Internet Jealous Of Woman Who Lives On Scottish Island: ‘Hallmark Movie’


A woman’s move to the remote isle of Skye in western Scotland has sparked new life goals among users on TikTok.

Ema Shortel, a 32-year-old photographer and social media manager, traded her life in Edinburgh, the vibrant Scottish capital, for an idyllic escape in Skye in 2020 because her partner Frazer wanted to buy a property with enough room to build a small cabin to be rented out as a vacation home, she told Newsweek.

Shortel, who also works as a barista at her local café twice a week, shared a glimpse of her daily life in Skye in a viral clip shared in November last year from her TikTok account, which showcased scenic views of the island’s serene country backdrop.

She said: “We knew we wanted to buy [a home] on the isle of Skye because we had visited a few times and fell in love with the landscape. We wanted to build a life out here so we could eventually have more freedom to do the work we wanted to do.

“We love waking up next to the mountains and sea and we enjoy the peace that living in a rural location brings us,” she added.

Ema Shortel pictured against the mountain backdrop of Skye in Scotland.
Ema Shortel

While Shortel may have joined several other U.K. residents who moved to the countryside during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans were reported to have relocated less during the outbreak.

In 2020, fewer people in the U.S. moved out of cities than in the pre-pandemic years, according to census data, the Pew Research Center reported in December 2021.

The center noted that “overall 4.9 million Americans left cities for suburbs or rural areas, compared with an annual average of 5.4 million who did so before the pandemic.”

‘This Is Real Life’

Skye is the largest and northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. Known for its vast dramatic mountain landscape, Skye has been the filming location for a string of films, from the 2015 film Macbeth starring Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender to Ridley Scott’s 2012 film Prometheus, which also stars Fassbender as well as Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba.

The footage in the latest viral clip shows an “absolutely stunning” sunrise, featuring a calming pink and purple-hued sky, while a hand is later shown feeding chickens.

Frazer is later seen driving a car, as the camera later pans to “the usual traffic of cows in the road,” the voice says, “but look at the views this morning,” as the video shows mountain peaks under a bright blue sky.

The footage later shows sheep walking across the road before revealing the cozy interior of the café where Shortel works, which has a fireplace with a roaring flame.

Neist Point Lighthouse in Skye, Scotland.
A stock image of a view of the Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Ema Shortel, who moved to Skye in 2020, told Newsweek: “We love waking up next to the mountains and sea and we enjoy the peace that living in a rural location brings us.”
iStock / Getty Images Plus

The photographer said that one of the most fascinating aspects of living on the island is watching the wildlife and “how much the cows and sheep are literally on your doorstep every morning in the summer months. I also love how clear you can see planets and stars on clear nights due to no light pollution. I never expected to see such beauty in the sky.”

But her favorite thing is “the peace it brings me to know I can walk out my door and take a walk up the hill with my dogs and look at the beauty of the Cuillin mountains without seeing a single soul,” while the clean country air and “being able to have my chickens” are also among her favorite things about life on Skye.

Shortel noted that one misconception about living on a small island is that it could be boring or that you are “missing out on ‘real life’.”

She explained: “But, for us, this is real life where we can focus on what brings us joy without distractions. I think people also think we’re totally secluded and cut off too and can’t get deliveries et cetera, but our postman comes almost every day.”

The couple doesn’t think they’d ever move back to a city as “we are very settled in our new lifestyle.”

She noted: “There are times when I miss the convenience of being able to ‘pop’ to the shops or go to our favorite vegan restaurants. Being from Edinburgh, I also do miss the beauty of the buildings. But we prefer our life on Skye because we love waking up next to the mountains and sea and we enjoy the peace that living in a rural location brings us.”

‘A Hallmark Movie Dream’

Users on TikTok were delighted by the scenes from Shortel’s life on the Isle of Skye.

Starsparkles noted: “I feel like you live in a Hallmark movie dream land.”

User codi (james potters version) said: “the quiet life that I want.”

Elisabeth_outhiking wrote: “Everyone watching this wishing this was their life.”

Eleanor_amelia said: “Living my dream. I’d love to move to one of the western isles one day…”

Katie noted: “Amazing ! It is my dream to go Scotland…”

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