A Year In Scotland

A year ago today, Rhiannon and I were sitting in the McDonalds on St Andrews Square. Backpacks at our feet, we shuffled our fries around on the tray and tried to pretend we weren't terrified.

"The Big Mac is much smaller in the UK."

"I guess everyone will be less fat than back home."


The next day we each purchased a mobile phone. I added Rhi's number to the Phone Book. She added mine to hers. And that was it. My gut rumbled with panic. Would I ever know anyone in this country and get their numbers in my phone? What if it's just us two for the next two years? What if we don't find a job? What if we can't find somewhere to live? What if I have to slink back to Oz and live with The Mothership?

These days my phone has a modest collection of numbers. I found a home, and not one but two jobs. Now I am cosy in Edinburgh and don't need McDonalds for a dose of (albeit evil) familiarity. We're doing alright.

Bazillions of Antipodeans head to the UK every year, so it's not like we're doing anything new — but I still can't believe we that we actually did it. I used to be so scared of things. There's so much I didn't do, opportunities I ignored, out of fear of looking stupid or being uncomfortable. I'd spend my day in a panic, nauseous at having to phone a client at work, or to walk into a shop and tell them my shoes were broken.

If you've spent any length of time being afraid or depressed or maybe even just plain blah, plonking your arse on the other side of the planet is a rockin thing to do. There's no bigger rush than doing something you never thought you were capable of doing. The more you push yourself the more you want to squeeze every drop out of your day. The people you wind up meeting, the wacky things you get to do — it's all so bloody addictive and makes you want to hump the planet in ecstasy for being such a fun and scary place to be.

I hate to be such a navel-gazing wanker, but after a year away I wanted to say something.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

31 thoughts on “A Year In Scotland

  1. I think you are entitled to both some wanky navel-gazing AND planet humpage.

    Or, in the immortal words of.. er.. some American.. probably.. “You go girl!”

    One year, eh.. who’da thunk it?

  2. Good on you, Shauny – ’twas a brave thing you did (and I only moved to Scotland from England, so I’m allowed to be in awe)

  3. It’s an amazing accomplishment, Shauny. I’m contemplating finishing my degree in London instead of Canada, and just the thought of it is a little frightening. Cool, but frightening.

    Good on you for doing something some people only dream of.

  4. You do such a great job capturing the scary rush that is transcontinental moving, Shauny. It’s scary as hell, but really changes the way you deal with everything – like you said, it shows you what you’re capable of. And to be the quintessential american, you go girl!

  5. A year?! Has it been that long already?! Wow. But I guess we’ve been in Sydders for over 6 months so…wow, a year.

  6. So, let’s after my procastinating for three weeks, someone’s just emailed me a final “give me an answer in the next couple of hours or I’ll give the job to someone else” — should I say yes? This is a move to Brisbane from the UK. I’m scared sh*tless by the whole prospect.

  7. Yeah, but you know what’ll happen, she’ll move on to Canada and hang out there for a while. (I think visa arrangements are pretty similar…)

  8. Dear D
    You are more than welcome to come to Brisbane (that is I assume you mean the Brisbane in Australia) as there are more Poms wandering around than you can a poke a stick at. I think some of them forgot to go home after the Rugby World Cup (though they tend not to mention that to loudly lately what with being beaten by Ireland & France recently).
    The beer is cold & the weather is warm, couldn’t ask for more. Well maybe you could.

  9. Have I ever commented? No? I’ve meant to. Do you know how wonderful your blog is? I thought that you did, but I wanted to mention it anyway. Congratulations on your first year in Scotland.

  10. you’re adventures have been the best to read about, and have inspired me to get out. when i graduate from school next year, i’m going to try and get a visa to the UK…to see what’s out there for me.

  11. you’re adventures have been the best to read about, and have inspired me to get out. when i graduate from school next year, i’m going to try and get a visa to the UK…to see what’s out there for me.

  12. goodonya!

    i never thought i’d stay in london for 6 years but i’m coming up to that in a month. do wish my SO would want to move to Australia, however. i seem to have met the only UK resident (he’s Italian) who *doesn’t* want to live in Australia!

    please disregard my erratic capitalisation!

  13. BBC Scotland at New Year seems to be stuck in an eternal loop where it appears to be welcoming in 1956.

    What a year 🙂

  14. Well done Shaun-ster.

    God, the empathy-lets this one stirred up. I’ve been the less nice side of Hadrain’s wall 6 months now – and the scary bit is working out wtf I do after graduating in June.

    Mebbe I should look for a job in the ‘Burgh.

    Gots to be better than working in London.


    Anyway, well done you on the adverturism. You made a bolder leap than I did – I knew what I was doing, had (some) source of income and (more or less) a place to stay. And I was *still* scared shitless.

    You’ve triumphed, triumphed I say!, in a leap into the blue. Well done.

    *doffs hat*

  15. I reckon the success of weblogs these days is because they’re like a less annoying form of reality tv. We get to peer into interesting people’s lives and learn more about them without disrupting our own.

    There’s also no missing episodes, as they’re conveniently archived for later reading.

    For me, the appeal is learning about Scotland through the eyes of an Australian and also the very interesting word sequences used by the author.

    It’s a shame said author doesn’t write more, heheh. (Perhaps it’s simply a shame that I notice)

  16. Wow – scotland! I am truly envious. You wouldn’t happen to know where the fine scottish lads hang out, would you? I shall have to put it on the “Places to Go” list.

  17. It’s been a year? Are years that short (that’s how it looks to me as I recall your move and seems shorter than that).

    I’m with you on the ‘doing scary things ou think you can’t do’ theory…It doesn’t make you fearless (or doesn’t make me fearless since I’m a big scaredy cat)–but it makes your life so much more of an adventure.

    I’m so glad it worked out for you.

  18. Ain’t that the truth, about being afraid etc. and plonking ones’ arse on the other side of the planet 🙂 My company sent me to England for 5 weeks (which isn’t *quite* the other side of the world for me, but I digress), and being there and not knowing a damn thing did wonders for my psyche. And boy did I not want to come home! But I am so, so glad I went.

  19. So true. All of it.
    And you WERE brave little dodos – the only way I could cope with leaving “it” all behind was by latching onto Foreign Affairs – nice and safe …. they’d have to look after me…. wouldn’t they?
    The difference it made to my perception of what I could and couldn’t do was enormous.
    I’m still struggling with “scary” things, but if I learnt one thing it’s “When in doubt…hold your nose…close your eyes… jump!”

    So….what’s next? Chile?

  20. as the veteran of so many hogmanay atrocities on BBC Scotland and STV, I’d like to welcome you to the rubbish, and excpect you to shoulder your quota of shortbread Runrig and Keech.

    Welcome aboard the good ship Where the Fuck Are We Goin’

    parp parp

    pol x

Comments are closed.