Our Explore More Series is a series of interviews with current world travelers. We find out what inspires and motivates travelers to continue traveling. Our interviewees are all currently “on the road” for the long haul, which can mean they’re actually chasing pavement by vehicle or they could be jet setters flying to each new destination. While these interviews are to help set our own travel plans in motion, we also hope they will help readers and wannabee travelers realize that long term travel is easier than they might think!
We kick off our very first “Explore More” series with an interview from TreePot travels. We had the pleasure of meeting this dynamic duo this past weekend and are extremely excited that they have done this interview with us! If you haven’t yet checked out their website you are certainly missing out!
As the founders of TreePot Travels, Rachel and Mike travel the world via road-trips and house sits. A former nanny with an environmental background, Rachel uses her nature and wildlife photography as a way to both inspire and encourage others to experience the wild for themselves. A photographer and mechanic, Mike handles the day to day operations and maintains their truck, ensuring smooth yet endless adventures. TreePot Travels strives to connect future and current travelers to the world of photography while detailing the stories behind the pictures. You can visit their website at TreePot Travels and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, and Pinterest.
What motivated or inspired you to start traveling?
Rachel- Since the start of our relationship a few years back, we’ve been interested in traveling. In our early 20s, we moved from state to state, excited about each move. Unfortunately, the excitement quickly expired once we settled into our new home. It was easy to see that little day trips here and there just weren’t enough to keep us satisfied. We needed more out of life. We needed the constant thrill of the unknown and new adventures. I started to research different travel trips and blogs during the spring of 2013. After a few months of planning we took a two week backpacking adventure through Costa Rica. Although our trip wasn’t what we had hoped, we realized then that traveling the world was exactly the right fit for us.
Is there anything about traveling that has been unexpected?
Rachel- I would have to say our trip to Costa Rica. During high school, I took a family vacation there and loved it. The people were friendly, the food was good, and the nature was amazing. This time, however, it was an entirely different experience. Not only had the fundamentals of my favorite part of Costa Rica changed, but the people were rude and hostile throughout the country, causing us to almost cut our trip short.
Mike- When we were driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, we spotted a HUGE black bear that had just crossed the road. It turned around and growled at us right when we passed by. To date, it’s the only bear we have encountered.
What would you like others to know about a traveling lifestyle?
Rachel- I think it’s important to always keep an open mind when traveling. Also, not all travel is the same, for some it’s better to travel quickly while for others, a slow and steady pace is the way to go.
Mike- When preparing for a trip where you are taking just the essentials, put all of the items you plan on taking into a pile. Then cut that in half, that’s now what you should take with you. The rest is just dead weight that will hold you back during your travels.
Many people think full time travel is not affordable. Are there any financial tips you could give them?
Rachel & Mike-
- Save as much as you can beforehand. We both had our own businesses and Mike worked at a marina. Instead of ordering out, going to the movies, or buying that great new outfit, put the money into your savings. Each time you feel the urge to buy something new, think of that beach in Thailand or that amazing hike in Iceland you’ve always wanted to do. It helps to put everything into perspective.
- Don’t expect a reliable income while traveling. You need to plan as if you are going to make little to nothing on the road.
- When possible, forgo a hotel and either camp out or stay in a hostel. We saved $2,310 by sleeping in the back of our truck during our 6 week road trip from Key West, FL to Nova Scotia.
- If planning to stay in one area for a while, look into house sitting. Not only do you get a nice place to live in for a bit, but also the chance to live like a local.
Your website has a strong focus on photography (and for good reason!). We’d like to know a little more about your interest in photography.
What animal would you love to see and photograph in its natural environment?
Rachel- It’s always been a dream of mine to travel to Central Africa and hire a guide to take me into the mountains of Rwanda or Uganda to view the endangered Mountain gorilla. There are less than 900 left in the wild due to poaching. I would love for my photos to help bring notice to this travesty.
Mike- While in Africa, it would be awesome to get the chance to photograph a pride of lions. Even better, would be an action sequence of them working together to take down their prey. Also tigers in India would be an experience like no other.
What landscape(s) would you love to capture in photos?
Rachel- The redwoods in Northern California would be amazing! We’re planning a trip there this summer!
Mike- The rice fields in Asia look like something from another world.
Among your photos, which is your favorite? Why?
Rachel- This is a tough one, it’s between my hummingbird picture from Costa Rica and a picture of Anna Ruby Falls in Northern Georgia. Both encompass two things that I love, hummingbirds and waterfalls.
Mike- This is an easy one for me- The picture of the Osprey with wings up. It was taken right at the moment when it landed after fishing. If you take a close look, you’ll see a fish its left talon.
We would describe your type of travel as Overlanding (“is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal” – wiki). We’re considering this type of travel and have a few questions!
What made you decide to start your travels by road-tripping across North America?
Rachel- When you look at most travel blogs out there, the first thing you’ll notice is a discussion about traveling abroad. But what about traveling in your own country? The US is incredibly large with so many different sites, parks, and climates. And then you have Canada with an equally impressive range of adventure opportunities. It seems silly to go elsewhere without having given North America a good look.
How did you decide which type of vehicle to use on your travels?
Rachel- About a year before we began our travels, we bought our current truck- a 1998.5 Dodge Cummins Diesel. Mike had been looking for one for years. It just so happened that it would turn out to be a great road trip vehicle that will last for a million miles!
Is there anything you would change about your current ride to make it better suited to overlanding?
Mike- We would turn her into a 4×4 to help get us through some of the rougher roads. We’ve had some trouble on back roads while on the trip thus far. Also instead of using the current camper shell setup that we have now, we would take off the bed of the truck and replace it with a home built (by us) camper.
Thank you TreePot Travels for taking the time to answer a few of our questions! We think you’re on an incredible adventure and we hope you continue to chase adventure in whatever form adventure takes in your lives!