State of the Savage: March 2010

by Keith Savage · 22 comments


The past month has been busy and plans are starting to come together. Thankfully, winter’s knifing winds and crusty layer of knee-deep snow have started their migration toward southerly climes. Soon, the trees will blossom and it will be time to mow the lawn again. The birds are already back and crazy happy. A season has come and gone, and I continue to march toward my goal.

Planning

Much of my time over the last couple of months has been spent researching places I’d like to travel. South America immediately crested the list, and I flip-flopped between Argentina and Chile incessantly. Uruguay entered the fray and blind-sided me with it’s enigmatic towns and romantic backcountry. Now, I can confidently say that I have chosen my first destination: Argentina. I will certainly spend a good chunk of time in Buenos Aires, and I’m looking into the rest of this fascinating and enormous country to determine the kinds of experiences I’d like to pursue. One month seems dreadfully short when I think about the depth of culture and natural beauty throughout the country, so I will need to be judicious about where I choose to travel and for how long I intend to stay. Let’s consider this my first trip to Argentina and certainly not my last. Please post any recommendations in the comments!

I’m heading to San Francisco in May to visit my brother, and I’m planning to treat it like a test version of the type of traveling I’ll do in Argentina and beyond. I’ll be with friends and family, so undoubtedly this will be somewhat limited. However, I think it will be a fun and important trial that will help me refine my ideas. I’ll also get to use some of my new supplies, including my Tom Bihn Aeronaut and Smart Alec bags. Maybe I’ll have a camera or video camera by then, too?

Site

The main change I’ve made to the site since my last update is a complete revamp of the color scheme. I liked my previous grey/orange scheme, but I got some feedback that the contrast between my text and background color made it difficult to read. That feedback coupled with the minor clash of my new banner with the old color scheme led me to use earth tones and warm colors that now match with the banner. I’m happy with the new look, but I’d appreciate any improvement suggestions or thoughts you might have.

I’ve added a ton of links to great blogs in my Good Reads section – please have a look and enjoy! Also, I’m considering adding new sections for photo/video galleries and maps once the travels kick off. Finally, I’m looking into doing some guest posts in the next couple of months. More info to come.

The Audience Question

As I’ve spoken to family and friends about my venture, the question that comes up most often is some form of “how many people can actually travel the way you’re planning to?” In other words, is your niche too small? It’s a good question. I’m hoping that the information I provide and the posts I write will serve three distinct audiences: long-term travelers, vacationers, and armchair travelers. One idea I’m considering is tagging posts with the type of audience I think will find the most use from it. This would provide a convenient way to search for similar posts without being obtrusive or exclusive. But how will my content target these groups? I hesitate to assign generalized types of content that these audiences enjoy. Suffice to say I aim to provide narrative pieces, nuts-and-bolts recommendations, collages and photo essays, video, and overarching reflections on the experiences – positive and negative – along the way. Anyone can participate in and enjoy experiential travel; it’s not a function of the length of a trip.

The Hardest Part

More than three months have passed since I started Traveling Savage and writing and interacting with everyone here has been an awesome experience filled with learning and growth. The hardest part has been not traveling while at the same time trying to provide useful and interesting blog content. There will be some posts in the future related to this topic, so keep your eyes here or on your RSS reader. I’ve calibrated my mindset such that I’m trying not to worry about Alexa, page rank, and site traffic until after my trips start as I think that’s when my content will be more representative of what I plan to write (there will still be plenty of philosophical posts). Regardless, I’ve really enjoyed all of the comments on my posts and I’d like to thank everyone for reading.

Cheers, and bring on April!


Cornelius AesopNo Gravatar March 25, 2010 at 8:25 AM

I’m with you on the hardest part. As I get further and further away from my last travel experience it becomes harder to ensure what I write will have meaning or interest within the travel community. Especially since I’m on a two year stint, stuck in the mild midwest USA until I reach my goals and can take off on the road. I think you are doing a great job though, keep on truckin’
.-= Cornelius Aesop´s last blog ..New Brew Tuesday: Sapporo =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 25, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Being from the midwest myself, I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I checked out your blog and I see you’ve got a departure date of 2012 – that’s dangerously close to Armageddon. You’re my favorite monkey.

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Nomadic ChickNo Gravatar March 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM

I agree with everyone else. Write from an genuine, authentic place and it will resonate or not.. for those unlucky to not enjoy your stories or tips – so be it. Just as real life, your true friends will stand by, or in this case – your travel friends. 🙂

Argentina is top of my bucket list – and I adore San Fran. Isn’t that were Joya is living?
.-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog .. =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 24, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Thanks Jeannie. You would expect encouragement from your close friends – sadly, that isn’t always the case. Perhaps more on this in a post. By the time San Francisco hits, I’ll have gone something like seven months without a real vacation.

