June 2011

Bloggers aboard the AMResorts Yacht in Vancouver for TBEX '11

Going home – it’s a part of travel not given much breath. For most travelers, home is literally the last thing they want to think about. But I have to tell you, after being gone two of the last three months, it’s like a healing salve upon my soul to be able to get back into familiar surroundings and relaxing routines.

I am of Wisconsin. Here I am the master of my domain. Actually, that would be my wife. Hm.

People often ask me why I don’t just move to Scotland. Why all the flights and separation from Sarah? It’s a fair, no, good question. Read more...

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A Map of MoraySpeyside

On my previous vacations to the MoraySpeyside region of northern Scotland, I spent most of my time inside distilleries to the detriment of seeing the thriving small business and artistic communities of this beautiful corner of Scotland. My Best Holiday in the World prize week in MoraySpeyside ensured I wouldn’t be doing the same old thing in northern Scotland.

It was busy, and I mean that in the busiest sense of the word.

Rene guided me from one stop to the next with the kind of passion you can only muster when you love a place so deeply that you need others to experience it and understand it the same way.

By the end of the week, I’d come to see what Rene loved about the area and I found a bunch of fun and interesting ways to spend time there as well. Read more...

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Nethy Bridge faded into the woods behind us as we drove south along the A9 to Dalwhinnie. The gray sky dissolved in the east, revealing the Cairngorm Mountains holding court with a crowd of coniferous and deciduous trees. Snow crowned the peaks and glimmered in the sudden sunshine. We pulled our steed onto the roadside, and I bolted out like some paparazzi of nature, camera in hand and firing. It was a moment, so special and unbelievably common in Scotland, that pulled me into the pages of my library of fantasy novels.

What is magic but the inexplicable, our wish to defy the laws of nature? The worlds of fantasy authors are visions of our own with one eye closed. Mount Doom? How about Cairn Gorm. This vision was a reminder that nature itself is magic…

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Trackpacking: Bon Iver

by Keith Savage · 14 comments

Bon Iver in Concert

For the last year and a half, the Trackpacking series has focused on musicians that inspire me to travel. Today, I’m highlighting an artist who reminds me of home, whose sounds somehow conjure the ice-limned window panes and silent white pine forests of Wisconsin winters.

Bon Iver, a purposeful misspelling of “good winter” in French, is the project of Justin Vernon, a man the same age as me who went to high school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, just 90 minutes north of where I went to high school. Living in western Wisconsin during my adolescence was a difficult time, all country music and shining and chewing tobacco at the gas station. It wasn’t my scene – I didn’t do those things – and listening to Bon Iver, I suspect Justin didn’t either. Read more...

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Benromach Distillery, Forres, Scotland

I’m generally suspicious of brands with too many product variations. Think audio cables or mulch or yogurt. Someone is trying to take advantage of me, trying to milk every last dollar out of my wallet. I picture a coterie of suit-clad marketers wheezing with laughter as consumers run out to buy the next, the newest, the best.

Whisky is no different.

When I visit my local liquor store, I gravitate to the brands with one style of whisky, maybe two, not the brand with a dedicated bookcase. Maybe I’m just a simple guy; perhaps I just don’t like choosing. Read more...

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