State of the Savage: November 2010

by Keith Savage · 28 comments


Kicking back with Salta beer in Salta

Almost exactly one year ago I decided to change my life (with no small assist from Sarah). The Traveling Savage anniversary is December 13, and I can’t think of a greater barometer for success than the fact that I’m writing this from Salta, Argentina.

I’ve created a travel site dedicated to innovative ideas and quality writing, quit my job, and followed through on my plans to travel for one month at a time. Though I spent the better part of a year blogging before my travels began, these few weeks abroad have been a massive change agent filling me with new logistical thoughts and strategic ideas. Nothing substitutes for travel, and I’m thankful to be testing my principles. You can bet I’ll come through my journey to Argentina with a clearer vision for Traveling Savage (and perhaps a rekindled love of 80s power ballads).

Stick with me – it’s been a crazy month!

Plans & Happenings

The past three weeks down in the southern cone have been both satisfying and challenging – on many levels. I’ve been happy with my willingness and ability to chat up random folks as I’ve traveled solo through Argentina. Some of these encounters have been quite interesting; for example, I met the manufacturer of Airwolf in a cafĂ© just a few blocks from my apartment. (Was it weird that he carried around a brochure explaining his involvement?). The scenery around Salta, especially south toward Cafayate, has fed my soul. And the food. Empanadas, steak, humitas, pastries – everything has been consistently delicious, though if you are watching your weight or are a vegetarian, Argentina could be construed as a cruel form of torture. Yes, I’ve got many long sessions on the elliptical machine waiting for me once I get home.

My arrival to Buenos Aires was fraught with a few initial hiccups and I was struck with a small case of culture shock, but I look on these events as stretching the travel muscles. This has been my first bout of solo travel since I was 23, and I’m proud that I’ve been making it work. That’s not to say I haven’t dearly missed Sarah (thank you Skype!) or that I haven’t been even more isolated because of my pitiful command of the Spanish language. Ultimately, these challenges will inform how I plan my future trips.

All that said I’m in Salta and having a great time! Oh, you’re checking out Traveling Savage on Facebook, right? If not, you’re missing daily photos and updates. Become a fan!

Features & PR

I’ve got a bunch of fantastic links to share with you this month – the busiest PR month in the history of Traveling Savage. Since the last State of the Savage, Jodi Sagorin featured my adventurer’s perspective, which also appears in her excellent e-book, How to Be an Adventurer. Around the same time, Misadventures with Andi included my Days of Wonder post in her recurring Saturday Six feature. GloboTreks included my post on enriching travel through mindfulness in their good reads of October. Finally, As We Travel wrapped up the October publicity with an amazing list of the 25 most inspiring travel bloggers of 2010, which included Traveling Savage at #9!

Into November and Go, See, Write posted an off-the-wall interview with me that has some hilarious questions and pictures. LandLopers then featured Traveling Savage in their picks of the week. Velvet Escape collected a select group of travel bloggers’ most valuable lesson learned from travel; it’s an insightful list including yours truly. I penned a new guest post, this one for AirTreks, that details my planning process for my trips around the world.

Wild About Travel recently started a weekly top 7 of great travelers and writers, and they kindly included Traveling Savage in their inaugural post. Just last week, Where Is Jenny? put together a who’s who of travel bloggers and asked them about their defining moments and how they overcome fear. It’s a powerful collection of advice from trailblazers and template-breakers, and I share my two cents in the list. Finally, Butterfly Diary included Traveling Savage in their list of travel bloggers they’re thankful for.

Parting Thought

Recent articles about travel writer-travel company partnerships have piqued my interest. When I began Traveling Savage a year ago, I envisioned diversified income streams with advertising on this blog being the backbone to that paradigm. A year later, now, I’m thinking more creatively about how to turn this venture into a career.

To simplify things, I see travel bloggers falling into two camps: writer and blogger. Both groups share many of the same tasks, but bloggers may direct more of their energies to SEO, marketing, PR, and networking whereas writers spend more time on – you guessed it – writing. Neither is better than the other, but it’s important to know where your skills lie. Whether or not I fit in there, I see myself as more writer than blogger. Perhaps this is a harder road toward making money. But fear not! Traveling Savage – the blog – isn’t going anywhere. I’m just getting started.

I’d love to hear you thoughts!


