Leveraging your Travel Experience through Technology

Have you ever dreamed of travelling around the world but thought, “But I have to go to work”?

Well that didn’t stop Dave Dean and Dustin Main from fulfilling their dreams of being full time travelers. Dave and Dustin are two self-proclaimed travel enthusiasts and longtime “geeks”. Combining a love of traveling with their technological savvy, they started their own website “Too Many Adapters: Technology for Travelers”.

Having hiked around North America since the young age of five, Dustin now spends the majority of his time traveling the world and photographing the wonders of the seven continents, one of his other passions.

Dave states he has been a technology geek for as long as he can remember, and he has spent 15 years working in the technology field around the globe. Happily he boasts that he now spends the bulk of his time based out of a backpack exploring the world and fulfilling his dreams.

Their website “Too Many Adapters: Technology for Travelers” is a treasure trove of any and all information related to technology and traveling. From reviews of the latest gadgets to news about the technological advances to come, Dave and Dustin provide fellow travelers with everything they need to know about travel technology.

 

1.Travelling around the world is truly a lifelong dream for many people. How did it become your dream? Was it something you just always wanted to do?

Dustin: I’ve always enjoyed exploring new places, but after running my technology services company for a few years, and climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2008, I realized what really drove me. The challenges of travel win.

Dave: I’m originally from New Zealand, and us Kiwis have a bit of a reputation for travelling a lot. Most of us stop after a year or two, but somehow I just haven’t managed to do that. After trying unsuccessfully to mix travel and a ‘normal’ life for many years, I finally gave up and decided that travel was my main priority.

2.Dustin said he’s been hiking around North America since he was five years old. So was this a family passion for you Dustin? Do you think it influenced who you’ve become today?

Dustin: My father took me hiking & camping in the summer as I grew up. Canada has no shortage of amazing places to see, and hiking really gets you a personal experience that just driving to a pretty viewpoint can’t. There is no question it has influenced my path in life, and I love what the feeling of tackling a trek.

3.How did you two meet and did you know from the beginning you were going to go into business together?

Dustin: In early to mid 2010, we were both traveling in SE Asia. We knew each other online from Twitter and our respective travel blogs when an opportunity came up to meet in person one morning in Hoi An, Vietnam. I certainly didn’t think that after that breakfast meet-up that we would one day be in business together down the line. I’ve now come to realize that crazy things like that tend to happen…

4.With so many aspects to the world of travelling, why did you decide on creating a website about technology and travel?

Dustin: For us, with our two common interests, it was a no-brainer. We were talking tech with each other - and to whoever would listen to us - as it was. It just made sense to put it out there. There is a huge interest out there in knowing what technology can do for you when you travel, and we live it every day.

5.Why do you think technology is so important to today’s travelers? How is it different from ten years ago even?

Dave's office

Dave: I think that technology has made dealing with the mundane aspects of travel so much easier than even a decade ago. With just a smartphone and a data connection, travelers can book flights and accommodation, research things to see and do – and then follow a little blue dot on a map to get there – and a million other things to ease the travel process.

When I first started out (back in the mists of time in 1998…), I had a guidebook, a portable tape player and a film camera. For better or worse, technology barely played a part in my travels back then.

6.What do want most to get out of your website and why did you choose a website as your choice of venue?

Dave: Ultimately we’d like the site to become the default resource for travelers looking for a place to find out about all things technology-related as they hit the road. It’s an ambitious goal, for sure! We’ve got a few ideas for the future that don’t revolve around a website, but initially it seemed by far the best way to get the message out to the widest audience – plus we both already had plenty of experience running blogs already.

7.You mentioned on your website that coming up with this site was a truly global experience that started in Siem Reap and completed in Chiang Mai. That sounds like an interesting story. How did that happen?

Dustin: After crossing paths a few times in several different Asian countries in 2010, we next met up in Vancouver in June of 2011 for a conference and a road trip. We had both been thinking to ourselves about the possibility of a project together by this time, so when we started talking about it more seriously, we were already on the same page.

In late 2011 we both happened to be living in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the same time. Over the course of a lot of smoothies and many dishes of Pad Krapow, we finally launched Too Many Adapters.

