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For Hailey Beaupre ’20, History Begets History; Living Out Dreams, Making A Career in Scotland

Story By:
Paul Miller | Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations
Hailey Beaupure
Hailey is seen in her preferred outfit when she is giving guided tours of Scotland. (Photo by Holeyn Heritage Photography)

Hailey Beaupre ’20 spends her days studying Scotland’s history, soaking in its stunning landscapes, and running around castles and lush countryside “giving people the experience of a lifetime in locations that seem too beautiful to be true.”

Her dream is now her reality, and her story so out of the ordinary — fairytale-like some might say — that in the part of the world where the Keene State graduate and historian now works and lives, thousands of miles and a transatlantic flight away from her native Connecticut, she is a business owner and, peculiarly enough, a bit of a media celebrity.

Shaped by college, a pandemic, the tragic loss of a best friend, and a fortuitous introduction to Outlander, a hugely popular TV saga set largely in Scotland, Hailey’s fascinating journey has been chronicled on podcasts, in print and online publications and social media at home and abroad.

She is on a self-inspired professional fast-track. Hailey earned a master’s in museum studies from the University of Aberdeen and just opened her own company, Sassenach Historian Tours, of which she is lone proprietor and tour guide.

Hailey said the tours she offers can be personalized by the client and can focus on any time period or location in Scotland.

“Based on interests,” she said, “that might include castles, the Scottish Highlands, the Jacobites, Mary Queen of Scots, the ever-intriguing history of witchcraft in Scotland. Really, the possibilities are endless and no two tours are the same.”

Tours of Outlander filming locations are the most popular, for the client and herself, she added.

Hailey has attained Outlander superfan status; attended the Starz show’s season-six premiere in London, where she met Caitriona Balfe, who stars as Claire Fraser; and attended a recent Scottish BAFTA Awards, where she met most of the show’s other cast.

Meeting Balfe, she said, remains a high point of her life. “I was able to tell her that she, and Outlander, literally saved my life.” Centered on star-crossed lovers Claire and Jamie, played by Sam Heughan, and headed for an eighth and final season, Outlander has drawn fans like Hailey from across the globe. It is based on the popular book series by Diana Gabaldon.

“I found my purpose in a way not everyone might understand, but it has been everything I could have hoped for and more, because I can say, proudly, that I am living my dream.”

– Hailey Beaupre

Hailey earned a bachelor’s degree in history and starred in field hockey at Keene State. Before the recent launch of her company, Hailey lived and worked at Blair Castle near Pitlochry in Perthshire, Scotland, apprenticing to be a tour guide.

During its more than 750-year history, Blair Castle has been home to politicians, soldiers, agriculturalists, entrepreneurs, and is today home to Europe’s last remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders.

Hailey Beaupre and KSC friends
In Glasgow, Hailey recently connected with two current Keene State field hockey players, Dee Gonzales, left, who is studying abroad, and Molly Edmark, right, who was visiting Gonzales during spring break. “We never shared a field during our careers, but Keene State is forever,” said Hailey, a former Owl standout.

Hailey said she is better for her trials and tribulations, including an isolating pandemic and the loss of her best friend in a vehicle crash. During this same period, Hailey self-quarantined in a camper van in her parents’ back yard.

Before then, however, in 2018 and at her mother’s urging, Hailey began binge watching Outlander and fell in love with the story and its characters, which is what led her to Scotland for the first time, and what started this journey years later.

Looking back, it was the antidote to “a devastating and dark period in my life,” said Hailey. Compounding matters, Hailey, who moved to Scotland in 2020 to pursue a master’s degree, was suddenly forced to return home because of Covid-19. “My dream was ripped away.”

“I think about what Keene State offered me, this perfect balance of student-athlete life, some flexibility, and how incredibly important that turned out to be. My time at Keene State taught me that it is okay to take all the time you need to find yourself and do what you want … for you!”

Hailey enrolled wanting to be an elementary school teacher, “but I did a complete 180-degree pivot,” she said, referring to changing her major midway through college. “It was then that I knew I was on my way to doing something I loved and being the person that I wanted to be.”

“I found my purpose in a way not everyone might understand, but it has been everything I could have hoped for and more, because I can say, proudly, that I am living my dream.”

As a field hockey standout, Hailey started all 47 Keene State games combined in her junior and senior years and was part of the one of the college’s — and Little East Conference’s — most decorated teams. She was a captain her senior year and twice an all-conference selection.

“I remember pointing out to her all the obstacles in her way,” Amy Watson, Hailey’s field hockey coach, said of Hailey’s wide-eyed ambitions and her move to Europe. “I kept trying to reel her in, so to speak, to tell her to take it a step at a time. I was worried that her dream was too grandiose and that she would set herself up for disappointment. But she was determined and honestly, everything she said she was going to do is playing out according to that plan.”

“I am thrilled for Hailey. She is living her dream to the fullest. She continues to set goals for herself, and one by one she keeps completing them. I’m excited to see what’s next; I suspect I’ll be saying ‘I knew her before she became famous.’ ”

For now, it’s about the present, Hailey said. More goals, more dreams.

She’s okay with the superfan label, and she has found a partner, a Scot named Grant, to share her days and Outlander interests with. She can’t imagine a more beautiful part of the world, either. Known for its breathtaking natural scenery, including a rugged coastline that extends more than 6,000 miles and is dotted with hundreds of small islands, Scotland offers unmatched beauty and history, Hailey said. And she might add, opportunity.

“Maybe I took it to the extreme … but there is something within the (Outlander) story that makes you feel welcome; it makes you feel passionate, inspired, comfortable. … What may seem unusual, or strange, or obsolete or even unrealistic to some, may be absolutely extraordinary to someone else. Dare to take risks. I moved to a foreign country completely by myself because I had this notion of wanting to follow this very unordinary dream.”

And it worked out. Did it ever.

The once wannabe teacher turned history buff and professional historian, by way of Dayville, Connecticut — population 348 — and Keene State College, took the leap of a lifetime and is on top of the world in even more ways than she has long imagined.

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