ErinNo Gravatar November 29, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Congratulations on making it to one year of blogging. It’s great to see you finally out there in the world and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures. You are right that your strength is the quality of your writing. I just hope you can find a way to make money from that!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 30, 2010 at 9:28 PM

You hope and I hope too. Luckily, I’m crafty and extremely personable ;) Thanks for the congrats.

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Dustin Main | Skinny BackpackerNo Gravatar November 29, 2010 at 8:27 PM

Big congrats! Also struggling with Spanish, and I’m typically terrible with languages in general.

See you next week in BsAs. Jazz festival is on!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 30, 2010 at 10:43 PM

Hey Dustin, absolutely we’ll meet up in BA. I’m excited about the Jazz festival.

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AbbyNo Gravatar November 30, 2010 at 12:36 AM

I’m jealous of your ease at talking up strangers — and in another language to boot. Your story is so interesting, Keith. Married and employed, you were probably not the most likely candidate for this type of adventure. So happy to read your updates from Argentina. I remember you as being one of my first online travel pals, and I started last January. And I guess that’s almost a year! Time flies. Enjoy it!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:08 AM

Don’t be too jealous: I’m mostly chatting up English-speakers. I didn’t know you started in the online travel community in January! It’s kinda crazy to see new faces each day and think they’re just starting out when it seems like they’ve been around for awhile. Anyway, I’m happy to have made your acquaintance, Abby, and perhaps we can meet sometime in Las Vegas. :)

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SimonNo Gravatar November 30, 2010 at 12:51 AM

I love your writing (yes, definitely I would say you’re a writer more than a blogger) and feel amazed by the wonderful job you did with Travelin Savage.
Enjoy every single minute of your journey, savour it slowly and cherish it in your mind. Apart from love, there’s nothing that can enrich us more than traveling and exploring the world…

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:09 AM

Your last sentence really struck a chord with me, Simon. Above all, perhaps, the importance of love has been emphasized while on this trip. Thanks for reading.

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AndiNo Gravatar November 30, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Wow a year! Amazing how fast time flies by!!! I love that you’re *just* getting started. I heart your writing. :)

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:10 AM

Thanks Andi! Well, the truth is my trips have just begun. Everything before Argentina was a kind of primer for what readers can expect on Traveling Savage. I’m happy it shook out that way because it’s important to build up your audience toward an event.

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greg urbanoNo Gravatar November 30, 2010 at 9:08 PM

i just downloaded how to be an adventurer, thanks for the info!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:11 AM

You’re welcome, Greg. Hope you find it helpful. Jodi did a great job with it.

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MichaelNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 12:20 AM

You know it’s actually quite rare for travel blogs to continue longer than a year so the real challenge is still to come. I’m sure that as long as you have an interesting story to tell and the prospect of future travel you will keep us entertained.

It seems you have managed to solidify your place within the travel community….from the look of all the blogs you got a mention. :)

Where to next?

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:12 AM

I will begin planning my next trip once I return from Argentina. I need to retool some vision things before I choose.

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Andy JaroszNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 2:43 AM

Good post Keith and you should give yourself a modest pat on the back for a year of quality output. Traveling Savage is rightly recognised as one of the more intelligent and thoughtful blogs on the block. Here’s to plenty more of it.
Your trip in Argentina sounds a great adventure; glad you’re having fun there. Your comment about 80s power ballads struck a chord. We have a distinct memory of visiting Perito Moreno glacier – it’s the young 20 something lad who was our taxi driver blasting out Total Eclipse of the Heart for most of the journey. Keep enjoying the journey :-)

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Hah, the Argentines love those 80s power ballads. My guide to Cafayate even explained how they passed some law to preserve them (something about the government was planning to ban them).

My 100+ posts pale in comparison to your 400+ posts!

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EliseNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Congratulations on your year of blogging! Love your writing. Looking forward to more savage to come!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 8:13 AM

Thanks Elise, you won’t be disappointed with what’s to come.

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Zablon MukubaNo Gravatar December 1, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Congratulation on your success, this month will make it a year. I applaud your work and effort. i enjoy your posts and i will be coming back more often

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 2, 2010 at 8:42 AM

Many thanks, Zablon.

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ClaireNo Gravatar December 2, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Congratulations! So much can happen when motivation and determination are present in huge quantities. Interesting contrast of writer v. blogger…
I think I will put myself in the writer camp!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 2, 2010 at 8:44 AM

It is an admittedly simplistic view of the community, but there seems to be some merit in such a comparison.

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