Around the World, One Month at a Time

by Keith Savage · 44 comments


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Maybe you’ve seen this phrase in the banner at the top of my site. Maybe you’ve wondered how that’s any different than other round-the-world trips. Maybe you’ve questioned why I have that tagline and haven’t gone into much detail on it after four months of blogging. Maybe this is your first visit.

If so, welcome. You aren’t the only one.

I recently received an e-mail from a reader asking for more details about my travel plans. Now I’ve been keeping this post at arm’s length, fearing the conjunction of timing and exposition might be too early. That it might somehow cut short my current earning potential, if you catch my drift. It’s a sticky trap many in the corporate-to-traveler set have to deal with at some point. The gist of the e-mail (dare I say my first fan mail?) that I took away was this: How was I going to make this whole periodic traveling for one month thing work?

Fair question. No, excellent question. There will be an answer, but first some important demographic details to put this post into perspective.

  • Age: rapidly approaching 30 but still younger than my friend Ryan.
  • Status: happily married for 2.5 years.
  • Kids: None.
  • Pets: 3 cats.
  • Residence: house in the suburbs with a two-car garage.
  • Job: Same one since I graduated college.
  • Traveling: Solo.

How similar am I to you?

I’ve met scores of people through the travel blogging community on Facebook and Twitter who are planning or in the midst of their round-the-world journeys. Most clean house, selling every non-essential item they’ve accrued in the preceding years. They stake a for-sale sign in the front yard or turn in the apartment keys. They bid their cars adieu. They disappear into the spinning globe, freed from the tethers of routine payments for things they don’t need or love. Hatchlings pushing through eggshells.

And yet I won’t be doing most, if any, of that. My path is one where each foot will tread different worlds. Three to four months of the year I will be away, spending a month in a location doing my utmost to learn, soak up, understand, and drink in the culture. My dad and Floreta of Solitary Panda independently described it as “anthropological,” and I suppose it is. The other eight to nine months I’ll be back at Traveling Savage HQ: home with my wife, regaling her with stories, and cleaning up the random cat puke.

Since I won’t be holding a firesale on our possessions, there are two primary balls for me to juggle: relationship and money.

Keeping the Home Happy

It’s ironic in a melancholy way that this whole idea is my wife’s and yet she’ll be the one at home working while I’m off somewhere traveling. As much as I enjoy traveling, this won’t be a vacation. It’s work. We’ve come to accept this aspect of the venture. We won’t be glad to be apart, but we’ll have to be strong for each other. Google Chat, Skype, and the myriad other communication tools will hopefully take the edge off. The bottom line is that our relationship is our number one priority. If things start to go off course we’ll need to adjust until it’s back on track.

Without question this is my greatest concern with the plan, but we wouldn’t be this far along the path if our relationship wasn’t strong like bull. While the focus of Traveling Savage will be tips, narratives, and insights through the lens of experiential travel, the reality of being away from a significant other and traveling will be something I cover as well. I hope you’ll find this interesting and useful, and, if all goes according to plan, you’ll see that this style of travel can be done.

Dead Presidents

Both my wife and I were incredibly lucky to leave college with zero debt, and we’ve carried zero debt (excluding mortgage) ever since. We’re on a rigorous budget and have managed to save enough money to keep me traveling for a couple years while I see if Traveling Savage will sink or grow wings. Traveling every three or four months means I’ll spend more on flights than your average round-the-worlder, but them’s the breaks.

*****

This is the biggest risk of my life, but it feels right. I hope you’ll continue to visit Traveling Savage and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues if you enjoy it. I know it will be a joy for me to write here, but only you will make it a success. How will I make this whole periodic traveling for one month thing work? I said there’d be an answer. I’ll just have to wait and see what it is.


Chuck ClaytonNo Gravatar November 14, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Observing what goes on in the mind of a traveler is interesting and fun. There is so much of the world to see…but like anything, it takes time.

Best,

Chuck

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Chuck ClaytonNo Gravatar November 14, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Learning about the inside thoughts of a traveler is a lot of fun!

Best,

Chuck

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AshleyNo Gravatar April 16, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Solo travel can be very rewarding, but I’m looking forward to traveling with my boyfriend in the future. He is currently off traveling around South America, and I know from experience it can be very difficult when internet connections are dodgey, time zones different, and schedules vary. We have a very strong relationship, and I believe it is the only way a situation like this can work – so I commend you for your strength! Best of luck and looking forward to the results.
.-= Ashley´s last blog ..Finding a Piece of Home Abroad – How do you cope? =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar May 25, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Hi Ashley, I will always need travel with others. Given that my plans bring travel into the work sphere, I’ll still want vacations with Sarah.

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AkilaNo Gravatar April 13, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Keith, your plans sound wonderful. It is definitely going to be hard to be away from your wife but, in the long run, your relationship will be stronger if both of you are happy in your careers (or, so I think). Our trip has somewhat evolved into Suzy’s trip. We are currently back in the US working for a month and a half or so and then we’ll hit the road for three months and then back again for a little while and then the road and so on. I love this lifestyle. We are able to make enough money when we are back home so we can fund the next leg of our trip and we don’t have to dip into our savings too much.

