We started travel blogging because we were worn out and exhausted with our jobs in the film industry. We were working too hard, had gained weight and let ourselves get drastically out of shape. We were struggling to find balance in life. We lost a connection in our relationship and we were tired and needed a change. It was travel that reignited a passion in our lives and in our relationship, and since that first trip to Thailand in 2000, we transformed our lives to live our dreams. In 2009, we started this travel blog and have taken it farther than we ever could have imagined. We are  thrilled and excited to be able to work and travel together and we love our careers. Our passion has turned into our job.

finding balance at work and play

But in the past couple of years, we’ve lost balance. While trying to find perfection in life, we’ve been drawn back to old habits of working too hard and indulging too much. We were in the best shape of our lives five years ago after cycling the continent of Africa. We kept that momentum going through 2011 by climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp, practicing Yoga in India, studying Muay Thai in Thailand and kayaking, hiking and biking around the world. Then, as our travel blog became more successful and demands came higher, we found ourselves close to where we started.

The Demands of Work and Travel

The Demands of Work and Travel – Dave Being interviewed in Egypt

It seems that our personalities won’t let go of that drive to succeed or that yearning to work hard to be the best we can be. While we’re happy with where our careers are taking us, we’re not happy with how our lives are turning out. We’re gaining weight, working too much instead of taking the time to enjoy the little things and we’re not giving our relationship the time it needs to keep the passion alive.

trump

Looking at our Phones instead of enjoying the View at the Trump Hotel, Toronto

The difference between how we felt before we quit our jobs in the film industry and how we are now, is that we are aware of what needs work, and we are aware that we are out of balance. We talk about how we need to get a hold of the work load so that we can enjoy life again and how we need to start a regular workout routine that we can keep up even while traveling around the world. We know that if we keep up this pace of work and travel, we will burn out in a few years and now that we have finally found the career that fulfills everything we’ve ever wanted out of life, we’re prepared to do anything to keep that from happening.

Finding Balance once and for all

We decided to stay closer to home this summer to take hold of our lives again. For two years we’ve had a furious pace of traveling over seven continents and countless countries. While we have loved every moment of the adventures we’ve had and wouldn’t change a thing, we now need to make sure that we are traveling for all the right reasons. We are more selective of the projects we take and the destinations we choose. We are taking time after each trip to do the work that needs to be done before taking off on a jet plane again and we are penciling in evenings with friends and family.

finding balance

It’s not going to be easy and our biggest challenge is to find those two people again. Our former selves who we were so proud of when we crossed the finish line in Cape Town South Africa after cycling 12,000 km through 10 countries. We want to have it all and we know that it is possible in life to have it all. It just takes a lot of dedication, work and commitment. A commitment to slow down, a commitment to work hard when the occasion calls for it and a commitment to eat right, work out and take a break when we need it.

Finding Balance

What happened to these two people? The Best Shape of our lives 2008

The Expedia Film Contest with NFFTY

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 8.07.54 PMThe Expedia Find Yours campaign has been one of the most inspiring campaigns that we’ve ever worked on and when we saw that they were partnering with NFFTY to send a travel blogger to one of five locations around the world to be the star of a 2-3 minute film for Find Yours, we knew we had to give it a shot.

Giving Back

If we were chosen, we would ask to find our balance again in Morocco. After the Tour d’Afrique, we had our sights set on taking part in the Marathon des Sables in Morocco. Funds at that time didn’t allow for it as we had to go back to work upon our return from Africa, but we always had it in the back of our minds that we’d do some sort of Epic desert crossing once again in our lives. I don’t know if we could qualify for the Marathon des Sables at this point, but It would be amazing to trek in Morocco and push ourselves to the limits again.

We also have wanted to join forces with a charity. We raised money for Plan Canada while cycling Africa and for the Christina Noble Foundation when driving from England to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally. We give regularly to our favourite charities and have taken up smaller charitable campaigns. We’ve watched our friends Lorri and Shawn start a selfless charity called RAKEverywhere (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere) and we’ve now made it our number one priority to give back. Now that we can finally take care of ourselves, we have the means and dedication to make life better for others.

