Planning your Scottish Ancestral pilgrimage

Glencoe, Scotland 2019. Image by Libby Kinna.

Scotland may be small geographically yet it is rich in offering for your ancestral pilgrimage. Don’t be fooled into thinking a few hours driving and a couple of visits to small villages and your ancestral journey is done!

This land is ancient and seeped with historical offerings. Whilst our Scottish ancestors initially immigrated here in the 1800’s their stories go back hundreds of years. Many left through an ‘assisted passage’ scheme with dreams of establishing a new, abundant and healthy life.

Here are some sites you can start exploring BEFORE you leave Australia.

Planning your Scottish ancestral journey 

Finding your Scottish Ancestors (National Trust Scotland)

Family History Federation

The empty suitcase

Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash

This was the part she dreaded. 

She felt the fear rising from the pit of her stomach.  Thud! It landed in her throat.  For a split second she couldn’t breath.  Fear disabling air from entering her lungs.    Air unable to enter her lungs.  Constriction.

“Get a grip” she scolds herself.  “It’s not as if we’re never coming back”. 

The empty suitcase lay there on the floor.  Open. Empty.  Terrifying.


Around it lay pile upon pile of clothes.  Neat and tidy.  Waiting.

They could be waiting a while. 

It’s a common pattern.  The joy and delight for Beth always comes in the planning and pulling it all together.   Then slowly as the days to departing begin to creep upon her, so to the dread.  Like the slightest wisp of air against her check.  Apt at keeping herself busy she is the mastermind at distraction.  Years of well tuned practice has ensured Beth the ability to distract herself when the slightest tremor of fear appears.  Best to ignore it and get on with things, the motto.  Well trained as a child to dismiss her feelings.  Now however she has been slowly learning that this is not so wise and definitely not healthy.  Its been taking time but slowly and patiently she has been changing her relationship with her feelings.  Instead of clamping then down tight, like an airtight lid on a container, she is now allowing them to be.  Practice.

However there are many times when she doesn’t catch them, like now. 

“Argh geez” she exasperates.

“I don’t understand my problem”. 

“I should be enjoying this.  It should be exciting. I should be revelling in it. But I am not.

For this she felt bad.  Ungrateful.  Which only compounds her experience.

“Okay take a deep breath”

“We’ve got this”

She put her hands on her stomach and consciously takes a slow deep breath.  And waited.  Waited for her hands to rise slowly suggesting the air had reached her diaphragm .


“Okay this will take some time”.

Once more she took a deep breath and allowed the throat to relax.  Air began to trickle down, like rain on a window.  

Not quite to the stomach but closer.

“Once more” she whispered to herself.

She closed her lies and allowed herself to lie on her bed, amongst the pile of clothes.  Resting her hands gently on her tummy she took a slow deep breath. 

This time her hands raised slightly.  She could feel the movement.  A sign of life.  Without force, yet with consciousness, she focussed on her breath.  Each inhale and exhale resulting in a deepening connection with herself.  Expansion. 

Her throat now relaxed, her heart rate slower Beth welcomes the release. 

Her bed a welcome place of refuge.

She feels the warmth of the sheets under her body and the comfort of the pillows for her weary head.

Love would lay here.

So she does.

She allows herself to doze off.

When she awakens a shift has occurred.  A common experience for Beth.  Sleep a way to integrate and heal.

“Okay so lets have another go”.

This time paying attention to what is going on within her, Beth looks at the empty suitcase.

“Why do you frighten me?”

She looks at the clothes surrounding it.  Waiting patiently.

“What if I get you wrong? What if I pack you but you work out not be right?”

“What if I don’t pack you and wish I had?”

The pressure was rising once more.

“What if you are all I will ever have?”

“What if something happens and everything I ever own will be what I choose to put in you?”

A quiver in her heart, a welcome sign that she was on the verge of learning something else about herself, that had previously been out of sight.  She knows not to push it.  Simply breathe, allow the feeling to move and explore what comes.

“And what if what is in the suitcase is all I will ever have?”  Beth asks herself.

“I can’t pack up my life.  I don’t want to.  I have done this before been forced to pack my life into one suitcase and flee.  Not in this lifetime. Yet the feeling still sits in the recesses of her soul. Don’t make me do this again. Please.  It hurts.  Deciding what to take.  All I see is what I am leaving behind.   More is left than taken.  How can I do this again?”

Packing up my life in a suitcase  pressured to make the right decisions in a split second.  No I won’t let you do this again.  You must stop. 

“Oh my, my precious one.  Is this how you feel?  Oh goodness”. 

Beth embraced herself to soothe this wounded one within her.  “I had no idea”.


