State of the Savage: July 2010

by Keith Savage · 20 comments

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July was a month of dreams and decisions. My mind burgeoned with images of Argentina, Hungary, South Africa and a number of other possible destinations for the eight one-month trips I’ve slated for the next two years. And decisions, yes, some of those too.

It was also the month I kissed my 20s goodbye. Some consider 30 to be your admission ticket to bountiful bran breakfasts, sessions of Icy Hot application, and muffin tops. Not so, me. I feel it’s the beginning of a vibrant and thrumming thing, the rare growth into adolescence of an idea: Traveling Savage.

Come to think of it, “kissing things goodbye” will be an apt summary of this year. Wonder what’s next? šŸ™‚

Plans & Happenings

My Argentina planning came to a head this month. I knew it would be my first destination, but not exactly where in the country. I’m not backpacking around and I’m not on vacation; I’m putting roots down in one place for a month. My choices boiled down to Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Salta, and you can read all about my thought process here. The outpouring of comments and thoughts was humbling and immensely helpful, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve made a decision (call ESPN!):

For my first “flash enculturation,” I will be spending a month in Salta, Argentina!

Special thank yous to Audrey of Uncornered Market, Aracely of Two Backpackers, Gareth of Tourist 2 Townie, Marcello of Wandering Trader, and Erin of Never Ending Voyage among everyone else in the comments. This is a case study in social media bringing knowledge holders to knowledge seekers. Amazing.

I’m now on the hunt for flights to Buenos Aires that don’t annihilate my budget before I’ve gone anywhere, and I’ve got a vaccination check-up scheduled as well. I’m also reading up on how to be smart about frequent flyer programs and what kind of travel insurance I need over my basic insurance. This month I also spent some time trying to nail down our communication modes while Sarah and I are apart, and at this point I’ve decided to buy an iPhone 4. Color me excited.

In the bittersweet news section, we’ve finally found a new home for one of our cats (sniffle…bye Whisky…sniffle). The backstory is irrelevant other than to say two of our female cats didn’t get along and we had to keep one segregated in our spare bedroom to prevent demonic feline deathmatches. With the spare bedroom freed, we can now begin hosting Couchsurfers! Hopefully some people come through this way because I think it’s important to build up my community profile as proof I don’t harbor creepy or murderous tendencies.

Features & PR

It has been another good month of seeing Traveling Savage out and about. Shortly after my last State of the Savage, the awesome folks at Global Basecamps interviewed me as part of their Best in Travel Blogs series. Kelley asked some beautiful questions and I appreciated how much she knew about the Traveling Savage philosophy. Andi Fisher of Misadventures with Andi kindly featured me twice this month in Saturday Six #29 and #31, once for The Goodbye Traveler and once for 10 Things Zorba the Greek Taught Me About Life.

Adventurous Kate included my post on One Month in Argentina in best travel blogs of July 11-17, and Caz of yTravelBlog pulled my Zorba post into her best travel posts for the week of July 19th. Finally, the folks over on Simonseeks recommended Traveling Savage for my recent iPhone post. It’s a handy site with a bunch of travel tips ranging from the cheapest Rome Hotels to the best nightlife in London.

Somewhere along the line Traveling Savage crested 1,000 comments and I’ve continued to hit all-time highs with subscribers and traffic. I also closed my first ad deal a couple of days ago. Here’s to hoping there’s more where that came from!

Parting Thought

Switching gears now. To this day, a post on David Lee’s Go Backpacking still haunts me. Go ahead and read it. The author asked Miguel, a man he met on the streets in Cuba, a series of questions. He was met with consistently tight-lipped responses. When asked “What’s your dream and why?” Miguel responded that he has no dream and he’s happy. I remembered slumping back in my chair and stroking my chin. There some indication in the post that Miguel might have been disingenuous, perhaps concerned about a government reprisal, but what if he was just content to sell straw purses and bags on the street? Is this simplicity trumping complexity once again? Are dreams a luxury? Are dreams an escape?

LauraNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Eight one-month trips sounds like a fantastic idea! You’ve got many fun adventures ahead of you I’m sure šŸ™‚

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Thanks Laura, I’m really looking forward to it. Also looking forward to how it will evolve along the way.

MichaelNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Nice! I loved Salta. Did you eventually find a good deal on flights?

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

I’m still on the hunt for a good flight. Salta’s apparently somewhat difficult to access.

AndiNo Gravatar July 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

I really hope you plan to spend a couple of days in BA. If not, I promise you’re missing out on a VERY special city!!! Happy 30th Birthday! This is going to be an incredible decade for you. Congrats on all your features.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 9:26 AM

I aim to spend 2-3 nights in BA before heading to Salta. Who knows, it might beguile me and force me to stay there for the entire month. šŸ™‚ Thanks for the well wishes, Andi!

ErinNo Gravatar July 29, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Congrats on making your decision and on turning 30!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Thanks Erin, your comments and site have been really helpful in making that decision. Wish our paths would cross!

LeighNo Gravatar July 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM

As always Keith your posts are beautifully written. Thirty years old- can’t even remember my 30’s – nothing but a blur of kids and work. Payoff is in the 50’s – empty nesters with energy, health and more cash than my thirties…time is still an issue and I can’t write like you either. Looks like you have plenty of great travels ahead of you.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Hi Leigh, glad to hear the 50s are treating you well. I don’t know if it’s recent stories I’ve read, but more people seem to be getting sicker at a younger age. I figure nothing is guaranteed, and that’s a sobering thought to have in a culture built on delayed gratification. You’re making me blush with the compliments : \

ClaireNo Gravatar July 29, 2010 at 12:40 PM

As someone swiftly encroaching upon 30 (next month, YIKES!) i have major mixed feelings. but it sounds as if you do not, and are taking argentina by the tail! looking forward to hearing about salta. congrats on all the new connections!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Thanks Claire. With 30 – or any year for that matter – you can choose to dwell on the arbitrariness of it all or just keep on moving without a second glance. I think the latter is a better way to go. If you didn’t know you just turned 30, 40, 50, or 60, would you suddenly feel different? No.

AudreyNo Gravatar July 29, 2010 at 1:35 AM

Glad to hear that you made a decision on Salta! Not only is the city great (lovely fresh market), but that whole region is worth exploration. Good wines, too.

One thing to consider with flights is looking at Santiago instead of Buenos Aires. When we flew from South America in May, the flights from Santiago were considerably cheaper than those from Buenos Aires. From Santiago you could take a bus over to Mendoza (it’s a beautiful ride) and then an overnight bus (or quick flight) up to Salta.

Have fun with the rest of the planning!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 30, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Thanks for the planning tip, Audrey. I’m starting to look at flights seriously now.

CandiceNo Gravatar July 28, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Wooohooo, good times ahead!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 9:19 AM

So true. I alternate between giddy excitement and crippling nerves. But that’s the norm. Sounds like things are moving along for you – very cool!

WanderingTraderNo Gravatar July 28, 2010 at 9:51 PM

Dude your 30? That steak is going to be hard to burn off in Argentina my man!! way to hard lol

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 30, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Thanks for the reminder, dude… šŸ™‚

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