State of the Savage: March 2011

by Keith Savage · 17 comments

Calton Hill's footpath, high over Edinburgh

Edinburgh. Now there’s a city I could live in.

Since my last State of the Savage update I’ve spent three weeks in Auld Reekie, exploring her twisting wynds, secret closes, and rich neighborhoods. It was the second of eight trips (the first being Argentina) on the Traveling Savage venture, and I’m happy to declare it a success! I shot close to 2,000 photos, met with numerous kind folks representing businesses in Scotland, and culled enough information for weeks – if not months – of blog posts. Unquestionably, three weeks is not long enough in this great city.

But it’s not a city like New York, London, or Buenos Aires. I read a quote somewhere, and I’m going to butcher it, that said “Edinburgh is a city that thinks it’s a town and acts like a village.” It’s a pleasant schizophrenia that adds an air of complexity to the city and makes it very approachable to a traveler. Every day I was there I had this great feeling that there was so much more to see and explore. It’s a place that rewards the explorer. I tend to be a guidebook guy, but I recommend leaving it at home when you come to Edinburgh. I did and I didn’t regret it.

More excellent posts from my trip to Edinburgh are yet to come, so stay tuned. Let’s talk about what’s happening now.

Plans & Happenings

While in Edinburgh, Sarah and I bought flights for my next trip to Scotland. It’s happening sooner than you might think: I leave April 25th and return May 31st. From May 12th until the trip ends, Sarah (my wife, remember?) will be traveling with me! It’s a mammoth five-week blast into the Scottish highlands, and I’m really looking forward to being back in my favorite country with my favorite person.

So I have less than a month to plan this trip, book all of my accommodation, etc. etc. I’m going to use one of my favorite terms to describe this process: sub-optimal. Why, you might ask, would I plan another trip so soon? Two reasons:

  1. The Shetland Folk Festival. This is one of Scotland’s folk festival heavy hitters, and it runs from April 28-May 1. It’s also a great excuse to go up to Shetland for my first time. Sadly, the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival occurs during the very same stretch of days. I’ll need to visit that next year.
  2. May. May is a gorgeous month to spend in Scotland. So is June, but for various reasons June won’t work. It’s important to capitalize on Scotland’s “good weather” months, such as they are.

I’m running into some closed doors and stress levels are quickly creeping up. It’s going to be a very expensive trip, but I’m doing my best to shrug off start-up costs. To whet your appetite, here’s a rough outline of the trip:

  • Week 1: Shetland, including the folk festival, austere and extremely gorgeous scenery, and ancient archaeological sites.
  • Week 2: Speyside and The Malt Whisky Trail (you didn’t think I’d pass this up, did you?).
  • Week 3: Around the Cairngorms National Park.
  • Week 4:Inverness, Loch Ness, and Black Isle.
  • Week 5: The Isle of Skye.

In related travel news, I’ve also just booked my flight to Vancouver for the Travel Blog Exchange Conference. I missed last year’s in New York City and I was thrilled to hear Vancouver had been chosen as the site for 2011. Just 10 days after I return from Scotland I’ll be on my way to the Pacific Northwest for four nights. I’m really looking forward to meeting all of the inspiring travel writers I’ve followed since I conceived Traveling Savage.

Busy times!

Parting Blow

Sarah sent me an insightful article called Work as Craft from Duct Tape Marketing while I was in Edinburgh. It’s a good reminder for everyone busting their asses trying to create something special. Here’s a particularly resonant quote:

“Entrepreneurs donโ€™t enjoy risk anymore than the next person, theyโ€™ve just accepted a few things and grabbed the courage to push on. I work with an awesome bike trainer and during tough interval workouts he always reminds us that we should be having some serious doubts and questions while in the middle of this or weโ€™re cheating ourselves.”


Listening to: Burial

EricaNo Gravatar April 4, 2011 at 3:07 AM

Yay for Traveling Savage(s)! Super excited to see some more.

Christy @ TechnosyncraticNo Gravatar April 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Exciting! I’m looking forward to reading your posts on the festival in May (and all the stuff yet to be posted from your latest trip). And yay for having your wife join you — it’s (almost) always better traveling with your partner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 2, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Yeah, maybe we’ll actually get some normal pictures of me on this trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

ClaireNo Gravatar April 1, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Glad Sarah gets to finally join yoU!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 1, 2011 at 10:07 PM

Me too. Her too. ๐Ÿ™‚

flipNo Gravatar April 1, 2011 at 8:47 AM

looks like a nice place to live in man…

Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 2, 2011 at 3:10 PM

I think it would be incredible. Hard to forget the magnificence of a castle hovering over you everywhere you look.

Andi of My Beautiful AdventuresNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Sounds like everything is going according to plan! ๐Ÿ˜‰

islandmommaNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 8:12 AM

I’ve always said that if I ever returned to live in the UK it would be Edinburgh – clearly no need to explain why to you! I’ve been there at different times in my life, so with different interests and perspectives, and absolutely every time it has charmed me. Can you believe I was once offered a job there and turned it down, on the off chance the guy I was then crazy about would one day feel the same about me! Crazy! But then I wouldn’t be where I am now. It remains, however, one of the regrets of my life.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Life tends to have its way with us. Never too late to rectify that decision.

islandmommaNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 4:39 PM

LOL! Doubtful. I’ve begun to develop arthritis, so I think it’s going to be warm and dry climates for me from now on!

Bluegreen KirkNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 7:33 AM

Edinburgh gets better and better with each post. You have to keep us updated with the Scotland trip that sounds like could be a great time for you and your wife.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Interestingly, my wife and I have done similar trips on two previous occasions, though not in a business capacity. Driving around Scotland just doesn’t get old.

Wandering Trader's TravelsNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 4:43 AM

Looking forward to read more posts about Edinburgh from you ๐Ÿ™‚ Seems like a really pleasant place to live in. Oh, and you should do a whole blog on The Shetland Folk Festival! That would be really great ๐Ÿ™‚

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Edinburgh is in my upper tier of “cities.” As I mentioned in the post, it doesn’t feel like other big cities, so travelers coming to Edinburgh expecting that will be disappointed.

Much coverage on the folk festival is planned.

ErinNo Gravatar March 30, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Glad you enjoyed Edinburgh. I definitely think it would be one of the best cities to live in the UK.

Looking forward to meeting you at TBEX!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 31, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Same here. Now that I finally bit the bullet and booked a flight and hotel I can stop stressing about the cost….right?

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