The Traveling Savage

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Keith Savage in Vancouver

That’s me looking over Vancouver harbour with the lights of downtown peaking over my shoulder. I’m in my early 30s, and I recently quit my lucrative desk job in the dairy state. Things were miraculously “good” by most common definitions of the term. I live with a loving and beautiful wife. I have a nice new house in a nice neighborhood. I spend far too much time doing yard work. I have LCD HDTVs and all kinds of music equipment and video game systems and mechanized yard implements. I also had an amazing vacuum of spirit. I had a revelation.

I was cowering beneath the covers.

I was a complicit zombie.

I was executing the internal dissent.

I was willfully choosing blindness.

Every minute was invisibly burdened by a shroud of worry. The life was lavish and lazy and full up with things weightier than any ship’s anchor if I’d taken the time to notice the pull or the gradual slouch creeping into my posture. There was no destination and no path, just one foot in front of the other. Waking up; driving to work; eating lunch; watching TV; going to bed. And rinse and repeat. And repeat. At times, in the belly of the night or after a soul-sucking day, discussions would cast a passing light on the bars of this insidious cage. Innumerable life-altering epiphanies fled during those nights, no match for the daily cycle.

And then one frigid December night everything tipped over.

The responsibilities and routines and reasons scattered like bugs from beneath a rock. They looked as minuscule and ugly as bugs, too. The feeling? Like catching up on all the sleep you’ve lost over the course of your life or the sudden unlatching of a Succubus from your mind. It was levitation. It was levity.

It might sound over-dramatic, but there is drama in a man finding the key to a cell that for years he’s called life. Time will be the storyteller of what lies beyond these familiar confines. But I am awake.

I am clear-eyed and brimming.

I am the me I wanted to be.

I am holding the key. Come along with me.

Saba SuladzeNo Gravatar June 29, 2015 at 9:55 AM

Dear Sir/Madam,

9 Persons are going to visit Edinburg in 20 September on two overnights. For all guests this is first visit in Scotland. Group is going to come from London by train. On 12:20 train will be in Edinburg .

We need your advice/help in 3 things:
1. Please suggest which attraction places visit in Edinburg? From the second part (14:00) of first day, Better have a bus tour or group walk tour (likes – edinburghguidedtour.com)?
2. Please ssuggest good (not expansive) 3* hotel in the center of Edinburg (better close to Train Sstation). 3 DBL (king size bed) and 1 SGL room;
3. From the morning of the second day group wants to have, not very havy and tiresome, but interested whisky tour in well known whisky producer place. Please suggest which distillery better to go and company who can provide to transfer to distilery, have some history about whisky and taste it.

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CGNo Gravatar June 29, 2015 at 5:38 PM

Dude, you start with “dear sir/madam” because you obviously haven’t read this blog before AT ALL and you basically want him to give you free consultancy? Browse the archives, buy a guide book, do the work. Or hire Keith!

PS. I’m not affiliated with the blog – just a reader here.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 30, 2015 at 9:32 AM

Hello Saba,

I provide a travel consultation service. It sounds like this is what you’re looking for: http://www.traveling-savage.com/2014/07/30/need-help-planning-trip-scotland/

Cheers,
Keith

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KateNo Gravatar June 25, 2015 at 11:41 AM

Hello Keith,
I was reading all the nice things that everyone seems to say about you, I couldn’t agree more. Except I noticed on September 30 2014 where someone wrote in commenting on your Scottish writing and you replied Unfortunately I am an American.

I am not sure how to take that! I am an American an am very proud to be! I am really surprised that no one else has said anything about that before now either. That is what’s wrong with our country today no one seems to stand up for what it means to them.

I think what you do for people is great, your service for helping people is awesome that is why I was looking into your website. Because myself and some friends we are planning a trip there and We are thinking about hiring your services, but I highly disagree with your comment.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 25, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Hi Kate,

Thanks for the comment. I’m afraid that my comment may have given you the wrong idea. In my reply to Scuttlefish I merely meant that it was unfortunate I was not Scottish as he/she believed in the original comment (i.e., that I had to contradict him/her), not that it it unfortunate I am American. I am not ashamed to be American by any stretch of the imagination.

Hope that clears things up. Thanks for reading!

