When local photographer Christian DeBaun set out on a Scottish vacation with his wife in August, he never imagined he’d return to the United States an international superstar.
“I’ve been getting e-mails and friend requests and phone calls from people all over the world,” DeBaun says. “It’s been phenomenal.”
His claim to fame? A “silly post,” he says, in a 90,000-member travel group on Facebook called “Scotland From The Roadside,” where a list of 23 of DeBaun’s post-trip observations have so far received 832 shares, more than 5,000 likes and over 600 comments from fellow travelers.
”I literally scribbled the thing up in 15 minutes and went to bed,” he says. But by the time he woke up the next morning, it was clear that his droll conclusions about the country he spent two weeks driving through hadn’t slipped under the radar.
DeBaun first had an interview with Scottish newspaper The Daily Record and at least five other European media outlets have since picked up the post.
“From hotel waste buckets that are too small, to being caught short because there aren’t enough public toilets, an American tourist has revealed Scotland’s good, bad and infuriating bits,” writes Sandra Dick, a reporter from The Scotsman. “Chris DeBaun’s fascinating reflections of his holiday to Scotland reveals how others see us—and not all of it is entirely complimentary.”
Some of our favorite observations from the man who calls himself a Yank in Scotland:
- There are no bathrooms in Scotland on the roads. I plan to start a page called “Peeing By the Roadside.”
- I saw exactly two police cars in Scotland (1,100 miles covered). One cop parked and texting on his cell phone near a roundabout in Glasgow, the other smoking a cigarette by his car in Glencoe. Nothing like the U.S.
- Driving in Scotland (especially down the side of Loch Lomond) is a terrifying death sport. Scotland could use some wider roads.
- Trash cans in Scottish hotel rooms are always the size of a coffee can (you can fit one Kleenex and an empty bag of crisps inside—and that’s it. The foot pedal (to open the can) is usually dirty.
- Americans fret about haggis. It’s f’ing awesome.
- Good Cullen skink is almost better than whisky. [That’s a thick soup with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions—editor.]
And DeBaun’s 15 minutes of fame still aren’t over. He received a letter from the British Broadcasting Corporation September 21, asking for permission to turn his observations into a short film segment for its television channel BBC One.
“Most of all,” wrote DeBraun to his new friends, “we were always received with warmth and graciousness all across this beautiful country by everyone. If you are ever in central Virginia (USA), look me up. Dinner and a pint will be on me.”