Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I don't know about the rest of you, but travel opens me up in ways nothing else can. Away from my daily routine, all my senses are aroused by new sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feelings. This is a hiking trail in a public park in Edinburg called the Salzburg Crag.

In Europe, people cut their food with their knives in their right hand and eat with their forks remaining in their left hand, the curved portion of the fork up. In other words, completely opposite from what I'm used to. I recently read an article that talked about ways to stimulate creativity and included exercises like writing with your non-dominant hand, writing your signature upside down, things like that. Well, for me, that's what travel does. Fires my cylinders in different ways.

I'm not very adventurous about trying new foods, but I did try Haggis, although I'd said I wasn't going to. It was actually quite tasty. A traditional Irish dish is bacon and cabbage. I was told that corned beef and cabbage is not traditional, so I wondered how we in America got it so wrong.

Language is another thing that's different. Even though they speak English in both Scotland and Ireland, the brogue makes it difficult to understand. And forget about Gaelic. It only has 20 letters in the alphabet.

Some gaelic prefixes are:
kin__at the head of (like a lake or valley): kinlochliurn
kil__holy place or church: kilmore
inver__at the mouth of: Inverness at the mouth of river Ness

The scenery, architecture, the people I meet, the conversations I have with those from different cultures and backgrounds, the history I am walking back into, all work on my soul and my psyche with almost constant stimulation. I am flooded with new awareness, awakened curiosity and creativity, and sensory overload. When I return home, I must give myself time to assimilate it all. Maybe in that sense, jet lag is a good thing. I am too tired to do much of anything.

For example,this is a spot where public executions were once held in Greenmarket Square in Edinburgh. It was an event families attended, including young children. Picnic lunches would be packed and hundreds would crowd the town square to watch.

Standing on a spot where many people died, some for simply stealing bread, changes your perspective. It makes me realize how far we've come as a civilization. Being in a land where religious wars resulted in thousands of churches being burned to the ground and thousands of people lost their lives, it makes me wonder if we've really come all that far. We may not hang people for stealing bread, but we are still killing people because they don't believe in the same God we do. If only we could just live and let live, we might finally have peace on the planet.

More later. Blessings, everyone.


Tabitha Bird said...

Here's to live and let live :) And peace.
You make me want to get on another plane- right now. I LOVe travel. Move. Got to Move.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for sharing your observations and thoughts, Karen. Kudos for trying haggis!

I remember how challenging the accents were there. I couldn't understand them...and they couldn't understand me!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Thanks again for sharing your travel pics and stories. I've enjoyed!

Isn't it exciting when we can escape our daily routines and go off on new adventures! Gives a whole new perspective on life.

Crystal Clear Proofing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal Clear Proofing said...

Wonderful post, Karen.

There is nothing like history and actually seeing the sites of where certain events took place, in another time, to encourage one's psyche to reflect upon life - the big picture.

Joanne said...

I second Tabitha's vote, to live and let live, peacefully.

What a wonderful way to feed your mind, your soul, with a journey like this. It seems like it really deepens our awareness of life around us, enriching our understanding at the same time.

Helen Ginger said...

Thank you for sharing, Karen. Visiting other countries and other cultures can be such an eye-opening, heart-opening experience.

Straight From Hel

Jen Chandler said...

I understand completely. Traveling is the only time I feel completely myself. I am open and adventurous and surrounded by new sights, sounds, tastes. My senses absorb and I'm fearless.

I've always wanted to try Haggis. The only opportunity I've had so far was at a Scottish festival here in Georgia. Um...I think I'll wait for the "real" thing!

Beautiful pictures, by the way :)


Galen Kindley--Author said...

Great pics, Karen, thanks for sharing. It does look kinda gloomy though, compared to good old NM. Did the gloom bother you? And, what is Haggis…sounds like something Hagrid would invent.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Marvin D Wilson said...

Nothing short of fantastic - this post. Has that WOW factor goin' on, GF! Me, I LOVE trying any and every different kind of ethnic foods, we differ there, but I hear ya on the substance of this post. Nicley done. :)

The Old Silly

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I remember the accents in Scotland and how I felt I could only say "Pardon me" twice before I felt insufferably rude. Execution spots are strange. I remember the first time I went to the Tower of London and expected the scaffold site to have a rather nasty atmosphere still surrounding it, but it didn't. It was a place of rather perfect peace. The atmosphere in the dungeons, however, was another kettle of fish.

Congrats on sampling haggis. I'll take your word that it was tasty. Couldn't get me near it. I was brought up in a very English household, so the cutlery habits you describe are the ones I grew up with.


Karen Walker said...

Thanks for all the comments, everyone. Galen, I don't remember exactly what haggis is, thank goodness, but it had something to do with a pig's intestines and being cooked in the stomach. Yuck! We had haggis tempura and it wasn't bad. I only had one bite, though.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

When I was in England, walking into a church and then realizing I was standing on someone's grave inside the church was unnerving!

I'm a veggie person, so couldn't do the haggis. But I did think corn on pizza was really good!
(Okay, not traditional, but it was different!)