Today’s Feature, November 29th-30th: Dave Ford

November 30, 2007 at 8:45 pm (Today's Feature)

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Dave Ford is one of the bravest guys I’ve worked with, period. He’s the type of character you may even envy and wonder if there is any way to follow in his footsteps. I know I’ve thought about it: quitting my job, selling my car, renting out my house and just taking off to see the world. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? I mean, there’s no real way you or I could do that… right? Well in December of 2006, that is exactly what Dave Ford did. He gathered up the courage to do something remarkable, trekking across the globe and keeping the world up to date on http://www.DaveFordDoesEarth.com.

It all started in January in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica – all the way keeping his own blog at DaveFordDoesEarth.com with details of his adventures. His life has “never been better.” He’s proud to say that he’s “walked through Penguin colonies in Antarctica, climbed mountains, laid on some of the best beaches in the world in Brazil, and have stood in front of wonders of the world.”

He’s proud to say it because he was able to successfully transform his lifestyle into something he can’t wait to do each and every day. He literally wakes up in the morning with his senses in “constant overload.”

Right now Dave is driving from Baltimore to Southern California working on a new web TV project called “Cross Country TV,” but his big dream is to someday climb Mt. Kilimanjaro… which he plans to do on his 30th birthday. He’ll be taking off for Cairo in January, followed by Capetown five months later. Before you dive into his XXQ’s, please heed his advice: “Fewer than 20% of Americans hold Passports. If you do not have one, go get one and see what else is out there. I promise you will not regret it.”

XXQs: Dave Ford

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first start “DaveFordDoesEarth.com”? And tell us about where you have been already.

Dave Ford: I took off on a one year World Trip last January that started in Buenos Aires, Argentina. What actually ended up happening was completely different then my original plan. In short, I fell in love with South America. In my 8 months down there I traveled through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, the Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica. I started a basic travel blog before I left to keep my family and friends updated with what I was doing. Early in the trip I realized that a lot more people then just my friends and family were reading.

PEV: Growing up, were you always interested in traveling and nature and adventure?

DF: I have always loved to travel. But, to be honest, I was never really into the nature thing. I had always been a “city guy”. I did a five day trek in Torres Del Paine (Patagonian Chile) that almost killed me at the start of my trip. Nonetheless, I saw some of the most beautiful sites of my life on those trails and was hooked from then on. I did six multi-day treks including the Inca trail and the Lost City trek in Colombia.

PEV: Was this something you imagined you would be doing when you were in high school or college?

DF: Not at all. I met an Australian guy named Steve Huppity when I was 23. He had randomly ended up in Baltimore, Maryland on his travels around the world and ended up becoming one of my best friends. After a few years of him telling me about how “traveling the world” was the best thing he ever did I bought in. Before meeting Steve I had no idea that so many people did this around the world.

PEV: What finally brought on this desire to quit your job and travel the globe?

DF: I would say it was a happy mix of “corporate burnout” and the fact that I was 28 at the time I made the decision and felt like if I didn’t do it just then, I was never going to do it.

PEV: Out of all your travels, which place has been the most memorable and why?

DF: Antarctica. The mix of history, wildlife, sheer beauty, and the fact that you are literally at the end of the earth made my experiences there unforgettable. It blew my mind. I saw a giant glacial calving, whales, penguins, and leopard seal ripping a penguin to shreds, and made a lot of lasting friendships on that trip.

PEV: What did your family and friends all say to you when you told them what you had planned?

DF: Almost everyone was very supportive right out of the gate. However, this kind of life for an American is completely out of the norm. So, there were definitely a few people that took a little longer to understand my new path.

PEV: Now, what do they think of what you are doing?

DF: At this point in time my family and friends are doing everything they can to help me fulfill my dreams of really getting this thing off the ground.

PEV: Tell us about the first plane ride to your first location. What was going through your head?

DF: It was flying into Buenos Aires reading Che Guevera’s “Motorcycle Diaries” not knowing what to expect. I had a lot of nervous energy. I was excited though. Wow, that feels like a really long time ago. I know so much more about traveling then I did back then.

PEV: Has there ever been a time so far that you have felt like, “This is way too much, I have to turn back”?

DF: No. Not a chance. There is way too much to see out there. I am completely addicted to my new lifestyle.

PEV: How do you pay for all the trips?

DF: It’s a combination of the cash I put away from my six years in the radio business and equity that I pulled out of my house in downtown Baltimore. It took some guts to take everything I had and put it toward this dream.

PEV: What is it like when you go to a place that is not used to seeing Americans and here you are an excited kid from the states? Any negative feelings towards you?

DF: All of the negativity that I have experienced is at the American government, not the American people. Luckily for me, I am in agreement with a lot of the arguments that were presented to me. So, there were very few political debates. I think that people worldwide forget just how incredibly huge the USA is. Life is very different from one part of our country to the other. To put it in perspective the entire UK is similar in size to New York State.

PEV: What do you travel with? Is it just a bag and you?

DF: Its best to travel light. Its just you and the backpack a lot of the time. However, my experience in South America was that it was extremely easy to find other solo travelers to travel with. The rest of the western world takes significantly more extended trips then Americans.

PEV: What is your feeling about the heated debate over global warming and the direction our environment is going?

DF: I think it is ridiculous that the United States has not signed the Kyoto treaty. The scientific community is unified on the matter. They say that global warming is a reality. I believe them. Furthermore, the only studies being produced to refute the facts are backed by special interest groups. I feel like this puts all of us in a very tough, sad situation. I feel like the US public is by and large confused on the issue due to media spin and conflicting reports.

PEV: What kind of music are you listening to now? Do you take a lot of music with you on the trips?

DF: I take an iPod full of music with me everywhere. I am currently on a cross country road trip and we have been listening to the Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Hilltops Hoods (Aussie Hip Hop), the People Under the Stairs, Bob Dylan, the Killers, Kings of Leon…. Its all over the place. In general I like intelligent music. I love jam bands and underground hip hop. Our theme music from this trip is without a doubt “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by the Flaming Lips.

PEV: What is one thing you miss from back home?

DF: My friends and family. I guess that’s two things.

PEV: Is there one place you haven’t been that you dream of going to?

DF: I have always wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. So, I just made plans to do so on my 30th birthday next year. I’m pretty pumped about that.

PEV: What is the best part about traveling?

DF: I would say that it’s a toss up between the people you meet and the places you see. How is that for a generic answer. But, its true. I wake up everyday and my senses are on constant overload. PEV: Where do you see yourself 20 years from now? Still traveling?

DF: Without a doubt.

PEV: In one word, describe Dave Ford?

Real.

PEV: So, what is next for Dave Ford and DaveFordDoesEarth.com?

DF: Well, I am on the road right now driving across the USA heading for California. We are working on a web tv project called Cross Country TV. It is a fairly absurd idea and that is why I have confidence in the product. It is basically my crew and I interview locals, record the sites, and upload it all to the world. After this trip I leave for Africa on January 17th, 2008. I fly into Cairo and Fly out of Capetown 5 months later.

For more information on Dave Ford, check out www.DaveFordDoesEarth.com

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3 Comments

  1. Thrown for a loop | Dave Ford Does Earth said,

    […] Click here to see the interview  […]

  2. Rikki - Traveling12Feet.com said,

    Dave,
    Congratulations! We are so proud of you. Keep up the great work and make the dream a reality. Travel on! We’re clapping our hands… and well,… paws for your success!

    Rikki / Chris

  3. mike said,

    great artcle! make me want to travel! Hws that for a generic comment?

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