State of the Savage: January 2011

by Keith Savage · 19 comments


Mons Meg at Edinburgh Castle

Have you ever found yourself returning again and again to a place, perhaps reenacting a scene or activity? Do you wonder why, or have you extinguished that curious flame with a half-thought and flimsy reason? It’s fun. It’s pretty. It’s cheap. What does it say about you that you return there? Is it pathological or just unfinished business?

There is a place in this world, for everyone, that will command daily thoughts, tug at hidden bonds, and pull across the oceans and ages.

If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. It’s there.

Recently, I finally admitted to myself that Scotland is that place for me. And, if you saw the picture for this post on the main page, apparently I’m doing my damnedest to reload Mons Meg at Edinburgh Castle. The photo on the left is me in 2009 reenacting the photo on the right, from 2006. I can only guess there will be a third installment from 2011 when I venture to Edinburgh in March.

Speaking of trips, I’ve got a lot to share.

Plans & Happenings

At the beginning of the year I announced that I would be focusing on Scotland here on Traveling Savage, and that my first trip would be to Edinburgh in March. Since then I’ve been sketching out how the year might look from a travel perspective. Take a look at these ideas:

March: Three weeks in Edinburgh with possible day trips to places like Tantallon Castle, Glenkinchie Distillery, and Dunkeld for the Niel Gow Festival. This trip is locked in and I’m nearly done with logistics.

Late April/May: Shetland for a week at the end of April and early May for the Shetland Folk Festival; then either to Argyll and Islay (for the Malt and Music Festival) or to Speyside, the Castle Trail, and the Cairngorms National Park. Which way I choose to go is dependent on the Islay Malt and Music Festival (aka Feis Ile).

Early June: Off to Vancouver for the Travel Blog Exchange Conference. This will be a weekend jaunt to mix it up with some of the travel bloggers I’ve gotten to know over the past year and see a city I’ve been waiting to see for a long time.

Late July/August/September: This one is still a bit fuzzy, but it’s likely to include a week in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival and whichever trip option I didn’t do back in April/May.

Winter: I’m considering visiting Edinburgh for Hogmanay and Shetland for Up Helly Aa in January of next year.

Finally, there could be another trip in the fall, but I can only juggle so many cannonballs at once – my trip-planning abilities have been stretched to their limits.

This being the first State of the Savage of 2011, I’ve decided to make a change and cut the Features & PR section. If that was your favorite part, let me know. You can find all the items that used to be in that section on my Features & Recognition page.

Parting Blow

A common thread that ties travelers of every ilk together is the search for magic. The inexplicable. Magic is that something in the air that precipitates wonder. Why do I return to Scotland? I think the elemental joy of experiencing magic, the contentedness of not understanding, should be shared.

And until I lift that cannonball, my business in Scotland will be unfinished. I’m quite pleased with that, actually.


SeriNo Gravatar March 27, 2011 at 9:13 PM

I highly recommend Edinburgh during the Fringe, last year I just spent most of the week I was there wandering up and down looking at all the street performers It’s a lovely experience and something that everybody should definately do at least one. I’m hopefully going back this year to see the Edinburgh Tattoo which is also something I would recommend.

The castle trail is also a wonderful plan, although I’m biased as I’m a huge fan of castles (at some point I plan on travelling all over Europe visiting lots of wonderful castles)

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 28, 2011 at 7:44 AM

This is good to hear. I’ve never experienced the fringe on five previous visits to Edinburgh, and I’ve been tentatively planning to rectify that this summer.

You can expect a lot of castle coverage in May/June/July here on Traveling Savage.

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Central Park Bike ToursNo Gravatar February 23, 2011 at 5:31 PM

I’ve been to India once but since then I always want to go back and spend some more time exploring the people and new places. I see you have similar feelings. Planning to hit the South-East Asia soon

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 23, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Very cool that you’ve found your favorite spot!

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Sofia - As We TravelNo Gravatar February 10, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Sounds like a good plan, that Fringe festival seems cool!

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Spencer SpellmanNo Gravatar February 2, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I felt some of those same feelings when I went to Ireland the first time. Something tells me the same could happen as I make my way to the U.K. this summer. Looking forward to reading more Keith and hope our paths cross while we’re both in Scotland!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Having been to Ireland, England, and Scotland, they do give me a shared feeling. The British Isles are just magnificent, though Scotland takes the cake for me.

It would be fantastic to catch up over there!

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ZablonNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 11:47 PM

You have your whole year planned out. how were those guys able to lift those canons balls?

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I’m guessing through the use of some simple machine and not by shredding back muscles, as I’m trying to do.

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AndiNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Oh very cool, I am going to TBex as well, would love to meet you! Paris is my heart and the mistress that continues to call over and over again.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 11:13 PM

That would be great Andi! Very glad to hear you’ve found your “place.”

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andiNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 9:01 AM

My magic is in BsAs, but you already knew that! I definitely agree that travelers are on a search for that magic and that’s why traveling often feels like a quest. You have quite an exciting year ahead of you!!!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 10:36 AM

It’s going to rock – can’t wait. I can tell you love BA – your latest post really set the scene beautifully.

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MigrationologyNo Gravatar January 31, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Nice to see you found that place. I think there are a couple of locations that give me a few of those same feelings, command my thoughts and tug me. I grew up living in East Africa, and I left about 6 years ago. Now, whenever I return, I get a unexplainable relief, like I’m returning to a place that I really know.
Good luck with all of your upcoming plans!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

That’s really interesting – is it just the familiarity of the place that gives you that feeling, or something more complex?

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Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The WorldNo Gravatar January 31, 2011 at 3:19 PM

That’s funny… that’s how we felt when we first visited Scotland many years ago. It was so hard to leave… and whenever we think of when we’re going to settle down after our RTW trip, Edinburgh, Scotland is definitely the front runner. We might join you there 🙂

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 10:12 AM

It doesn’t surprise me that Scotland has beguiled others. I read a quote somewhere that said Edinburgh is a city that thinks it’s a town and acts like a village. Maybe this small-town vibe is one aspect of what makes it a special place.

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TranNo Gravatar January 31, 2011 at 2:03 PM

“There is a place in this world, for everyone, that will command daily thoughts, tug at hidden bonds, and pull across the oceans and ages.” I believe this absolutely. Still trying to figure out where that place is for me…. For some reason, my thoughts return over and over again to Suriname. Enjoy this year. Looks like you’ve got a full itinerary!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 1, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Sounds to me like you might have an idea of where that place is. Go back to Suriname. If it still enchants you and fills you with wonder then you’ve probably found it.

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