Ø Who are you?
My name is Carmen Allan-Petale and I publish the travel blog Double-Barrelled Travel with my husband Dave.
Ø Where are you from/Where’s home?
Perth, Western Australia… although we haven’t lived there for nearly seven years!
Ø What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?
Couple & adventure travellers.
Ø Where was the first trip you took?
The first trip I truly remember is driving around Zimbabwe for six weeks, squeezed in between my parents in the front seat of a truck cab. We camped along the way and visited all the national parks. It was fascinating and really ignited my passion for travel.
Ø Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Last year, at the beginning of our six month road trip of North America, we bought a mini-van for $2,500. The next day, one hour into our first car ride, the car broke down… and cost another $2,500 to repair. We weren’t happy!
Ø Do you have any funny or crazy travel stories?
In Morocco a few years ago, I was getting more and more annoyed at the hassling from the local men. One man came up to me and said, “You have big ASS, big ASS!” It was the final straw. I turned around and yelled, “I do NOT have a big ass!” He went bright red. Apparently he was saying, “You have big EYES.” Oops.
Ø What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?
I really can’t chose a ‘worst’ place. I think it’s easy to find the good parts of any country if you look deep enough. All local people and every culture is different around the world and all have their positives and negatives. There’s no place I’ve been yet that I’ve ‘hated’.
Ø Where is your favourite place in the world?
This is a TOUGH question. Perhaps the island of Dominica for its remote beauty, lush mountains, cascading waterfalls and hot springs nestled in amongst it all.
Ø How do you fund your travels?
My husband and I run a business – Red Platypus – which specialises in social media, content marketing, video and copywriting. We make nearly all our money from this work.
Ø What is your fondest memory from your travels?
All my best memories are from meeting people – either the locals or other travellers. From Nicodemus
who peeled us a grapefruit during a hike on a remote Caribbean island, to locals in Washington state who invited us up to see the view from their lighthouse, to a local woman in California who took us on her own personal tour of the Redwoods forest – interacting with fascinating people around the world is what motivates us to keep travelling.
Ø What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?
I shudder to think. Dave and I would probably still be in nine to five jobs dreaming about travelling and wondering whether we’d ever be brave enough to set up our own company and take the leap into nomadic life.
Ø Have you ever experienced any cultural faux pas?
In Germany we toasted beer glasses to newly-found local friends and didn’t realise you had to look everyone in the eye. For punishment we were forced to down our beers…
Ø What is your Favourite airline?
Probably Emirates. It always feels luxurious, even in cattle class.
Ø Where are you off to next?
We’re currently in Cartagena, Colombia and leave for Cuba on Tuesday!
Ø What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?
Our blog is called Double-Barrelled Travel, and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with double-barrelled shotguns! (You’d be surprised how many people have asked us this, especially in the USA.) In Australia, if you double-barrel your name, it means you join it with your husband’s when you get married. Which is what I did when I married Dave. However, rather unconventionally, Dave also double-barrelled his name, taking my maiden name and adding it on to his as well. Hence our last name Allan-Petale and the rationale behind Double-Barrelled Travel.
Ø When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2009 about six months after Dave and I first moved to London. (We lived there for four and a half years.) My blog was called Carmen the Aussie back then, and was mostly focused on an Aussie living in London. After we went to TBU Portugal in 2012, Dave wanted in on the blogging action and so we founded Double-Barrelled Travel.
Ø Why did you start a travel blog?
Both Dave and I are journalists and we wanted a more creative outlet than news writing to share our stories with the world. We started it as a bit of fun and have been pleasantly surprised by how much it has grown.
Ø What are you tips for new Travel Bloggers?
Blog regularly and don’t focus everything on your statistics. Becoming a recognised blogger takes time and perseverance – hardly any top bloggers had thousands of readers after just starting out.
Ø What do you wish you did differently when you started out?
Focused less on ‘this is what we did’ and more on the ‘this is how we can help you to travel’ kind of posts. At the end of the day, people want to read personal stories, but they also want to learn something that helps them on their own travel journey.
Ø What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?
This one on top 5 reasons people travel. In it I talk about why it’s worth venturing out of your comfort zone and exploring new places. It’s our highest read blog post.
Ø Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?
We’ve mostly worked with tourist boards around the world, and have landed some great gigs sailing on lakes in Michigan, staying in an eco-resort in the Amazon jungle, cruising on a luxury catamaran in the Galapagos and eating delicious afternoon teas in London.
As for big name sponsors, we’d love to work with Kathmandu – an Australian travel gear company – because I feel they share the same branding as our blog. For example, one of their aims is to “help people grow, to make that leap from feeling nervous about travelling overseas to loving every minute of being away.” And I feel that’s what Double-Barrelled Travel is all about too.
Ø Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?
Approach them with a well-thought out pitch. Write about what you can offer them, include concrete deliverables such as the number of videos and blog posts you’ll publish and what they’ll be about. Also detail what social media coverage you’ll provide. Include a well-designed and well-written media pack, with all of your statistics, within the pitch. You need to be as professional as possible and treat your blog like a business – if you don’t take your blog seriously then no companies will.
Ø Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Push your fear aside and take the leap. Do you think that when you’re on your death bed you’ll be thinking about how glad you were that you bought a large house? Or is it more likely you’ll be thinking about how you’re so glad you travelled the world and made life-long friendships all around the globe?
For us, it’s the latter, and that’s what keeps us on the road.
Remember the biggest challenges in life give the largest rewards.
Ø What is your Travel Motto:
We love this quote from Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Website url: www.double-barrelledtravel.com
Google+ profile: www.plus.google.com/u/1/+CarmenAllanPetale