Sometimes it’s possible to see your favourite moments lived by someone else.
We were in Stirling, Scotland, for the day and it was wet. Not torrentially so, but enough that our new tartan umbrellas were getting a light wash. It was a day trip from our holiday base in Glendevon and it had something that international tourists love – a big castle.
In true tourist style, we had some traditional Scottish ideas in mind – buy something with a tartan pattern and convince our travel buddy to try haggis. Bellies full of breakfast and cosy under our umbrellas, we began to burn off our haggis, eggs and potato scones with the steep walk up to Stirling Castle.
I say “burn off our haggis”, but to be fair it was a very small piece and I ate most of it.
It was here that I believed our buddy had what another friend calls a “touchable moment”. It’s a moment in time where every sense is tangible, kinetic. The smells, the sights, the flavour of the air in that moment becomes a piece of your soul. You may not remember anything else you did that day, but that specific moment has been branded onto your soul.
Our rather reserved friend has this on the rainy streets of Stirling, somewhere between breakfast at Dempsey’s Diner and our walk up to Sitrling Castle. He stopped to take photos, as usual, but the subjects were different. He wasn’t capturing monuments, he was capturing life.
The soul of the city had reached into him in some way. It was in his walk, his words and his smile. There was a lightness in his movements that seemed to help him on the steep, seeminhly vertical, walk up to castle. The moment lingered in everything we did, becoming extra playful banter through the day and effusive conversation in the evening.
I’ve had several of these moments throughout our travels. Qutab Minar. Cambridge. My first time on the London tube. Time stopped as though I’d stepped into the pages of a picture book and I felt safe and serene, hovering on that page.
Touchable moments. Is there a known phrase for this sensation? I’d love to know.