Married couple Deb and Dave were working hard in the Toronto film industry and squeezing in the annual two-week Caribbean or European vacation when they were bitten by the adventure travel bug on a trip to Thailand in 2000. They started pursuing more adventures at home and on the road, and three years later sold their home and most of their belongings to travel Southeast Asia for eight months.
Since then, “Canada’s Adventure Couple” has biked from Cairo to Cape Town in the Tour d’Afrique, participated in the Mongol Charity Rally from London to Mongolia and trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp. They launched their popular adventure travel blog, The Planet D in 2008.
Where are you now and what are you up to?
Currently we are in Antarctica where we have been sea kayaking, camping, whale watching and sitting with the penguins. It’s been incredible. Next, we are heading to the Galapagos.
How and why did you develop your blog and has the vision for it changed over the years?
We first started blogging during the Tour d’Afrique, a cycling race from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa. The organization suggested that all participants start a blog for fans of the race to follow along. We didn’t expect to use the blog for anything more than a place to showcase our work. We wanted to pitch an adventure travel show. The TV show didn’t work out, but the blog took off and it has grown beyond our wildest dreams. After our TV show failed to get off the ground, we went into blogging as a business so the vision of our blog hasn’t changed much. We still focus on adventure, sharing our story and being as open and honest as we can be.
How did you decide to travel for a living? Was there a turning point where taking a vacation became travelling full-time?
It was in 2005 while traveling through South East Asia. We knew that we wanted to make travel a career but didn’t know how to make it happen. We looked into becoming dive masters, leading tours and even thought about opening a bar somewhere. Having a TV and film background gave us the idea to pitch a TV show. We knew we would have to stand out from other travellers so we signed up for the world’s longest cycling race and started the publicity machine. We always had the vision of being that couple traveling together and doing whacky adventures with the hopes of inspiring others to step out of their comfort zone.
Which of your past adventures were you really nervous about, but are now glad you did?
Surprisingly we are never really worried about our adventures, we are excited for the most part and tend to go with the flow. We didn’t know anything about car mechanics for the Mongol Rally, (a charity rally where we drove a car from England to Mongolia) but we thought it would be fun to give it a try. We had never done any cycling before Africa, but said to ourselves “How hard could it be?” It turned out to be very difficult, by the way. However, just the other day I (Deb) was nervous about jumping into the freezing waters of Antarctica to do the polar plunge. It was freezing and terrifying but I am very glad that I did it.
What has been one of your funniest or weirdest moments while travelling?
That has to be when we were in the Thar Desert in India. We were on a camel safari and the owner asked us if we’d mind having some company while we camped in the desert for the night. We told him that we didn’t mind so once the sun went down we saw a bunch of headlights off in the distance. It turned out that a group of surgeons from Delhi wanted to spend the night in the desert and were joining us for dinner. However, they weren’t roughing it like us. They brought a generator, wine, gourmet food and medical students to serve the food. We watched a movie on a big screen in the middle of the Indian Desert. It was completely surreal.
What is the hardest part of travelling with a partner, and how do you remedy it?
It can be difficult spending every waking moment together and we can be quite impatient with one another at times. It’s easy to take out your frustrations on one another when there isn’t anyone else around. But the key is to communicate. When we are driving each other crazy, we tell one another at the same time, we always let each other know how much we mean to one another as well. If you can let things slide off your back, you’ll be fine travelling together.
What’s the biggest advantage to travelling with a partner?
Getting to share awe-inspiring moments together. We have had the privilege of witnessing the most amazing scenery on earth. We have made new friends, witnessed incredible kindness and heartbreak and have been affected greatly by travel. Having someone with you that understands what you are going through and how your life has changed means a lot and we couldn’t imagine doing this alone.
On your blog, you talk about how to travel cheaply to make an extended trip work, but there are probably instances where having the experience of a lifetime requires spending some dough. What has been your most worthwhile splurge?
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We had already spent a lot of money cycling through Africa and really didn’t have it in our budget to climb Africa’s highest mountain, but it was the best trek we have ever done. Those six days on the mountain were magical. We had amazing guides and excellent group and the terrain was incredible. I don’t remember feeling so content while pushing myself to the limit in my life.
Which adventures are at the top of your wish list for the future?
We want to learn to kite surf. We also want to go dogsledding and visit Churchill Manitoba to see the Polar Bears. We want to go to Rwanda or Uganda to see the gorillas and we want to ride a horse across Canada. We have never been to the Amazon so we’d love to visit that and we want to do some sort of epic paddling adventure. That’s off the top of our heads right now.
What’s the best thing that has happened as a result of starting your blog?
Finding the passion in our work. We always wanted to be excited about waking up in the morning to go to work and never thought it would happen for us. Now, we love every part of our day. We love writing and photography, we love editing and shooting film, we love spending time on Twitter and Facebook and most of all we love to travel. It is a rare gift to be able to love your work.