I remember my great grandmother's house, on a plain, restful street in the heart of the Carmel Valley on the northern coast of California. I remember her gentle Scottish brogue, her musky mid-century 2 bedroom house filled with kind words and pleasant-mannered gestures, old fine plates, table clothes, moth balls, and clocks. I remember the respect and reverence with which her son, my grandfather, treated her. It was a reverence she had earned in her 102 years of life, through constant love and endearing patience. These memories would be the only I developed of my great grandmother, a turn of the century immigrant from Scotland, the only sibling of a large family given the privilege of a new life in America. She would pass away a few years later, but the impression this one summer evening made on my young mind was strong enough to foster a hunger in me for a sense of heritage, of tribal legitimacy, of cultural belonging.
This winter I journey to find my tribe.
Not my new tribe, the chosen band of families and friends I'll live and die with, but my old tribe. My old old tribe, of long brown hair and stark red beards, of fierce-eyed warrior poets, determined to rip their independence from the hands of imposing tyrants. My tribe of farmers, of singers, players, hunters, and sheep herders, of druids, and practicers of earth knowledge and of the magic of the old way. My proud tribe of Scotsmen, Grants and Whitesides both, who's genetics I most closely resemble, who's heritage I choose and claim as my own. Like so many of us, American crossbreeds awash in a sea of cultural conformity, identifying more with a sense of class than of place, I have an itch in my skin for the old country. And so I go to answer the call, a pilgrimage of plaid, of pipes and strong whiskies.
I don't journey alone. I'll be traveling with my beautiful and talented girlfriend Noelle. She's a brilliant photographer and together we'll be visiting and working all over Northern Europe, creating videos, making websites, capturing wild and immersive images, and playing music. All the while we'll be blogging our adventures, posting pictures and video, telling our stories and bringing our friends and family with us. We go for the adventure, but we also go to build our portfolios, to gain experience, perspective, and a slew of destination projects. Stay with us and experience with us what it means when a "trip takes us". Honestly, I hope our trip takes you too.