What’s Your Story?

by Keith Savage · 46 comments

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I’ve spent the last ten months telling you my story, explaining my approach to travel, and showing my plan to travel the world. In exactly one month’s time I will be on the ground in Buenos Aires beginning the next great chapter in my life. I’ll have left a comfortable job, hit the road solo without my wife, and generally put myself in numerous unfamiliar and unpredictable situations.

What’s your story?

Many of you comment on my posts and I look forward to reading and responding to them everyday. Many more of you stop by Traveling Savage and simply check in for the latest content.

I would love to hear your story. Who are you? Where are you from? Where have you been? How does travel fit into your lifestyle? What brings you to Traveling Savage?

I’d really appreciate it if you told me a little about yourself – I’m curious and interested in learning more about you. Please share your story in the comments!

OdysseusNo Gravatar December 15, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Hi Keith!

I’ve been randomly reading articles on your website. They’re always interesting and I’m sure I’ll revisit them when I end up in S. America myself.

I’ve wanted to travel the world for a long time, so I worked a large variety of jobs (simultaneously) for 2 years to save money for my RTW, but then my cat got sick and I spent thousands of dollars on his surgery. (But hey, doesn’t everyone have that as their backstory?) Discouraged, but not willing to give up, I moved to South Korea over a year ago, and I now work in Seoul as an editor. Since free housing is given with my job, it’s a lot easier to save money here than in the U.S. At the end of my current contract, August 2011, I will (hopefully) have saved enough money to backpack for one year, or possibly two if I budget very wisely, couchsurf, eat street food, and all that jazz. Yay for happy endings! In the meantime, I blog about my trips through Korea (and sometimes China and Japan).

Here’s the actual story of my trip’s origins:


KristinNo Gravatar November 7, 2010 at 12:17 PM

What a great post -My own story: left the big corporate job 2 1/2 years ago, a marriage, and a home to become a chronic traveler. I relate to the clarity you express in feeling that this is your path.

My story is at: http://takeyourbigtrip.com/about-2/ Just found your blog and wish the best of luck to you. And you’re from Madison! On Wisconsin!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 7, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Kristin, sounds like you’ve been through a lot. How has it been the past 2.5 years? Would you do it again?

MatNo Gravatar October 30, 2010 at 6:51 PM

My wife and I are planning on leaving our jobs in Alaska in the spring, and travel around SE Asia for 6 months. We’ve been to Aruba for vacation (pre-Sept 11th), and Japan (I worked, she vacationed) for a week and LOVED it. We’ve been wanting/thinking about/planning this trip for 3+ years. We ordered our MEI packs yesterday, and currently researching visas.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 31, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Congratulations on staying focused for so many years! Sounds like it will be a great trip. Do you have a plan for after the six months in SE Asia?

MatNo Gravatar October 31, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Come back to Alaska, get jobs that earn enough to get by, continue to shed our belongings, then start working on our Peace Corps applications or just hit the road again (S America this time?). Good times!

AngieNo Gravatar October 16, 2010 at 2:31 PM

I have never written literature in English as it is not my mother language and would never dare! A story catcher like you must love the folkloric tales of the area. I am a otur guide in the NW. A local tour guide. I will be pleased to help ou with your proyect in Salta. pls, e-mail me if you need any help.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 17, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Angie, thank you so much for the offer! It sounds like you would have particularly deep knowledge of the region (based on what I’ve read on TripAdvisor). I will be in contact with you. Thanks!!

Traveling_MikeNo Gravatar October 16, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Awesome site Keith. I’m from Wisconsin too. Born and raised. Grew up near West Bend, attended College at UW-Platteville. Then I went to work onboard cruise ships for 3 years. Was an amazing time.
Met a lass from the UK and in january we leave for a year working holiday in Australia. After that we go to Kuala Lumpur, England, Alaska, then moving to the Pacific Northwest. I will always love wisconsin though.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 17, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Hey Mike, great story! Has traveling so extensively reinforced your love of Wisconsin? I went to UW-Madison, born in Milwaukee and raised there and in the La Crosse area.

