derailing

A sign found outside a field in the hills above Dunkeld

A little over three years ago, I decided to leave the beaten path and delve into the dark, scary woods of the unknown. I would switch from a corporate life of technical and sales writing to being my own master as I traveled and wrote. It took me another year of saving before I could actually quit my job and embark on the adventure I’d set before me.

But I was not alone.

My wife, Sarah, brainstormed with me and scrimped every step of the way. Not only was Traveling Savage one of her ideas, but the whole venture wouldn’t have been possible without the financial stability provided by her job. By the time I finally made the jump, I had been in stuck in the doldrums at work for several years. I didn’t have a business plan for Traveling Savage, but I had enough ideas to push through my pragmatic disposition and make such a risky decision into a feasible escape.

And that was the real challenge I was trying to overcome in late 2010: escaping the golden handcuffs of a job I didn’t enjoy while not knowing what to do next. Read more...

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North of the Water

by Keith Savage · 6 comments

Typical View of the Scottish Highlands

There’s a saying around this part of the Scottish highlands. It goes: “Are you from north of the water?”

It’s a colloquial and kind way of calling someone crazy. What’s the water being referenced? Does it matter? It’s a perfect barb lancing through two apparently different peoples.

My hosts, Chris and Stuart, shared the saying with me as we chatted away last night with some whisky before a blazing wood stove. I might have blushed at the story. After all, most folk I meet clearly think I’m from north of the water. Read more...

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Boats on Loch Leven, Scotland

Here I am drinking a green smoothie and listening to Radiohead. It’s 8:32AM. Our cat Pip sleeps curled up on the other computer chair in my office. He thinks he owns the place. Faint light breaks through last night’s storm clouds and peeks through the blinds. “You got some nerve, coming here,” says Thom.

Sarah’s gone to work. It’s her birthday, but she’s staring at another 12-hour workday. The last two months have been brutal for her. I sprinkle work throughout the day in between dashes of yardwork and errands and exercise. Working from home has only made the discrepancy between us more obvious.

I turned 31 this month, but July has been youthening. Read more...

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Requiem for a Job: A Corporate Exodus

It was a cold day in March. The feeble late-winter sun had sent crusts of snow retreating to the edges of things. I remember staring out my office window at a fly on the ledge. Gusting drafts buffeted the poor bugger as it struggled to hang on, its ephemeral wings flickered by a force that couldn’t touch me behind the industrial glass. It moved periodically in what seemed like an affirmation that it still held the spark of life.

I paused, sipped some green tea, and turned back to my monitors as a warm, dull ache suffused my organs. I wanted to laugh, but the shockingly obvious allegory had me closer to tears. Read more...

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Above the Clouds

Friday is my last day at work. Beyond the obvious oncoming lifestyle changes there’s a feeling of renovation. There’s an internal change, too. One that reminds me of an old fixer-upper or a set of antique furniture painted and re-painted through the generations. You pull on your work jeans and boots, cast tarps about, and load in the tools. Then the anticipation – the apprehension – at what you’ll find beneath the old wallpaper and layers of paint.

What will I find? To what structure will life adhere without the typical work days and morning alarms and commutes. Rather than being anxious about this, I am elated at what feels like a move toward a more natural state for me. Read more...

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