Our latest inspiring traveller has definitely drilled down on a niche for her blog, and it is set to become to go to reference for all of you who want to know how it is possible to travel the world and not have to leave your canine buddies at home. So let’s find out more…
Hi, I’m Shandos Cleaver and I’m currently travelling around the world with my Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel. Originally from Australia, I’m currently travelling with Schnitzel (and my husband) around Europe, before we also head to the USA, Canada and who knows where else!
Many people have been amazed that we’re travelling with our dog. But an equal number of people have been asking us for advice, wanting to do the same with their pets. I’ve repositioned Travelnuity to focus on dog-friendly travel, partially to provide information but also just to inspire people to do the same.
What experience made you fall in love with travel?
Travel was something that I did regularly growing up, although I never had the chance to head overseas. Being one of four kids and living in Australia made that out of the question! I headed overseas for the first time just after I finished university but before I started working full-time.
I realised I had just enough money to head to Europe for a month, so bought a Lonely Planet guidebook and booked my flights. I travelled solo and the first place I arrived was Rome, completely alone, not speaking the language. But it was such a contrast to anywhere I had ever been, and from that moment I was hooked.
What made you decide to share your adventures online?
My first ever time writing about travel online was a small blog I created while travelling around Australia back in 2009, before most of my family (at least my parents) were on Facebook. More of an in-between stage between those group emails and uploading photos to Facebook.
I never continued writing past the end of my trip, and instead I had a turn at blogging about decluttering! Fast forward a few years, and while having a break from working, I decided to properly start a travel blog. That was 2 1/2 years ago.
Earlier this year, I headed off to Europe along with my dog and realised there’s hardly any information about there about travelling with a dog. So I narrowed my blog’s focus to dog-friendly travel.
Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?
In terms of stepping out of my comfort zone, it’s hard to go past the time I climbed Kilimanjaro with my now husband. A seven day trek, no showers, freezing cold nights, the gruelling final ascent, and then the even harder descent – it was far from comfortable!
I’d say that it was harder than when I ran a half-marathon later that year. But the feeling of achievement, especially when pitted against the temptation of giving up on the final slog, it’s just magical!
In another way, travelling half-way around the globe with my dog (and husband) was also stepping outside of my comfort zone, but in a different way. Coming from Australia where travelling with a dog is difficult, we had no idea whether our dog would be okay with travelling and how it would affect our day-to-day.
But while it definitely makes our travels a bit harder at times, from finding accommodation to visiting sites where dogs aren’t allowed (i.e. every church and museum), we’ve managed to make it work and love sharing the experience with our dog.
What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?
Often the hardest bit about expanding your comfort zone is the fear before you start the undertaking. Do enough research (or training, for a physical endeavour) to convince yourself that it’s possible, then just do it. You’ll probably have difficulties along the way, but there’s always a way to get through or around them.
What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?
It’s hard to resist just getting out there and wandering around the streets of a new destination! My husband in contrast often likes to chill out for the evening, so sometimes that means I need to wait until the next day.
I’ve always been a fan of exploring places on foot, especially if you can stay close to the city centre and be surrounded by the action. High up on the list is also finding somewhere nice to eat dinner, ideally somewhere with a local touch and that’s dog-friendly.
If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?
Top of my list of the places I’d visit, if I could go for free, would be Antartica. It’s such a remote and unique destination, not to mention one of the most expensive to travel to! My husband and I are on a mission to visit every UNESCO World Heritage site around the world (we’ve both visited just over 200 out of the current list of 1073), and this is the top place I think is missing off the list.
Were you inspired by these answers? Leave a comment below.