Scotland: The Good in People… And Dogs

Lindsay Stephan is a student at Carthage College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Limerick, Ireland.

This blog is a tad bit delayed, but I actually started working on it while I was having dinner in the Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland where J.K Rowling supposedly finished/worked on her first Harry Potter book. So this blog will get millions of fans and worldwide recognition, right?….Okay, it was a thought.

However, the reason I started writing then was because I may or may not have had one of the best days of my life. First off, I decided to travel to Scotland alone. I wanted to do at least one trip by myself while studying abroad, and I am so happy that I did. I had the time of my life and it will be something that I will always remember.

Earlier in the day, I took a tour that took me into the Highlands of Scotland. At the end of the day, we stopped by a small town called Inveraray, where there couldn’t have been more than 200 people. I was sitting on a bench overlooking the nearest loch, eating quite possibly the best ice cream cone known to mankind (the Scots know how to make their ice cream…. trust me on this one). Then, all of a sudden, my dog radar went off. My dog radar is sort of like spidey-senses, but much more rewarding. I could tell that there were dogs near…and I HAD to find them. Then, a middle-aged couple started walking near me with not one, not two, but four dogs.


So, I naturally did the only logical thing there was to do and scarfed down my ice cream and made super intense eye contact that blatantly stated “I WANT TO PET YOUR DOGS”. The dogs came near me and I got to play with them. I. Was. In. Heaven.

Meanwhile, I talked with the owners, who were even nicer than their adorable dogs. They asked me about me…which sounds normal…. but the difference was that they were genuinely interested. I’m not talking about the “Oh, I started talking so now I have to appear like I care” look in their eye. No. They asked about my studies, my family and where I wanted to be in two years. I just couldn’t get over it. Not only this couple, but everyone I met while I was traveling was beyond kind and every question always turned into a conversation.

I took a train to Glasgow the day before, and before I even could pull out my map to find what road I wanted, two people asked me if they could help me find something. I embarrassingly replied “Um, I don’t even know where I want to go,” but just the thoughtfulness that people had…Well, it was rather incredible.


I feel like from an early age we are trained not to trust people. We naturally think the worst things and situations will occur. Meanwhile, this trip made me a much more trusting person in not only others, but also myself. There is a huge difference compared to being constantly on your guard and not letting anyone venture into your mind of what you are really thinking. Come to find, when you let your guard down, you not only feel way more at ease with yourself; you are able to connect with people on such a deeper level, even if it is just in passing.

I suppose the moral of this blog entry is this:  Believe in the goodness of people, because it’s definitely there. I had to go halfway across the globe to find it, but when you look for it, well, it could be right next door.

Oh, and always listen to your dog radar…


Want to read more about Lindsay’s host city, Limerick? Check out “5 Surprises About Studying Abroad in Limerick”