Written by Caroline Scudder, Columnist
After spending much of our time on a bus during the Scottish Highlands Tour, it was nice to settle down in Glasgow, Scotland for almost three weeks. This trip has been fairly nomadic, and staying in Airbnbs was a nice change of pace. With four people to a “flat,” we were given a kitchen to cook our own meals and a nice common space. For those of you who can appreciate the joy of unpacking after living out of a bag for more than a week’s time, this was a glorious moment of grounding.
One of the first places I sought out was a cozy coffee shop to make a regular part of my routine as both a place to study and meet up with pals. With beginner’s luck, the first place I stumbled upon was a short 3-minute walk away from my flat and had an extraordinary drink, called the “vanilla & rose white hot chocolate.” This concoction was the elixir of immortality itself! Turns out the little things are actually the big things.
Apart from side adventures and exploring the city, we were also anchored in our studies at the University of Glasgow. There we would have both our classes (British Romanticism and Landscape Ecology) and the rest of the day free to work and explore. At the university, we were fortunate to meet with another Romanticist professor who showed us some of William Blake’s engraved artistry. We were also given the opportunity to examine some Grecian urns and other artifacts from the university’s archive. For our Landscape Ecology course, one of our labs was held at the Glasgow Botanical Garden. Each of us was given a landscape ecology term to locate within the garden and then report back to the class. If anything, fun “outside the classroom” excursions like this have shown me how much learning can occur solely by exploring new places. While in the past I may not have gone into a garden to explore its ecological implications, experiences like this have shown me how knowledge can be acquired anywhere from a multitude of sources.
After Glasgow, we moved onward to our farm-stay in Northern England. We were both excited and nervous to be living in a space that one might consider the middle of nowhere. Upon arriving, we quickly found out that our Wi-Fi was nearly nonexistent and our neighbors were few and far between. While the transition was initially challenging, we came to enjoy passing our free time with a round of go-fish or reading by the fire in the living room. With our classes also interspersed throughout a 10-day period, we were able to slow down and take our studies at a very relaxed pace. Because of our rural immersion, we also enjoyed taking walks through the hills, where we were greeted by many a sheep. Another common hobby was our frequent visits to the kitchen for a slice of Nutella toast (a MAJOR addiction on this leg of the trip)! Lastly, each day was concluded by a homemade dinner that different members of the group would prepare for everyone.
With our program being a little over halfway through, it was nice to commemorate our adventures in a secluded, reflective space. Characterized by its communal and homey nature, it was hard to leave behind, but it is exhilarating to imagine all that awaits in London, where we will be spending the last leg of the trip!