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Postcards from Scotland

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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. Her latest book is Hiding in Plain Sight: Exploring Scotland's ill health. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 18/06/2006

When I was undertaking research for my book I particularly enjoyed reading about Robert Louis Stevenson so it was with great pleasure that I visited the Robert Louis Stevenson park in California today. The park is situated near the small town of Calistoga, famous for its hot mud baths. A winding track through woodland takes you to a clearing where Stevenson lived with his new wife Fanny while writing the Silverado Squatters.

This has just been one of a number of memorable trips we've made while in California. Visiting Jack London's ranch was a delight as was walking in the Armstrong park, home to hundreds of giant redwoods. One of these majestic trees is estimated to be more than 1400 years old.

Tomorrow we're off to Yosemite National Park founded by another great Scot, the naturalist John Muir, much celebrated in the United States but hardly known in his native land.

An American outdoors holiday has much to commend it. Not only is the US good on providing and maintaining national parks but the mountains, creeks and plentyful flora and fauna mean that it is easy to have a stimulating yet relaxing time. But there's another reason as well - being in the great oudoors means that you aren't in a hotel room watching the mind-blowing insanity of American television or in boring, sterile shopping malls having to contend with fast-food and the superficiality of the 'have-a-nice-day' culture.

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