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  • siobhanmdaniels


I just burst into tears as I looked out over the sea. I had dreamt of this moment for years and for one reason or another my life got in the way and I did not get to realise my dream until today. At the age of 62 I was finally on the Island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. I was camped up in my motorhome on the edge of the Atlantic. Listening to the roar of the ocean and seeing the fluffy white clouds dotted around in the bright winter blue sky just added to the excitement of the moment.

I had arrived in the pitch dark the night before. I did not have a clue what would confront me when I opened my motorhome door the following morning. This just far exceeded my expectations. Dreams really do come true and I was excited about what more was to come. I was going to spend the next month exploring the Islands on the West Coast of Scotland.

Margaret Mary and her husband Douglas, who own the site, gave me a very warm welcome and warned me that the high winds were coming and it would be best if I pointed my van into the winds so that I would not feel the full force of the winds.

My friend Ged had accompanied me from Glasgow, where she lives, across on the ferry from Oban. She planned to stop over in the motorhome for two nights then hop back on the ferry to Oban. It was nice to have her alongside me because she had been here before and she was able to show me bits of the island that I may have missed.

On the first morning we drove over the causeway to the beautiful island of Vartersay, which has a population of fewer than one hundred. The sea just called to me. I could not resist taking a very chilly dip in the Minch. It was invigorating. The white sands just went on for miles beside the turquoise of the sea. It was mind-blowing just how beautiful it was.

I just could not stop smiling. I felt as if my heart could burst with happiness. This was so much more than I had hoped for. We walked the full length of the beach and only met one other person. It was extremely relaxing. I knew that over the next few weeks I would be able to fill my batteries and reflect on just how far I have come travelling in my motorhome in the last three years. This really was my way of positive ageing and doing what I wanted with my life, when I wanted to do it. Freedom to be me.

That night we sat out under the stars with a glass of wine. We had had such a fabulous day and as if things could not get any more wondrous for me, the Northern lights came out to play. Again I burst into tears because it was so magical seeing them dancing around in the sky. It was the icing on the cake. I was so thankful for my Nomadic way of life at that moment in time.

When Ged left I was not lonely. I love my own company. I sat for hours just taking in my surroundings and driving around the little island of Barra.

The airport on Barra is unique because it is the only airport in the world where scheduled flights use the tidal beach as a runway. When the tide is in there is no runway. When it is out the little planes can land. I drove around and watched fascinated as this little speck of a plane approached from the distance to set down on the sands. The half a dozen passengers alighted from the aircraft and walked to the terminal a few hundred yards away. I have now added that to my bucket list of things to do before I die. I want to take a flight from Glasgow to the beautiful island of Barra. Those people that know me, know that I am not a good passenger on planes I do get scared at the slightest turbulence . So it would be me facing a massive fear to achieve that goal. I am all about facing fears nowadays which makes me more optimistic I will do it in the future.

I did get buffeted around quite a lot by the 66 mile an hour winds that finally arrived on Barra. It just added to the excitement I was feeling every day of really living in the moment. It rained hard for a few days but I just wrapped up warm and headed for the hills.

During my time on the island I met up with a fabulous couple who follow me on Instagram. They just happened to be holidaying in a cottage down the road from the campsite.

It was exciting going for bangers and mash with them. I loved the fact that they had just reached out to me because they liked what I was doing. They were great fun and we had a wonderful time hearing about each others lives. They too had travelled and had a fun time in life which made them interesting people to hang out with.

I also hung out and went for long walks over the beautiful hills on Barra with a guy who was travelling with his dog through the islands as well.He was camped on my site and tucked his van in behind mine to protect himself a bit more from the high winds. He ended up staying longer than he envisaged because the ferry service was disrupted due to high winds. They were cancelled at the last minute. He said his goodbyes one day then much to our amusement he reappeared later that day because he was stranded. His ferry had been cancelled and it would be days before he could get off the island.

It is encounters like these that I love about my life on the road. I get to meet fun interesting people and I have the time to really hang out with them and to chat. Before my life was just to hectic. I missed so many golden opportunities rushing around earning money to pay bills and buy stuff I did not need. Now I have far less in terms of possessions but far more in terms of quality of life.

It came time for me to move onto the next island of Eriskay. I was a bit nervous of driving my motorhome onto the much smaller ferry so I got there in plenty of time. I was ready for the next stage of my Outer Hebridean adventure.


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