blether /ˈblɛðə/ Scottish verb: To talk in a long-winded way without making very much sense noun: long-winded talk with no real substance Hello, and welcome to Blethers from Afar! I’m Izzy – writer, explorer and all-round loon. I live in the beautiful city of Edinburgh though I grew up on Orkney, a windswept cluster of islands just off the north coast of Scotland. Despite spending a disproportionate amount of my childhood on ferries, I never did quite find my sea legs. I’ve been living ‘South’ for nine years now, after leaving to embark on a four year degree in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Mainland life has treated me well, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost touch with my islander roots. Despite having travelled the world and back, I still maintain that Orkney is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Think I’m bias? Check out this view of the Hoy hills, a mere ten minutes walk from my childhood home. Not bad, eh? You can read about more about Hoy here. If ever you make it far enough north to visit Orkney, you’d be mad not to hop over on the ferry. But more about that another time. If you haven’t already gathered, I love to blether. Writing, it seems, was a natural choice. So when did it all begin? Well, since you ask… I began blogging after finishing university. Spurred on my desire to see the world (and my reluctance to find a real job), I spent six months backpacking across Asia, Australia, the United States and Canada. I started a blog as a way to share my stories with friends and family. What started out as a hobby soon became a bit of an obsession, and hence, Blethers from Afar was born. Soaking up the sun on the island of Gaios, Greece I quickly discovered that traveling and writing went hand in hand and have been doing both ever since. I divvy up my time between working full time in theatre (need tickets? I’m your gal!), finding the next adventure and sharing my stories with you, lovely readers. Although I do a lot of freelance work for different publications, including Lonely Planet, Time Out and The Skinny, this site is solely about me and my adventures. I like to keep things fairly light. I’m notorious for finding myself in ridiculous situations, and regularly have to adopt an “if you don’t laugh about this, you’ll cry” approach. My stories often take on a more humorous slant than I’d originally intended, so if you’re looking for hard-hitting political journalism, you’ve probably come to the wrong place. That being said, I’d like to think that I could achieve something by sharing these tales with you. Whether it’s a smile, or whether it’s helpful advice, I believe that stories are best shared. To date, this blog has taken me to some pretty incredible places and provided me with countless unforgettable experiences. I’ve snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef and marveled over the Grand Canyon. I’ve found myself lost in the middle of a Thai jungle and been cursed by an elderly Greek lady. I’ve driven across Icelandic glaciers and through desert landscapes and you know what? It’s been a bloody blast. So hop on board the mad train that is my life, come join in the experience. Let’s see where this thing takes us.