EDINBURGH: HOGMANAY FESTIVAL 2016/2017

Have you seen across the universe? The wild and extravagant film with the Beatles covers as it’s soundtrack? If you haven’t then cancel your plans tonight, pop a giant bowl of popcorn, pour yourself a glass of wine, and watch it. If you have, then I’m sure you’ll remember the frantic scene that’s accompanied by “A Little Help From My Friends”. The group of youngsters running around foolishly with no care in the world and intoxicatingly bright grins plastered on their faces. This has always been one of my favorite moments of the film. When you’re watching it unravel you can’t help but think “damn, I want to have a wild night like that”. That’s exactly the kind of night I had this  new years eve, very unexpectedly.

The whole day on December 31st this gloomy and depressing cloud hung over me. Being in a different country completely alone on new years is something that I had never experienced before.  Although it was my choice, I began second guessing my decision. Simply put, I felt lonely. The night before, I had made plans to meet up with another hosteler/traveller for a drink before heading off to the street party together. While at the second bar (but only on my second drink because I have surprisingly turned into a relatively responsible adult), I noticed a guy sitting alone drinking a pint. I chatted him up and the three of us had had a really good conversation. He told us we could tag along with his other friends who he was meeting at the entrance to the festival. So, after the guys had a couple more pints and I sipped on my water (responsible I tell ya), we wandered our way through Edinburgh’s’ windy and hilly streets towards what ended up being one of the greatest nights of my life.

The moment we met up with his 6 loud, , and extremely Scottish friends, I realized what I had gotten myself into. With a lad who stood well above 6”5’, we plowed through the massive crowds. The chanting, singing, and hollering, caught me a bit off guard. I’m typically quite reserved and shy, mainly because of my social anxiety, so I didn’t know what would happen over the course of the night. But after the first hour of our arrival, I felt so unraveled and free like I did when I was a child. The guys made me join in their antics, dancing and singing my heart out. We ran around the festival talking up anyone and everyone, putting on silly accents like one would in the playground as a ten year old. We played an adult game of tag with live music sounding through the night sky. Lots of passerby’s gave us questioning looks but we couldn’t care less. Laughing like hyenas, we spent the last couple of hours of 2016 in an excited daze. With the greatest firework show I’ve ever seen, ringing in the new year had never felt better. Laughing like I hadn’t in years, meeting strangers with friends who were strangers only a few short hours ago, feeling the most wild, free, and genuinely happy, I’ve ever been. 

No matter how many lows you go through, continue on the path that calls to you. What ever you desire and whatever passion you may have, stick with it. Don’t let others change you mind or sway you to make different decisions. That’s the main thing I learned over the course of 2016. Everything will pass. The bad and the good. Remind yourself that happiness is around the corner when you’re having the crappy days. And when you’re lucky enough to have amazingly happy days, be present. Be grateful and enjoy every single second of it.

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