Visiting a Plan Canada Project in Malawi

Balance in all Aspects of Life

It’s all about Balance. Balance to not only have health, success in our careers and fulfillment in our lives, but to make a difference in the world. It doesn’t have to be in a big way, but in our way. If we can do something with our travels to make the world a better place, that would mean we’re doing our job.

We felt terrible when a friend asked us to join her in the O Course later this summer to help fight MS and we had to drop out because we knew that there is no way we’d be prepared to tackle 18 miles of gruelling marine obstacles by July 25th. We vowed that the next time someone invited us on a challenge, we’d be ready to instantly say yes.

 Balance Through Adventure

Recently we saw an eight day trek through the Sahara for charity. Any charity of our choice. It would be a great training for the Marathon des Sables which we could prepare for for 2014 and we’d find our balance once again. The balance to face the elements together, push ourselves to the limit during a great adventure, and transform our bodies and minds back to optimal health, all while giving back to those in need.

finding balance

Working to get this body back

I don’t know if our essay will be chosen, but by writing this post, we are inspired all over again. We’re inspired to get back on track and make new goals. We’re inspired to get back to the basics of why we started this travel blog and why we chose adventure as our choice of travel. It’s what has always kept our relationship strong. Adventure is what makes us happy. Adventure has always given us purpose and it was finding adventure that started our road to finding balance all those years ago. Now we’re ready to find balance again. I think it’s going to be easier the second time around.

You can Enter too!

Enter The Expedia Film Contest with NFFTY yourself and find out all about it at the Expedia Viewfinder Blog. We’d love to hear about what you would find and if you do enter, please let us know what you wrote about. We always love an inspiring story and hope that you take 2013 to Find Yours too.

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48 Comments

  1. Andrea

    It can be very difficult to maintain balance when things are so busy! We’ve recently taken stock and have some work to do in the same areas: weight loss, time management, getting back to the enjoyment of life. Be gentle with yourselves – sometimes things get a little crazy but I’m sure you two will find your way =) Good luck!

    1. debndave Post author

      Good for you too! I think that we all are very lucky to have this as our careers, it is however important to step back once in a while and evaluate how things are going. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, there won’t be a carrer to love anymore. We want to make sure that we enjoy every moment of our travels and we think that means slowing down a touch.

  2. Turtle

    I’ve always admired your passion and your drive. You’re an inspiration to many people who are out there trying to do this kind of thing on your own. But you’re right, it is hard work and it’s all too easy to let things get pushed down the priority list as you find yourself busy with trying to achieve the goal.
    Congrats on everything you’ve done so far but, more importantly, congrats on realising what is important and having the courage to focus on that now. Please don’t get too burned out – the world needs your stories!! :)

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks so much Michael, that means a lot to us. I know that you work hard as well and travel even harder. It’s tough to maintain balance for everyone, we’re lucky we have the voice to talk about it when we reach that point. We promise not to get burned out. These couple of weeks in Canada have been a wonderful change as we catch up on everything and enjoy ourselves. We’ve even started making plans for our future. Fun!

  3. Bret @ Green Global Travel

    As always with your posts, I can relate.

    Mary and I worked ourselves to the point of exhaustion last year, trying to build up GGT to be the biggest ecotourism blog in the world. We succeeded in many ways, and had some INCREDIBLE travel experiences as a result, but it came at the cost of our physical, financial and, at times, emotional health.

    This year is all about finding balance for us as well– Mary actually got a part-time job 2 weeks ago, and we’re traveling a LOT less this year so we can focus on business initiatives like EcoAdventure Media and new services we’ll offer through GGT soon. And we’ve gotten into an exercise routine as well, doing the NY Times’ 7-minute workout, walking/hiking and swimming laps on alternating days. It’s definitely been a refreshing change of pace!

    1. debndave Post author

      Congratulations on your success Bret and yes, I have seen the hard work that you put into things. You are so right when you say, Incredible travel experiences. I wouldn’t change any of our travels for the world and look forward to a whole lot more, but it’s important to make sure that everything else stays up and running and in good working order too, otherwise, it takes away from the travel experience. Good luck with this year and enjoy! I’m going to have to check out that 7-minute work out. So far, we’re running and it’s a lot longer than 7 minutes. Sounds like my kind of quick addition to the mix. Great for hotel rooms I assume?

