Scotland 7: Day 24

03.25.19 | Edinburgh, Scotland | 21:58

It is so good to be back in Edinburgh! What a wonderful city this is! Even though this will be my last stop of Scotland 7, this is far from over. There are tons that I want to do here, and I’m hoping to even get some day trips out of the city- but you’ll have to check back to see what happens.

I first need to give a shout-out to my friend Robyn. I said something in the last video that seemed to have shaken her to her very core. I believe it was, “…and I don’t even like Harry Potter.” I guess I should explain myself if I am going to make such bold statements.

When I watch any kind of fantasy film, I need structure. I need rules and some sort of discipline. Every time the characters in the Harry Potter series are in a bind, they come up with a new power or a new spell. Here’s my point: If you had a quidditch broomstick, why on earth would you not carry that with you everywhere you went? There are so many problems that you could avoid if you kept that handy.

If you had an invisibility cloak, why on earth wouldn’t you carry the thing everywhere with you? How often would that have come in handy throughout the series? A flying car? It might be a good idea to keep that ready, especially because for some odd reason, YOU DECIDED TO NOT BRING YOUR FLYING BROOMSTICK WITH YOU.

And then Hermione gets that locket that allows her to go back in time? Are you freakin’ kidding me? That was probably the last straw for me. Yes, I saw the rest of the movies, and recently I even added them to my movie collection, but still!

I know I should just accept it for what it is- entertainment. I mean, how cool would it be to have magical powers? I should stop being so picky, but every single time I watch it, I’m always saying things like, “Oh- too bad you didn’t bring your $#@& flying broomstick with you!” Then I get mad and look for a pillow to throw at the screen.

Ok, now that my rant is over, we can return to your regularly scheduled blog entry. And in this portion, I just want to give a shoutout to Colee, Zuka, Dave, Dominoe, Julie, and Makaylee. I was with you guys the first time I ever came to the United Kingdom! See what you did? Here’s another video:

032519 Back to Edinburgh

Three Letters To My U.S. Passports

Dear First Passport,

I wish I had a picture of you to include in this letter. You’re in a drawer or a box somewhere, but when I come across you, I will be sure to scan you and update this entry. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for having been a wonderful part of my life. You first came to me back in 2007, when one of my best friends, Marcus, and I auditioned, and were ultimately selected to spend an autumn and winter in Taiwan, singing and entertaining tourists at an American-themed amusement park.

I remember the park directors coming to Eastern Arizona College to hold the auditions and asking us if we knew how to rollerblade (for you see, roller-blading Santa Clauses were all the rage in Taiwan back then, and that was part of the gig). I answered, ‘Yes’, but at the time I had never even put on a pair of rollerblades. It’s true I lied, but it got me the job (well, that and all my other awesome talents). How hard can roller-blading be? I remember being sad when I learned that the amusement park had gone bankrupt and this particular adventure was canceled. I now had you, my first passport. At that time, however, I had no place to go.

The first time I actually got to use you was after I’d moved up to Logan, Utah and was attending classes at Utah State University. This was the trip when my roommates James (a family member and another bestie), Paul, and Matt got together with our neighbors, Christy (Paul’s sister) and Marie and drove up to go camping at Banff National Park in Canada. I was disappointed that the Canadian border patrol didn’t stamp you. This trip, however, gave me a taste for the beautiful north and left me hungry, wanting more.

James had told me how awesome his trip Germany had been and then I got to meet Stefan, a boy from Germany who had once lived with James’ family as part of a foreign exchange student program. Stefan was so kind and told us we should plan a visit to visit his home. One night I was surfing the net, and what started out as simply checking how much it would cost to fly to western Europe, suddenly turned into purchasing two non-refundable, roundtrip tickets from Los Angeles to Paris.

That was an amazing adventure (and another excuse to use you, my first passport). As you no doubt remember, our roommate Jason joined us for that incredible trip! By this point, the love of travel was fast becoming part of my D.N.A. That seed had been planted and I desperately hoped to nourish it.

