Blogging and social media has connected me with amazing new friends all over the virtual world and I have been lucky enough to meet some of them in real life. Glen Moyer is one of those friends and despite living on opposite sides of the Atlantic we have kept in touch through our common interest of all things Scottish.
However, this is not the main reason that I regularly make the effort to touch base with him. Glen is one of those people that doesn't just talk about his dreams, he has been proactive and made personal sacrifices to follow them, a quality I hugely admire in anyone. His dream of moving to Scotland may not yet have come to fruition but that hasn't dampened his spirit of persistence and passion to reach that end goal.
Where will your dreams take you?
As he explains in this guest post, his passion needed a new outlet and that has come in the form of a podcast, talking all things Scottish. I hope his new venture is a success and I hope his dreams comes true, oh and listen out for a future Scottish travel blogging guest that you might have heard of...
Under The Tartan Sky: The podcast that is “all things Scottish, from bagpipes to whisky.” - A guest post by Glen Moyer
Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns, once famously wrote,
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer - A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe; My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
While I am a writer, among other roles, I do not have Rabbie’s way with words, nor experience chasing the deer, but my heart too is in the Highlands. From its shimmering lochs, to its majestic glens, Scotland has stolen my heart.
I am not alone. There are an estimated 50 million Scot Diaspora spread around the world, and when combined with Scottish ex-pats, who can guess the exact number of those who long from afar to stand beneath a fluttering Saltire, or to stare into the mists and listen for the echo of the pipes, or to walk the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond?
In 2014, The Year of Homecoming for Scotland, I followed the pull of my ancestors and visited, not once, but twice. My 8th great-grandfather, Robert Gabriel Barnhill, was born in Glasgow in 1627. A century later, Alexander Breckenridge, an Ulster-Scot, emigrated from Ireland to the American colonies, and two and a quarter centuries later I came along in Texas. Scotland is not just in my heart, but also in my blood. Now my dream is to retrace my ancestors’ journey, in reverse, and immigrate, to make Scotland my home. It is a feat easier dreamt than accomplished…
To mark my “homecoming” I began a travel blog, “A Glen in Scotland.” (Perhaps Rabbie would like that play on words?) I adopted a personal mantra, “Texan by birth, Scot by ancestry.” My blog was an outlet by which I could share my passion for Scotland with my friends and family. It was quickly populated with stories about my adventures from the banks of the Clyde to Kilt Rock on Skye. At other times I wrote of similarities found between Scotland and my native home of Texas. However, by its very design, with my return travel to Scotland being limited, my blog posts soon became all too sparse. My passion needed a new outlet.
I mentioned “other roles” beyond writing. I was a radio/television broadcaster for the first decade of my adult life. Having more recently done some “internet broadcasting” aka “podcasting” for two organizations, I thought, “why not a podcast about Scotland?”
My own efforts to seek out and learn as much as I could about the land I hope to call home had convinced me there were many, many others who share my thirst for Scotland. Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and other social outlets I visited, were filled with people just like me. “Hi, my name is Glen and I’m a Scotaholic.” Unfortunately there was no easy-to-find fountain from which we could all drink and quench our thirsts. BBC Radio Scotland does repackage some if its broadcasts into podcasts, but otherwise the croft seemed barren. Thus was born, “Under The Tartan Sky.”
The idea for the podcast was one I’d held for some time, waiting for it to mature, not unlike a fine single malt aging in its cask. It began in the months after my first trip to Scotland in April/May 2014, when the well of ideas for my blog began to dry up. Then came my return trip in December/January and the blog was revitalized. Along the way however, I realized there are many excellent Scottish travel bloggers, outstanding among them is Adventures Around Scotland’s Susanne Arbuckle and her teammates, The Scotlanders. Isolated across the pond from Scotland as I am, and visiting only on holiday, I felt there was little I could add to their field of endeavor. But thanks to technology like Skype, it’s easy and inexpensive to have a chat with anyone in Scotland, at almost anytime. As a long-time reporter and now magazine editor, interviewing people is what I do.
I am no expert on Scotland, far from it, but I don’t have to be. For “Under The Tartan Sky” I play the role I know best – that of a curious Scotaholic. I invite guests (experts or at least knowledgeable individuals) to join me to discuss “all things Scottish, from bagpipes to whisky.” Each episode is an informal, free-flowing conversation of about half an hour. I like to envision that my guest and I are sitting by the fire with a wee dram, or perhaps across the table with a cuppa, rather than being separated by a few thousand miles of ocean. I hope listeners will feel comfortable enough to pull up a virtual chair and join us. And while my target audience is the Scot Diaspora around the world, I hope the people of Scotland will enjoy it as well.
By the way, the title of the podcast, “Under the Tartan Sky,” was inspired by a favorite movie of mine, “Under the Tuscan Sun.” The film tells the story of an American woman who, at a crossroads in her life, journeys to a far off land (Tuscany), finds happiness, and makes a new start there. It’s a story I can relate to.
“Under The Tartan Sky” can be found and subscribed to on iTunes or on the website www.underthetartansky.scot (complete with show notes and helpful links to further information). Three premiere episodes delved into Scotland’s current Year of Food and Drink, tips on how to explore the world of whisky, and a profile of a new Glasgow business putting traditional tartans to non-traditional use, as jewellery. Future episodes will discuss, well, virtually anything found “Under The Tartan Sky.” I invite you to put the kettle on, pull up a chair, and join in the conversation.
Tapadh leibh agus Alba gu brath!
(Thank you and Scotland forever!)
Follow me as I search for the best and most original travel experiences in Scotland.