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Gretchen MyatovichNo Gravatar February 24, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Keith–
I am so happy that I used your trip planning services! You took the information I provided in the questionaire and personalized your suggeststions to my interests. I am excited to look further into some of the suggestions that I never even knew about/considered. The cost is minimal compared to the knowledge you gave me, not to mention the piece of mind–This will be my first trip to Europe in over 20 years, and my first ever that I am not using any type of tour company. I know with your information that I will have an amazing, informative, fun and safe trip!
Thank you so much!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 24, 2015 at 12:05 PM

So happy to hear it, Gretchen! I know you’ll have a great time on your trip to Scotland, and I’m happy to have been a part of the planning!

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Victoria Elizabeth SlaterNo Gravatar February 22, 2015 at 3:29 PM

Hello Keith! For my term report in school, my topic was Edinburgh Vaults. My Nanna suggested it to me, because she saw it once herself when my family still lived in Scotland. (Half of my family is from Glasgow, the other half, Loch Ness.) When I began my research, your blog popped up on Google. With the help of your blog, I aced the term report! Thanks!!!!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 22, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Haha! Glad to hear it ๐Ÿ™‚

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CamilaNo Gravatar October 21, 2014 at 3:52 AM

Love your blog, Keith. Have you ever written about where you’d live in Scotland, and why? Cheers!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 21, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Actually, no, I haven’t, but that’s a good idea and a good question. I’ll think on it!

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Milena YordanovaNo Gravatar October 3, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Lovely website! Scotland seems so interesting and mystic. I love the way you write, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 3, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Thanks Milena!

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The ScuttlefishNo Gravatar September 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Ah, Scottish writers are the best! And I’m all for savagery. Just returned alive from a ravishing trip to the Hebrides (let me proclaim that my tiny frame did defeat the mighty gales of the port of Ness) and now I find your blog. Still, I hope you write many books.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Scottish writers are the best! Unfortunately, I’m American ๐Ÿ™‚ Where in the Hebrides did you get to, and what brought you there?

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The ScuttlefishNo Gravatar September 30, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Ha, the American spellings did confuse me a bit. But this is good news–there doesn’t seem to be a lot of fine American travel writers around.
I went around Harris and Lewis–mainly for the otherworldliness and some sneaky broch-climbing. I’m also a sucker for wild beaches with no Chinese lamp-lit restaurant or fire dancer in sight.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 30, 2014 at 5:04 PM

I thank you for the kind words. You have been to a place in Scotland I have yet to travel to – please let me know when you post about your trip to Harris and Lewis.

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The ScuttlefishNo Gravatar October 5, 2014 at 3:22 PM

The Hebrides struck me half speechless, hence a photo essay for the time being: http://paperboats.net/2014/10/05/far-out-a-photo-essay-on-scotlands-outer-hebrides/

SueNo Gravatar September 3, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Your information was very helpful in planning our first trip go Scotland. I would be helpful if you had a little map of the country showing the town you are writing about. Not everyone knows where they are located. Thanks! Keep up the good work! Safe travels.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 3, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Thanks for the input. Glad you’ve found my site helpful!

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AndreaNo Gravatar August 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM

I just found you today! and am very grateful ~ My husband agrees to take me to Scotland for a very over due honeymoon in 2016 (very over due, we will be married 10 years October 28th). We have reached our goal of starting a family and getting our farm established, now it’s tme to plan a belated “honeymoon”. I have always been historically intrigued by Scotland since my teens and it will be a dream come reality for me to go. Your Blogs/Experience/Input was what I was looking for because I admit I have my vacation fears, I want to see cultural festivities but do not want to be a “tour bus zombie”…. so your website was a answer prayer, Thank you Bunches ~ Andrea Do hope you will be able to continue your travels.

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LynnNo Gravatar July 10, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Great website! My husband and I live in Seattle and are planning a Scotland trip September 2015 for my 60th birthday. Do you do itinerary consulting? We want to spend 2-3 days in London then 14 in Scotland and love what you’re writing–all your top 5,s want to start in Edinburgh then head west and north, ending in Orkney. Would you be willing to help put together a customized drive itinerary, or who would you recommend? Thank you in advance! Lynn

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 11, 2014 at 7:35 AM

Hi Lynn,

I can certainly help you with your itinerary. Please contact me here and we can get the ball rolling!

