State of the Savage: May 2011

by Keith Savage · 2 comments

Coral Beach, Isle of Skye

I’ve been digging, unsure of what I’m looking for but certain I’ll find something of value.

I’ve been falling, strong in the belief that something will catch me.

I’ve been beach combing, positive I’ll find exactly what I need.

The end state of Traveling Savage has always been invisible to me, both to my chagrin and stubborn belief that not everything need be known before it is undertaken. This is a work in progress, a transformative process.

I am awaiting the touch of serendipity.

Most anyone with business acumen would deem this approach hopelessly naïve and sure to fail. It’s ill-advised, reckless in its own way, and child-like in its purpose. Hell, my lizard brain can’t help but berate me with these points on a weekly basis. But the simple truth is that I need to go on this quest to find what’s on the other side. It’s why I had to quit an excellent and lucrative job. It’s why I force myself to endure painful partings with Sarah and travel solo. It’s why I spend days on windswept, lonesome Scottish islands on the edges of the Earth.

I quit my job nearly seven months ago. I’m still digging and falling and beach combing, and while I’m still waiting for that big blast of serendipity, that buried treasure, that sturdy branch, that sea-scrubbed heirloom, I’ve had the joy of many little serendipitous moments during my travels. Travel writing is all about story hunting, but it’s not about place as much as it’s about people. We are compelled by each other.

Travel writing is all about story hunting, but it’s not about place as much as it’s about people. We are compelled by each other.

Everyone’s life is an epic. There are heroic deeds everywhere. Perhaps my greatest personal achievement on this course has been allowing myself to be changed by others’ stories. I met Kash and Jools (no, not a rap group), two kindred blogging spirits from Twitter, in Edinburgh this past March. Growing up, Kash spent time in England and India and now he lives in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It’s like living in a different time, he said. He’d been going through some rough personal times, but when he stepped through the doors of the Bank Bar and met me for the first time, I was the benefactor of an unbroken streak of energy and optimism.

Jools met up with us a few nights later, bought me a drink, and asked about my story. Then he listened. Intently. It was the kind of attention you reserve for job interviews or possible in-laws. There was a comfortable, confident, kindness about Jools that I haven’t seen much, and he shared it as willingly as a pack of gum.

Just last week I met Michael and Katherine, two Aussies who’ve been motorhoming around Europe for almost two years. More Twitter magic. They left their own known trails behind to pursue passions, app development and art, and it’s working. It will work. We shared drinks at a pub in Grantown-on-Spey and then had dinner together the next night. Happiness radiates from them.

Each story cast light on a deficiency I recognized in myself. These meetings feel like parables, serendipity. Compelled by each other, a work in progress.

Journey to Skye

Plans & Happenings

The last State of the Savage was finished in Aberdeen on the first night of my five-week trip to Scotland. Today I’m writing to you from the tiny village of Ose on the Isle of Skye. A week from today I’ll be back in Wisconsin. My time here in Scotland has been jam packed with beauty and light and memory, and I’ll be sharing this trip with you for months to come (not to mention bits from my last trip to Edinburgh). It has been a salve having Sarah with me these past two weeks. It will be even harder returning to solo travel now.

While I won’t recount all of my shenanigans now, I did: have an incredibly fast ride in a Caterham 7, spend a folked up and sleepless week at the Shetland Folk Festival, enjoy an incredible dinner at the Cluny Bank Hotel, find a gem in Speyside, and see people doing art and food right in the austere reaches of Skye. There’s more, much more.

After I get back to the States, I’ve got a week before I need to pack up again and head out to Vancouver for the Travel Blog Exchange Conference. I’m very excited about meeting many of the bloggers and industry pros I’ve spoken with over the past year. Oh yeah, and that learning thing too. 😉

Parting Blow

Who have you met recently, or forever ago, that taught you something about yourself? Did you allow it to change yourself?

Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]No Gravatar May 26, 2011 at 2:09 AM

I love how you say it’s not about the place – but moreso the people. I totally agree with that. I have been living in a small impovershed rural city in France for 7 months now! But I have met so many amazing people who have given me a glimpse into another life. I am planning to go to Scotland this summer – your blog will be my main resource! Thanks!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar May 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM

So happy to hear I’ll be able to help you plan your trip to Scotland. Will this be a vacation or something longer? Where do you plan to go?

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