  4. Jeremy Branham

    I am a lot like you. I struggle to find balance. I do all of this while working full time…and so much more! I get tired, burned out, out of shape. Yet I keep going. People tell me they don’t know how I do it. However, I am committed to working hard and doing this even during those times I just want to quit. I believe that I can inspire those people who have jobs and busy lives that they can travel too.

    Like you’re doing, I choose to stay home during the summer. While everyone else is traveling, I’m enjoying those places close to home. I love exploring California. However, it’s also a time to rest. I’ll take a few trips here and there but I save my time for bigger trips in the Spring and Fall as well as the College Football Travel Tour.

    I admire what you do. More importantly, I really really like you as people. I don’t say that about a lot of travel bloggers I know. So hope you get the rest you need and continue your passion to do what you love – with the right balance.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, we think the world of you too and for some reason at TBEX this year, I feel that we didn’t get enough quality time together. I think these things need to be a week long so we can all have a proper chat. I’ve noticed that you are sticking closer to home. Been seeing the local hikes and getaways and that’s amazing because none of it is local to me! I’m enjoying your adventures around your own home which is a great travel destination for everyone! Summer is such a beautiful time to be home that it just feels like sticking around.
      Thanks Jeremy and hope to see you real soon!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Melissa, yes indeed, we keep it up by working very long hours. We do play hard too though. Now it’s time to take care of ourselves and we’re already feeling better.

  5. Kirsten

    Could. Not. Relate. To. This. More.

    I know and love you both enough to genuinely wish that everything you hope for, you do find!! But because I know you I also believe that I don’t need to hope, I believe you WILL find the complete balance you’re seeking. I can’t wait to follow the story because you two already inspire me so much.

    1. debndave Post author

      I hear you, I’ve watched you work really hard this past year too. Amazing how many trips we’ve been on together and after each one we’re all jetting off to the next! Thanks so much for believing in us, we love you too lady! I know that you’ve been having a tough time balancing all the work and health this year and we’re hoping that your summer in NYC gives you the chance to heal and enjoy your time with your fantastic man.

  6. robin

    Balance is definitely hard to find – especially if you’re like me. I either obsessively go hard over something or lose interest and leave it alone. Balance is the key to happiness, so I’m glad that you two are trying to find that again.

    1. debndave Post author

      So true and you said it. Balance is the key to happiness. Even if you find your dream job and the love of your life, if something is out of balance, it all becomes harder to manage. I don’t know why this world is becoming so busy, but I know that we’re not alone. It seems that everyone we’ve talked to is saying the same thing. They just can’t seem to find the time to get everything done.

  7. Ali

    Balance is a tough thing! Andy and I are constantly trying to find the balance of work and play, home and travel, etc. It’s great that you recognize where and when you’ve gotten out of balance so you can work on setting things right again. I usually end up going a little too far, getting a little too stressed out and having a meltdown before I realize I need to change something or slow down or whatever! Though I am getting better at it, and having Andy around helps. I hope you guys find the right balance!

    1. debndave Post author

      You said it. I think last year we had a few meltdowns. With all the conferences that we attended, we vowed not to do so this year and that’s taken a lot of pressure off. It was the going too far last year that is keeping us from slipping too far into busy and work mode this year. It’s been hectic, but nothing we can’t handle. However, we know that we need to slow down even more, to really get a handle on it all. I have a feeling that one month from now is going to feel like heaven.

  8. Lorri @ RAKEverywhere

    Awwww thanks for the plug guys! Appreciate it more than you know, and your wise words and mentoring have already guided us past our current goals
    You have had an epic life for several years, Shawn and I both respect the fact that you know yourselves well enough to say “Hey, it’s time for a life check break” :)
    Anything we can do, we’re always here for you, as you have been for us.
    I think we owe YOU a Random Act of Kindness
    Cheers, wine and visit soon
    ~Lorri~

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Lorri. It’s been so great hanging out with you two again. We’ve missed all our friends and you are my oldest and dearest and things like sitting by the fire and playing Dance Fever are what makes you appreciate the people in your life. We can just hang out and feel like not a day has passed.

