scotland: introductions

Sue McCarthy, Collin, Shirley Perez in Scotland

Some introductions before we begin the journey through Scotland. Tour guides can make or break your whole trip. They’re with you constantly. They’re in charge of giving you information, but not so much that your brain explodes or you tune them out from fatigue. You better enjoy their voice, because you’re going to be hearing it all the time. Bonus points if they’re funny, but it’s not guaranteed. Out of every tour guide + driver combination in the whole world, I’m not sure you’d find a better pair than Sue and Collin.

the brit and the scot

Sue was the Mary Poppins of knowledge (and, as if the gods just wanted to give us one more gift, she was funny), and Collin played the part of the grumpy, sarcastic dad, but really he was a big softy. They’d never worked together, but they played off each other as if they were old friends. Sue was from England and Collin, Scotland, so they had a few squabbles over sports teams and whether or not the English really like the Scottish. Our surrogate parents gave us a great tour, and it was strange to part ways at the end of the trip.

In fact, it was strange to part ways with everyone at the end of the trip. I realized tour groups are an extrovert’s playground. So many people to talk to and learn about and sit next to and eat with and laugh at inside jokes. πŸ™‚ I miss them.

the instigator

The woman above, on the right is Shirley Perez. She’s from Fort Smith and values travel. She organizes multiple trips every year so people can broaden their horizons. Thank you, Shirley, for all your hard work! I hope I’m like you when I’m seasoned.

the pastors

Tasha and Phil Blackburn in Scotland

The other two people responsible for a marvelous trip are Phil and Tasha Blackburn, the pastors at First Presbyterian church.

Fun fact: They went to seminary in Austin. πŸ™‚ After Austin, they ministered for a year in Scotland, so they were excited to take us back.

Phil and Tasha are doing some really amazing things at their church. They’ve had Rachel Held Evans and Science Mike speak, and they’re building a residency program for immersion in art, mission, science, theology, and more. If I still lived in Fort Smith, I think I’d be Presbyterian, guys.

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Up next: Getting there.

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4 thoughts on “scotland: introductions

  1. Perfectly wonderful diary, Sam! Can’t wait for the next edition!

  2. Looking forward to future posts.

  3. I would like to add to the introductions by stating for the record that Sam was my roomie and a true Presbyterian at heart. What a special lass she is!

  4. This is so cool, Sam! You’re a sweetheart for sharing your travels with us all!
    -Ruth

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