8.You wrote on your website how with all your years of travel experience, you have bought, used, and probably lost a huge amount of technological gear. So how do you decide which products to review on your website? Are they products you use personally?

Dustin: All of the products we review on the site are ones which we (or our other writers) have used themselves. It’s not always roses, and I like to think we tell it how it is. That’s how you do it.

I’m not going to be a good person to review a 17” notebook computer for travel since it’ll never make it into my backpack, though a traveling day trader may think it is a great match. It’s all about the right perspectives.

9.On your site, you also interview and write about other travelers in your piece titled “What’s in your bag?” Are these travelers you meet on your own travels? How do you think their stories help the readers on your site?

Dave: Yup, as a general rule the people we interview for this series are fellow travelers that we meet along the way, who we think have something a bit unusual about the tech they carry. We can all only travel with a limited amount of technology for obvious reasons, so it’s always interesting to hear why other people choose the specific gadgets that they do, and provide new options for readers that have similar interests and requirements.

10.How do people find out about “Too Many Adapters”? Do you advertise it anywhere or is it mostly word of mouth?

Dave: We haven’t done much in the way of advertising for Too Many Adapters – the site has grown largely through word of mouth thanks to our existing contacts in the travel world. We have experimented a little with Facebook and Google adverts, and also had an exceptional response when we gave away a $1000 Dell travel laptop a month or two ago.

11.Dave, you mentioned that you are addicted to travel. Where was your favorite place so far and why?

Dave: It’s a tough question to answer for me, as I think it changes over time. My favourite country is probably Laos, due to the perfect combination of landscapes, food, weather and incredible people. There are many other places that come extremely close, however – Malawi in eastern Africa, for instance, or parts of Bosnia. Generally, good weather, a diverse history, people and culture, and great food, will have me in my happy place!

12.Dustin, you mention that you are a photographer. What do you most like to photograph on your travels and why?

Dustin: I particularly love big landscapes and amazing skies. New Zealand (the first stop on my 1st round-the-world trip) is like Disneyland for people who are into the outdoors & photography. Amazing clouds!

These days, I’m interested in telling stories with my images, be it a new perspective on an unusual event, or how we as people are changing and often damaging our own planet. There is just something exceptional about capturing a moment that stops someone in their tracks and think, be it as a print on a wall or an image on a website.

13.You both mention that you were “geeks” from an early age as Dustin worked on an Apple II and Dave had a ZX Spectrum. So did your love for technology come first or your love for travel?

Dustin: Technology was something that always interested me. I spent my years growing up taking apart electronics, then computers, to see how they ticked. My background was computer science (surprise!) in university before I decided it wasn’t for me.

I think it’s safe to say that it is much easier to make money in the tech field than the travel field, and my big travel projects came to fruition thanks to being a geek.

Dave: Definitely tech for me as well. I had planned to be a journalist when I grew up, but somehow my never-ending tinkering with computers led me to an IT career instead. The travel is a newer – and even stronger – addiction, but like Dustin, I couldn’t have sustained one without the other.

14.So how do you two manage the day to day upkeep of your website? Do you have a schedule or plan as to who does what?

Dustin: We do have a posting schedule that keeps us (me) in line. Since we are both constantly traveling, the biggest hurdle is being sure that things are covered when one of us plans to be offline for a period of time. For example, Dave has been sailing in the Mediterranean for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve been holding down the fort. When I’m in Myanmar (Burma) in Oct / Nov, he’ll keep us sorted out.

15.How do you foresee your website growing in the future? Do you have any plans to add or change anything?

Dave: Over the next 6-12 months I expect to see an even wider range of topics, and writers, on Too Many Adapters than we have now. We also have several ideas that we’re throwing around for entirely new sections of the site, with the aim of being able to provide more specific, detailed information and advice to individual travelers than we do currently. Watch this space, I guess! 😉

Thank You!

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Dustin and Dave are full time travelers and bloggers at www.toomanyadapters.com, a site that is all about the technology of travel. Visit them on Twitter at @toomanyadapters

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