We've been following Bret in similar blogging circles and really admire the work he does. He's a great resource for eco-friendly travel and I hope you enjoy his version of Living The Dream.
What was the first country you visited? Who with and why did you choose it?
The first country I ever visited was Italy, when I was 11 years old. I auditioned to join the Atlanta Boy Choir, was put directly into the touring choir, and 6-months later I was on a 3-week tour of Italy that included performing for the President of Italy and performing for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican in front of over 50,000 people! Not a bad way to launch a lifetime of travel, but it was nearly 20 years before I traveled out of the U.S. again. I guess I'm making up for lost time now.
When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired that change?
I don't know if I have a "travel lifestyle," per se, as we are not permanent nomads. We have a house, a car, a dog, and we take my daughter to school every day when we have her (which we do 50% of the time). I still managed to travel 90 days in 2012, though we've scaled it back a little this year to focus on new business initiatives. As for what inspired us to travel more? I've been a full-time freelance writer since 1995, starting out in music and film criticism and celebrity interviews. Around 2007 I started doing more travel-related journalism, working for a lot of airline and hotel magazines. But it was really the launch of Green Global Travel that stepped it up a notch.
Do you have a base you travel from? Or is it continuous travel? And why do you choose that style?
Yes, we have a base in the north Atlanta suburbs. Because I share custody of my daughter with my ex, and I'm a REALLY dedicated dad, I doubt we'll ever travel continuously. Our trip to Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica last December was 17 days, and that was the longest we've ever been apart. So we travel as much as we can, but it's not something I see us doing all the time.
How do you fund your travel lifestyle? Is it something you do when travelling or are you a saver?
We're fortunate to get press trips and sponsorships for most of our trips. Otherwise we could never afford it, since we do have mortgages, car payments, health insurance, and myriad other bills. People envision writers as these glorious free spirits who galavant around without a care in the world. But the truth is that most full-time writers I know have to scrimp and scrounge to pay the bills. Still, it beats digging ditches! ;-)
If you could tell yourself one tip before you started your travel lifestyle, what would it be?
It's easy to get so wrapped up in the business side of blogging that you obsess over it, when the truth is that we were having incredible adventures (with a lot less headaches) back when our site's traffic was about 1/5th what it is now. A friend recently told us, "Your site's not just a blog; it's a mission!" And that's true. So I guess I'd tell myself to just focus on the mission and not worry so much about the numbers. But that's not so easy to do when you're trying to pursue your life's passion.
What does 'Living The Dream' mean to you?
For me, living the dream means having the freedom to live the "perfect" life you imagine for yourself. I think that differs widely from person to person. But, for us, it's really all about balance: Balance between travel and home life, work and play, family and friends, adventure and leisure time. It'd be nice to eventually get to a place where we're not working 60-70 hours a week to make the dream come true. But the work we do is endlessly rewarding, and it's leading us on some incredible adventures. All in all, life is very good!