“This is not what is happening here and now”.

“I feel your terror however it is not now.  Come and rest, allow these feelings to come into my heart, so together we heal.  Our heart”.

Gently, gently now.  She will tread.

Aware of this unlocked trauma within her Beth will undertake this process with care.  Each item she picks up and places into her suitcase will be done with gratitude and love. 

She will be gentle and kind.  Knowing that when she reaches her destination if she needs anything she hasn’t packed she will be able to find a solution.

Packing her clothes, she realises, is a symbol of packing up who she is now.   Putting who she is in a suitcase as she departs.  She nows within this however, that what she unpacks at the other end will most likely be a different being to the one who departed.   Who boards the plane will be transcended by the one who returns. 

For this my love is the joy of travel.  Transformation.  Expansion.  Growth.

Short creative fiction by Libby Kinna 2019

#libbykinna #enlightenedtraveller

“a table for one please”

Changing my solo dining experience

One cold blistery early March evening I checked into this tiny little hotel ‘The Bosville’ in Portree, Isle of Skye.  From the outside it was like every other building in the street. Only one thing differentiated it.  There was a soothing light emanating from the tiny windows.  It was a welcome sight after the long day journeying through from the Scottish lowlands into the highlands, weaving through Glencoe  and finally ‘over the bridge to Skye’. 

Whilst the sun had come with me most of the day, the clouds had rolled in later in the afternoon and the rain with them.  I was weary, wet and hungry.

Dulse & Brose Restaurant, Portree, Isle of Skye 2019
Dulse & Brose Restaurant, Portree, Isle of Skye 2019

In anticipation of the later than usual arrival, I had rung earlier and booked a reservation for one in the restaurant ‘Dulse & Brose’.    A wise choice as time was to reveal.

I have always been challenged dining out alone.   At home its an easy one to avoid.  I just didn’t do it. However, when you travel it is often necessary to do.  Whilst the room service menu is convenient the options soon run out.  There is only so many times you can have a BLT or burger! 

At the beginning, dining out in the first hotel was confronting.  I was often placed in the corner and it felt like the waiters weren’t quite sure what to do with me.  I was very aware of how they were about me being there alone.  Then there is the judgments and pity often projected from others. In fact, I feel this is the greatest challenge; managing and trying to not be impacted by others thoughts of me and perhaps the stories they were making up around me being alone.  Combined with this were the stories I was playing in my own mind! 

In amongst all of this how is one meant to enjoy one’s meal?

A new experience awaits…

'a table for one', Dulse & Brose, The Bosville, Isle of Skye - March 2019
‘a table for one’, Dulse & Brose, The Bosville, Isle of Skye – March 2019

Greeting me in the small intimate restaurant was such warmth.  My body relaxed and my soul sighed.  The warmth oozed from the staff, to the music playing, the soft candles, rustic yet comfy table and chairs and the dimmed lights.  I was led to my table.  It was not hidden in the corner, but beautifully placed at the window, looking out over the bay as the sun settled for the night.  It was picturesque and prime restaurant position. 

I felt welcomed and valued.   Then to my delight the table was set for one person.  Not two, but one.  They had previously removed the second setting and in its place a small vase with flowers and a lit candle had been placed.  I felt cared for.  I had not experienced this before. Such a delicious experience.  

I didn’t feel like I was taking up space or not wanted (which often is the case).  The staff struck up a delightful conversation with me, which was so nice.  My food was mouth watering and presented with care.  It set me up for a relaxing and rejuvenating evening in my cosy room.

'The Bosville', Portree, Isle of Skye - April 2019
‘The Bosville’, Portree, Isle of Skye – April 2019

I had no hesitation when I booked ‘a table for one’ the following night.  I knew I was in kind hands. What I took with me from that experience was to ask in future moments to have the second setting removed.  It made so much difference as I continued my travels.  Staff where happy to do it.  “Ask and you shall receive”.

Along the way I also began to take a notebook and pen with me so I could write out my reflections of the day.  I made my dining out experience about me 100%.  Instead of worrying about what other was thinking, I used it to nourish my body and soul.  

One small action of setting the table for one, by the staff in ‘The Bosville’ made such a huge impact on how I saw and related with myself. 

It showed me that being alone does not mean second best.  It does not mean I am less worthy of experiencing a beautiful dining moment. 

That I can take up space and I matter.

Three travel companions

Travel, whilst incredibly exciting, can have an impact on one’s health be it physically, emotionally or mentally.  We must take care of our body so that we can fully enjoy our journey and our return home.

I always have Rescue Remedy (a Bach Flower Remedy blend) with me and it’s a given it goes away with me. 