  9. Sherry Ott

    Ohhh – we are all hitting this point now aren’t we? I think one of the most frustrating parts is to know what needs to be done but not able to pull the trigger and do it. Like taking real time off between projects! Saying no is so hard when we spent the last few years saying yes to everything!

    Enjoy your summer. It was lovely spending a little time with you guys in Toronto!

    1. debndave Post author

      You are so right, as well all built our business, we said yes to everything. Now that things are going well, it’s difficult to say no because we’ve been saying yes for so long. It’s something we need to do though. We already feel that the quality of our work is going back up because we’ve slowed down. And we want to continue that.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Andi, it was more about being inspired by the contest than getting chosen, but it is always fun to win something too :-)

  10. Charli | Wanderlusters

    As someone very new to the industry I’m fast learning how easily one can be consumed by maintaining a travel blog. There are so many things to consider on a daily basis, social media, email responses, writing engaging content, editing photography and that’s all on top of trying to maintain part or full time travel!

    I’m thrilled to hear you’re taking stock of your goals and working to find balance in your busy lives. It’s been wonderful to watch you explore the world over the last 12 months but I’m pleased to hear you’ll be exploring on your own terms from now on.

    All the best for the future guys :)

  11. Victoria

    Ah yes, the elusive life/work balance. Steve and I struggle with that a lot, especially when on the move. I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve opted for more of a ‘slow travel’ approach, spending around five months at a time in one location, and then travelling in-between. Even by doing that, we still struggle because working for yourself means you’re your own boss and it’s so easy to put ridiculous pressure on yourself. Good luck with finding your balance, and I hope we find ours too! P.s. We’ve started doing the seven minute workout, which at least keeps us a little active. I also recommend yogaglo.com for keeping up a yoga practice at home (or in hotels as the case may be!)

    1. debndave Post author

      We love you two too! And yes, we’ve had these conversations. While I won’t change a thing in our careers, I’m so loving this life, I do want to make sure that we can keep up the pace forever. It’s a pretty easy fix. All we have to do is say no to the travels that don’t exactly fit where we are today. A week or so after each one, is going to make all the difference in the world instead of always playing catch up on the road.

      1. Eileen Thai

        Just found your blog from a Florida real estate blog.

        We too quit the rat race in 2000, and found balance traveling by boat. Even if you’re on the move every day, you can venture into a secluded anchorage and get away from civilization (and spend days there with no internet or phone service). If you crave adventure, don’t worry. There is never a dull moment cruising, from grounding to encounters with whales, dolphins and stormy weather.

        I sometimes wonder how we managed to have a demanding job, a side business and still managed to find time to cook at home all those years…

    2. debndave Post author

      Thanks Elieen. That’s great to hear that you’ve found your balance. Travel by boat would be amazing. I know how you feel, we often wonder where we found the time and them money while we were working full time. I guess the difference was, we didn’t take our jobs home with us on the weekends or evenings. when we were off work, we were off work. Now, our work is our life so we never seem to be “off” Although I love it all, it’s good to make the time to turn off our minds and relax.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Katherine, You should enter too! It’s open to all travel bloggers and when we saw it, it simply inspired me to write the piece. I think that even if we don’t win, it was a great way to really put my thoughts into motion. You have a few days, I’d love to see what you would find!

  12. Tim L.

    It’s funny, the part of my TBEX talk that resonated the most was how to get a lot done without working a crazy amount of time. Part of that can be done by offloading drudgery to others you pay and focusing on what will have high impact. But although we hate to admit it, part of the solution is traveling less.

    Having a kid at home has kept me from saying yes to too many travel offers and being on the road too much without time in between to write and do work that requires a real office. For me it seems to average out to 10 days of travel, 20 days not traveling. It’s just too hard to be traveling the way you should be—absorbing and not broadcasting—and also be working on producing finished content.

    I also do a digital detox almost every Saturday when I’m home. No smart phone, no laptop, no internet. Just real experience, thinking time, and personal interaction.

