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A Dream Becomes Reality (Continued)

Embracing my dreams by writing historical fiction, I sent myself back in time through my characters. Research stimulated the imagination, but it also evoked a desire that was so intense that I cannot put words to it. Being born a Wallace, and the success of the historically incorrect (though highly entertaining) movie Braveheart didn't help matters. I longed to be there. I needed to see, touch, smell.

Somehow this place that I had only heard of, of which I'd only seen pictures, was my place in this world. It was the home in which I'd never lived, but longed to return to.

I mapped out a virtual trip, an itinerary of where I would go, what I would see. The places were obscure, off the beaten track. No cities, mostly ruins. There weren't many, really – I wanted to touch Hadrian's Wall, walk along the banks of the Tweed near Peebles, visit Inchmahome Priory on Lake Menteith, feel the wind in my face blowing off of Loch Leven in Fife, stand amid the refuge stones at Torphichen Preceptory in Lothian among a few others.

I can't exactly pinpoint when I began to consider that I might be able to turn my dream of visiting Scotland and England into reality – it was definitely sometime after I became an AOL member and met so many people online who encouraged me not to give up. One person, who indirectly inspired me, spoke of her dream to visit Paris one day. She said that due to her poor health, it was too late for her. I realized that if I did nothing, one day I may be saying those same words to someone else.

I began reading the travel boards on AOL, the "trip reports" submitted by other members on their return that told of their travels and experiences. A spark glimmered. Here were people who turned dreams into reality. What was I afraid of? Incurring debt? If I did it now, I reasoned with myself, I'd have years to pay it off. What else was holding me back?

Not a small consideration was the fact that I was a stay-at-home mom of two young children – a son, nearly fourteen, and a daughter who just turned nine. Then, of course, there was the prospect of broaching the subject of taking this trip to my husband. I wasn't quite sure how he would react. Luckily for me, he brought the subject up himself in a round about way. He wanted to take my son on a two-week fly-fishing trip to Colorado in the summer of 1999. I gave my blessings with the comment that when he got back we could discuss where I would like to go the following summer.

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