State of the Savage: September 2015

by Keith Savage

The View Across Rannoch Moor, West Highlands, Scotland

In the wake of summer’s demise we arrive (in the northern hemisphere, at least) to my favorite season: Autumn. Hard to believe it has been more than a year since I introduced my travel consultation service for folks looking to visit Scotland, and in that year I’ve helped more than 100 solo travelers, couples, and groups realize their dreams of visiting one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.

I didn’t really know what I was getting in to when I rolled out the idea. Could I have imagined that I would Skype with people from around the world, from Australia to Norway, and India to Germany, and of course, the many excited travelers closer to home in the USA and Canada? That they would be animators, cartoonists, chefs, authors, and college students? That my enthusiasm would feed their excitement, and their excitement would feed my enthusiasm?

No, not to this extent.

It has been an amazing year helping people make that trip to Scotland happen, finally. Many just needed a helping hand to banish the anxiety and overwhelming feeling of planning a trip to a place where everything sounds awesome. They needed someone to line up the real, authentic, cool places with their interests, and that’s where I step in. Judging by their comments, they made the right choice.

So did I.

It has been a true pleasure meeting so many Scotophiles, and these chats have provided a nice counterpoint to what is largely a solitary pursuit (blogging, that is). One piece of feedback I heard loud and clear was that my one-service-fits-all offering might not be sufficient for everyone’s needs. Some people had fully-fleshed out itineraries and others wanted me to craft that fine-tuned, hyper-detailed itinerary for them. I’ve taken this feedback to heart.

I am pleased to announce that on November 1, 2015 I will roll out an expanded range of services to include the following offerings:

  • Itinerary Review. This service is ideal for those who have detailed itineraries and simply wish to have an expert’s review. When you submit an itinerary to me, I will review your plan in detail with an eye toward smoothing out logistics, identifying optimal alternative stops, and offering suggestions for additional activities that align with your interests. You will then receive my recommendations via e-mail.
  • Travel Consultation. This is the service I have been providing for more than a year, and it is ideal for those who have some idea of what they’d like to see and do in Scotland but require some hands-on help and advice putting it all together. You can read all about it here, but it involves you first filling out a questionnaire from which I prepare my recommendations for your trip. We then have a Skype/FaceTime/Voice call to go over my recommendations and answer any questions you might have, and you receive my recommendations via e-mail afterward.
  • Custom Itinerary & Consultation. This top-tier service is perfect for those who want to go to Scotland but are happy to have an expert put together the whole itinerary, day-by-day, built with their interests and needs front and center. This bespoke package will be delivered to you via e-mail so you’ll have time to look it over before we hold a Skype/FaceTime/Voice call to walk through the details and answer questions.

I am still working out the exact details and pricing of these services, but I will announce here on Traveling Savage and on Facebook when they are live and ready. In the meantime, if you’re thinking about a travel consultation you might want to jump on that before these changes are live…

I can’t wait to provide a more flexible portfolio of services to meet your needs!

And now, something completely different.

Modern Rations

I received a box of Ambronite drinkable supermeals from Finland not too long ago. I get a lot of emails from companies asking me to test their products. Normally I turn down offers like these because they aren’t relevant to my sphere of the world, and it would be out of place here on Traveling Savage. Ambronite intrigued me, however, because as a meal-replacement shake I saw its application for use on the road in Scotland. Sometimes you don’t want to muck around with finding (often expensive) dinners, you just want to be full in the comfort of your accommodation. This is especially true after long, international flights. So I accepted the product with the understanding that I would share my opinion here.

Ambronite is a meal replacement shake that contains 20 organic whole food ingredients like oats, apples, almonds, and spinach, but also less common things like bilberry, sea-buckthorn, and stinging nettle. Each meal is 500 calories and provides a good portion of your daily macros (32% fats, 44% carbohydrates, and 24% protein) not to mention 100+% of many vitamins and minerals. Ambronite comes in a simple green package with a tall, BPA-free shaker bottle. Making a batch is easy and takes less than a minute, though, as I found out, there is an art to mixing the ingredients inside the bottle to prevent a gluey layer of moist powder from clogging the opening. That art? Add water to the bottle, then the packet of powdered ingredients, then roll the bottle in your hands until the layer of powder begins to meld with the water, then vigorously shake. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before drinking.

Let’s get one thing straight: Ambronite is a functional, purely-practical product. It’s not going to win any great taste awards. It has a mild, inoffensive flavor, like watery oats with occasional hints of salt and berry. The mouthfeel is a tad chalky, but better than many protein shakes I’ve consumed. The neutrality of the flavor proved acceptable to me, and I never got sick of it. It would be easy to add in other juices or fruits to liven it up, too.

I can see Ambronite as a handy tool to keep in your luggage on trips over to Scotland. Skip the questionable airport food and opt for organic, whole superfoods that will keep you going for the long haul. Ambronite is priced at a premium level, so if it sounds good to you get a 10% discount by using the code TRAVELINGSAVAGE10. This is not a sales pitch — I receive no commission.

Until next time, Sláinte!

Disclosure: Ambronite provided me with a complimentary 10-day supply of drinkable supermeals. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

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