For this monthâ€™s niche travel interview, I am positively thrilled to bring you the Canadian Adventure Travel team of Dave and Deb, also known as The Planet D. This dynamic couple truly lives an adventure travel lifestyle, evangelizing that adventure is for everyone. Read on and I promise, their enthusiasm will infect you, too!
What actually constitutes â€śadventure travel?â€ť We feel the definition of adventure travel has changed over the years. We used to think that you had to climb to the summit of Everest or trek to the North Pole, but adventure is different for everyone. Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something that scares you can be an adventure. We started off very small with our adventures. In 2000, a short hike through the jungle and a half day of sea kayaking was a huge adventure for us. With each travel, we took baby steps and added new adventures. We went rock climbing and scuba diving, or mountain biking and snowboarding. The more confident we grew with each adventure, the more inspired we were to try more. Adventure travel can be an active trip like hiking, climbing or kayaking, but it can also be experiencing a culture as well. Exploring the Medina in Marrakech or trying to barter at a market in India is definitely an adventure. Adventure travel is getting outside and surrounded by nature. Swimming beneath a waterfall in Thailand may not be physically demanding, but it is most certainly an amazing adventure. Too many people think that they are too old, or not fit enough to have an adventure, but adventure is what you make it!
Your motto is â€śAdventure is for Everyone.â€ť What are some examples of adventure travel that donâ€™t require tremendous strength, high skill levels or years of experience â€“ in other words, adventure travel for the Average Joe? I see that I answered this one in the question above, but I can go on and on with different levels of adventure. Snorkeling doesn’t take high levels of expertise, but it can be just as exciting as scuba diving. I think swimming with sharks and sea lions in the Galapagos was just as exciting as any scuba diving we’d ever done in the past. Heading out on ebikes through the countryside of Switzerland may not have been as physically demanding as cycling the continent of Africa, but we had an amazing time. Even better was hopping on a trotti bike and coasting down the Swiss Alps in Grindelwald. We had never been on a trotti bike before and had no skill whatsoever, but it was a thrilling ride. Paragliding is one of the greatest adventures anyone can do and you don’t need any skills at all. All you have to do is sit in a harness and let your guide do all the work. It’s not near as frightening as jumping out of a plane, but you still get the amazing sensation of soaring through the air. As you can see, the possibilities are endless, so let your imagination lead you wherever you want to go. There are always modifications you can do from extreme adventures to making them adventures for everyone.
While you claim to not be ultra-athletes, some of your adventure travel has been pretty physically demanding (Everest Base Camp, Tour dâ€™Afrique, etc.). Do you maintain a regular training regimen or do you prepare for your next adventure as necessary? I wish. When we cycled the continent of Africa we trained for a year and we were in the best shape of our lives. That was the last time we truly had time to have an exercise regime. After completing the Tour d’Afrique in 2008, we started travel blogging full time, and have found it difficult to balance our travels and work schedule with a workout schedule. However, we’ve always been active, and by keeping adventures as a part of our travels, it keeps us in relatively good shape. Nearly every trip we take has hiking, biking or some kind of paddling involved. We rarely sit for too long anywhere. If we aren’t doing something, we go a little stir crazy. When we do have a big trek or something really demanding in the works, we try to work out, but most of the time, we just constantly keep active. We’re out of shape right now, but we just finished a five day white water kayaking course that was pretty intense and that helped start to whip us back into shape. With the summer of adventures we have ahead of us, we think we’ll be able to hike the 65km Pukaskwa Trail that we have on the books for August. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a little worried about our abilities to complete it, but we somehow always manage to pull through.
Have you ever taken on an adventure that once started you felt ill-prepared or questioned whether you could complete it due to fear or physical fortitude? Constantly. I think every epic adventure we do makes us question our abilities. Even though we trained for a year for Africa, we felt like we bit off more than we could chew on the very first day! I’m serious. 160km of cycling through headwinds from Cairo to camp was extremely difficult. As we suffered through, all I could think of was, I have four more months of this? Most recently we tackled an expedition in Northern Ontario where we spent 11 days snowshoeing and winter camping as we trekked 100km across frozen lakes and rivers. It was one of the most difficult things we have ever done and many times I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish. But it is by doing these sorts of adventures that helps us discover what we are made of. You never know what you are capable of achieving until you try it. We always surprise ourselves and come out stronger and better people.
What electronics gear & gadgets do you consider must-haves for adventure travel? That depends on the adventure. For treks to rural areas a Spot Satellite GPS Messenger is good to have to check in each night with your location and status. A Cell phone is another good safety item to have on hand. Other items that we always carry are a Leatherman, Duct Tape, a basic First Aid kit, a pegless clothesline, a lightweight down jacket, and an external battery charger for our cell phones and any other devices that can by charged via USB. We don’t go anywhere without our GoPro Camera and we have a point and shoot waterproof camera as well. A DSLR is nice, but it never comes with us on the boat or while climbing something. We always have a peak hat for sun, extra sunglasses, glasses and contacts. I had two pairs of glasses break while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. By the end I was eating dinner in my prescription sunglasses and had no choice but to summit wearing contacts. Which brings me to an eye glass repair kit as well. Tweezers are always a must. Oh and I might as well mention our old stand by Gold Bond. When you can’t shower for days on end and you are hot, sticky and sweaty, Gold Bond is a lifesaver. It comes with us wherever we go!
