- Travel Topics
1. Can you start by giving us a little bit of background about yourself and your blog. How did you start traveling? When did you start blogging, and what did you expect readers to get out of it?
It was in 2008 when we decided to cycle the continent of Africa in the World’s longest cycling race, The Tour d’Afrique. We started the blog because the race encouraged all participants to write about it. People following the adventure, would be able to get first hand accounts of our trip from Cairo to Cape Town. We didn’t have the intention of blogging, but using the race to raise our profile to pitch a travel show. When we returned to Canada, we had a lot of media because Deb won the women’s race and Dave accomplished EFI. (Cycling”Every Fabulous Inch” of Africa. If someone suffered a technical breakdown, or illness or simply didn’t make it into camp by the end of the day and had to hitch a ride, they were given a 12 hour penalty and had no chance of accomplishing EFI. Dave never missed one km of cycling.
Things were looking promising and we had a production company and distributor interested in our story, but it eventually fizzled. All this time, we kept the blog going and it had started to gain steam. People were really excited about our story and the fact that we took part in zany adventures together as a couple. After a year, we decided to put all our efforts into blogging.
We always had the same goal with the TV series as the blog, we want to inspire our readers to step out of their comfort zone, follow their dreams and live life to the fullest. Many people think that they could never do what we do or that to have an adventure they have to be wealthy or a fitness guru of some kind. But our motto is “Adventure is for Everyone” and we aim to prove that if we can do it, anyone can.
2. Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst?
It is hard to choose one best experience from our travels. We’ve had so many amazing moments. We’ve made great friends, accomplished things that we never thought possible and had the opportunity to witness the most amazing landscapes on earth. Highlights have definitely been kayaking in Antarctica with Quark Expeditions, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro and making the trek to Everest Base Camp and our epic road trip from England to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally. One of our favourite parts of travel is taking epic trips. Cycling from Cairo to Cape Town started it all and it was the toughest yet most fulfilling thing we have ever done.
We luckily don’t have a lot of terrible experiences, for the most part, travel is inspiring and energizing. However, a scary moment came in Tanzania when Deb cut her knee and it became infected. It turned into cellulitis a very serious infection that spread from her ankle to her hip. After three different trips to hospitals and several different types of antibiotics, the infection finally broke and she could continue racing after 10 days of not being able to ride. (three of those days were racing rest days, so she received seven 12-hour penalties. When we returned home, we found out just how serious cellulitis was and realized that she could have lost her leg or even died. She really should have been in the hospital on an IV drip. Luckily, it all worked out, but it was very scary at the time. The pain was excruciating.
3. By far you are one of the most popular travel blogs on the web. What’s been the key to your success? Was it gradual, or can you recall a moment in time where you really “took off”?
Thank you for the compliment. I think the key to our success has to be honesty. When people meet us, they always say that we are exactly what they expected. We don’t pretend to be something that we are not. We discuss our fears and hopes and dreams and we share our failures and accomplishments. I think that regular people can relate to us. We took a huge chance 4 years ago, quitting our well paying jobs and going on a great adventure. We’re not uber-athletes, we’re not filthy rich and we are not a couple of twenty somethings on a Gap Year. We’re two regular people who had a plan and worked very hard to fulfill our dreams.
I think our success has been gradual. We’re still gradually reaching our goals. I think that we’re always looking for different ways to stand out and succeed rather than following the pack. We’re not watching what other people are doing, we’re making things happen for ourselves and doing what is right for us.
4. When you first start out traveling it’s common to have an itinerary, however, I imagine you guys are well beyond that. What dictates your route? How do you decide where to go and how long to stay there?
At this point in our travels, we go to places that interest us and to places that we haven’t been to yet. We get a lot of invitations but we are quite choosy as to what we accept. We want our travels to stay within the theme of our blog and to excite us and our readers. We just returned from Kenya and our readers chose that trip. Expedia.com held a poll as to where people want to see us go. That’s an exciting way to travel as we know that people will be interested in what we’re doing. We did the same thing earlier this year with Croatia. Our readers sent us to Kayak in Croatia, a place that we hadn’t really considered before. It ended up being an amazing experience.
We’re heading to South Africa next and although we have been there before because of the Tour d’Afrique, we really haven’t explored it to the fullest so we are extremely excited to go back and take in this beautiful country.
5. How has your method of travel changed since you first started?
It’s surprising how much our travels have stayed the same. We’ve always loved climbing or kayaking or trekking through the jungle and we do that every chance that we can. We still love camping and doing an epic adventure that challenges us and forces us to stay in some questionable accommodations, but our trips are shorter now and we stay in nicer hotels before and after our adventures.