    1. debndave Post author

      I can believe that it was the part of your talk that hit home with many. I think that people who work online have a difficult time turning off. The online world is everywhere. You have your phone with you at all times and social media is a huge part of regular society that you catch yourself spending too much time simply browsing or talking when you should be taking time for yourself. Good for you for figuring it all out. I think that is a great balance. We’re working on cutting down a lot. This summer we’re more of a 50/50 split, but we already feel a huge difference. Before now, we were on the road constantly, finishing one project and hopping on a plane to the next. It’s difficult to write, edit and travel at the same time. We always took pride in how efficient we were and how we could handle it but we didn’t think abou tour own sanity. For two years, we bounced around and worked constantly exhausting ourselves in the process.
      I do believe that anyone who starts their own business goes through this and then comes to a realization after burning the candle at both ends that somethings gotta give. Luckily for us, we love what we do, so we are going to make sure that we find that balance before we don’t love it anymore

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    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Katherine, thank you so much. I’m going to head over right now and take a look for your post. Nothing is ever too late in life, we only have this moment in time right now so we feel that we should all be doing what makes us happy, inspired and fulfilled. Good luck with your quest.

  14. noel

    Finding balance is key, its always more difficult when its your own project or business because it’s essentially you doing the work and self motivating your daily activities, so I understand its a hard balance. But there are many times you just have to step back and refresh….

    1. debndave Post author

      You are so right, it’s easy to leave the work at work when it’s not your own project or you don’t have a vested interest. It’s making sure that you realize you have to step back when it’s your own business. I remember my parents burning the midnight oil when I was younger, they had their own business and worked hard and then I remember as I grew, they really made sure to find the time to enjoy life. We’re at that stage now, we worked hard in the building stages and are happy with where we are. Now to maintain that, we have to make sure we find a balance or else we’ll burn out or stop loving what we do.

  15. Katka Lapelosová

    Loved this post! Thank you for continuing to be great people to interact with and a constant inspiration. Good luck with the contest and looking forward to your other inspirational posts!

  16. Heather

    This always seems to happen, doesn’t it? We wake up one day and realize we’re stuck in a rut, take action and find our joy and purpose. But after a period of time, there’s that rut again. Striking a balance between our commitments and our pleasures is one of life’s great challenges, but can be so rewarding when we get it right. Good luck to you both!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Heather you so said it. I think it is human nature to go back to what we know. Life is never perfect and you have to constantly re-evaluate yourself and where you are. Even if you think you have it all figured out, you’ll wake up one day and realize that the cycle starts all over again. I think the most important thing is to always be aware. Years ago, we didn’t take a step back from ourselves for an outside look, and let things get out of hand, now we are constantly making changes and taking stock of where we are. Life always takes work and I am so glad that Dave and I found a career we love and have each other to share it with. It makes any struggle much easier to deal with.

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  18. Zack

    I just happened to stumble onto this and thought it was a really interesting read! I too have been struggling with my time management. I recently discovered this website called askfortask.com and it has really seemed to help my situation so far. It has allowed me to have a lot more time to travel and do the things that make me happy since I don’t have to worry about my errands and other things getting done. You should check it out.

  19. Adam Finan

    A nice post dave… It can be hard to find balance when you are on the road, managing websites, making videos, editing, writing, social media and trying to do all the stuff that a travel blog requires while still keeping up a healthy lifestyle. I recently started doing Yoga in Thailand and i’m loving this first thing every day instead of grabbing the laptop and getting into work mode straight away.. My girlfriend and I also have days where we leave phones and laptops behind and just go and have fun exploring.. (Usually with a GoPro which cant distract to much)… Much love

    1. debndave Post author

      Great question, you’ve actually made me think that I should do a follow up post. We are running every day and getting back in shape, we’ve taken a month off from travel and we’ve caught up with family and friends, I think we’re getting there. However after writing this post, our lives got busier for a few months. It took longer than expected to tie up loose ends and complete obligations, but we’re back on track. For 2014 we’ve been very selective on our projects and are feeling good about the year ahead.

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