State of the Savage: May 2016

by Keith Savage · 3 comments


The Antibes coast, Côte d'Azur, France

A few days ago I woke up at the crack of dawn unaided, drove to Chicago, boarded a plane to Dublin, spent the better part of a morning in Dublin’s terminal 2, made a turbulent jaunt to Nice, and managed to take approximately 15 wrong turns through the Côte d’Azur hills before arriving to Golfe-Juan outside Cannes. Gone were the blooming oaks and fields of trilliums around Madison. Now I walked along Golfe-Juan’s vieux port beneath palms jostled by a fractious Mediterranean wind.

Twenty-six hours to spin the globe. My head is still spinning.

Modern travel is such a complex experience, and I doubt it will ever get better or worse than this. With a fair amount of coin, you can get just about anywhere in the world in relatively short order. Some might say that’s a good thing, because we need it. Most of us grind our souls into dust working a lifetime in jobs from which we derive little meaning or pleasure. The prospect of a vacation is like cracking open the hatch and adding a little light to all that darkness. So we book our trips, endure all the unpleasantness involved with the golden age of travel and terror, and catch a ride to far-flung corners courtesy of all the life that has come before.

I love to get away and experience new places. Antibes was simply beautiful. Classic southern European feel with cobbled, labyrinthine streets in an old town that opens onto sapphire blue sea studded with massive mega-yachts. Les Arcs in Provence has to be one of the most atmospheric little towns I’ve ever visited. Perched on a cliff overlooking vineyard-filled valleys, the town looks like the preceding 800 years hadn’t even happened so well-maintained were its stone buildings.

Sometimes though, in the hours before dawn afforded me by jet-lag, I get a wider-angle look at life. All the nasty bits appear not yet cropped out, and I can focus on the systems in which we are largely forced to live our lives, systems that aren’t sustainable. As someone who is concerned about the climate and the future of our planet, I’m putting myself in a difficult situation being a travel writer. Guilty questions assail me. Shouldn’t I be offsetting my carbon footprint? Does that even work? Does it make sense to be a Scotland travel writer while living in the Midwestern USA? How do we travel more responsibly?

Some of these seem like easy questions when I type them out, but not so easy to implement. I think I’ve matured to the point where I can no longer ignore them, though. Please don’t take this post the wrong way — this is why I travel, to come to these thoughts and ideas which, for most of life, remain buried beneath the day’s detritus.

All I know is that not traveling is not the answer. We just need to find a more perfect way to do it.


RoseNo Gravatar May 29, 2016 at 1:33 AM

The sentence I liked most in your post: “Most of us grind our souls into dust working a lifetime in jobs from which we derive little meaning or pleasure.” Travel is a release, a goal we can work towards. Your blog has let me dream and plan a trip to Scotland. It been my greatest joy the last two years. Thank you for writing your posts.

NasirNo Gravatar May 28, 2016 at 1:47 AM

Hi.
Thanks for sharing your lovely experience with us thru this post, great 🙂

BlancheNo Gravatar May 26, 2016 at 4:14 PM

Thank you for the wonderful articles about travel in Scotland – land of my ancestors. I enjoy those writings and those on travel planning immensely.
Please relax and enjoy your ability to travel. Stop worrying about the planet warming. I have a master’s degree in geophysical science and I can assure you that global warming has occurred numerous times – all before industrialization – and most before humans existed. This lengthy article at Wikipedia is well documented (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age#Major_ice_ages). Currently, global warming is only a theory – a theory supported entirely by modeling. Modeling that is done by humans who decide what to input and therefore can influence the model’s predictions. I will refrain from voicing my opinion of the way the public is being manipulated and recommend only that you seek out the voices of dissent and consider their reasoning and conclusions. Lastly – if warming is occurring, it will continue until another cooling cycle starts. That is the way the planet works.

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