When we first started traveling in 2000, we would stay in small guest houses and bungalows for less than $10 a night to try to stretch our budget. We still had a mortgage and car payments at home, so if we went somewhere for a month, we couldn’t break the bank. . Even then though, we splurged whenever we could. We’ve always loved adventures, but after the trek or hike is over, we love pampering ourselves and would stay in the nicest place we could afford.
We’re still avid campers and feel right at home in a tent, but once we reached Ulaan Batar in Mongolia after 12,000 Miles in a tiny car, we opted for a nice apartment to rejuvenate. After our safari in Kenya, we were right at home at the Norfolk Fairmont Hotel and even after cycling Africa, we made sure to head out to Stellenbosch outside of Cape Town and stay in a quaint B&B.
A lot of our travel now is for work, but companies and tourism boards that we work with, know us well and each trip caters to adventures and travel off the beaten path. It still feels the same, only the food is better.
6. Had you guys ever traveled together before? How have you been managing on the road thus far, and do you have any advice for couples traveling abroad?
We’ve been traveling together since 2000. Our first trip took us to Thailand for 5-weeks and that changed our lives. After that trip, we took off every winter anywhere from a month to three months. We worked as freelancers in the film business in Canada, so the winter was the perfect time to travel. We’d pack up each November and see the world. It was our time to reconnect because the rest of the year, our jobs really kept us apart and took up most of our time.
We travel very well together. The most important thing for couples traveling together is to keep the communication open. We talk about everything and never bottle anything up. When we have an argument, we get it all out, yell, scream, cry and laugh and then move on. We never hold a grudge and never take anything to heart. When you are with each other 24 hours a day, you are bound to get on each others nerves so tell each other. It’s so much better to say, “You’re bugging me right now” than to not say a word and let it build up inside.
Our second piece of advice is to compromise. Have an open mind and try something new. If one of you has your heart set on seeing a country or trying a new activity, go for it. Don’t shut down ideas, be open to them. You’ll be surprised to find that you’ll probably love every minute of it.
7. Where are you looking forward to the most (but haven’t yet gone)?
We have always wanted to see the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. I can’t believe we haven’t seen them yet and we’re making it our mission to go in the next year or two.
8. What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
We love cycling, rock climbing, camping, paddling, going to the movies, (we’re totally movie buffs) cooking, public speaking (we love to talk) and yoga. I really need to go to a Yoga class this week. Sitting at a computer makes me achy.
9. What are your upcoming plans, both travel and non travel?
2013 is shaping up to be an exciting time. We’re starting it off with South Africa and then heading to Europe. We’re going to be paddling in Mexico and Peru is looking like it is part of our itinerary. We’ve also got some Canada travel in the books and Scandinavia is a possibility.
Outside of travel, we have a lot of exciting partnerships we’re going to be doing. We can’t announce them yet, but we’re fulfilling our dream of being spokespeople and ambassadors for a major company, and will continue to work with our current sponsors Expedia and American Express.
We’re in the middle of a major redesign on our website that we are very excited about and will be launching that at the end of January. It’s going to be a place where people will be inspired, motivated and can gain the tools to plan their own travels.
Other than that, we don’t have a lot of other plans. Our travels take up most of our time and luckily, we get to do amazing adventures on the road, so it keeps us active. When we’re not traveling, we love to catch up with our friends and family.
10. Do you ever think about calling the quits?
How can we call it quits when we’re just getting started! We’ve been lucky enough to be able to do what we love together as a couple. I told someone the other day that travel is an amazing part of what we do, but what we really love is being together. Getting to work, travel and live with the one you love is a rare gift and no matter where ThePlanetD takes us, as long as we’re together, we’re fulfilled. We’ll probably slow down the travel schedule in the coming years to focus on motivational speaking, TV appearances and spokespeople, but we’ll always live and active life filled with lots of travel. We just may have a place to call home in the coming years. But not yet:)
Adventure Couple Dave and Deb, run the popular Travel Blogs ThePlanetD.com focusing on adventure and inspiration. Following their motto “Adventure is for Everyone” they constantly take on unique and exciting challenges such as cycling the continent of Africa and driving ? of the way around the world in the Mongol Rally. They have appeared on a weekly television segment on Canada’s National News Station and been featured in such publications as National Geographic, BBC Travel, AOL Travel and The Toronto Star. A married couple who have been together 21 years, Dave and Deb have transformed their lives and left their careers to follow their dream of working and traveling together while encouraging others to pursue their passion.