I used you when another James (a.k.a Zuka), Dave, Dave’s friend Jessica and another roommate, Jeremy, went on a road trip to see Dave’s parents’ who were serving as LDS mission presidents in Monterrey, Mexico. This was yet another trip where you weren’t stamped. If border patrol agents would only stamp you, this world would be a happier place!

I used you, yet again when I went with some dear friends to the United Kingdom in 2002. This was the trip with my dear friends’ James (Zuka), Julie, Colee, Dave, Dominoe and Makaylee. We spend just over a week visiting this land of some of my [and some of their] forefathers. Finally, another stamp! A few years later, you would be well used when I’d become a flight attendant. Even though at the time, the airline was only domestic flights, you came in quite handy for all of those T.S.A. lines and security checks.

I miss you and hope you show up one of these days! I am blessed that you helped me to discover this love I now possess.

Love, Dav

Dear Second Passport,

I apologize that you got so worn out! A few of your security features had even started to fade, resulting in additional questioning- but wow! We’ve had a blast! You have taken me back to the United Kingdom on a few different vacation trips, in and out of Iceland, you’ve allowed me to spend two amazing weeks in Ireland, in and out of Mexico and Canada a few times, all over the United States and even let me spend five weeks exploring some of western and southern Australia, in part to visit my dear friends, Arron and Brendan! I already had this growing love of travel, but with you, I really learned how to travel. I’m grateful to have known you!

Love, Dav

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Dear Third Passport,

Since you just arrived in my mailbox this past week, I really haven’t gotten to know you yet, but am looking forward to the opportunity. Now, If you’ll go over and take a look at my bucket list, you’ll agree that this is going to be a blast! I look forward to using you at the end of this month on our first adventure together! I even had them add extra pages to you!

Love, Dav

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It’s time for some family history! I don’t remember if I told you in the past, but one of the reasons that I’m obsessed with Scotland is that this is one of the places where my ancestors are from. I grew up in a family that is very much into genealogy and knowing where we came from. My dream of seeing Scotland with my own eyes finally came true in December of 2002 when my friends David Hammond, Dominoe Reed, James Jenkins, Nicole Hayes, Makaylee Jensen, Julie Linton and myself went on a little vacation to the United Kingdom.

Years later, these are the memories that I still hold from this trip:

  1. Staying at the Amsterdam Hotel in London, not too far from Hyde Park
  2. Eating my first “proper” fish & chips
  3. Visiting the mission home (Dave had recently returned home from serving in London as a full-time missionary.
  4. Eating a battered Mars Bar at the Maid Miriam Cafe’ in Nottingham (close to the statue of Robin Hood)
  5. Seeing Westminster Abbey and Big Ben for the first time
  6. Learning that Tower Bridge is not London Bridge and that the original London Bridge had been sold so some guy in Arizona
  7. Strutting down the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
  8. Seeing the Tower of London and the Queen Jewels

Since there were seven of us, and we were in the U.K. for seven days, each of us chose what we wanted to do for the day. I remember Julie’s day was going to see Wimbledon since she is very much into playing tennis. On James’ day, we took the rental car down to Wales, since that’s one of the places where his ancestors came from. I remember going to Stonehenge on somebody’s day and trying to figure out how those people lifted those heavy stones, so many years ago.

On my day, we drove the rental car up to Scotland and stood on the bank of Loch Lomond, and this was where Dave and I even sang the song, Loch Lomond.

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Freeeeeeeeeedooooooommmmmm!

On my dad’s side of the family, I have a lot of the surname Wallace. I thought it would be cool if I could find some link to William Wallace (of Braveheart fame). Sadly, there’s no record of William Wallace ever having children. Odds are he had illegitimate offspring, though. Back then, a favorite past time for the young men was to shag any girl who would let you (or didn’t necessarily let you).

On my mother’s side of the family, I have always been told that the surname Lee comes from Ireland. Sure enough, I followed their chart into Ireland as far as I could. I soon discovered that before Ireland, many of them also came over from Scotland (just like my dad’s side of the family). If the records I’ve seen are correct, I have links to royalty (James II of Scotland and Robert the Bruce), it is quite possible that my dad’s ancestors actually paid taxes to my mom’s ancestors!

I have found a line that links me to kings’ of England, Scotland, France, Prussia, and Wessex!