Published: October 08, 2007

Avocation vacations


Been there, piped that.
I relented the other day and installed the “Cities I’ve Visited” application on my Facebook profile. Until I saw the results, I used to fancy myself fairly well-travelled.

The 339 little pegs that populate the places I’ve been are preponderance of North America and, of course, Scotland. There are a few scattered around “the Continent” of Europe from when I eked out a winter trip of bus rides and occasional hitchhiking in between semesters at Stirling University as a poor student in 1984, but the vast majority comprise piping-related journeys.

There’s hardly a place in Scotland that I haven’t visited. From Morpeth to Brora, I’ve been there, with bagpipes and/or golf clubs in tow. And the vast lands of Canada and the US are dotted with piping-related excursions. Mainly because of piping, I’ve probably seen more of Scotland than most Scots, more of Canada than most Canadians, and more of the US than most Americans.

But what concerns me is how much of the world I haven’t seen because of my preference for piping trips. I’d love to go to Scandinavia, to Italy, to South America, to Japan (and just about everywhere else that isn’t currently wracked with war or oppressive governments), but wonder if the lure of piping will continue to limit my travels.

I’m not alone. Just about all non-UK pipers and drummers who compete at a serious level find themselves committing their vacation time and money to getting to piping and drumming events. The back-and-forth to various annual competitions is fun, of course, and no one ever forces you to do it, but after a while, while bringing out the best in you, this avocation can get the better of you.

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