RickNo Gravatar October 15, 2010 at 5:39 PM

I actually have a somewhat similar story and I’m planning to fly into Buenos Aires just after Thanksgiving; kind of random! I quit my stable job in July and have been on a roadtrip across the US ever since. I planned to study for the GMAT, visit grad schools, teach myself Spanish, and see a bunch of cool cities and national parks. I wanted to experience each place for its own merits, to live life without a plan, and to really find out what makes me happy. Lets just say I’ve packed a lot into my journey. I’ve been visited 8 major cities and 14 national parks and been in/through 19 states. I’ve camped, couchsurfed, stayed in hotels, motels, and hostels, I’ve even slept in my car. I’ve had more experiences in the last 3 months than some people have in a year, a lifetime. In many ways, I’ve had the time of my life, but that might discount some of the amazing experiences I had before this journey… I comment now because I was just made aware of your site and your recent post on hope reverberated with my current mindset and the direction. In the sense described, I’ve found that hope and expectation can be very similar beasts and that expectation can naturally flow from planning, which has been necessary on such a long and varied trip. I caution you to be careful of your expectations and to truly allow yourself to be present wherever you are. I would also suggest that you find some stability, namely a place to call home (or sleep) for extended periods of time…you have no idea how time/thought consuming it can be to have to constantly search out a place to stay when trying to live on the cheap (though that may not be as true outside of the US)! Have a great time, who knows, maybe I’ll run into you in a hostel somewhere!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 16, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Rick – congratulations on doing what sounds like an amazing three months. I agree that expectations can hamstring an amazing experience, and I have been guilty of that in the past.

Take a look around the site. My travel plans involve me staying in one place for a month at a time. For this trip, I’m staying in Salta, Argentina (with a couple days in Buenos Aires to begin and end the trip). There will likely be switching of couchsurfing hosts, but that’s minimal compared to moving between cities or countries.

How long will you be in Buenos Aires? I will be flying back to Chicago on December 10, and I will likely be somewhere in BA the night before.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you here again!

NatalieNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 7:21 AM

My blog is all about my travels round Turkey. I have settled in this country now having married a Turkish man so as well as learning the language, I want to know everything there is to know.

Got to ask you though Keith, is your wife not a little bit angry that you left for your travels without her?

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Very cool, Natalie. Turkey is on my list of destinations so I might be coming to you for tips down the road. πŸ˜‰

You ask a good question, and, to be clear, I haven’t left yet. I get a little sentimental thinking about how supportive she is of this entire venture. She’s not angry; she’s 100% behind it and helping to make it a success. I mean, she conceived of the idea in the first place! More than anything, we’re both a little on edge, nervous, about being a part for so long. If we can make it through the first couple of trips, I think we’ll find a groove and be OK. Naturally, I need to think about how I talk about my experiences. I don’t want to make her feel envious, but some of that will surely happen. We’re planning on meeting up on some of these trips – my god, there’s no way we could do this without her coming out for at least a couple.

The main point is that my travels are not some escape-from-it-all whim powered by hedonism. They’re work. And when you look at it that way, what Sarah and I are doing is teamwork.

NatalieNo Gravatar October 15, 2010 at 12:19 AM

That’s excellent news Keith. From how you have described her, I don’t think she will be envious no matter how you write the posts. She sounds like she is 100% behind you and you have the teamwork sorted. It’s tough being apart but sometimes it also makes you feel closer.

ConnieNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 9:35 PM

Hello, my name is Connie Hum and it has long been my dream to travel the globe and experience new cultures while positively impacting the world and the people around me. I made the decision at the end of 2008 to leave my amazing apartment in New York City and job with an international consulting firm and haven’t looked back since! I’m currently embarking on a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-while-I-slowly-meander-around-the-world journey that can only reaffirm my belief in humanity and all the good that this world holds. I only hope that I can inspire some good of my own along the way!

Traveling with only my wits, backpack, ukulele and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, I will engage in a variety of environmental and humanitarian projects and through Connvoyage, share with you the places I will see and live, the things I will discover and learn, the people I will encounter and befriend. I want you to experience it with me! On this amazing voyage, I invite you, friends and family, avid travelers, adventure seekers, and other sufferers of wanderlust to be my CONNvoy around the world, to lend me support, offer me guidance and join me in whatever capacity you can as I navigate through the wonders of this beautiful place called Earth!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Hi Connie, incredible story. Seeing the same themes from more and more people continues to amaze me.

Lust TravelNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Hi Keith, I’ve just found your blog this evening, glad I did before you head off on your trip. Hope all the preparations are going ok. I made similar choices to you, quit a job I’d worked very hard for to move from my home in Australia to Paris. I craved new sights and sounds, cultural differences and the inability to speak the language so I would be forced to learn. After a wonderful 18 months, I then moved to London and continue to explore Europe and India and all the other destinations on my ever growing list. I’ve also just started a little blog of my own to keep track of my travel finds. Well, all the best for the trip and I’m looking forward to your upates.


Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Nice site! Are you traveling solo? Did you manage to stock up funds so you could travel on them for a while? Glad you found Traveling Savage and thanks for the well wishes!

Lust TravelNo Gravatar October 13, 2010 at 4:51 PM

I started out travelling solo, then I met a boy in Paris, we got married and have been travelling together since. I worked two jobs for a long time to save cash to travel on, it never lasts as long as you think it will though! So I worked in a bar/cafe in Paris and am also working in London to fund trips from here. ‘Tis great fun.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Great story and good reminder that money rarely lasts as long as you think it will. Must be nice to have French citizenship!

singlewithluggageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Hey Keith- What a great and generous idea for a post. What brought me to your site was the name and that you live in Madison! I keep coming back because your writing is wonderful, and your ideas add value to my day. I love your spirit of adventure and make it happen approach.

My travel stories- too many to share them all. I spent most of my 20’s and part of my 30
s traveling and living over seas. I’ve been to all almost all of Western Europe, Slovakia (for a year), Spain (year and a half), Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, lived in London over year and all of Britain feels like home, Africa just a bit- South Africa, Nambia, Morocco, Latin America- Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Belize; Asia- India, Thailand, Nepal, Turkey. Probably some I’ve forgotten to mention. I’ve almost always had the luxury for staying months or weeks at a time. Sometimes I had no money and learned to rely on strangers, my experiences ranged from hanging out for a week with George Clooney to hitchhiking from Paris to the Southern tip of Spain! No matter how you do it, traveling bridges the gap between who you were and who you want to be. Magic, scary, wonderful- nothing makes me feel more alive.

It’s a little more challenging to travel these days, but people like you inspire have inspired me to make it happen again! Traveling with a purpose that’s bigger than myself seems entirely possible now- and a great way to give back on miniscule scale, all I’ve gained from being a visitor in all these foreign lands.

I wish you all the best and look forward to reading about your travels in Argentina. Good for you for going for it and creating a life anyone would be proud of. Besos y abrazos y un vieje muy bien!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Wow, you must have so many amazing experiences from those varied travels. And with weeks or months in places I bet it was much more fulfilling than the average vacation. A week with Mr. Clooney…interesting – must be much more to that story.

Thank you for the kind compliments and it’s about time we talk travel in Madison. I’m glad that, perhaps, travel will re-enter your life. With a passport resume like that, it’s obviously important to you.

pamNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Wandering parents, always relocating. Exchange student. Kibbutz volunteer. Backpacker across Europe, through Pakistan to India. Road tripper, solo and otherwise. Expat. Blogger. Writer.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Very cool, Pam. If I remember correctly, you spent some time in Austria. I’ve often wondered about visiting Salzburg.

WanderingTraderNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Ive searched my soul for answers and I have nothing… LOL πŸ˜›

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Hey Marcello – I can help. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? Where have you been? How did you become a nomadic stock trader?

NicoleNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 9:24 AM

We too left the comfortable job, sold the house and all the possessions, and bought a remote beachfront Caribbean resort! We moved there with our young children, spent one wild year there riding an emotional rollercoater and then, we suddenly weren’t allowed to be there. It now sits empty. It was heartbreaking and it’s been difficult to recover financially, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Now living in Seattle, co-own a gastrotavern (my husband is a chef), and continuing to explore this awesome world we live in. I wish you a fantastic experience!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Hi Nicole – what prevented you from staying in your Caribbean resort? What a terrible occurrence! Though, I have to say, owning a gastrotavern sounds pretty damn awesome.

NicoleNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 7:53 PM

It’s a complicated & long story but I plan to publish a book about it once I’m finished writing it. πŸ™‚ and yes, it is awesome to own a gastrotavern. Thanks for the reminder! πŸ™‚

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 8:52 AM

You’re in the process of writing a book about it? That’s excellent! Keep me in the loop on its progress, I’d love to read it.

NicoleNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Yep, writing a book about our crazy life operating a resort in the Caribbean. I post snippets on Twitter and FB. More info at http://nicoledurbin.wordpress.com. Thanks for your interest, Keith! πŸ™‚

Andy JaroszNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Hey Keith, look forward to following your adventures. No doubt your stories will bring the places you visit to life. Esp. looking forward to your Argentina tales – it’s a place we really enjoyed.
As for my story, it’s got travel dotted all the way through. I ran away from home when I was 5 – only for a few hours but enough to set my future course. Nearly got thrown out of uni as I kept disappearing to go hitchhiking in Europe. I was an optometrist for 10 years – a great lifestyle job as I was well paid and, with my wife being one too (that’s how we met) we could take 10-12 weeks vacation a year and travel. But I wanted more variety from work, so I went into management. Loved the work but hated the hours and the lack of travel. Got a job in NYC – couldn’t deal with US vacation allowances but really enjoyed living overseas for a year. Came back to UK and did full-time MBA, travelling when possible. Then three years in consulting – lots of travel with work but not with Sam, so it didn’t count. Then last year made the big break and set up freelance, writing anything from medical booklets to website. Love the work, love the hours, love the travel opportunities – it’s all coming together after 20 years!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 11:32 AM

In some ways your story sounds a lot like mine. Meeting your wife at work and having a cushy lifestyle – same as me (thought we get three weeks of vacation a year!). Now you’re into freelancing, something I may look into as well. Congratulations on putting it all together!!

Nomadic ChickNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 9:05 AM

This feels like a moot question, because you pretty much know my story. We’re more interested in how yours will unfold. πŸ™‚

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 1:39 PM

I know some of your story, Jeannie, but I’m sure there’s much more to tell πŸ™‚

AndiNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 7:55 AM

So exciting that your journey is only 1 month away and I swear you’re starting in the greatest place in the world!!! I wish I could give you a big hug my friend! πŸ™‚

I’m a travel addict, it’s as simple as that.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 11:19 AM

I’m quite excited for the trip – for many reasons. Was there a certain trip that you took that kicked off your travel addiction?

ClaireNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 6:38 AM

Short of the long: Grew up in WV. Went to school in Philadelphia, and Americorps for two years after in Atlanta and DC. Two awesome years, out on my own in strange cities, just trying to figure out how to be a grown-up. Then decided to go learn Spanish and travel around Central America, but money had to be saved first. Moved back to WV, became a substitute teacher. Subbing is a thankless job, but it DOES allow for time off whenever you feel like it! One year of subbing, turned into 6, and numerous short and long trips throughout. After Central America, I couldn’t help myself-the monster had been created. Asia, Europe, South America, nothing was off limits πŸ˜‰ After a long-term sub spot teaching 6th grade, I realized I had a passion for something else back to school I went. Now….as of 4 months ago, I am a full-fledged teacher, married and still loving travel! Thanks for asking πŸ˜‰ I am supposed to be grading papers right now, but easily sidetracked.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Hey Claire – very interesting story. I know a few people who have done AmeriCorps but I never actually heard what they thought about it. Where are you headed next?

claireNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Well, Tampa for some much needed sunlight on Friday! After that, who knows?

Phil PaolettaNo Gravatar October 11, 2010 at 6:27 AM

Hey Keith, I was drawn to your site by what I still find to be brilliant writing. Your narratives are great, and always a bit poetic I find. I was teaching in Washington, DC for three years, but am now taking a break, traveling around West Africa collecting and making music, couchsurfing, meeting new people, embracing slow travel. I had the incredible fortune of meeting Vieux Farka Toure in Bamako yesterday! I am also on a mission to teach people how to draw camels. I have made several psychedelic drug references in comments on your site, and I believe that travel fits in that spectrum of experience – bending our mind in new ways, forcing us to live in the moment, challenging us. I continue to look forward to reading your thoughts and writing, even more so as you prepare to set off on your travels. B well, Phil

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Phil, first of all – thanks for the kind compliment. How did you choose West Africa for your trip? It sounds like you are having a blast judging by your posts that I’ve read. How long will your break be? Did you simply get tired of teaching, or did you realize teaching wasn’t for you?

Thanks for sharing your story!

Phil PaolettaNo Gravatar October 13, 2010 at 5:46 AM

I had studied abroad in Ghana in 5 years ago and was eager to return. I am in love with that country and the region in general. Laid back and vibrant at the same time, amazing music and dance, the friendliest people I have met anywhere. I had a planned a trip like this for a while, but I love the classroom as well. I will return to teaching next fall. Fortunately, teaching affords above average vacation time as well. B well, Phil

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 14, 2010 at 8:50 AM

I’m impressed with the selection of Ghana. For me, that seems highly adventurous. Perhaps I’ll get to sub-Saharan Africa later in my trips. Sounds like I’d enjoy it.

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