Travel Blogger Awards Interview: @theplanetd

Planet D Mud Bath

Canadian adventure couple Dave and Deb inspire people to travel around the world and live their dreams in their travel blog The Planet D. They live by the motto “Adventure is For Everyone” and they recenly won our Travel Blogger Most Helpful Award, awarded to the travel blogger who’s gone out of their way to help others succeed in the blogosphere.

We had a quick chat with Deb to find out more about adventure travel, couple travel and how travel bloggers can help one another…

What is “the good, the bad and the unexpected” about adventure travel as a couple?

There are so many good things about travelling together as a couple, it allows us both to step outside of our comfort zones. By inspiring each other, we are able to try new things that we may not attempt if we were travelling alone.

The bad that we mention is normally a particular circumstance. It could be an illness on the road or the mistakes that we make. We want to let people know that we’re not perfect and we make a lot of mistakes when we travel. Be it getting lost, being scammed or taking out our frustrations on one another. There are ups and downs in life all the time and travel is no different.

As far as the unexpected, travel offers many opportunities to be completely surprised. People can surprise you with their compassion, and scenes can surprise you by their beauty. Travel can make you surprise yourself. We’ve found that we’ve gone into a situation expecting to not like it and then ended up loving it and wanting more. For example, I wasn’t sure that I’d like kite surfing, but now I want to do it wherever we go. Dave didn’t think that he’d like a mud bath or an ion foot soak, but now he wants to go to a spa to relax after all of our adventures. Travel opens your mind to new possibilities.

The Planet D Cycling Africa

You’ve had some amazing experiences, like cycling the continent of Africa and driving ⅓ of the way around the world in the Mongol Rally. If you had to pick, what has been the most amazing?

We’ve been very lucky to enjoy some amazing adventures and they’ve all been unique and exciting in their own way but the most amazing so far has to be kayaking in Antarctica with Quark Expeditions. It was exhilarating. It was exciting to paddle through brash ice and around giant icebergs. We came within metres of leopard and Weddell seals sleeping on ice flows. A minke whale surfaced right behind us and penguins leapt in front of our boats.

If you go to Antarctica, make sure to spend the extra money to kayak. It is the most amazing feeling to be sitting on calm water while watching calving glaciers roar as they fall into the water.

Planet D Antartica

How do you prepare for your adventure travels?

For our cycle through Africa, we trained for a year but for the most part, we don’t do a lot of preparations. We’ve always been active and have honed our skills over the years. We’ve taken orienteering courses, climbing courses, kayaking and diving courses and even mountain biking lessons in the past. We’ve spent a lot of time camping; both car and backcountry and we’ve done a lot of hiking. So we feel comfortable taking on a new challenge.

If we don’t know anything about it, we’ll take a course. (We took a refresher course before going to Antarctica to practice our wet exit and t-rescue for kayaking) and do our research.

You’ve been together for over 20 years. What are some of the pros and cons of travelling as a couple?

We love travelling together. We went into this business because we wanted to be able to spend more time together. Our previous careers in the film industry kept us apart a lot and whenever we had time off, we’d travel. Travel always brought us closer together. There are so many pros to travelling together. We get to be with the one we love, we inspire each other, we have someone to share incredible moments with and we have someone to depend on and lean on when times get tough. For us, it is about being together even more than the travel. Dave and Deb Kissing in Antartica

If I didn’t have Dave, I wouldn’t be interested in travelling so much. It is the act of doing something with someone you love that appeals to us both.

As far as the cons, I think it isn’t for everyone. We are one of those couples who genuinely enjoy each other’s company. We’ve never been ones to take separate vacations or who need a girl’s night or guy’s night out to get away from one another. But other couples may need their space. Our advice is to just keep the communication open and be willing to compromise.

Your motto is that “adventure is for everyone” – what does adventure travel mean to you?

Adventure travel means stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new. It’s adding a little activity to your travels. It doesn’t have to be cycling a continent, but maybe going for your first trek in the jungle or taking a surfing lesson. It’s meeting the local people and venturing off the resort.  What one person finds adventurous won’t be the same as what another person thinks an adventure is, and that’s ok. That is why we say, adventure is for everyone, not just the super elite athletes or ultra rich adventurers.

How can travel bloggers be more helpful (either to one another or to their communities)?

Planet D Blogging in Sri LankaTravel Blogging success relies on being social. We feel that supporting your peers is important.  Instead of looking at people as competition, embrace their success. If they are working on a campaign or with a company, help them to promote what they are doing. You may need the support one day and they will help you when you need the extra promotion. There is room for everyone. Someone may have a contract or a campaign that you want, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get it next time. If the campaigns that people are working on now are successful, they will pave the way for companies to work with bloggers in the future giving you the opportunity the next time.

It is so easy to help out your fellow travel bloggers. When people email us with a question, we always try to answer. When people ask us to help promote something, review something or put a guest post up on our blog, we definitely do our best to help out. If we all help each other, we will raise the level of travel blogging to a new level.

What advice would you give to people who want to follow in your footsteps?

Have a goal of where you want to be and understand the reasons why you are going into travel blogging.  It takes a lot of work to run a successful travel blog so if you go into it thinking that it is going to be an easy way to make money, you are going in for the wrong reasons. Loving travel is only one aspect of travel blogging. The majority of your time is spent at your computer editing photos and videos, writing articles and being social in your social media channels.

When you are travelling, you have to think about taking photographs, finding story angles and making sure that you film the right shots to make a video. There is a lot of work involved and you never get a proper vacation because when you travel, you are always working. However, if you love doing all of these things, then it feels like you are on a perpetual vacation.

What are your favourite travel resources?

Google.  When I’m looking up things to do in a place or a destination, I search Google and inevitably end up at one of my favourite travel blogs. Chances are a blogger has been there and has advice and tips on the destination. And because there are bloggers that are really good at their jobs, they end up at the top of the search engines and they are who I end up reading. Lucky for me, they’re the people that I read and follow already anyway.

Planet D Great Wall of ChinaDo you ever think that you’ll settle down and stop adventure travelling?

We don’t see it happening any time soon. We can’t see ourselves owning a home and having to cut the lawn or do renovations. We love having the freedom to take off whenever we want. I think that we will always travel, but I don’t think that we will keep the pace of our current travel schedule going. We will always have an element of adventure in our travels.

What’s next for

It’s an exciting time for us. We’re in the middle of a website redesign that will be launching at the beginning of 2013. There are going to be a lot of changes. We’ll be starting a new series, we’ll be announcing a new partnership and we’re going to be making it a lot more interactive and informative.

Plus there are many more travels on the horizon starting with a trip to South Africa. We’re looking to get back to our roots of why we travelled in the first place focusing on travelling as a couple, sharing inspiring stories and of course keeping the adventures going

Thanks Dave and Deb and congratulations on your win!


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