So . . . . when is the first leg? And where will you be going? Or is it too soon to ask questions like that.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 13, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Thanks for the comment, Akila. I would really love to answer your questions, but I think it needs to wait until this summer, unfortunately. Hopefully you and others aren’t getting put off by the secrecy! I swear things will start “blooming” in a few months!

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PoiNo Gravatar April 12, 2010 at 8:14 AM

I think this has already been said but thanks for clearing up the wife situation. Kirsty and I were also wondering what was going on there. I think its brilliant that both of you have such faith in your relationship to make it work.

I think Kirsty might have rather left me at home.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 12, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Hey Poi – so funny that lots of people thought something ill had befallen her. I’m glad I mentioned it here! Note to self: remember that readers only know what you tell them.

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GypsyChickNo Gravatar April 8, 2010 at 12:13 AM

Fantastic! I love what you’re doing. Too often I hear “I wish I could do what you’re doing but I’ve got a (house, marriage, dogs, job, house plants…)” I am adamant that anyone can do this, it just takes some creative thought and some guts to try. Its so great to see someone that can strike a balance. I’ll be following you.
PS-congrats on landing such a cool chica for a wife 😉
.-= GypsyChick´s last blog .. =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 8, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Hi GypsyChick, good to meet you. It’s definitely not an easy choice/process, but if you really want to do it you can make it work.

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floretaNo Gravatar April 7, 2010 at 11:10 PM

thanks for the shout out 🙂

it’s a risk; all things are risk. but i believe from what you’ve written here that you have enough cushion to make this work! my travel, although i am by no means rich or have money saved up, is relatively low risk because of my location (asia) where i can live cheaply while working on freelance writing. for example, in only 20 hrs of work a month, i discovered i make about as much as the average filipino here.. kind of sad perspective eh?

as for your travel as “work”.. i’m not quite sure i understand. are you trying to make traveling savage a business/source of income? if so, good luck! and awesome! something i want to do with my site but not sure it really has the potential or direction…
.-= floreta´s last blog ..Anal Lube Giveaway (NSFW) =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 8, 2010 at 1:16 PM

See my comment to Marta above. Yes, I’m not sure either and that’s why it’s such a big risk. But I believe I have the potential.

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floretaNo Gravatar April 9, 2010 at 7:01 PM

yes i totally believe you do!! go go go!

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martaNo Gravatar April 7, 2010 at 10:22 AM

it’s surely different from the way Chris and I are travelling, backpacking through the world, and I am too a bit envious as our trip is coming to an end and who knows how much we should work to have another opportunity of this kind and most importantly when, while you have the chance to travel ever year for few months. surely we share the same passion for travels.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 8, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Sure sounds like it. The plan is to use this blog and others to fund my travels and pay the bills at some point. Here’s hoping for prosperity!

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ayngelinaNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 11:36 PM

It’s wonderful to hear your plan. I also have someone who was so supportive of my plan but we decided to end the relationship the day I left. Who knows if it will return when I come back to Canada but I can understand your challenges of needing to stay connected.
.-= ayngelina´s last blog ..Is Cancun the real Mexico? =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Sorry to hear that – it’s tough to deal with. Impressive display of willpower following your goals anyway.

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Mark GuerraNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 6:33 PM

Keith,
I stumbled upon your website through a fellow tweep (@nomadicchick). I love your idea of being gone for a few months at a time and then returning home. The “bits” of travel you are taking provide some good time to reflect on your travels while back at home. It’s only in this context that we fully embrace the whole cultural immersion, at least, that’s my opinion. I am really looking forward to keeping up with your journey and reading your fantastic tales!! Best of luck and safe travels! Oh, and more power to your supportive wife for providing you with the energy to embark on your endeavors. Take care my friend!

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Hi Mark, glad you found me. Nomadic Chick is great, isn’t she? I agree that the months in between trips will give me time to process the preceding trip and reflect. Hope to see you around here again!

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ErinNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 5:55 PM

That´s a really interesting idea and I´m sure you´ll have some amazing experiences. I´ll be interested in reading how you get on. It´s very different to the way we are travelling (together, indefinitely) but I can see the advantages of this way for many people if they have commitments at home. It will also be a lot less tiring for you than constant travel so you may be able to appreciate places more. We are currently in Buenos Aires for a month or so and I think you are coming here too later in the year – it´s the perfect destination for this kind of travel.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Hi Erin. In almost all of my previous travels my wife and I have been together, bumming around from city to city. We love traveling together and make great companions on the road (and at home). I’m glad to hear you’ll be following along as I take the leap. I’m also really stoked to hear that Buenos Aires is a good destination for it. I’ll likely spend most of my time there, but I might also jet over to Salta or Mendoza.

