A Scottish cure for loneliness, a better relationship in 60 seconds flat, and seeing the love all around you.
This week, it's a Valentine's Day theme with a Traipsing twist: improving your relationship in one minute, a bucket list trip idea based on a word I'd never seen, seeing the love all around you, and a top-selling memoir about a woman raised by a junkyard-owning prepper in Idaho.
There's no hack for a good relationship, but Marriage Minute newsletter from the Gottman Institute is the closest I've found! Drawing on their research on what makes marriages last, they send out a short, digestible note each week, it quickly reminds me of ways to improve how I approach being in a committed relationship.
From this week:
"It’s not the depth of intimacy in conversations that matters. It doesn’t even matter whether you agree or disagree.
The important thing is how you pay attention to each other, no matter what you’re talking about or doing. So listen to your partner. And put your phone down when they want to chat."
That prompted me to answer all my text messages before I walk in the house, rather than saying hi and then sitting down to catch up. The less I stare at my phone around Chelsea (or other people), the better!
Spend Valentine's Day in a Bothy!
"When I’m jostling through crowds, hammering furiously at emails, working for money not love, I like to let my mind drift away to something that I really care about instead. Imagine, I say to myself, imagine this…"
So writes Alastair Humphreys, intrepid explorer and all-around rad guy. He's discussing a potential adventure a Traipsing reader clued me into (thanks George). Fer sherrrr added to my bucket list!
I'm talking about bothies (<--best word ever), a.k.a. ramshackle huts and abandoned homesteads in Northern Scotland. If you want to get away some Valentine's Day (the best cure for loneliness is solitude, after all), heading to the Cairngorms to explore bothies is about as remote as it gets.
Even if you have no interest in physically visiting this zone, watch the beautiful video. How about that bothy made of stone right on the water? YES PLEASE.
Recognize the Love All Around You
This article from NPR's On Being about training our minds to recognize the love all around us is insightful and down-to-earth. Sharon Salzberg, a well-known meditation teacher, lays it out clearly and concisely. (On Being from NPR is an excellent podcast, and I also enjoy their newsletter.)
Two of my favorite quotes from the piece:
"In this season, with this day devoted to acknowledging love, come with me to the wider world where love is abundant and close at hand. There is no need to yearn fretfully for it and wonder why it isn’t here — it is right here if you view your world in a different way."
All love is a deep and often wordless connection, a resonance of the soul. Love lifts us up, ennobles the moment, and reinforces our sense of safety. I have found this quality in friendships, in nature, and in my connection to a world bigger and more complex than me.
Who would you be if you were raised by preppers in Idaho and "homeschooled" so poorly you didn't know who Martin Luther King Jr. was? Different, I'd wager.
Down with a cold over the weekend, I tore through the book Educated by Tara Westover. I dug her writing style and the story is fascinating, especially her journey to self-love and empowerment. I also appreciated the circumstances in which she was raised made her the complex, insightful, questioning person she is.
Sometimes you stay in a remote bothy, and sometimes you're biking in Montana and it's 105 degrees with 40 mph headwinds and you get your butt kicked before sleeping at a rest stop with trucks idling nearby. #biketouringfun