Personal Journey: Wind and Rain and the “Best Place to Live”

It’s a gray January morning in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. I’m crouched in my bathing suit in the parking lot of a 17th century manor house, yanking a thick wetsuit over goose-bumped legs, in the company of seven other novice surfers.

Hoods on and boards in neoprened hands, our group tiptoes across a grassy path leading down to the Bay of Skaill. Neolithic stone dwellings, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site older than the Egyptian pyramids, are camouflaged like roofless hobbit houses among the green. As I slip across smooth rocks into the shock of North Atlantic water, the sun rises above sea cliffs at my back and a double rainbow arcs across the ancient bay.

I can’t believe I live here.

A few days later, my toes swell painfully, and the doctor’s office diagnoses chilblains — an old Anglo-Saxon term for what is essentially mild frostbite.

It was coincidence that I moved to the newly crowned “Best Place to Live in the UK.” I’m still unsure of the titleContinue reading from The Philadelphia Inquirer.


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