I first met Dave and Deb—the couple behind ThePlanetD—in person in Seattle, with bowling shoes on. For whatever reason, we didn’t get a lot of time to chat that trip. That would be a pattern that repeated itself over several other meet-ups, for no apparent reason at all. Perhaps it was the distraction of our first meeting as Expedia Viewfinder bloggers, or the day-glow of one of our fellow male colleagues (who shall remain nameless), sporting a bedazzled bowling shirt, but we never found enough opportunity to connect in person for any meaningful length of time.
Fast forward to the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX), in Keystone, Colorado, in 2012, and I remember watching Dave and Deb’s video about how travel reconnected them as a couple. The personal video explained how traveling together was a defining moment in changing perspective on their relationship. To this day, I have not told them what an impact that had on me and how much I appreciated their bravery and honesty in sharing their journey with the world. (Well, Dave and Deb, I guess now I have.)
You see, that is what makes Dave and Deb so incredibly real. They are a united force of calm and focused strength, methodical masters at social media who work incredibly hard at everything they do. They are not afraid to step outside of their collective comfort zone. They excel at sharing beautiful photos of their discoveries in every corner of the world. And they always push the boundaries of what is expected from couples and travel writers alike.
Dave and Deb are the ultimate explorers in our physical world and in our ever-changing digital landscape. As connected as they are, they also take regular time to unplug and make no apologies for doing so. They have built an incredible lifestyle business together—one that allows them to experience the world together and to satisfy their appetite for wanderlust. I sat down with the couple recently to get a better sense of their lives and their world.
ATH: What inspired you to get into travel blogging?
Dave and Deb: We always have been avid travelers. Before we started blogging, we worked freelance in the film business. This gave us the opportunity to take a lot of time off between contracts to travel. We found that we were more comfortable on the road than we were at home. We loved the way that travel made us feel. Over time, we knew we wanted to make full-time travel a part of our lives, so we started to look into ways to make that work. Having backgrounds in the film industry, we decided to pitch a TV series about a regular couple that takes on extraordinary adventures. It was a great idea, but we didn’t have a brand or a name. So even though there was a lot of interest, we couldn’t get a deal signed. When it didn’t pan out, we decided to look into online media since, in our opinion, it is the future. It turned out that we had more freedom and opportunities to explore the adventure couple angle ourselves, and ThePlanetD was born. We’ve now spent the last six years enjoying our own adventures around the world and we’re producing our own videos and stories about our travels to share with our readers and followers.
ATH: Why do you think travel blogging is important?
Dave and Deb: Travel blogging gives every person a voice. It used to be that only the elite had a say about a resort or destination, but now that people are following blogs, they can read about anyone’s point of view.
ATH: What unique perspective do you feel you bring to the conversation about travel?
Dave and Deb: Our perspective is definitely from a couple’s point of view. So many people travel solo, but we want to show that couples can travel together and have the same interests. People don’t have to split up on vacation to enjoy activities separately. They can inspire each other to try new things and step out of their comfort zones. We let them know that it’s OK to be afraid or have doubts, but if you try something new, you’ll find that you will come out stronger. Challenging yourself opens your eyes to new possibilities and makes you happier.
ATH: What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering a career as a professional travel writer and blogger?
Dave and Deb: Travel first. You want to make sure that you love travel. A life on the road isn’t for everyone. We feel that you should have some travel under your belt before you start blogging about it. That way you can find what it is you love about exploring the world. You also will have an easier time finding your unique voice. Blogging while traveling is hard work. If you start off writing about it before you’ve had the opportunity to travel for the fun of it, you may end up hating it. Discover your love for it first and then start to think about how you want to incorporate it into your life as a career.
ATH: What is your favorite holiday and why?
Dave and Deb: Christmas because everything closes and shuts down here in Canada and it gives us a chance to really spend time with family and friends.There’s nothing to distract us so we can truly shut off and block out the noise from the rest of the world.
ATH: What is your idea of a perfect day at home?
Dave and Deb: Since we are on the road so much, a perfect day at home is relaxing on the couch and binge watching TV programs such as Game of Thrones or Sherlock. Love that!
ATH: When you get together with your closest friends, what do you do?
Dave and Deb: We have been traveling for six years solid and barely see our friends, but when we are home, we’re really excited to catch up with them and find out what is new in their lives. When we get together, we laugh a lot and reminisce about old times.
ATH: What singular event in your life had the most bearing on who and what you are today?
Dave and Deb: It definitely was our first trip to Thailand in 2000. We were in a bad place in our lives and that five-week trip changed everything. We discovered our love for travel and rediscovered our love for each other. After that trip, we came home and put less emphasis on our careers and started to live our lives. We took up rock climbing and SCUBA diving, mountain biking, and snowboarding. It definitely was the catalyst to kick starting our lives as adventure travelers. It’s a funny thing, the less we focused on worrying about our careers, the more opportunities fell into our laps. I think it was because we were happier and more interesting people; we were more open to letting anything happen and great things have happened ever since.
ATH: What is your favorite country you have visited?
Dave and Deb: We love different countries for different reasons. Antarctica is a favorite because it’s so impressive—it’s the final frontier and to go there was a dream. We always love Thailand because it was the country that changed our lives and each time we go back, we re-live that excitement. South Africa is wonderful because of the diverse experience you can have there; you can dive with great white sharks, go on safari or explore giant caves one minute, and be sipping wine on a luxurious vineyard or boutique-shopping in Cape Town the next. Mongolia has the most incredible skies and landscape we’ve ever seen. The whole world is our favorite!
ATH: What book are you reading right now?
Dave and Deb: Deb’s reading Iditarod Dreamer by Hank DeBruin and Tanya McCready. We went dogsledding with them this past winter and this book is their story about competing in the 1,000 mile Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska. Dave’s reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck. He’s always reading and learning about our business and this is a great book about social media and marketing.
ATH: Where in the world is your “Happy Place”?
Dave and Deb: Anywhere where we are together. It’s been years since we’ve had a routine, so we make our happy place wherever we tend to be. We’re pretty easy to please; so as long as we are with each other doing what we love, we’re happy.