As the first frosts come to Wisconsin, I’m reminded that in five days it will have been one year since I left my corporate job. That’s a major milestone and cause for a reality check. But first, a celebration of all the traveling I’ve done in the last year!
I kicked off Traveling Savage by spending five weeks in Argentina in November and December of 2010. It was my first time traveling solo, my first trip to South America, and a million other firsts that resulted in greater cultural and self awareness. I split time between Buenos Aires and Salta all while sharing meriendas and asados with ex-pats and locals. Argentina was revelatory, difficult, exuberant, and transformative.
I returned to Wisconsin in December with everything I’d learned on that trip and tweaked Traveling Savage’s mission. I decided to focus on Scotland and becoming a destination expert as I believed that course to be a smart business decision. In March of this year, I jetted over to Edinburgh where I spent three weeks exploring Auld Reekie. In between hiking up Arthur’s Seat and meeting likeminded travelers, I had the opportunity to explore my love of Scotch whisky and share a pint with author Ian Rankin. This trip renewed my love of this city of contrasts, and I felt I’d made the right decision with Traveling Savage’s new mission.
Just a month after returning home from Edinburgh I was back in the air for another five-week jaunt around Scotland that included stops in Shetland, Speyside, the Cairngorms, Black Isle, and Skye. Shetland’s folk festival left me deafened and sleep-deprived and all the better for it, while my countless stops at distilleries on the Malt Whisky Trail will be memories I’ll always carry with me. Sarah joined me for the latter half through the Cairngorms, Black Isle, and Skye and reminded me just how important a travel companion can be.
I returned to Scotland for a third time this year in September for three weeks spanning the Inner Hebrides. I tackled the small isle of Arran and spent a week each on Islay and Mull before returning to Glasgow for a three-day refresher. The trip centered on Islay’s whisky industry and the outdoor paradise that is Mull: two places I’d never previously visited.
In between all of these trips I also squeezed in jaunts to San Antonio, Vancouver, and San Francisco. It’s been a year of contrasts, of periods of busy travel followed by slow days at home in Wisconsin. As far as trips and budgets, it’s been a successful year.
On the other hand, Traveling Savage is nowhere near being a sustainable business. I am traveling on startup money we saved prior to leaving my job, and I’ve learned that I’m not willing to do the things I would need to do to make money with a blog (i.e., content farming). If I’m honest with myself, I drank the “make a living from your blog” juice to make leaving my old job easier.
At the moment, I’m Scotland’s best pro-bono cheerleader ever, but I do need to make some tough decisions in the coming months that might mean changes to my personal goals and Traveling Savage. Stick around, I’ve got a lot more to say!
Plans & Happenings
I recently returned from an awesome long weekend in San Francisco hanging out with my brother and his fiancée. The food scene there has got to be one of the best anywhere, and I went on a Burmese and Korean BBQ bender. The next few months look placid as far as travel goes. I’ve got a week in Florida around Christmas but that’s it until next year, which is sure to be loaded with trips.
I’m currently planning for the next official Traveling Savage trip to Scotland, which looks like it will be sometime in the March-May timeframe. I’d really like to hit the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival (I missed this year’s by being in Shetland), but I’ve got a lot to think about (suggestions welcome!). Who knows, I might even have a travel companion this time as my dad may accompany me.
Finally, I’ve also started the ball rolling on a short visit to Nova Scotia. I’ve always wanted to visit, and, after meeting some excellent NS ambassadors at this year’s TBEX conference in Vancouver, the timing could be right soon. We shall see.
It can be tough knowing when the time is right to make tough decisions, entrepreneurial or otherwise. How do you know when to make these decisions and when to wait and give the project more time to grow?