You join most of Scotland

February 29 2016

Well, at least the 2.4 million people I pestered in my dayjob as a mass email marketer. I was just the developer; sorry for the many reminders, but we were the cheapest deal in your area.

If the trade taught me anything, a long email is saved by its table of contents.

i. Urge to travel
ii. Urge to stay
iii. Where's your community?
iv. No really, tell me

i. As a Canadian with no particular ambition to email Scotland, or to rally 24,000 driven and articulate Listservers globally (although a good pocket of you are still Bay Area, don't think I haven't noticed), I can add these pleasures to the stack of unexpected memories that blew by in my first four years of travel.

I left home in 2012 on a train headed west, four days of numb legs watching snowy forests, moonscapes and eventually the Rockies. As we entered the foothills I noticed a twenty-something who never left his seat, neck cricked to the window. He was shabby, knew the staff and had packed all his own snacks. Travel had beaten its routine into him - and travel quickly ages - but he wanted to see the same route again and find more this time.

I still travel, but I'm no longer a permanent tourist. I willingly crossed the line into residence two years ago when I met Edinburgh and the people in it whom I hoped to keep.

ii. Then came the challenge of a visa to stay, where sponsorship was the only option, and I had no sponsor. As such, my rented apartment sits in a country where I am not currently allowed to work or reside.

It's a personal indignity and a small struggle for a person who can fight it and has the means and support to do so. As a suburban Canadian born on the lands my ancestors have tilled since they first portaged in, the top assumption in my easy life has been an unquestioned citizenship. These last few months have worn into me the experience of fighting to stay in a country which you want and where you are wanted, but where more bureaucracy is being hoisted each day to close you off. It is the same feeling as love, sent out, denied and returned. In both cases you feel a logical world would let you stay and benefit each other. But you are not integral, and their indifference sweeps you out with the tide.

So if there is one feeling worth sharing: please take a moment to consider how it is to be first-generation. Look up how your nation treats its new residents, and how those policies have changed over the decades.

iii. A close friend brought up the question today, of why grassroots movements of the past few years haven't seemed to have the staying power which they did in, say, the sixties. Quickly growing an opinion, I claimed our community - the people we care to continue knowing and supporting - isn't physically near us anymore. And if we gauge our impact by seeing our community react to the changes we're pushing for, the lag in impact deflates us, where a physically-close community once deluded us into thinking change was happening and motivated us to see it through.

iv. What percentage of your Facebook friends live further than a day-trip distance? Please do a little tally and reply with the below:

Your age:
Percentage of friends away:
Are you far from your hometown?

You'll share in the data once we've gathered enough to brew some.


The Window Seat
[email protected]
Somewhere over the Atlantic

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