The Ba' Game in Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

The last six months have been an upheaval of uncertainty and possibility. Potential job opportunities in Scotland have blossomed and withered as new, future-defining options arose back home for Sarah. All the while I’ve poked and prodded the process of submitting my novel to agents. Would I become a distiller? Would I become a novelist? Would I continue on the current path? The humdrum of routine takes on a mystical shine when you stand on the precipice of a number of very different possible futures. These are celestial moments in life, decisions that years and millions of experiences hinge upon. That’s when the immense gravity of the situation crashes down and holds you face-first against the ground. Read more...


Deep in the Mash

Maybe it’s summer’s death rattle and autumn’s brisk arrival, but I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. The dark half of the year is upon us in the northern hemisphere and I’m stoking the flames with dreams.

I’ve always been a dreamer.

There’ve been times where this has hamstrung me, but its been a boon far more often. All good things must be envisioned first, and envisioning is half of making a thing real. It’s a kind of magic to which the universe responds, and it’s worth remembering especially in dark times. Read more...

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Views over the Perthshire hills above Dunkeld, Scotland

In the midst of grinding through my novel’s fourth draft it seems I missed last month’s State of the Savage. That was a fortunate oversight, for this month has become far more interesting. I’ll get to that shortly — consider it a teaser.

In the months since my last missive I’ve been wading (some might say wallowing) in the initial strokes of my fourth draft. The feedback I received from my alpha reviewers was very helpful and led me to look at the novel from a different angle, which yielded my own insights. The trickiest revisions involved changing the personas of two of the main characters more than a little and rewriting the initial chapters of one of my two POV characters. Read more...

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A gorgeous highland loch

Northern Scotland has many names: the northern highlands, the northwest highlands, the “real” highlands, the North Coast 500. Such a large swath of land is not easily defined. Here you’ll find moor and mountain, coastline and cliffside, beach and bush. Red deer outnumber the inhabitants, and villages humbly huddle beneath the mountains. There is true wilderness here, the kind where mankind’s mark feels like a distant thing. In that way, northern Scotland casts our vision beyond our collective selves, and that can be a scary or exhilarating feeling depending on your point of view. For my part, I found it to be an invigorating place that carried away the stress of modern life on its crisp winds. Read more...

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The clock is ticking on your travel planning.

Five years ago I wrote a quartet of Planning a Trip to Scotland posts. These articles have garnered more popularity than anything else I’ve written here on Traveling Savage, and it’s no surprise why. They brim with practical advice that applies to just about anyone planning their own trip to Scotland. I created them because it was exactly the kind of information I would look for (and do when going to other countries), and I figured others would find it useful. Who knew it would resonant so well, or that it would lead me to provide face-to-face trip-planning services?

I started offering those services two years ago this month… Read more...

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