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KelliNo Gravatar June 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Hi Keith! I’m so happy I stumbled upon your website. Scotland is the number one place in my heart to visit and I’ve been aching to go for some time. Your site really offers the best advice for a first time visitor. I do have one question… how did you get started? How do you make your living? Writing for different travel sites? I am also a writer and I have been feeling like this is my calling (travel writing) for some time but I’m completely clueless on how to start. Would you allow me to pick your brain a bit? Thank you for what you do!

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RandyNo Gravatar June 24, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Kelli- Check out my May 8 comments to Keith regarding H. V. Morton. Amazing travel writing from the 1920’s.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 25, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Hi Kelli. I just quit my old job and started doing this one. I read some books, but they weren’t very helpful. I just took the leap. I am not following a typical online travel writer earning scheme. I’ve never been paid for my writing. I, in fact, don’t make a living from Traveling Savage (though I wish I did). I made a series of decisions on the road to creating this site that refused compromising the content of the site. These decisions also cut me out of 90% of the ways to make money travel writing. I write here (and only here, though sometimes the Scotsman) because Scotland is my passion and I stubbornly cling to the belief that following my passion will yield success in the future. I don’t blame those who think it naive, but this is the path I’ve chosen.

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KelliNo Gravatar June 26, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Thank you for your honest response, Keith. I don’t think it’s naive, I think it’s brave. And if you ask me, the world needs a little more of that energy. I’ll be referencing your page quite often in the coming months as I plan my trip to Scotland. Thanks again!

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Randy GregoryNo Gravatar May 8, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Keith- Just had your sight sent to me. Looking forward to checking it out. Have you read H.V. Morton- In Search of Scotland? Written in the 20’s. Great travel writing. Available on Amazon usually, used. He did a follow up-In Scotland Again. Also enjoyed In Search of Ireland. The guy was prolific.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar May 8, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Hi Randy,

I have not read Morton, but I’ll look into his writings. Sounds interesting!

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CatherineTheBraveNo Gravatar April 15, 2014 at 4:25 PM

This description was so clear and touching. I think I understand you. I had one moment of enlightement in my entire life last year, when I was overworked, working all day and weekends and collecting money for nothing – then I went for a coaching session and I have started to think – what my dream is all about? Then I realized that since my high school it was all about going to Scotland or Ireland at least for few days. Here, in Poland, we buy “last minute” trips to Egypt, Mallorca, Canary Islands etc… and it was my first time abroad. It was my first flight. By myself – only me, my dreams and demons:) And the best day in my entire life – going to Loch Ness, see Glen Coe, listen to scottish accent … and planning for a month at work which I was exhausted. I was only thinking about it, collecting money and knowledge, reading books, watching guide videos, reading blogs and travel trips… and then I went to Scotland where my mind stayed and never came back. And now, sitting here in Poland, having no full – time job, only singing, I’m making a blog, fanpage and reading all the stuff I can find on the web… And dreaming that one day I will be back at Edinburgh, I will see Shetlands, Orkneys, Isle of Skye, all those castles, talk with rural people, read ethnographical books and work with people and for people. This is the clue, not money.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Scotland is great! Bring someone you love and it will be even better!

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Liz HendersonNo Gravatar January 6, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Hello, you should arrange a tour in the future. I’m ready to go but need a talented guide. Let it be known if you would lead a smallish tour to Scotland. All the best

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TraeNo Gravatar December 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

A new friend, a new blog fan and a new appreciation for whiskey.
Thank you for all three!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Hi Trae!

Glad to see you here and happy I could help with that appreciation of whisky.

Thanks for following along!

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AshleyNo Gravatar November 11, 2013 at 8:07 PM

So I’m not sure what it’s all about, but if you are talking about the Arran islands off the coast of Ireland they are a sight to see. A lot of them surround an old fort that’s right on a cliff. It’s breath taking!

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SandyNo Gravatar November 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Don’t have a comment but I have a question. I’m always looking at pictures of Scotland and I ran across a picture of land with stone fences. Not just one or two big ones, but lots of little ones. Why so many little stone fences? It was on Aran Island of Innis Oirr. Do you know anything about this? Thanks, Sandy Pennsylvania, USA

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 11, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Hi Sandy,

Stone fences are used all over Scotland by farmers to demarcate their land. The stones were probably plowed up from the earth or taken from old buildings long ago to make the fences.

