Gladiator.
8:40pm – We turn off the movie and go to bed. Tomorrow will be an early day.
6:00am – My alarm goes off and I realize that it’s plenty light outside. I wonder if the sun ever goes down here. I tidy up a few things and pack my last few toiletries.
6:30am – The taxi arrives a few minutes early to take us from the fort to the airport. We would have taken a bus, but the service doesn’t run this early. I am pleasantly surprised that it’s a nice Jag with comfy leather seats. The driver takes us on a winding back route through the Highlands. As we watch the beautiful countryside fly by we notice deer grazing by the side of the road. And then we notice more deer. And more. Deer seem to be in abundant supply here and we smile at the sight of so many.
7:40am – We arrive at Inverness airport and search for breakfast. Chris is a little motion sick from the drive and food will help. Luckily the only open shop in the tiny airport serves a full breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausage, and my favorite black pudding. I happily eat, but realize that our time with this kind of food is almost over.
9:05am – Boarding is beginning and we are some of the first in line for our seats. As we attempt to get on the flight the attendant checks our bag size. We’re a little overstuffed and need to wait aside for our bags to be checked under the aircraft. Instead of nearly first on the flight we end up last as we work out our luggage situation. (Editor’s Note: see also – How to Travel Ultralight With Carry-On Luggage Only)
11:00am – We land in London Luton airport after a smooth flight. Our friends pick us up at the curb outside. I excitedly recount our journey over the last few weeks as we drive to their place.
11:20am – We notice fields of yellow flowers alongside the road as we drive. Chris takes out the camera and after a few seconds of setup begins snapping away. We decide that the national color of the U.K. must be yellow.
2:30pm – We pull up to the house in Lakenheath England. We unload our bags and are happy to take a breather from traveling.
3:00pm – Chris edits some pictures and I sort out some of our videos. We take any spare time we can get to keep up with all of our media or we quickly fall behind.
9:30pm – Our friend suggests that we have a fire in their chiminea in the backyard. We reminisce about old times and our recent journey to Scotland. We roast marshmallows and make s’mores before heading off to bed.
After having an exciting (and cold) winter exploring some of the major areas of Europe, Chris and Angela have decided to start chasing some warmer weather. After spending a month in Tuscany they plan to spend the summer along the coast of the Mediterranean. The trip will involve a visit to some of Angie’s relatives in southern Italy and an epic train ride through Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. Follow their adventures at Nomadic Lifestyle.