All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

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25 Songs, 25 Days: Hotel California

Day 13: A song that reminds you of a former friend

Hotel California | The Eagles


In late 1999 I was backpacking around the majestic country of Scotland. After taking in the wonders of Edinburgh, Stirling, Oban, Fort William, Glencoe, the Isle of Skye and Orkney I decided, after examining my bank account, to settle for a while in one location. After careful consideration I decided this location was Inverness, and checked into the first hostel I found; the Inverness Student Hotel.

Within weeks of beginning my stay I was laughing in the face of anxiety and making friends with the other souls who had found themselves long-terming there. Deborah, Elle, Kaye, Elizabeth, Jemima, Barry, Justin, to name but a few, became some of the best friends I ever had. A group of individuals thrown together through circumstance, who just happened to fall in love with each other in that city of the north.

For five long months we formed a little family. Bonding over cigarettes, practical jokes and copious amounts of alcohol. We laughed together, cried together and had more adventures than you could possibly imagine. Adventures that took us to far-flung locations, adventures that cemented our friendships, adventures that we would remember for the rest of our lives.

It’s been sixteen long years since those heady days of the Inverness Student Hotel, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. I remember the contentment of playing Scrabble with Deborah in the middle of the night, the joy of sharing BLTs and bizarre conversation with Elizabeth and the jovial interplay of razor wit with Justin. It was, unequivocally, one of the greatest periods of my life.

After a decade of anxiety, frustration and loneliness I connected with a group of individuals in the most unlikely of places. I haven’t spoken to any of those wonderful people for over ten years, but I think of them, my surrogate family, often. And never more so than when our anthem is played.

This song reminds me of a time – and place – of pure happiness and friendship. As such, it is one of my favourite songs, ever!