This is the first in a series of interviews with travel bloggers from across the globe, introducing us to their way of life and the great experiences they have had. First up are Dave and Deb from ThePlanetD.
Dave and Deb
Blog name and address:
Where are you based?
What does your blog cover? How did you decide on your specialisation?
We’re an adventure travel blog for couples. We’ve always enjoyed adding an element of adventure into our travels and love traveling together. We had many friends who took separate vacations and didn’t seem to spend a lot of time together and we wanted to show people that couples can travel together and have an amazing time. We inspire each other to try new things. We don’t think that couples should be spending their vacations doing separate activities. We saw too many relationships where the men spent their time on the golf course while the women shopped. How clichéd! Men can have a lot of fun bartering and shopping at the markets just as much as a woman can enjoy trekking through the jungle with her man.
How long have you been travel blogging? What do you like most about it? Any downsides?
We’ve been travel blogging for 4 years. We love the fact that we get to work and travel together. It’s been our dream to turn our love for travel into a full time career and now we are living that dream. We love inspiring others to live their dreams too. If we can do it, anyone can and we want to let people know that ordinary people can live an extraordinary life. You just have to find your passion and go for it.
Life always has ups and downs so not everything is perfect. We work hard and sometimes I think we work too hard. We have a difficult time stopping to smell the roses. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed and we know that we need to stop and enjoy more. That is what our goal is for 2013.
How do you prefer to travel? Backpacking, alone, budget, luxury…? What do you like visiting? Art galleries, beaches, bars?!
We like traveling as a couple. We love being outdoors climbing mountains, kayaking, trekking through jungles and being with nature. We are really in our element when we are camping, but we also love to end each adventure with a bit of luxury. Spending time at a nice hotel and being pampered after pushing ourselves to the limit is the perfect scenario.
To what extent are your activities dictated by the needs of the blog?
The needs of our blog are always addressed when we travel. We’ve been to a lot of destinations, well over 70 countries, so when we’re thinking of a new destination, we look to places that we haven’t been before and for activities that will appeal to the theme of our blog. But because our blog is based on what we love about travel, it always ends up taking us to a place that we want to go to and doing an activity that we’ve always dreamed of going to.
How much time a day do you spend on the blog whilst travelling and when back home?
We spend a lot of time on our blog. When we are at home, we spend at least 8- 10 hours a day on the blog. It’s our time to catch up on all the work that has piled up while we’re traveling.
We spend about 2-4 hours a day on blogging when traveling. When we’re on a trip, we have our iPhone in hand to take care of social media like facebook, twitter and instagram and then at the end of the day, we catch up on editing photos and writing. If we have a day off during our travels, we’ll spend hours on the blog.
Does your blog pay the bills? How do you afford all the travel?
Our blog does make money through corporate sponsors and advertising. We have many different ways that we make money through ThePlanetD using our expertise in travel to earn income.
Do you speak any languages? How does it help your travels to speak languages?
We don’t speak any languages. We often say that it is amazing how much you can get by with a few words in the local language, a smile and a thumbs up. We’d love to speak another language and we are about to start an online course. We’ll let you know how it goes.
What tech do you take with you on your travels? Do you prefer a laptop/tablet or phone? How do you access the net abroad? Wifi or local sims?
We take a lot of electronics with us when we travel. We have two iPads, an iPhone and two MacBooks. We don’t really need the tablets, but I like to carry that with me to the coffee shop rather than my computer. Plus, it’s great on the plane for watching movies.
We normally get a pocket mifi when in Europe and a local SIM card. We also have an international SIM Card that we use with data. We’re always connected. And we always try to stay at a hotel that has free Wifi.
How much time do you spend away from home per year on average? How do you pick your destinations?
We’re constantly on the road only home a few weeks at a time. We stay with family and friends when back in Canada. Lately, we choose our destinations by where the work takes us. But we do turn down a lot of trips as well, so we don’t just simply go wherever we’re invited. We go to places we find interesting or places that we haven’t been to yet. We accept trip invitations to destinations that intrigue us.
Do you ever travel on holidays which you don’t cover for the blog?
In four years, we haven’t taken a holiday that we haven’t covered for the blog. A holiday for us, is to sit on the couch and watch movies. When we have down time, we just want to chill out, visit friends and make a home cooked meal.
What has been you stand-out trip or destination?
The first thing that comes to mind every time is Antarctica with Quark Expeditions. We never thought we’d get the chance to go there let alone kayak and camp on the continent. It’s one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and the wildlife is phenomenal. Curious penguins peck at your coat, whales surface at your zodiac to take a look and leopard seals sleep on ice flows as you float by on your kayak within mere metres from them. It’s incredible.
What meals do you remember as particularly delicious/ unusual/inedible?
One of our favourite parts of travel is food and we’ve had some incredible meals. The Sichuan Hot Pot in Chendu, China was incredibly fun. It was so spicy it made us giddy. Wat Stew and Injera in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia was outstanding, our tower of lamb, chicken, potatoes and vegetables cooked in the earth of the Arabian Desert in Jordan was delectable and I remember having ceviche for the first time in Peru, it was so good.
We spent the summer in Spain and Italy and I have to say, we had some of the best meals of our lives in each country.
Are there any countries you have visited In which you would like to live?
Not yet. We’ve been to over 70 countries and we haven’t found a place that feels like home. Home is still Canada to us, but you never know, we may find a place that we could settle. We like Paris very much. I think that is why we keep traveling, we’re not ready to settle yet.
Any advice for wannabe travel bloggers?
Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to copy what everyone else is doing, find what you love about travel and focus on that. Let your personality shine through and don’t give up. It takes time to build an audience so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see traffic or success right away. Eventually, great things will happen.
We’re heading to South Africa at the beginning of the year and have our first couple months of travel already planned. I think it’s going to be an exciting 2013.
Thanks very much for answering our questions so fully. Have a great time in South Africa!