Interview With Dave and Deb of The PlanetD
As a lover of travel and someone who is working on being hired to do more travel writing and travel photography, I've had fun getting to know some of the main players in the space.
Last year when I was the keynote speaker at TBEX, I had the pleasure of first meeting Dave & Deb from The PlanetD. They run one of the most popular travel websites out there and couldn't be nicer people in person.
Dave and Deb are an adventure travel couple who have been married for 16 of their 22 years together. A trip to Thailand in 2000 changed their life and they have been on adventures around the world on all seven continents ever since. They started their travel blog, ThePlanetD.com to inspire others and let people know that ordinary people can live extraordinary lives. Living by the motto Adventure is for Everyone, they prove that you don't have to be an uber-elite athlete or super rich to be an adventurer. Follow the fun on twitter and join the conversation on Facebook and Google+
To celebrate the relaunch of their site, I asked them some questions I was curious to hear the answers to:
Tell me about where ThePlanetD name comes from?
There was a lot of thought believe it or not when we came up with ThePlanetD, however if we had it to do again, we'd use a different name.
We always travelled with The Lonely Planet and we were inspired by them. We brainstormed ideas with the word Planet in it. Since we're Dave and Deb we thought, 'hey, why not ThePlanetD - The way Dave and Deb see the planet. Now we realize, it's not the best name. It's doesn't exactly scream travel or inspiration, but at least we're not tied to anything. That "D" can become anything we want in the future...ThePlanetD could stand for Dreams, Decadence, Delicious...
Every couple gets stressed with one another some times. How do you guys handle that when you are off on an adventure?
Communication is the key to surviving long term travel together. Travel can heighten emotions. Not only are you more euphoric during amazing moments, but when things go wrong you can become more frustrated than usual. It's important to keep the conversation going and talk to each other, don't keep how you are feeling to yourself.
The biggest advice we can give is not to hold on to anything either. You are going to yell at each other and you are going to fight, but get over it. Once you've said what you have to say, you'll feel better and it's time to move on. We've had some serious fights on the road one minute and then been sitting in a cafe enjoying each other's company the next.
You have to have a sense of humour and realize that it's all part of travel. We can laugh about our fights. We know we love each other and we never take too much to heart when emotions are running high.
What do you say to someone that says they'd love to travel but don't have the time or money for it?
I say that if you really want to do something you should figure out a way to do it.
I think too many people say things in a dreamy way and never really mean it. If you really want to travel, you can cut down on expenses at home and put away for that getaway.
We worked full time for years and took great adventures, but we live with less than other people. I'm not saying we lived lesser lives, I believe our life at home was better than most and very fulfilling, but we didn't have two brand new cars with car payments, an expensive home and we didn't go shopping for new clothes and toys each weekend. Instead we went rock climbing and mountain biking (both of which are free activities) and we went hiking and spent time outdoors. Sure, we didn't have the best car on the block, but who cares? We had freedom to do whatever we wanted and you can too.
It is all comes back to what your goal is. Sacrifice is just part of success in any aspect of your life.
Travel doesn't have to be expensive. We can go away for a month on what most people spend on a package vacation for a week. Most travellers that you talk to are not made of money, they just figure out a way to live their dreams.
What were three of your favorite experiences so far?
Ooh, I love that you asked for three. I can answer that, it's one that I have a hard time with.
Now, the experiences change all the time depending on our mood and where we are in life but today, we're in a dreamy and grateful mood, so here's our top three.
- Kayaking in Antarctica is definitely number one. Antarctica is an incredibly beautiful destination and to be paddling in silence on the water as whales breach, leopard seals float on ice flows and penguins jump in front of your boat is an experience we will never forget. I would do it again in a heart beat.
- Cycling from Cairo to Cape Town was definitely a life changing experience. During the 12,000 km race down the African continent it may not have been easy, but it was something that I cannot believe we did. Four months of cycling every day for 120 km a day gave us an opportunity to experience Africa in a very unique way. We had tea with a teacher in Sudan, we did a gruelling cycle up the Blue NIle Gorge in Ethiopia, we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and we cycled in to camp early in Chobe National Park in time to catch a sunset river safari down the Chobe River. Those moments were unforgettable.
- Mongol Rally - We love an epic adventure and driving an ill suited car from England to Mongolia was definitely epic. It was far less gruelling than cycling from Cairo to Cape Town, but I think it was far more fulfilling. We really had the chance to get to know the people we met along the way. We spent a day with a good samaritan in Kazakhstan who helped us with some paperwork for our car. We didn't have the right papers to cross the border and if he didn't come to our rescue,we would have incurred a huge fine. We had surprising help from a Ukrainian border guard who kept us from having to give in to a corrupt partner named Natasha, seriously, she was a blond guard wearing high heals and skin tight pants and she €5000 Euro from us to pass. With his help we got away with €50.
With everything you've done, do you still have any life list items that you really want to accomplish?
It's amazing how the list keeps growing. We've always wanted to get to the Arctic Circle and that dream will come true this August as we go to Greenland with Quark Expeditions. We'll be kayaking there too!
We really want to see the polar bears in Churchill Manitoba Canada and the Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda are always our top priority. We love Africa and go back every chance we get. Hopefully the Gorillas will be in the cards soon.
Do you envision a day when you won't be nomads and settle down somewhere?
It's funny you ask that because right now we are looking for a place to call home. We'll always travel, but we do want a place to lay our hats between travels. We've been talking about taking a week or so off between trips to give ourselves a chance to catch our breath and catch up on work.
We all have our personal travel hacks that we use. Care to share a few of yours?
I'd love to say that we are good travel hackers, but we are not.
- We just accumulate our Star Alliance points and American Express Rewards.
- We try to stick to one fight network to rack up the points. We fly a lot so we're Elite status on Star Alliance so we take advantage of free upgrades often and we have accumulated a lot of points over the years so we have a few free flights in our back pockets.
- We're big on sticking with one brand all the time.
- We use our American Express card for everything and then take advantage of their great rewards programs and always fly Air Canada, United or their partners whenever possible.
Just staying consistent with one program seems to work for us.
Window or Aisle?
Aisle. Usually in the centre set of rows.
Dave sits on the Aisle, Deb takes the middle and that way, nobody ever needs to crawl over us. It's the best seat for couples.
Paper or eBook?
Movies. We don't read much on the plane. I love watching a movie or two before going to sleep. Good mindless entertainment is what we need when flying.
Red or White?
Right now we're on a white kick. We drank a lot of prosecco in Italy at Aperitivo time. It's so refreshing in the hot weather.
Needless to say, after this interview I love these two even more. Plus, they have kicked my wanderlust into overdrive!
You should subscribe to The PlanetD, but be warned that between their photos and adventures you'll want to dust off your passport and go on your own adventure immediately!