I'm back, after a little blogging hiatus--and apparently my computer, or the Blogger site, or something, is punishing me for going so long without posting. It now won't let me post (it won't let me type, even--no cursor!) the normal way. This is in HTML format, so it probably won't look that nice, but at least I can publish a post. I hope.
So, moving on...
I am resistant to change. Like, a lot. Like, when my college roommate wanted to move the furniture around in our dorm room I almost had a panic attack. Like, when my parents decided to have prime rib for Thanksgiving one year instead of turkey, I pretty much threw a temper tantrum (I was 35 at the time.) You get the idea. And, I guess the flip side of that is that when I find something I like, I really like it and tend to not want to stray from it. I read certain books over and over. I watch movies or particular episodes of TV shows again and again. I own the same shoes in multiple colors. I always order fajitas at Mexican restaurants. If it ain't broke don't fix it and all that.
So, given that, you might understand why, when people suggest that if I like Scotland I would also enjoy Ireland or England or Wales, my immediate reaction is to say no, I like SCOTLAND, as though liking Scotland and liking anywhere else are mutually exclusive. I have been on an alternate-year schedule (not originally planned, but it's worked out that way and it seems like a reasonable time period between trips) of going to Scotland, and each time I've gone it's been on Ed Miller's Folksong Tour. Knowing that 2014 was my year, I asked a friend, who's been on the tour twice with me (that's how we met) if she wanted to go too. Her response? "How about going to Ireland instead?" Her thinking was that there's a whole big world out there and so many fantastic places to travel to, so why would you want to keep going to the same place, particularly on the same tour, over and over again? I must admit she has a point. However, I have enjoyed my four previous tours so much that it seems kind of obvious that I'd keep going back for more. Scotland, specifically Ed's tour, is my drug of choice, I guess, and I don't want to muddle things up by trying something new. I thought about the Ireland idea for a while, and came to the conclusion that there were two things stopping me from going--what if I didn't like it as much as Scotland/Ed's tour, and therefore "wasted" my vacation and came home with regrets, or, even worse, what if I DID like it as much as (or more than) my previous tours? Would I somehow be disloyal to Scotland by liking Ireland? And yes, I do realize how insane that sounds.
This is where a monkey wrench gets thrown into things. The itinerary for the 2014 tour is significantly different from previous years. The prior years haven't been identical to each other, but there's been a good amount of overlap. The majority of the 2014 tour will involve the northwest part of Scotland, known as the "highlands and islands." The places I've liked the least on the previous tours were the highlands and islands. This is not to say that I disliked them, but they weren't my favorite parts of the trip. So, I've got the competing thoughts of "I love Scotland and want to go back as often as possible, and this particular tour is always fantastic" and "Maybe I won't get a chance to experience the things I love most about Scotland and the tour, this time, so do I even want to go? What if it's not as good? What if I end up wishing I'd gone to Ireland (or Nova Scotia, where I'd also really like to go someday--phenomenal fiddle music there)?" And in case you're wondering, yes, I do recognize that this is the epitome of "first world problems."
I'm attempting to embrace the concept that change can be a good thing. I had no pre-conceptions the first time I went on the Folksong Tour, and obviously loved it, so I'm looking at the 2014 tour kind of like that--I don't know much about the northwest of Scotland, and I'll get to experience it all through fresh eyes. I'm branching out. I'm getting different shoes. I'm ordering the enchiladas. You get the idea.