A favourite place can be a person, a space or even a feeling. Being a travel addict, I have been searching for my favourite corner of the world for years, its not a space I could easily define or find on a real estate website. For me it had to be a place like no other. A place where my head and heart could click. A sacred heaven where I could find some head space, a place to rejuvenate from stresses of life. I have been searching for this sacred heaven year after year, travel after travel, trying to click and fall in love. It has been like a journey to find my perfect match where my soul can rest and let myself simply be, almost like finding a life partner who knows all your secrets and doesn't judge you, just lets you be and be with you. The good news is - I think I have found it in a remote island on the inner Hebrides.
The story started in a Swap shop in Isle of Eigg, little did I know back then that a little book called "My Favourite Place" would literally lead me to "My Favourite Place". The Isle of Eigg lives and breathes the Green culture ethos. Electricity is produced within the small island with wind energy, cars aren't allowed to save CO2 emission and in the middle of the island you can find a swap shop where you can find all kinds of treasures to swap. I heard about the swap shop on the island's only grocery store at the pier while confirming the direction to our home for next few days. I loved the idea and wanted to check it out.
On the way to the shop we talked about circular economy, (my friend, Elsa's dissertation subject) and how the world has changed into use once and throw away culture. I talked about how recently I had rescued and recycled an old furniture from the skip and how enjoyable I found the experience of restoring it rather than buying a boring brand new one. We walked in a slow island pace and tried to fix the world environmentally.
The Swap shop is a tinned shed like hut, dark green in colour with striking red roof and a white door with SWAP SHOP printed on it. The smell inside the shop is almost like a high street charity shop but fustier, wetter and much much more interesting. I immediately got drawn to the books which was neatly pilled at the entrance, there were 100s of books. After browsing through many uninteresting and mundane novel books which didn't tingle my imagination, I had almost lost hope into finding anything remotely interesting to swap. We read out some funny book names and had a girly giggle with Elsa about a book called "Little book of Beards" which I found totally pointless and wondered about the owner of the book and how it got to this remote island. After many interesting ideas, we drew at the conclusion that it was probably an unwanted birthday present!
Finally at the corner of the last shelf I find a book called " My Favourite Place, A tribute to Scotland's best-loved places" It looked light enough to carry in a walking holiday. At a first glance the book promised few short stories and offered light read during my stay at the caravan. I instinctively opened the book to find a yellow posted note clipped by a hair pin from the person who had left it at the Swap shop. It simply said " I love how your favourite place can be an everyday walk" and her name (who I googled when I got back to mainland, but that's another story). It was a sign, it was "The book" to swap, the note was waiting for me to find it in my walking trip. Satisfied with my find, we carried onward towards the beach down the hill. As I walked along the to the beach I collected few wild flowers to keep as island treasures in my newly acquired book. We saw the beach from a distance and hurried towards it, the tide was low and view of Isle of Rum like a moving painting playing hide and seek. I held up the book in my hand, I took a photo and at the moment with the click of the camera, my head and heart clicked, I had found my favourite place during a summer solstice walk in a remote island on the inner Hebrides!
In case you are wondering, my favourite place is Laig Beach (pronounced as Lag) where I spent the next two days savouring every moment in all kinds of weather.
What or where is your favourite place?