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Laura Sosa-RochaNo Gravatar September 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Wow, amazing and moving story. Your words are far too familiar to me on my own journey to live not just exist! Thanks for sharing them!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 7, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Cheers Laura!

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OrkoNo Gravatar August 9, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Hi Keith,

You are an inspiration for me. Though, the job I do pays well and I am good at it, I cannot explain to anyone how suffocated I feel sometimes. And the joy I feel whenever I could get away from this “rinse and repeat” life. Meeting with new people, knowing their way of life, tasting new food, learning new cultures, experiencing natures beauty or man made architecture. I guess you don’t need that explanation. ๐Ÿ™‚
I cannot tell you how much I could connect to the things you have written here. And I hope, soon I will also be able to leave this life behind and hit the road. Wish me luck!!

Thanks

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 9, 2013 at 10:30 PM

I hear, you Orko. Glad I can be an inspiration. Best of luck to you!

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AshleyNo Gravatar June 18, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Keith I’ve been reading your blog and just love it your about me section feels a lot like me at the moment! I’m going a three week excursion to begin then coming home and figuring it out! I’m on the work-eat-sleep train right now and trying to figure out how to make my dream of travel a reality! Thanks for words of wisdom!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I think it’s great that you’re thinking beyond the industrialized human corporate sphere. If you’re serious about making travel a career, realize that a blog is a tool to build an audience but that it isn’t a saleable product in itself. Think about what product you will be able to offer to your audience and you will be much better prepared than I was when I started blogging.

Best of luck!

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Thursa WildeNo Gravatar April 23, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Wow, that’s about the best ‘about me’ page I ever read and I read several a day in my job. I also loved the rusting backbone feature. What a good writer you are.

Thursa

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Thanks Thursa, I appreciate the comments!

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iuliaNo Gravatar April 22, 2013 at 5:59 AM

I’ve enjoyed “10 things that Zorba taught me about life ” , all that you said was already in my mind , but I couldn’t find words to express what I felt about Zorba the greek (the movie) , the impresion that made on me . And when “the boss” said : “Zorba , teach me to dance “, I heard :” Zorba , teach me (teach us) to LIVE “.

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ManojNo Gravatar March 16, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Hi Keith,
Your site is very informative . Thanks for your time and help.
I live in london for last 8 months. I am trying to for a 4 day/3 night trip to Scotland with my family and parents. 4 adults and 1 son. I am not familiar with the place.
Would it be recommended for a package tour ?
Which all are must see places?

Thanks

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ChrisNo Gravatar April 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Hi Keith,

Appreciate your writing. Keep it up as it’s a great country. I have been living just north of Glasgow for nearly five years now and I can say its good to live here. Without a doubt the friendliest people I have ever met and beautiful scenery to boot. So I encourage all those who may just be thinking about visiting to just get on th plane and get here. You won’t regret it!

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mary wiseNo Gravatar February 10, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Life is hard sometimes; and then it is the most joyful experience imaginable. Follow y our heart. I can tell from your blog, that you are very intelligent. Peace is important also. And kindness and courtesy, you seem to have, so you have alot going for you. Some people like to stick in one spot. Others love travel. I have always loved travel, but had great responsibility; 7 children, and me the only parent. Those days are over. I have a heart full of loving memories, and the hard times have made me a very kind woman. I encourage you and your wife to keep on. I am so proud of you. And you are young. So you have a lifetime of joy and trouble, but that won’t stop you from unburdening yourself from a much bigger trouble; tied down to money earning, in spite of your being tied down to the so-called American dream. I wish you the greatest joy and peace a person can possibly have. Sincerely, mary.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 10, 2012 at 11:12 PM

What a beautiful story. I appreciate the heart-felt words, Mary. Best to you as well.

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JessNo Gravatar December 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Love your vision, mission and your writing style. Keep on rockin’!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Thanks Jessie – appreciate the support!

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JasoNomadNo Gravatar November 4, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Loving the name of your site! Can’t wait to explore it a bit more… as soon as I have some time off from exploring Malaysia ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Joel TillmanNo Gravatar October 18, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I know the feeling you had before you decided to change your life. I had similar revelations and left the country to go teach in South Korea for a while. I have never looked back and am happy to hear of others doing the same.

Is there anything you miss about your old life?

