solo travel

View over the Tay

In two short weeks I zip off on my return to Scotland. This period just before leaving is always full of deep introspection, a concerted effort to maintain mental equilibrium even as the days rotate away. My brain starts to wobble like a spinning top losing its torsion. The moment I stop spinning and clatter down is the moment the world begins spinning away from me, usually that intensely hard kernel of departure, of watching the house disappear in the rearview mirror.

When people ask me if I’m prepared, if I’m ready to go, they’re asking about the logistics of the trip. Do I have my flight booked, etc.? The answer is always yes. But the answer to their unspoken question, is no, I’m not ready. I’m never ready. Read more...

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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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The Traveling Savage After Surmounting Craigower Hill in Pitlochry

And just like that, I’m back.

I’ve been home in Wisconsin for just over a week now, and the three weeks before my return – those I spent rambling in Scotland – are a pulsing bunch of glittering images and glowing memories. How fast the past recedes from the present.

I’ve now had the opportunity to go on several, long solo trips as well as trips with Sarah and my dad since the inception of Traveling Savage. Along the way I scribble in a Moleskine, write on a private poetry site, and punch insights into my iPhone.

I also write here, of course.

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Traveling Savage at Skene House Rosemount, Aberdeen

I’ve got this horrible White Snake song stuck in my head. You know the one that goes “here I go again on my ooooown” followed by some clunky power chords? It’s been on a seemingly infinite, really short loop (I don’t know the rest of it) in my head since Sarah dropped me at the bus bound for O’Hare on Monday. It’s Tuesday afternoon in Scotland as I type this on the Glasgow-Aberdeen train. I’m still traveling. On my own. Again.

It’s a great cosmic irony that a homebody like me is trying to make it in the world of travel writing/blogging/what have you. Especially as a solo traveler. Still trying to figure that one out. But I’ve traveled a lot in the last six months: five weeks in Argentina, three weeks in Scotland, one week in San Antonio, and now I’m on the front end of another five weeks in Scotland. Read more...

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Travel as the Crow Flies

This Wisconsin winter has had its moments: bone-shattering cold, neck-deep snows, weeks without sun, and then 50-degree thaws like a crack of summer light lancing into inert, frigid dark. Just enough warmth to keep the joints moving.

It’s an apt comparison for my state of mind since returning from Argentina. Perhaps throwing myself into the unknown just as the northern USA entered the meteorological equivalent of a blackhole wasn’t the best timing. I’m reminded of that moment when I flung myself out of the Cessna at 11,000 feet – confronted with such an alien feeling, I blacked out. My tandem instructor and I rolled through thin air… Read more...

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