State of the Savage: July/August 2017

by Keith Savage · 8 comments

For the moon to be reflected in a pool of water, every ripple needs to be stilled.

Summer is fleeting as a Scottish shadow. Somehow it’s August and I’ve been home for a month from our trip to Spain and Norway. Time has a way of condensing and accelerating as one gets older, and it’s not subtle. The days of my adolescence seem wide as a stretched accordion while the present year’s days could be pressed into an envelope box. The brain is an incredibly versatile device that, strangely, functions beyond our conscious control, and it handles routine by essentially choosing not to bother remembering the rote, non-novel moments of daily existence.

That’s one point for traveling.

I remember the vast majority of my days traveling in Scotland, and of course my recent travels around Spain and Norway are crystal clear at the moment. Spain was exactly what I expected — great food, great wine, lively atmosphere — with one exception. It was hotter than hell. There’s a reason why siesta is a thing in Spain. By noon most days the sun was so hot we had to retreat indoors and wait out the worst of the mid-day heat. My advice is to avoid Spain in summer (June-August) and stick to spring and fall to escape the worst of the heat. Unless that’s your thing.

Norway, on the other hand, defied expectations. I was prepared to fall in love — worried I would — and on long, boring flights I even began contemplating expanding Traveling Savage’s scope to include Norway. In the course of 17 days I found Norway to be among the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The scale of fjord country and the insanity of mountains rising from the sea in the Lofoten Islands must be experienced to be believed. Norway might be even more beautiful than Scotland.

But something blocked me from falling head over heels in love with Norway.

Yes, it’s crazy expensive. It’s so expensive that I felt guilty having a beer because there goes $10, but that wasn’t the reason. I just didn’t connect with the country. It didn’t worm its way into my heart. It was still a wonderful trip, mind you, it just didn’t take me over, and I’m grateful for that. My fidelity to Scotland remains intact.

I returned from that wonderful month in Europe to a slew of consultations waiting in the wings, and I’ve spent all of July catching up! It’s a bit of a surprise as summer sees more traveling than planning, but over the last few years I’ve witnessed a steady increase in the number of people going to Scotland. Working with folks to make their trips to Scotland amazing has been a revelation and one of my favorite things each day. Thank you for taking a chance on my services! It keeps this website going and me traveling to Scotland.

And guess what? I’m returning to Scotland in September! This is a pseudo-work trip as it marks my 10th wedding anniversary, so Sarah and I are returning to the place of our honeymoon, the Orkney Islands. I was last there five years ago, and I’m apprehensive about what I will find. In 2012 mega-cruise ships weren’t allowed to dock in the archipelago but that has since changed, and I’m praying to the five winds it hasn’t upset the delicate, mystical beauty of Orkney. Fingers crossed.

All this consultation works means I’ve had little time to pursue the next phase of my novel — pitching to agents. I am essentially done drafting my novel and now begins a new world of work identifying agents, learning their submission requirements, and crafting, crafting, crafting the query letter. If an agent doesn’t like your query letter they won’t even get to reading the chapters you sent. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been avoiding this work. I’m not afraid of rejection — it will get rejected, possibly countless times — just the amount of new skills I need to learn to sell the book when I’d rather be writing the next one. This procrastination, too, will end.

Until next time, Sláinte.

TerriNo Gravatar August 5, 2017 at 4:42 PM

We enjoyed the Orkney Islands a year ago June (as per your advice!). Cruise lines do dock, but are day-trippers. In all our adventuring, we never ran into crowds of people. May you experience the peace and delight we found there. Happy Anniversaring!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 6, 2017 at 9:36 PM

Glad you enjoyed Orkney, Terri. I’ve no doubt I will yet again 🙂

Chuck NakellNo Gravatar August 3, 2017 at 9:29 AM


Wishing you the very best with the rest of your trip, getting the novel published the way you want, and all.

Chuck and Susan in Portland

Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 6, 2017 at 9:35 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Chuck and Susan!

John TaylorNo Gravatar August 2, 2017 at 6:16 PM

We will also be in the Orkneys per your advice…I am sure that I can afford to buy you a beer if our schedules overlap!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 2, 2017 at 10:18 PM

I’ll drink to that!

Teresa CallahanNo Gravatar August 2, 2017 at 4:26 PM

When people ask me how I planned our 19 day trip to Scotland in May I refer them to your website. I read everything you wrote at least several times and found all the information to be incredibly helpful in planning our itinerary. We didn’t avail ourselves of the special travel consultation option, but only because we didn’t feel we needed it, armed as we were with all the useful info fron the website. Your advice was always spot-on and reliable. Thanks so much for all your great help.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 2, 2017 at 10:17 PM

That’s awesome, Teresa. You’re welcome. Thank you so much for spreading the word, and I’m glad you’ve found the information so helpful in your trip planning!

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