Random Places on the Map
This weekend I'm heading out for a daytip to Linlithgow. I'd love to say I picked it because I remembered it was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots (I didn't). I'd love to say I picked it because I read about the castle and the history of the area and fell in love with it (I didn't). I'd love to say I picked it because I saw a photo of the place and just had to see it (I didn't).
I picked it because I like saying Linlithgow. Linlithgow, Linlithgow, Linlithgow.
When people ask me why I came to Edinburgh, I like to say I just threw a dart at the map and went to the closest city it landed on. That's not what happened - it was a close race between Edinburgh and Cardiff, and Edinburgh won because the cost of living is lower here. (Although gah, with the Council Tax bill this month, I'm not sure I agree with that assessment.) But, when I decide to go someplace, either for a weekend or a daytrip, it's usually a process very similar.
Paris was a birthday trip I'd promised myself that was put off because of money concerns, but the other places all fall into this category.
Lindisfarne: I asked a friend where I should go, and he said "Well, Lindisfarne was interesting when I was fourteen", so off I went.
Kelso: Saw a picture of it in someone's blog, liked the look of it, found the next train out there.
Cardiff: Ooh, I have to go someplace in Wales... Look, there's an airport in Cardiff!
And now, Linlithgow, which came about because I was poking around in my guidebook about daytrips from Edinburgh, and it was fun to say. Linlithgow!
I'm almost certain that I would plan an entire trip around going to random places that people suggested in comments. (This may or may not be a suggestion.)
I like travelling, I liked it a lot. And I like trying new things, seeing places and doing stuff I might not have done if I'd been given more of a choice. I like asking waiters what's good on the menu, and just ordering whatever they recommend. Why bother agonizing over a decision? Other days, like in Cardiff, I just order whatever sounds strangest on the menu. I may know what bangers and mash is, but it sounds really weird, so I ordered that one afternoon when I first got here. And in Cardiff I ordered "brain beer sausage". Doesn't that sound like something horrible and obscene? (It becomes less so when you realize that Brain Beer is a brand name in Southern Wales. Which I didn't know. I was kinda disappointed.)
Life is a feast, as the saying goes, and so many poor folks are starving. It's supposed to be an adventure. And if that means going to some random place on the map because you like to say the name, so be it. If it means trying something on the menu that you can't pronounce (which happens to me all the time), go for it. Heck, if living life to its fullest involves just going out tonight and meeting new people, more power to you.
But then, you're talking to someone who once convinced a young man to drive for three hours one way to get a milkshake. The milkshake wasn't that good, but the rock and the story that went with it was fantastic.