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Sure – interacting with cool, smart people on a daily basis and earning a nice paycheck. It’s a different set of worries.

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Joel TillmanNo Gravatar October 18, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Do you not have any of that where you are at? The cool/smart people, that is.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM

I work from home, so other than me and my wife, no ๐Ÿ™‚

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TimNo Gravatar July 20, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Thanks for such a refreshing post,many people do live in a cell,a fog,sleepwalking through life without ever being fully aware. I think that Vagabonding is one of the most life altering things one can do regarding pulling back the veil on our own personal Matrix (corny I know but true).

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Lisa | LLWorldTourNo Gravatar June 25, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Keith! You are a very talented writer! Who knew? Well, not me, because I’ve been missing out. This ‘about me’ page is beautifully written, honest, and gave me goose bumps. I have to admit, I am glad you just started a year and a half ago…because I am going to go back and read it all. I didn’t think I would b/c Scotland doesn’t ‘pull’ me, but your writing does. And that’s the most important part. I’m excited to begin. Oh…and adding your link to my links page…now!
LL

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 25, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Thanks Lisa! Glad this drew you in, though I think I need to update it soon. No longer holding down a desk job, for example…

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CatNo Gravatar March 24, 2011 at 1:50 AM

Have just found your site, and was shocked to see Cรกdiz!
I live in nearby Seville, so check out my blog: http://olivaresbound.blogspot.com

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BethanyNo Gravatar January 14, 2011 at 1:30 PM

It’s reading things like this that make me excited to live life!

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EatlaughloveanonNo Gravatar December 7, 2010 at 1:01 AM

Wow, Keith! It seems this feeling is pretty common.
I recently started a blog and recently posted about that horrible work-eat-sleep cycle (before stumbling on your site). At least three people have emailed me to say my post brought tears to their eyes.
What is the world coming to when having a job makes your life so blah?

Love your blog. I’m off exploring it now.

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Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]No Gravatar November 24, 2010 at 4:01 AM

I admire your talent – will keep you on my list of experts to learn from!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 24, 2010 at 7:12 AM

Very nice of you Brenna. Hope you find a lot of useful information here.

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johnnyNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 5:24 AM

this is one of the most interesting, inviting and compelling about me sections i’ve read in a long time mate, great site =) a true inspiration!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 24, 2010 at 7:11 AM

Thanks Johnny!

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MelanieNo Gravatar October 22, 2010 at 12:09 AM

Keith! You are my hero. I, at this moment want to leave everything behind. Unfortunately, I have to many lives depending on me. As soon as that number dwindles down I will enjoy nothing more but to travel the world-one continent, country, and city at a time! For now, I will use your travels as motivation and a hope that I will soon one day be a traveler as well!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 22, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Hi Melanie, glad to see you here. It’s true that life changes like mine can’t happen over night. I have waited many many months – years even – to make this switch. Stay focused and continue to do the things that help you actualize your dream.

Happy to have you along for the ride! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Tony LeonNo Gravatar October 15, 2010 at 9:57 PM

My sweet Lord. That was incredible. I’m so glad you found that key.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 16, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Thanks Tony. The trick, now, is to hang on to it with everything I’ve got.

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Michael FigueiredoNo Gravatar October 8, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Hi Keith,

I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog today! I love the way you write. I just started my own travel blog two months ago and have been inspired by reading other blogs. Keep up the good work!

Michael

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 8, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Thanks Michael, keep at it!

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CharuNo Gravatar September 22, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Keith, you are my new hero! I majored in Classics and have left all those oldies behind in what I thought was my former life. Time for a traveling resurrection of sorts. Don’t quit writing, and I’ll keep reading.

charu

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 22, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Hi Charus – definitely resurrect those classics. I’ve found them to be inspirational in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Thanks for reading!

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Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar May 21, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Rock on Keith! Looking forward to following your journey of adventure!

Best,

Sam

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 22, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Thanks Sam. Glad to have you on board.

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SamNo Gravatar May 11, 2010 at 7:59 AM

Hi Keith,

Love the site, really think what you’re doing is splendid. As such I featured you as our #traveltuesday post over at STA travelbuzz. Hope you like it.

Keep up the good work,

Sam.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 22, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Thanks Sam, really appreciate the feature!

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SueNo Gravatar December 20, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Keith, You are enormously talented! I thoroughly enjoyed the site. Sue

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