Growing up in Glasgow and spending summers with her family in Ayrshire fostered her love for all things simple and the great outdoors. Scotland was home and, keeping its special place, at aged 20 Susanne took to the Isle of Skye with her best friend. As her first trip to the highlands, it would mark the start of a long fruitful relationship between herself and the treasures Scotland has to offer. She’s got some amazing stories to tell and we couldn’t resist but to find out more!
Where did your interest in travelling come from?
I think my interest in travel comes from my interest in people, history and the natural world. I’m just as curious about the different cultures and traditions that make up my home country of Scotland as I am about any other country. I love travel and exploring as I genuinely find the world a fascinating and beautiful place.
Did you have any initial worries about going out on the path of adventure?
I’ve honestly never worried about going off on an adventure, I’ve only ever felt excitement. Travelling, especially solo is great for building your confidence and I feel happiest when I have a new adventure to look forward to.
Did you have any inspirations or mentors, people that had walked in your steps before you did? Who were they and why?
I have always felt inspired by Mairi Hedderwick’s books about her travels around Scotland. Her journals, filled with her own illustrations, are all about her personal experiences including her 6-month journey around 40 Scottish islands and her attempt to retrace the steps of an obscure Victorian artist, who made a sketching tour around Scotland in 1876. Her original adventures always resonate with me and make me want to pack a bag and follow in her footsteps. Every year my mum gives me one of the Mairi Hedderwick desk diaries for Christmas and it keeps me inspired every month to fill it with my own adventure plans.
Can you recall an interesting experience from your early days travelling around Scotland?
My first proper road trip in Scotland was when I was in my late teens and set off with my best friend to travel from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye. Neither of us had ever been that far north before and I distinctly remember being blown away by the landscape when we drove through Glen Coe for the first time. That was the moment I fell in love with Scotland and although it was over 20 years ago I can still clearly recall how happy and free I felt among the beauty of the wild Scottish landscape and I have been addicted to exploring it ever since!
What does the prep for an experience look like?
Researching blogs, websites and guides for things to do. Printing off itineraries, downloading apps, making lists and charging my camera, phone and batteries. As a travel blogger I need to be really organised in my preparation although I also like to give myself some time for serendipity on a trip.
I’m quite good at packing as I always have mini travel bags that I keep stocked with toiletries, chargers, cables, first aid kit etc. and I have all my outdoor equipment stored in baskets so it is easy to find. The hardest part is packing the right clothes for the fickle Scottish weather, so I usually leave this until the last minute once I’ve checked the latest forecast.
What’s one of the most daunting things about going on a new trip for you like?
I don’t ever really find anything daunting but I do always end up obsessively checking times and directions as I hate being late and worry about getting lost!
What’s been the biggest reward for you about seeing some of the furthest flung parts of Scotland?
Some of the most remote places in Scotland are the most beautiful in the country, with untouched wild landscapes all to yourself. I love exploring places that are rarely visited and never feature in traditional guide books as there is still a sense of discovering the unknown which is refreshing in this day and age.
What’s been your biggest learnings on your travels?
That people are generally friendly, kind, welcoming and helpful wherever you go in the world. Everyone has an interesting story to tell if you take the time to listen.
What advice would you give to anybody looking to walk in your footsteps?
My motto in life is to head left when everyone else is going right. While everyone else is contending with the crowds at well-known attractions, taking the same photos and having the same experience as countless others, you will be discovering new places and enjoying original adventures. Be open minded about visiting places that aren’t obvious tourist sites and always ask the locals where they recommend as this is the best way to find out about hidden gems.
Finally, what’s next on your Bucket List?
Last year I intended to travel around the entire coast of mainland Scotland over 6 weeks in the summer but only got two-thirds of the way around when I got invited on another trip that I just couldn’t say no to. Ideally, I would like to complete that goal this summer and then I would like to walk the new 156 miles along Hebridean Way which takes in 10 of the most beautiful Scottish islands.
To be honest I have a Scottish travel bucket-list that keeps getting longer rather than shorter so I think it could be a lifelong project!
Big thanks to Susanne, and we wish her all the best on her Scottish journeys! Definitely head over to her blog and check out some of her weird and wondrous tales!