State of the Savage: February 2011

by Keith Savage · 12 comments

Travel as the Crow Flies

This Wisconsin winter has had its moments: bone-shattering cold, neck-deep snows, weeks without sun, and then 50-degree thaws like a crack of summer light lancing into inert, frigid dark. Just enough warmth to keep the joints moving.

It’s an apt comparison for my state of mind since returning from Argentina. Perhaps throwing myself into the unknown just as the northern USA entered the meteorological equivalent of a blackhole wasn’t the best timing. I’m reminded of that moment when I flung myself out of the Cessna at 11,000 feet – confronted with such an alien feeling, I blacked out. My tandem instructor and I rolled through thin air, so I imagined, for what seemed like an eternity, our drag chute spinning around us like a strand of pasta on a fork. When I came to my senses, however, the plane was directly above us. I’d been unconscious for less than a second.

Though this dark and sickness-inflected winter seems to have lasted an eternity, it will be remembered as lasting little more than a second. It’s a powerful perspective to take on rough times. In these months since Argentina, I’ve flipped the script on the Traveling Savage mission, fought off waves of self-doubt, and fretted about money to such an extent that it clouded the reality of my situation. And that is:

I am living my dream.

Seriously. I can’t believe it and it hasn’t sunk in yet. Maybe I haven’t allowed it to sink in yet. Giddiness, where are you? Then the various flavors of Catholic guilt introduce themselves and it all gets a bit twisted. I’m not carefree because I’m on a clock to make this venture work, and I have big financial shoes to fill, but I’ll be the first person to admit when the scales are out of balance. So I’m doubling down on my personal mantra (Fondness. Wonder. Gratitude.) and resolving to low-string myself and relax more. A carefree Savage is a happy Savage is an excellent Traveling Savage.

Plans & Happenings

In four short days I’ll be on a plane destined for Edinburgh where I’ll kick off three weeks in Scotland’s capital city. This time around I’ve armed myself with specific topics I’d like to investigate that will give me a starting place from which to branch out. You can expect to read about Edinburgh’s:

  1. Vast and historic pub scene, including information on related topics like real ales and whisky.
  2. Literary connections and famous writers, maybe even something really special (I hesitate to mention it…).
  3. Spooky and misunderstood underground vaults and passages.

Who knows where else the streets of Edinburgh will take me? I’m eager to hit the road, and yet I’m already planning my second trip to Scotland for late April/May. I’ve got the itinerary pretty well conceptualized, and it will include time in Shetland, Speyside, castle country, and the Cairngorms. Perhaps the best part of all is that we’re planning to have Sarah join me for the second half of that trip!

Just as I was about to purchase my flight for the second trip, a new opportunity reared its beautiful head. I don’t have many details yet, but once I get them you’ll be the first to know. 🙂

And the Winner Is…

For the past month I’ve been running a little contest for a free week in a luxury apartment in Edinburgh. 336 entries later – 336! – and I’ve picked a winner. I’ve been drumrolling since midnight so I’ll dispense with the formalities and simply say that entry #9 from Kris has won the week in this incredible apartment in Edinburgh!

Congratulations Kris! I’m reenacting my victory bellow from when I heard a new Radiohead album was ready. You can expect further details from me and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals via e-mail. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. I plan to give away more sweet prizes in the future, so stay tuned!

Parting Blow

When the snows come – and they will – the only way to keep going is to tirelessly believe in your cause. If you’ve sacrificed to pursue it, you owe it to yourself (at least) to never give up. When the “snows” have reached neck-high for you, what tips or tactics do you use to keep moving and avoid freezing in place?

Listening to: Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Original photo by jimmybrown and Anna in Exeter via Flickr under Creative Commons

Bocas GirlNo Gravatar March 3, 2011 at 2:44 AM

I’ve been a constant reader of your blog for 3 days now and I can’t get enough of your travel adventures. Reading your post is like having an amazing journey to different places. I expect more great stories 🙂

Thanks Keith!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 3, 2011 at 3:59 AM

That’s fantastic! Thanks for the kind comment.

ClaireNo Gravatar February 28, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Good luck on the next leg of the savage adventure! I am personally looking forward to the spooky passages update. 😉

Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 28, 2011 at 8:57 AM

We’ll see what I can dig up…wah wahhhh 🙂

EricaNo Gravatar February 28, 2011 at 4:02 AM

Oh wow I totally didn’t realize that you were leaving so soon! Your wife must love you like crazy! <3

Good luck Keith! I'm always looking forward to your posts!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 28, 2011 at 8:18 AM

Thanks Erica!!

Willie WallaceNo Gravatar February 27, 2011 at 8:48 AM

hi Keith,

Hope we get the chance to meet for a beer. Stand in front of the Balmoral Hotel, at the East end of Princes Street, look over the road to Registrar House and squint up the little road on the left. 50 metres up are the doors to the Guildford Arms. I forgot to mention it before. They usually have a good half dozen different real ales on tap, which change regularly. My wife’s great Uncle did the ceiling before heading off to work in San Francisco after the 1906 quake. “Doing the ceiling” won’t seem like much until you are standing underneath, staring up in awe (or at least, mild interest :o) The ornateness of the work is to plastering, as the Sistine Chapel is to drawing!

Let me know when you want to beer (new verb).

Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

I’ve heard good things about the Guildford Arms. I’ll beer you when I arrive.

Christy @ TechnosyncraticNo Gravatar February 25, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Congrats on being four days away from sitting in a pub in Edinburgh! I can’t wait to read about your travels around the city.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 25, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Thanks Christy, it’s going to be epic!

KatherinaNo Gravatar February 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Hey! So… I’m going to be in Edinburgh from the 11th to the 13th, in case you want a companion for the whisky and beer tasting in historical pubs. Not that I wouldn’t want to discover about literature… but I can’t have it all in one weekend, I have to prioritize 🙂

Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 25, 2011 at 6:33 PM

That would be great! I’ll contact you nearer that time and we can meet up for a drink. Sound good?

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