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Nomadic ChickNo Gravatar March 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Wow, just noticed my spelling mistakes – seemed to be my trend on comments yesterday. 🙂 You hint at little or zero cheerleading from close friends, guess I’m lucky, all of my friends are on board. Methinks some folks can’t relate to this process you’re going through, some probably don’t take your claims seriously, while others might be envious. Not imply your friends are petty, but we are human after all… Take heart, we support you!
.-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog .. =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Oh, most of my friends and all of my family have been very supportive. But it is nice to have the friendly folks of the travel blogging community behind me as well. Btw, I think you’re right as far as folks relating or not relating to the process.

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GrayNo Gravatar March 23, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Love the new color scheme! As for tagging your posts, I agree with Neeps and think you should just let people decide for themselves what is useful to them. I am not a backpacker, for instance, but I enjoy reading backpacker experiences–it’s a way to live vicariously. I think you have chosen an excellent starting point for your travels. I’ve read a lot about Buenos Aires lately that has me convinced I’d love it. I can’t wait to read your posts about it.
.-= Gray´s last blog ..Freestyle Dining on NCL’s Epic: Perfect for Solos? =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 23, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Thanks for the input, Gray. I’m really looking forward to going someplace completely different from my past travels.

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JoyaNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 11:53 PM

Hi Keith, I’m looking forward to reading more about your trip! I am not traveling right now and worry about supplying good content so I can understand you there but your blog looks great and I like your writing1
.-= Joya´s last blog ..How Should I Feed My Wanderlust? =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 23, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Hi Joya, I assumed other writers would have similar feelings, but a little solidarity is nice. I’ve been following your blog and your latest post has echoes of what I’ve been feeling lately. Keep planning!

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backpacking-travel-guideNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 7:23 PM

*The Hardest Part*
Keep doing what you’re doing- delivering passionate articles about the way you view things and the rest will follow! The content only gets better as you being to travel. For not traveling during the past three months, the articles have been very engaging! keep it up!

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KeithNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Good advice! I appreciate the encouragement, too. This travel blogging community is so supportive that it makes big changes like this a little easier.

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Joe PritchardNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 7:21 PM

The Hardest Part … The quality of this site is so high we can only expect great things of you once you’ve put the road under your feet once more. Alexa and page rank be damned, enjoy your travels and we will enjoy them with you all the more.

BTW, The new colour scheme suits you!
.-= Joe Pritchard´s last blog ..The bus is calling =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Thanks Joe, very kind of you. I agree that enjoyment needs to be at the vanguard as it translates into great posts. Alexa and PR will be important for benchmarking down the line. Hope to see you around here again!

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Sofia - As We TravelNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Take a Tango dance course!! Argentina seems intense and the people passionate, just like Tango, i guess that explains why it comes from there.
Plus, we’d all love to see a video of it 😉

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KeithNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

The mere thought strikes fear into my heart.

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ayngelinaNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Aww poor Uruguay. Was I the only one who voted for it? I don’t think you can go wrong with Argentina. When I share that I’m going there I get so many positive responses about how amazing it is.
.-= ayngelina´s last blog ..My Trio of Travel Secrets =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 11:15 AM

I think I’ll be able to make a side-trip to Colonia and possibly Montevideo, so all’s not lost. As for Argentina, I’m excited! When/where are you going?

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ayngelinaNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 11:16 AM

If all goes as planned, or really unplanned, I should be in Argentina in December. My RTW starts in 9 days in Mexico so there’s a lot that could happen before December.
.-= ayngelina´s last blog ..My Trio of Travel Secrets =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Wow – 9 days from starting your RTW! You must be bursting at the seams. I assume you’ll be updating http://www.baconismagic.ca while on the road.

It’s looking like I’ll be there about a month before you. Hopefully you’ll find some useful information from my posts, then.

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NeepsNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 6:26 AM

I’m looking forward to those future posts when you’re back on the road. As for tagging your blogs for type of content or reader, I’d worry that some readers who would enjoy the post might pass it by based on your classification. Each of us has a personal mental construct that may or may not entirely match another persons even within the same culture.

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KeithNo Gravatar March 22, 2010 at 9:37 AM

That’s my primary concern with the ideas as well. Wordpress (my blog software) allows you to tag articles with keywords that appear at the very bottom of the post, well away from your eyes as you read. This could be a way to classify with excluding audiences, but I need to think on it more.

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