A kind of big thing happened to me a few weeks ago. My favourite travel bloggers were in town and they held a meetup! Hecktic Travels, an Albertan couple, were the 2014 National Geographic Travellers of the Year, recognized for Pete’s incredible photos and Dalene’s epic story telling. But… I followed them long before they added that snazzy award to their bio page.
I’d planned to meet them two years ago when they held another Calgary meetup, but a family emergency kept me away that night. This time the Calgary chapter of Travel Massive held an event for Hecktic Travels and their followers at a local Thai restaurant. I won’t lie, I have a dreaded fear of networking. I shudder, in fact, when I think of having to chat to strangers. Weird for a traveler, I know, but I normally have David as my safe space. This night I flew solo, unless Baby Smith in the belly counted. It kicked in solidarity.
There was a bit of mingling, but we got started quite quickly with a presentation given by Dalene. She chronicled their journey from successful corporate careers to selling it all to travel. What I loved about it, and I had previously read this story through their blog, was that they took a series of negative experiences in their life and decided to change things. They took action. They went on an adventure. For many people, myself included, going on an adventure after adversity can seem like an easy escape. In reality, I think many people find exactly what they’re looking for in that time away, be it a renewed relationship, freedom, perspective, peace or all of the above. I think Hecktic Travels found their purpose.
If you follow their blog, you know how gifted they’ve become at their craft, so much so that you can’t imagine them ever not having blogged. But Dalene shared with us how the first leg of their journey in South America is where they made all the same mistakes that many new travellers do. They moved too quickly. They spent too much money. They burnt out. And that’s how they found their way to slow travel, to housesitting and to storytelling, things that set their blog apart.
Their story gave me faith that I don’t need to be the “perfect” traveler, because that person doesn’t exist. Sure we see the best of the best when it comes to Instagram photos, stories are edited and bloggers often share either the most outlandish or the most popular Top 10 types of stories, but Hecktic Travels go beyond that. They pull the reader along on their journey, and that’s hard to do. Besides… perfect is boring!
Part of the presentation had Dalene sharing some of her tips on how they have made a living from blogging. I admire that they capitalized on their strengths in the business world, in negotiations and in working with brands and leveraged that in the travel world. In some ways, it seems like they get the best of both worlds.
In their new series In Real Time, I adore that they are sharing the less glamorous side of travel, like having to cave and buy a pair of pants because you’ve worn through your final pair. So much of travel is not seeing the Eiffel Tower or taking the gondola up Table Mountain, but rather about ending up getting salmonella in Cambodia or trying to find food in a local market before your bus comes. Travel is made up of the little things, just as much as of the must-sees.
Basically… I love these bloggers. They’re part of the Travel Blog Success community, of which I’m a member, and were gracious enough to provide me with some of their lessons learned for writing my ebook. Maternity leave starts Friday, the book is written, now it’s all about formatting it. Here’s hoping that I can get it out prior to Baby Smith making his or her arrival in the world, but regardless, I’ll be continuing to follow the adventures of Hecktic Travels for as long as they’re willing to share them.
If you haven’t checked out their blog, do yourself a favour and immerse yourself in their world.
Who are some of your favourite bloggers (travel or otherwise)? Share in the comments below!