Youâ€™ve made a full-time career out of your passion for adventure travel, regularly doing things â€śat workâ€ť most of us only get to do on vacation. Your life is the inverse of most of ours. What do you do when you are â€śoff work?â€ť Does â€śvacationâ€ť mean going back to Canada between adventures? Exactly. Between adventures we go back to Canada and stay with Deb’s parents. It’s nice because we are only back for a week or two so we don’t wear out our welcome. When we’re home, we are usually catching up on the backlog of work, but when we really want to chill out, we like to turn off and watch movies and catch up with friends.
How do you decide what adventure comes next? Do you plan ahead or just take off as the idea or opportunity presents itself? What is your next adventure?Â We used to have a long list of adventures that we wanted to try. We made a ‘life list’ back in 2003 and it’s amazing to realize that we ticked everything off that list. It seemed so impossible then. The list keeps getting more added to it though, so I don’t think we’ll ever come to the end. So when choosing our adventures, we go where we haven’t been yet or do what we haven’t done yet. We are lucky enough to be able to make a living out of doing things we want to do and try. This summer we are promoting our home province of Ontario Canada. It’s been a dream of ours to promote our own country and we are thrilled that we were able to make that happen. Ontario is an amazing adventure destination but nobody knows about it. So we’re spending the summer doing a string of adventures here starting with a five day intensive white water kayaking course, learning how to fly fish, getting our motorcycle license to ride a bike around Lake Superior, going on a moose safari, kayaking the Slate Islands to see Caribou and exploring the world’s largest fresh water island. Wow! Who knew we’d have the adventure of our lives in our own backyard. Our adventures are happening here until September and we are already planning our Fall and Winter schedule abroad. Usually we like to plan our travels 6 months ahead so that we know where we are going. Winter is looking like it’s going to be focusing on Central and South America at the moment and we can’t wait to get back to that part of the world.
ThePlanetD writes a wonderful blog, creates engaging video and inspiring photography, and are active in multiple social media channels â€“ all while youâ€™re traveling and adventuring. Do you divvy up the responsibilities by affinity or skill, or do you both have a hand in everything you produce? Thank you for the kind words. We actually do divvy everything up. We discovered a long time ago that it was silly for the two of us to take photos and come home with duplicates of everything. Plus, Dave is a much better photographer than I will ever be. So I always had inferior photos to his to boot. So Dave is the photographer and I think his photos are what attracts many people to our blog. I do the writing because I just love to pour my heart out. However, we both discuss articles and ideas and make sure that both points of views are portrayed. We like to keep the article balanced so even though we don’t write in a “he said, she said” sort of way, we still give different points of view. We divvy up social media as well. We have an assistant that helps us curate and put out our content like our photos of the day, travel quotes and blogs posts but it is always Dave or myself interacting. If you are talking to ThePlanetD, you are talking to Dave or Deb. I focus on Facebook and twitter and Dave focuses on Google+ and Instagram. We both dabble in Pinterest, but I always seem to forget about that one. We both shoot video, but I am the video editor. I like telling a story and putting it together on film. Dave comes in after I’m done editing and puts the final touches and adds effects into the video. I say, “he adds the pizzaz.”Â I take care of emails and Dave takes care of all the backend stuff on our website.Â We rarely mix things up and it’s been working for us so far.
Do you have a definitive â€śbest adventureâ€ť or favorite culture out of the 80 countries and seven continents youâ€™ve traveled? I’d love to choose just one, but it always seems to be the last one. If you asked me a couple of months ago, I’d say it was our winter trek in Ontario, but having just gotten back from a five day white water kayaking course, it is definitely at the top. We started out with very little skill and by the end of the 5 days we had pretty solid rolls, we kayaked some serious rapids, managed several t-rescues in white water and had overcame some of our greatest fears. I don’t think either of us have ever felt more accomplished. But then again, learning to drive a motorcycle last month was pretty epic too. Neither of us ever thought we’d ever sit on a motorcycle and here we are, licensed and ready to go. We’re even taking a dirt bike course later this week! Ask me next week what the best adventure is, and it will probably be that!
Many thanks, Dave and Deb, for sharing your enthusiasm for adventure with all of us! You areÂ inspiringÂ spokespeople for adventure travel!
Dave and Deb are a writer/photographer team who live by the motto “adventure is for everyone.” Married for 15 years, they’ve visited over 80 countries on 7 continents. They aim to inspire people to follow their dreams and push their boundaries.Â As spokespeople and international ambassadors ThePlanetD have had the opportunity to work with some of the worldâ€™s top companies and brands. They have spoken around the world about pursuing passion and what it takes to make it happen. Follow their adventures at their travel blog and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.
When you’re ready to plan your next adventure, let Covington Travel help you make all the arrangements!