July 2011

All the world here was a reflection. Sky writhing in the river, green light pinging off leaf and blade, me alone on the riverbank staring inward at my years-long journey. A cool draft from the Cairngorm Mountains pounced on the River Dee, redolent with the scents of chlorophyll, wet stone, and snow. The river was narrow and jogging to the east as it gurgled and shushed to itself. Behind me the Queen’s Road, named for Queen Victoria, mirrored the Dee as I stood in the grass between them. Down the road, a group of old men in crisp fishing gear moved their mouths in a small cottage. Then, a millisecond after I snapped this photo, a silver salmon glittered in the sun as it arced through the air.


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Boats on Loch Leven, Scotland

Here I am drinking a green smoothie and listening to Radiohead. It’s 8:32AM. Our cat Pip sleeps curled up on the other computer chair in my office. He thinks he owns the place. Faint light breaks through last night’s storm clouds and peeks through the blinds. “You got some nerve, coming here,” says Thom.

Sarah’s gone to work. It’s her birthday, but she’s staring at another 12-hour workday. The last two months have been brutal for her. I sprinkle work throughout the day in between dashes of yardwork and errands and exercise. Working from home has only made the discrepancy between us more obvious.

I turned 31 this month, but July has been youthening. Read more...

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The Only One in the North Sea

I created Traveling Savage 20 months ago, and in that time I’ve written exactly 200 posts. I’ve covered everything from travel philosophy to budgets and gear to location-specific deep dives of Argentina and Scotland.

And there’s no end in sight.

One of the downsides, however, is the transient nature of blog content. Old posts seem to disappear into the ether (though you can access everything from the Archives button at the top or by searching in the box to the right).

Thank goodness for memes.

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Ancient slab steps passed beneath a blood-red arch of leaves where the brisk May wind tumbled and clattered. Among Yew and Holly, a small, stout chapel gathered moss about its old stones. Purple-tinted light limned the chapel crown here at Drum Castle, as it had for the past five centuries. A black mouth led inside to polished wooden pews, masterpieces of stained glass, and a silence that still echoed with the whispered prayers of the past. It had all been a gift from Robert the Bruce to the Irwyns of the 14th century.

Some power pulsed in the air and twisted my senses: the smell of warmth, the taste of verdigris, the sound of blooms, the feel of bittersweet, the sight of applause. There are places that hold past events as ghosts.

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Lodged in the Woods

by Keith Savage · 5 comments

The Grounds at Muckrach Lodge, Dulnain Bridge

I’m no stranger to deep woods where the sun is blotted out by the interlocking arms of conifers. As a boy, travel and vacation meant journeying to these places in northern Wisconsin. Our abodes were always rustic cottages and lodges on the edges of lakes, and we fished and swam and did things that were just different enough from home.

These days, going “up north” is a ritualistic, nostalgic, and enjoyable affair that Sarah and I do a few times each summer. I look forward to it. So when I looked at my itinerary for the Best Holiday in the World week in MoraySpeyside, maybe you can imagine my interest when I saw that two of my accommodations sounded a lot like what I remember from my childhood: Tullochwood Lodges and Muckrach Lodge. Read more...

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