Earlier this year, Rodrigo (my husband and trusty second shooter) and I were unnecessarily forced apart by our United Kingdom government. Rodrigo had to leave the U.K. to re-apply for a new visa with the looming possibility of it not being granted.
After seven grueling months, he was eventually granted his visa at the end of September this year and returned home.
We cannot describe what a relief this was.
While we were apart, we made a promise to each other that once the nightmare was over, we would take a road trip up to Scotland, in the Highlands, which is a place that has a special dwelling in our hearts after spending our first wedding anniversary there. Even if it was winter, we said we would be ready and that we would like to experience this with our good friend and fellow photographer, Jacqui.
It’s one of the things that kept us going during the difficult season. It was a vision we kept at the forefront of our minds. So when the opportunity finally arose, thanks in large part to The Tribe Collective Field Trip program, we eagerly planned to go to all the places we hadn’t yet seen.
We'd also vow to travel along the coastal route NC500, camp in a VW van, soak up the starts after a dram, roast marshmallows on the campfire (which we managed to do on the first night), and celebrate the end of a year that had tested our patience, strength, and love in more ways than either of us could have imagined possible.
We woke up on the second day of our trip ready for our travels ahead, but we quickly found ourselves in the midst of extreme weather conditions. Inches of snow had fallen overnight, and the day became a battle of driving through snowstorms. The weather seemed to get worse each day.
We had a couple of near-crashes due to the roads being completely filled with snow. We also had to dodge other drivers that came gliding full steam ahead towards us, which was both terrifying and exhilarating.
Unfortunately, the weather did end up holding us back from the routes we wanted to travel, the transportation we had to take, and where we spent our nights (in a freezing cold and damp tent). We had no electricity so our phones were always flat, and the wi-fi signals were pretty nonexistent most of the time. So we abandoned our initial plan and took each day as it came, searching for alternative routes on a traditional road-map.
The trip definitely took its own direction and became more of a voyage of snowstorms. We had to quickly accept that the trip would no longer be about taking amazing photos of the Scottish Highlands. This was partly due to the blizzards that washed most of the landscape, although the mountains looked pretty spectacular covered in snow when the storm passed and gave us brief clearing before another one came.
We had very long, dark, and damp evenings, which thankfully consisted of a log burner, a bottle a whisky, and the company of each other. The local pub was closed, and the areas we camped in were pretty desolate in general, but it gave us time to reflect.
The reality was that despite the harsh conditions and disappointments, we were incredibly happy. We were happy to be at each other’s side, and to have each other’s company, alongside our good friend Jacqui. And with no more visa issues looming over us, it just became an adventure, a journey we would embrace and experience together.
(Side note: The Love Is… dolls on our dashboard were our wedding cake topper. We love traveling with them.)
What followed were days of traveling to wherever was reachable. We went to some of the same places we visited during our first wedding anniversary, but we also went to places we hadn’t seen before. It was nice to revisit the places where we had spent our first anniversary (although they looked vastly different compared to the summer season) and we reminisced of precious times we had spent there together.
Towards the end of the trip we travelled through the Cairngorms, which is really magnificent and a place we had planned to visit initially. We learned it was also a place where Jacqui spent a lot of her childhood. It was warming to hear of Jacqui’s joyful childhood memories which were spent in such a majestic place.
Our Scottish Highlands Field Trip was a journey of nostalgia. We had the unique chance to revisit earlier memories in the places that held a bit of our history, as well as making new memories and reflecting on the events that had taken place in between. It became a trip of reflection, healing, and an appreciation of our own resilience and strength…
And it served as a great reminder that love really does conquer all.
- Canon mark II & III
- Canon 1.2 50mm
- Canon 1.4 35mm
- Sigma 1.4 85mm
- Go Pro hero2
- Phantom DJI drone
- Tripod & remote trigger