Interview with Dave of Daves Travel Corner
Dave, please give my readers a background about yourself. What made you want to start davestravelcorner.com?
I was born and raised in California - I've always enjoyed immersing myself in a variety of activities rather than focusing on just one thing. I ran a team in college that built a solar car from scratch. I enjoy wine - I am in the middle of a project in which I'm visiting, tasting with and writing reviews about all commercial wineries and producers in Napa Valley California. As of today I'm at #673! I enjoy driving Los Angeles freeways when they are moving and exploring the "freeway culture". My first book was "The Freeways of Los Angeles".
I took a life changing trip to Nepal in 1996 which really turned me on to International travel and was the impetus for starting Dave's Travel Corner. I've always enjoyed writing since I was very young and the site became a good outlet for that.
If you had to choose one favorite destination, which one would each of you chose?
Its hard to choose a favorite destination as I have many, but if I had to choose I think it would be Greece in the summer. Especially some of the smaller lesser known islands. I love riding scooters or motorbikes when I travel and there's nothing like riding a bike from town to town, hitting the beach and outdoor restaurants with some of my favorite food - the Mediterranean cuisine.
Please tell my readers about your new website myvideovisa.com. Who was the brainchild behind the website?
MyVideoVisa.com is travel video community for people to share and view travel videos. My friend Nick started this and I joined him at the outset - I was getting tired of paying companies to host my own travel videos when fortuitously he cornered me in a dark alley one night in Westminster, California and laid out the vision for MyVideoVisa. Apparently his convincing rhetoric to join his team proved extremely effective!
We are always looking for new travel videos - so if your readers would like to upload a few, we are more than happy to host them :)
What has been the least exciting destination you've traveled to?
Any place that has urban sprawl filled with chain stores and malls. It is boring and homogenized.
Did you develop your love of traveling when you were a child or did you develop your passion for traveling as you got older?
I truly developed my love of traveling after taking a college trip to Costa Rica - it was the first time I had been to a part of the world that at the time seemed so much different than my life at home in California. That was just the first trip that opened my eyes to the inspiration and assault on your senses that International travel can bring.
What impact has davestravelcorner.com had on your life?
I've met a number of very interesting people who I otherwise would not have met directly because of this website - it has allowed me a venue to help others in their research on travels and that feels good. It has allowed me to see parts of the United States that perhaps I would not have seen otherwise (through press trips).
Have you ever been in any death defying situations while mountain climbing? If so, what did you do in order to stay alive?
The closest to death was probably in Nepal and that was more trekking then serious mountain climbing. I became deathly ill below Everest Base Camp both from food poisoning and from altitude sickness. I had to be carried down the mountain by our guide at 1am and eventually reached a hut below where I tried to sleep but threw up all night. In the morning I had totally filled a large bowl and it was frozen over.
A lady who I was hiking with carried me down the rest of the mountain all day. The problem was it was just her and myself and we both had 2 decent sized backpacks and I was so weak I could not even stand up. I continued to throw up becoming more and more dehydrated and weak. She would have to carry both packs down the trail - deposit them come back for me, carry me on her back using a jury run sleeping bag as a harness and then carry me past the packs and drop me down again.
When your on the ice high above everything your always on edge especially dealing with crevasses. Climbing Rainier in the state of Washington one summer my friends and I passed a number of ice seracs (big blocks of ice - these were the size of humvees and larger!) on our way up the mountain. On our way down the mountain a few hours later these blocks of ice had totally demolished the snow and our trail where we had hike earlier.
What do your friends and family think about your world adventures?
My friends and family are very supportive of my world adventures and I think some wish they could be doing more traveling after they hear some of my stories from the road.
If you could relive one traveling experience, which experience would you chose?
Its always the same for me - the incredible human bonds that are formed when you are climbing in a small group and have to overcome the obstacles that invariably come up in every mountain climbing trip. The sheer awesomeness you feel when you are standing high on a mountain, surrounded by jagged peaks and there is no one visible for miles looking out. The Himalayas or the Andes.
What has been the most surprising destination you've been to? Meaning, you had a specific mindset about a certain destination but it was totally a different experience than you had imagined.
Jordan. Sometimes I like going to a "new" country without doing a lot of research. I thought it was going to just be desert. This is a country that has a variety of outdoor adrenaline filled adventure activities and beautiful natural scenery. Its largely a desert country but was surprised by the number of water activities. Wadi Mujib above the Dead Sea is a once in a lifetime crawl, swim and fight up a fast moving river in a narrow canyon surrounded by towering walls on the both sides. Of course you have to float in the Dead Sea. The northern most coral reefs in the world are in the Red Sea in southern Jordan. Petra is stunning and its not just the carvings of the famous "Monastery" - you need two full days to see it all. Wadi Rum with its red rocks and beautiful desert scenery is also worth it. My wife and I hitch hiked in Jordan - its not a place perhaps you would think to do this but the people very friendly and we always got rides.
If you had to decide which destination has been the most influential in your life, which destination would you chose?
That would be Nepal. Costa Rica was just a taste of International travel but in Nepal I tasted a lifestyle that was 180 degrees opposite from what I had grown up with, experienced extreme hardships and met some amazing people who turned me on to trying "new" things and getting out of my comfort zone. Some of these people later became very good friends.
Dave, if you could travel with any celebrity for one week, who would you chose and why?
It would probably be Robert Young Pelton - because of the crazy experiences that he gets himself into and his vast network of connections all over the world.
What advice would you give to a newbie traveler?
Start traveling and don't stop! Absolutely try new things - get out of your comfort zone. Things won't always go your way when your on the road. Shit happens! Experience all that travel has to offer at some point in your life; when you can afford it upgrade to business class on an airplane or stay somewhere you normally might not consider.
Always be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut if something doesn't feel right. If on a budget find ways to save - use hospitality exchange sites such as CouchSurfing.org and fly during less busy times when flights are cheaper. Use PayPal in countries where you can easily use this card to pay for things as you avoid typical International transaction fees that most major credit cards hit you with. Use the net to try to meet locals ahead of your visit. I can't stress this enough: Pack light! For solo budget travelers, carry it on or don't get on.
In 10 years, do you see yourself still traveling or slowing down?
He he, 10 years ago I thought I would be slowing down - rather my travels seem to be picking up. I will always travel - the types of trips may change as I get older, but I have a love of exploring that I don't see ending any time soon.