I have been in the Outer Hebrides for just over a week now, and one thing that I have constantly noticed is how friendly and welcoming everyone is. No matter where I go, or what I need help with people are wonderful.
This is a big difference from what I have experienced back home, and elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have not experienced people being awfully rude or anything. But here it reaches a new level of friendliness, a warm welcome that has made me feel at home in the community.
One thing I noticed straight away is how people walking/driving past always wave or smile, whereas in more built up city/town locations this would not happen – even if you know the person in some cases! This curtesy is extended so far as being able to hitch a ride if you are even in need. Although I have not done this myself, everyone has told me its fine and safe to do so, and I feel safe enough here to do it if I was ever in desperate need. The idea shocked me, as doing so back home you would either get ignored, or not have a clue who’s car you are getting into. Something that I would never dream of doing.
Another aspect is how hospitable people are. With my project I am interviewing and talking to various members of the community, most who have never met me. Under the advice of the hostel I am staying with I knocked on peoples doors. This is something that is usually only seen as okay on Halloween (for children and parents), and nowadays you gotta be careful then who’s door you go to. I was welcomed in to the homes by eager helpful people and given all the coffee and biscuits I could ask for.
These are just a few experiences I have had where people here have shown how friendly and welcoming the community is. People I have met have given me lifts, invited me places, and bus drivers even help with getting me to places I have no idea where to go.
If I get one thing out of this trip, and one thing reflected in this project, its the community and the people who make it.