For overseas travel, I always ensure these three other natural products come too.

My 3 travel companions – Lavender oil, ABFE Travel Essence & Space Clearing Mist

Small enough to be carry on luggage they support me prior, during and post travel.  

Lavender oil

Make sure it’s a pure essential oil, not a fragrance blend.  I personally find it’s a great aid for sleep.  A few drops on my temples does wonders.  It can also be used in a bath (if you are lucky enough to have one where you are staying!).

‘Travel Essence’ and ‘Space Clearing Skin & Space Mist’ are both Australian Bush Flower Essences products. 

I have used flower essences for over 30 years now and am an accredited Practitioner. I truly appreciate their natural healing potential. 

‘Travel Essence’ is an infusion of over 10 bush flower essences.   The directions for use are on the bottle and in may assist in balancing and refreshing oneself while travelling.  I personally found it a great way to lessen the impact of jet lag.   It also helps me emotionally and to remain centered and grounded. 

The ‘Space Clearing’ mist is a spray infused with the flower essences and essential oils.  It can be used as a skin spray and it’s a delicate scent that refreshes.  Personally though its great to clear the energy of a room. Who know who has been in that room and bed before you! 

Clearing the space you are in is pivotal for good health.

The ABFE products can be purchased through health food stores as well as online. Lavender Oil can be found at chemists. I personally use and recommend Young Living Essential Oils. If needed they can be sourced through me directly.

Any questions? email me

Travel as a transitional process

Travel is a powerful way to mark transition.

All we need to do is look at honeymoons that newly weds embark upon. It’s an opportunity for them to transition from living two single lives into a new one of union. Of taking time away from family and friends to be alone just the two of them. A time of deepening communion and laying a foundation for a new life.

hilltop town of Todi, Umbria Region, Italy 2015

The experience of a ‘gap year’ is traditionally used by school leavers to transition from high school to young adulthood. Grey nomads hit the road with their caravans in tow as they move from working life into retirement.

For me, my trip to Italy in 2015 marked a transitional process from being married to divorced. Two years after my husband and I separated I had saved enough to take myself for a few weeks to travel through Italy. My first overseas trip alone. It was scary in many moments yet as the days progressed I settled into myself in a whole new way. Its a beautiful world regardless of what one is going through personally.

In a somewhat interesting Universal play out my divorce papers were finalised in the courts whilst I was away. I left married and arrived back into the country divorced. The Universe leaving her mark on the importance of this trip.

I feel undertaking a travel journey during or following a separation and/or divorce can be a beautiful and healing process. The opportunity to take self away facilitates a transformative journey enabling one to reconnect with self in a whole new way. It enables the transition from ‘us’ to ‘I’.

Chapel St, Vans and frozen yoghurt

I’ve always had a thing for taking photos of my feet wherever I go. My daughter doesn’t get it. But that doesn’t matter anymore. I have quite a collection now of ‘feet’ photos – from Rome to Uluru to this particular one in Chapel St, South Yarra, Melbourne. It may just look like someone with their feet up having some frozen yoghurt. And yes I suppose it it!

my happy place, Frozen @ Chapel St, South Yarra, Melbourne

This particular evening though was a marker of transition. A sign to myself that I will be okay on my own. Twice a year for the past 8 years I have travelled back to my home town of Melbourne and soaked up the city – from eating at numerous cafes, to shopping along Chapel St, to soaking up art at the National Gallery, to taking in a show at the Regent Theatre, to watching ‘the Tiges’ win at the MCG – and always with my daughter.

I was on my own though on this particular cold and winters evening. It made everything even more delicious. Whilst the arctic winds blew down the streets, the trams rattled along breaking the evening stillness and everyone was rushing in doors to get warm, I was out eating frozen yoghurt at 9.30pm. Why because I could. No one was there to tell me I couldn’t.

It was my last night in this city and I had just returned from a country drive. I was out one more time to soak it all in. My last little shopping trip saw me purchase my first ever pair of Vans canvas sneakers – in blue – my favourite colour. Even to this day I treasure those Vans, quite symbolic – new adventure, new shoes.  Vans were always something my kids wore, they couldn’t believe I treated myself to my own pair. You would’ve thought the world had ended with their reaction.

So with my new shoes and warm jacket on I walked Chapel St one last time on this cold evening. There is something magical about the crisp fresh air hitting your cheeks to make you feel alive. I love it. The cafes never seem to close so I headed to one of my favourite cafes and treated myself once more to a healthy dessert, mango frozen yogurt topped with pomegranate seeds and coconut slivers. And to cap it all off I actually took a photo of that moment, not quite a selfie, but hey its a start.