I'm writing this on Friday night and I’m standing in a cafe, buzzing with voices and smells and the energy of a big city. The cafe is attached to the Scottish Storytelling Center in Edinburgh and tonight is the first night of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival whose theme this year is “Right to be Human”. A theme which only seems to feel more urgent and relevant with each passing day.
I won’t say much because it’s not my field, expertise, or experience to speak to and the world does not need more arm chair experts. But terrorism is not justice, nor is genocide. And sometimes the most courageous thing we can do is not more posturing of aggression and strength, but to be the first to say, “Underneath my anger, I’m actually scared and fucking heartbroken” and, if we’re lucky enough to encounter a brave soul who is saying that, then to be the first to admit, “me, too.”
Sometimes, before any answers or new possibilities come, we just have to be heartbroken, together.
Sometimes, that’s the only way we remember we’re all human.
So, I haven’t been very good at keeping you all apprised of my travels. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s more that one of the things I’ve been tracking and musing on during this journey is how quickly we, collectively, jump to analysis. To diagnoses. To engagement-seeming patterns which are really a form of distancing.
There’s something in me, something about what these lands are awakening in me, that isn’t allowing for that. I move through my days, craving the experience of life washing through and around me as I dance with it. Just being with what’s in front of me, trusting it to be enough.
It feels human. It feels good.
About a month and half ago, a few days after I arrived in Scotland, Erik interviewed me about my trip and we intended to release it as a bonus episode… but time passed and I didn’t. Honestly, I feel like there’s something quite sweet and quite cringe about talking about a trip I just started, as if I could ever know what was about to unfold. And I really struggled with listening back to it. (I finally did and it’s not soooo bad hahaha).
So join us around the fire today to hear my initial musings on:
…. and more.
There are literal thousands of miles of journey between the Kate who writes to you now and the one you’ll hear in the episode. But, as I say at the end, I hope this episode gives you a little more sense of who I am/ have been.
I hope it inspires you or allows you to find something that allows you to feel you belong.
I hope it reflects how stepping away from what’s familiar and onto another land can open us, humble us, enliven us.
I hope it avoids completely interpreting another culture through my own lens. And where I inevitably have, I hope you can hold the tension of my own interpretation with the differing ones you have or have heard.
After all, conversations like this walk the line between facts, stories, and possibilities. And that’s why we gather around the fire.
P.S. I'm planning to record the next installment in trip musings soon... so you can hear more about where I am know. <3