Brothers in Scotland

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My brother, Jay, texted me two months ago. It came without prompting and without context. He asked: “What would I have to do to talk you into taking another trip to Scotland?”

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Our first (and only) prior experience with Scotland was in the Spring of 2012. At the time, I was just getting ready to leave Amsterdam after ten years of cross-cultural ministry. Jay was just going through a divorce after eleven years of marriage. We didn’t realize at the time how meaningful the hours of conversation and companionship would feel, as we went through significant life transition — but our time together in Scotland proved to be an emotional milestone.

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It was also an epic road-trip.

We climbed mountains and warmed ourselves by the fires of cozy cafes. We dove into a cold mountain lake and enjoyed meals with old Scottish friends. We only had three days in Scotland, but we made the most of them.

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So when Jay said that an app on his smartphone notified him about some cheap tickets to Scotland, we made a rather spontaneous decision to make it happen. We nearly succeeded in getting our other brother, Alex, to join us — but in the end, circumstances dictated that it would be just the two of us traveling to Scotland. Almost exactly seven years after the original trip.

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I don’t know exactly what to expect with this trip. I don’t believe that either of us are on the verge of major geographic or life transition. We’ve got time to let ourselves breathe a little bit more, while we’re there. We’re going to be traveling around in a camper-van, with a good bit more flexibility in where we go and how we portion our time. Jay’s brought his painting supplies. I’ve brought a number of books to read and a brand-new journal, ready to record our experiences in my own way.

Scotland in March can be cold and wet. But I’m really looking forward to the week ahead, with my brother.

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