July, month of candles, as twenty two years ago, I traded dust for salt, and leapt across the sea to begin my journey north, where stravaig takes full dimension. I might have arrived with a couple of crates and a busted ankle, but a brand new lease of life began on a brand new shore, with a brand new heart.
I left behind a continent, a way of life, friends and language, with which I often reconvene… I learnt to keep to the left side, and discovered a brand new world through may voices then unknown. I’ve learnt to love each new morning, find my way through sand and pebbles, as well as in between harbours, headlands and lighthouses.
I have learnt to adapt to new shores, to recognise differences between two spheres that are both close and miles apart… With hindsight, we share such a common cultural heritage – from Normandy to the Northern Isles, we share that concept linked to NORTH – nor, nord, norm, north… My maternal great grand mother gutted herring on some quay in Fécamp. Here is my carte de visite. I’ve learned to love the names of new mountains, rivers, flowers, shells, birds, lores, firths, voes and wicks. I have made exciting connections with a myriad of kindred spirits all around, and opened my heart to their world, that gradually turned into mine. This latitude, symbolic 60N, has long become my chosen home.
And when I am asked, “where are you from?” I often answer, “many places”. Yet above all, I am a citizen of the world – a free spirit, chameleon, avid to share with the variety of folk, customs and traditions, without fear or prejudice. Yes, there is a heck of a twang in my tongue, but I embrace the poetics of my homeworld.