The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

13 Reasons Why Edinburgh is Basically My Ex

How long does it take to get over an ex?

I think we’ve all asked ourselves this question—or, let’s be real: googled this question—at one point in our lives.

And while we all know getting over someone isn’t easy, what about getting over someplaceThat place you visited and instantly fell head over heels for; that place you feel homesick for even though you never called it home; or that place you lived for years and still think about all the time. 

As I was staring at yet another photo of Edinburgh on Instagram the other day, feeling like I was about to weep because I miss it so fiercely, it dawned on me: Edinburgh is kind of like my ex.

Hear me out: the city consumes my thoughts more than it probably should. I think back to my life there through the lens of some majorly rose-coloured glasses. I can’t stop scrolling through photos of it on social media.

After living there for 2.5 years and having to leave before I made peace with that fact, I wondered so many times: how long is it going to take me to get over this city?

As if I haven’t blathered on about my love for Edinburgh enough, I’m about to take my borderline obsessiveness with Scotland’s too-pretty-to-be-real capital to a creepy new level.

Here are 13 reasons why Edinburgh is basically my ex.

1. I stare longingly at photos of it

…and then I get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach where I feel like I’m about to burst into tears because I miss it so much. Every. Damn. Time.

2. I get jealous when other people visit

HOW DARE they visit *my* city. And so soon after I’ve left, too. Ugh.

3. I stalk it on Instagram

This is Edinburgh, VisitScotland, IgersEdinburgh—I follow several accounts. And I check them regularly so I know exactly what’s going on in Edinburgh at all times. Yes, it feels like torture every time I look at these photos, but I keep doing it anyway.

4. I stalk the city in other ways, too

Sometimes, I go onto Google Maps and click the Street View function so I can virtually “walk” past some of my favourite places in Edinburgh: Cockburn Street, The Outsider, Leith, my go-to bus stop on Princes Street across from the castle… the list goes on.

(Side note: PLEASE tell me this isn’t completely insane and other people do this when they miss a place, too?!)

5. I compare every place I visit to Edinburgh

I mean, Barcelona was nice but it’s certainly no Edinburgh.

Calton Hill Edinburgh View

6. I reminisce about the moments we shared

The first time I climbed Arthur’s Seat; the first (and only) morning I watched the sunrise over the Royal Mile after a big night out; the first time I experienced the madness that is the Fringe Festival… sigh. So many firsts.

7. I travel to other places in hopes of forgetting Edinburgh 

Edinburgh won’t even cross my mind when I’m somewhere like the Galapagos Islands!

8. I think about going back all the time

But realistically, I know everything worked out the way it did for a reason.

9. I get nostalgic when I see photos of the city

A picture of Calton Hill? Oh, that’s one of the places I went on my first-ever visit!

A photo of the Grassmarket? I had so many ridiculous nights out there!

A picture of Hogmanay celebrations? That reminds me of the time I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the streets of Edinburgh!

10. I wonder what my life would have been like had I stayed in Edinburgh

Would I still be working at the same job? What neighbourhood would I be living in? Would I still love it as much as I did when I was living there?

Bagpiper on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

11. I have to awkwardly explain why things didn’t work out between us 

Weren’t you living in Scotland? What made you decide to come back to Canada?

Why, yes I was, and thank you kindly for bringing this up AGAIN. I’d love to tell you all about how I planned to stay in Edinburgh for at least a few more years but then ran into several visa complications, had to leave against my will, and return home to essentially start my life over from scratch. Any other questions?

12. I can’t listen to songs that remind me of it

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond, Caledonia—don’t you dare play any of these songs in my presence.

13. I keep going back

I don’t care if it prolongs the process of moving on—I will keep going back to Edinburgh. (I may or may not be looking at flight prices right now.)

Do you feel this way about any place? Or have I just reached peak levels of lunacy?

More posts on Edinburgh expat life:


  1. I’m just back from two weeks in Edinburgh, Ashley so hope this doesn’t put you off! Great weather including two extremely hot days. but nothing like the south of England.
    Edinburgh is a city of so many extremes, especially when it comes to education. With all its esteemed institutions, there are many who simply won’t take advantage of them (free university.) I was fortunate enough to be there for the graduation of a young family member from the School of Education, Edinburgh University. held in McEwan Hall.

    1. I’m very jealous you’ve just returned! And even more jealous you had great weather haha. McEwan Hall is a beautiful building – it must have been a lovely ceremony.

  2. Oh Ashley, I hope you can visit soon! I understand completely. I would be stalking Melbourne obsessively if I lived anywhere else in the world.

    1. Thank you, LC! So glad to know you can understand where I’m coming from on the city stalking front haha

  3. i have been following your page for a while and feels this to the bone. I am currently about to make a choice between moving to Melbourne or back to Edinburgh after leaving in 2021 due to covid. P.S I am an Australian (32 year old) and lucky enough to have a british passport (thanks dad) any recommendations on how to make a hard choice . 🙂 love your work.

    1. Hey Cass! Something I find helpful is keeping in mind that any decision you make isn’t necessarily permanent. So, whether you move to Edinburgh and decide to come back home, or you move to Melbourne for a while and then go back to Edinburgh at a different time, you can always change your mind. Good luck with your decision!

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