When we were younger, before phones and the constant connection to our friends, summer meant an escape: an escape from the not-so-pressured environment of primary school and, for some, a release from daily bullying or childhood pettiness.
For my sister and me, growing up in the city centre meant a slightly different childhood than having lived in a quieter area. Before ‘twenty’s plenty’ and parking limits our street was busy, and there were not many children to play with. Occasionally, we would jump over the garden wall to play with the neighbours; but essentially, for three never-ending months, we were at the whim of whatever our parents mustered up to keep our bottomless bundles of energy entertained.
Summer meant a fun-filled last day of school, followed by a careless summer spent with various family members until we reunited with school friends again in August. Each year was highlighted by the familiar back-to-school routine. The ‘what I did on my holidays’ really was a surprise to our friends as we hadn’t spoken for the whole of the summer holidays.
More than a decade later, the summer holidays are the shining light at the end of the tunnel-vision focus on exams. Whilst sitting in front of a computer, an endless number of holiday plans pop into my head, and I will time to move quickly so I can finally fulfil my long list. Whether it is hostel-hopping worldwide, spending a week in a sunny beach resort or finding yourself knee-deep in festival mud, creating elaborate summer plans is an easy escape from the monotonous work day.
However, this year has been a little different for me. I have had the opportunity to spend the last three months working in Spain, exam-free. The escape from Scotland came at the perfect time as nights-out turn into all-nighters; at least that’s what I told myself to escape the crippling ‘fear of missing out’. In true Scottish spirit, I’ve spent the last three months trying my hardest to make the most of the sunshine.
Although it must be said, I did struggle when discovering that siesta-time is no myth; the city’s bustling streets are practically silent between 2pm and 5pm. With the last couple of months being a muddle of culture shocks and fitting into a new place, it feels as though I’m getting to live out my summer plans all at once. Now that the sun is out, we spend the weekends walking forty-five minutes each way, just to spend the day by the beach catching the sunshine and developing some impressive…tan* lines. *burn
There has been something incredibly freeing about exploring somewhere where no one knows you. Introducing yourself to new people in a new place changes your attitude on everything that seemed so huge and life-changing at home. That’s not to say that the things at home are not important, but it helps to find a little perspective that most things are relative to the situation you’re in.
Thanks to the ever-unfolding ‘benefits’ of Brexit, I find myself facing another summer spent in Scotland. With the last two summers in my hometown thick with old memories of lockdown, it’s exciting to look at this summer free from these constraints. Still, after two years of craving an escape from travel restrictions and rain, I’m surprised at how much I am looking forward to spending another summer in Scotland.
Currently, my Tiktok (I really do keep meaning to delete it) is punctuated with ‘hot girl summer’ and ‘cottagecore’ aesthetics which, whilst superficial, embody our desire to achieve a care-free summertime. And why not wear your nice clothes and take yourself for a coffee or a cocktail at an outdoor table (a lingering remnant of the Covid era)? It leaves us wondering whether we are missing something about those simple summer pleasures. This was a time when we ran about in the green grass and sunshine, without a care whether or not we had jetted off to another country for a couple of weeks.
The summer holiday doesn’t need to revolve around a one-week-long trip; instead, it can be seen as a three-month opportunity to embrace the countryside, bask in the sunshine and pick up some steamy summer reads. This summer should be illustrated with self-care and taking yourself out of your phone. Pack a picnic, bring a book, and spend the day in the sunshine or a drink indoors looking out at the rain… it is still Scotland after all.
Rosalynn Davidson (she/her)