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KelseyNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 5:32 PM

This is very similar to how I travel, only in my case it’s a boyfriend who stays behind to look after our apartment and cats. The cost involved in taking a year-long trip is really too high for me, but traveling places for 1-3 months at a time is much more doable, and much less of a burden for Marc, my boyfriend. Besides, I often feel that by sticking to one place for a longer period of time I actually end up getting to know that place better than someone who stops there for only a week or so during a whirlwind RTW trip.

I wrote an entry about traveling without your significant other awhile back. You might enjoy reading it, so I’ll link you to it: http://www.driftingfocus.com/blogs/?p=6648
.-= Kelsey´s last blog ..How I Stopped Buying and Learned to Leave the Cult of Stuff =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 7, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Hi Kelsey, thanks for the link. Sounds like quite a similar situation.

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AlyNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Sounds like you’ve got an amazing adventure coming up! Staying in one place and “living” is the only way to learn a new culture or language. Ha ha I wouldn’t be surprised if down the road you find a place where you’re just begging your wife sell everything and to join you. One month might not be enough! Best of luck out there!!!
.-= Aly´s last blog ..Thom & Sean’s Postcard Visits The Deep South =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 9:10 PM

I’m slightly concerned about this – I think there’s a high likelihood that this will happen in pretty much every place I go, haha.

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KjirstenNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Keith,
I love, LOVE this idea. I too am a world traveler with significant other mostly at home (boyfriend of 7 years, he’s endured my absence for a collective 9 months). We recently met a couple while in Death Valley, from Argentina who were driving their 60’s VW Bus around the world, ending in France. (twitter @amerikando). Since, my bf has been all over this driving round the world idea, while I’ve been advocating your basic proposal: see the world, one month at a time. Like I said, I love your idea and will definitely be keeping up with your blog (and hopefully using it to convince the bf) Thank you so much for sharing, take care, and happy travels!
Kjirsten

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 9:08 PM

Hi Kjirsten, both your options have merit. I’m curious to know which one you choose! Glad to have you around these parts.

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JoelNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Great overview, Keith. As a fellow “in-depth” traveler, I’m looking forward to reading your experiences along the way – for tips, a different perspective and advice on places to try.

Good luck, and yes, you should have more about the wife in your posts! I think having a spouse who’s supporting you like this is one of the most unique aspects about your plan.
.-= Joel´s last blog ..Miami: From Douche til Dawn =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Thanks Joel. Maybe at some point I can even stop referring to her as “my wife.” Wouldn’t that be novel? 🙂

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NickiNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Very cool to hear the details of your trip! (I was also at first scared to hear what happened to the wife!) I would love to do something similiar in the future, it gives me hope as a travel addict who may not be able to convince the significant other to drop everything for a year or two to see how it could be done! Best wishes as you embark on the journey!

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Yikes, looks like my posts need more wife in them! Thanks for the well-wishes, and stay tuned.

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ClaireNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM

good idea on more wife. that way, those of us that were concerned can breath a little sigh of relief knowing all is well 😉

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Amy S.No Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Keith, this is such an amazing adventure you are going to embark on and i am eager to read all about it. Tell Sarah she can always come to MKE and hang out if she gets bored 🙂

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Thanks Amy! I’ll let her know 🙂

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GrayNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 8:44 AM

I’m really fascinated by your style of travel, Keith. For someone like me, it appeals more than a RTW backpacking trip for months or years on end. I’m also incredibly envious that you have someone keeping the home fires burning so you don’t have to sell your house and all your worldly possessions. I can’t wait to see how it works out for you.
.-= Gray´s last blog ..So This is Mofongo =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Yes, I feel quite lucky to have these conditions. There is already a blossom of excitement, anxiety, and….fate(?).

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ClaireNo Gravatar April 5, 2010 at 11:19 PM

Whew! OK! ever since I read your bio, i have wondering what happened to the wife in all of this. thanks for clearing it up!

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KeithNo Gravatar April 5, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Thanks Claire, my wife and I had a good laugh about this. 🙂

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SuzyNo Gravatar April 5, 2010 at 9:47 PM

It is rare to find a significant other that will let you just travel or leave for months at a time. I think that solves your relationship concerns. It seems already strong and something many covet. There are so many couples that limit each other in the travel department. I love your plan of staying in a place for a month. That is similar to what I am doing. I’m going to live in a place for 3 months, come home for a month, and finances permitting, take off for another 3 somewhere else. I really think it gives you the best view of a place to actually experience it for a longer amount of time. Great post!
.-= Suzy´s last blog ..Suzy Stumbles Over Travel: Week of April 5, 2010 =-.

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KeithNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Your plan is like the flipside of mine. Sounds awesome – where are you off to next?

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SuzyNo Gravatar April 8, 2010 at 2:18 AM

I know! It’s somewhat funny. Headed to Italy/Europe in June. Now I begin figuring out where I will go after those three months.
.-= Suzy´s last blog ..Suzy Stumbles Over Travel: Week of April 5, 2010 =-.

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