I MUST admit, when I was 16, going on family holidays was not something that I particularly looked forward to.

In fact, it was something I begrudged. Everywhere we went seemed to have signal quality from 1997 and for some reason, everyone always seemed to have the best parties when I couldn’t attend – something I’m choosing not to analyse right now. But in a miraculous surprise, in October 2015, I actually enjoyed the family holiday I went on.

We left for the October week to a log cabin in Invergordon and admittedly, didn’t spend much time there. Instead, we explored the north-east coast, touring different towns. From Dornoch, to a river I can’t quite remember the name of but do remember it was densely populated with salmon, and even a detour to Ullapool, I was fascinated by places that felt so different to my hometown of Hamilton.

But what enamored me most was the small village of Tain – somewhere I still think about regularly, almost seven years after I visited. I remember the often narrow, sometimes cobbled streets that made the entire village feel like it was a pocket universe into the past. The buildings were also distinctively vintage looking- a far cry from the modern estates I was used to seeing. Things there were calm and quiet, and it helped that they were also extremely aesthetically pleasing to be around.

I remember visiting the graveyard and the sun beating down and beaming life onto what should have been somewhere devoid of it. I was at the height of my second emo phase, this time characterized by a fascination with spaces like graveyards and a chronic desire to listen to Radiohead. Whether my fond memories of being in that graveyard are merely a product of who I was at the time I visited it I can’t say for sure, but nonetheless my continued intrigue surrounding memento mori urges me to go back to Tain, and maybe take a walk around that cemetery again. Perhaps with more humility regarding my gothic tendencies.

However, since I’ve only experienced the village as a tourist, I understand that life for the locals is likely to be vastly different. This romanticising of graveyards and old buildings is probably not common for people who see them every day and I don’t expect that people who are used to rural life would be as fascinated by the village as I was – at least not in the same ways.

The National: Photo taken at the beach near Tain by my dadPhoto taken at the beach near Tain by my dad

But the locals’ sense of community spirit would be impressive to everyone, no matter where you come from. This ethos is fostered in many ways, one of which is the strong sporting culture. Despite being relatively small, with a population of just over 3500 people, the village boasts an impressive variety of sports groups including a tennis club, a bowls club and a Jiujitsu club. Additionally, the village contains a rich and interesting history as Scotland’s oldest burgh – something locals are undoubtedly proud of as it’s showcased in the Tain Through Time Museum.

So no, Tain isn’t just some fantasy land ... despite what my teenage imagination told me. It’s a very real place with a very real history and a very thriving small community. But when you’re used to spaces that many would find to be overwhelmingly bustling, going there does come as a welcome idea of respite.

In my sixth year of high school, I even wrote a play centred around two characters escaping everyday life to start a new one in Tain. To me, Tain is still the perfect place to run away to when I get the inclination to start anew for a couple weeks before returning to normalcy.

These days, I like having a busy life. I don’t think I could live without bars and clubs and parties and shops. I often find myself trying to transform Glasgow into New York in my mind. But sometimes, I feel like I need something different. Not forever, just for a little bit. To up and leave and have no responsibilities for two or three weeks. To have a new name temporarily before returning to myself. That’s when I think about going back to Tain. I reckon one day, when I have enough money and not enough obligations, I’ll do just that.