logistics

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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A rental car in Shetland

At this point in my travels, driving is my favorite activity in Scotland. Nothing beats the feeling of the open road, of exploring tiny farm tracks winding through glens and along windswept beaches to far-flung ruins. Having the opportunity to pull over and appreciate a breath-taking view for as long as you want is priceless. Traveling by car slows down trips, opens them up to serendipity, and allows you to move where you want, when you want.

Intrigued by a sign? Follow it. Curious where that tiny gravel road leads? Follow it. Intent on exploring the coast? Follow it. These are things you simply cannot do without a car. Read more...

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The wilderness near Bonar Bridge

I’ve been thinking about this trip for a long time. The northwest highlands, an area some Scots consider to be the “true” highlands, stretch north of the beaten path running from Inverness to Skye. This is an achingly beautiful stretch of wilderness, and I’ve only scratched the surface of what this region has to offer. The reason? The farther you get from the heart of Scotland the more your trip must revolve around those distant destinations. For example, it doesn’t make sense to stop in Wester Ross when the rest of your trip is east of Loch Ness. That’s not an effective use of time and time is the primary currency when we’re talking about vacation.

Finally, now I am directing my full attention to the north. Read more...

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