Today, I have the pleasure to feature Wayne and Pat Dunlap from Unhook Now (and other projects). This couple has traveled to more than 100 countries, have written their own book and give conferences based on their travel adventures.
And that is not it. They have big travel plans for this year. If you want to learn the pros, read this. I am not responsible for any compulsive travel desires you may get after you finish reading this
Tell me a little bit about yourself
Hello, Ruth. We have been fortunate to live our dreams and have a life-changing adventure together. We rented our home and traveled the world for the past 2 years visiting 51 countries (100 countries total in our lifetime).
I (Wayne) have a burning passion for travel and being a former Economics professor, also has a sincere desire to help others safely realize and afford their travel dreams. In my past life, I was a business owner, executive of high-tech companies, and an economics professor after my Ph.D. program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and listed in Who’s Who Among American Professionals.
I (Pat) was a winner of Entrepreneur of the Year for San Diego and believe that choosing to run away with my husband and best friend has been the most rewarding lifestyle change one can make. It’s brought us closer together.
Where are you currently living? What is your current life project?
When we are not traveling, we live in Del Mar, California. Our life-changing adventure has changed us. We are selling our Del Mar home and plan to become nomads traveling the world to visit more interesting places and learn even more about ourselves and the wonderful people of the world.
We are giving speaking engagements about great travel tips and interesting stories inspiring people to achieve their travel dreams and writing a travel book series with another well-known PBS Emmy-winning traveler. You can contact us if you would like us to speak to your organization.
Where have you been? Where do you want to go?
Our travels have qualified us to be members of the Travelers’ Century Club. In total, we have visited 100 countries and island groups on 6 continents as well as 43 U.S. states. Please see our world travel blog (Unhook Now) to see where we have been in the past 2 years.
We are currently planning a trip to northern South America (Brazil, Macchu Picchu, Ecuador (Galapagos/Quito), Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, and the Amazon). Soon after we plan to explore India and Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet as well as Africa and doing a safari.
We also want to visit much more of Asia and many other places. The world is a wonderful and amazing place!
When did you get the travel bug?
We both were interested in travel but the spark occurred when we met each other and started traveling together. The experience made us want more.
We met at a Make-A-Wish dance wanting to make a wish come true for others and it came true for us. Wayne was talking to someone about international travel and Pat’s wish list included meeting someone who wanted to travel. Falling in love, our first trip together was to New York and then the Tahitian Islands.
We love traveling together. Our passion starts with gratitude to have each other with common interests. We express our wishes to each other and work together to get both of our travel wishes satisfied. Pat says to pack light and always wear a smile. Wayne is a history buff and jokingly says whenever he wants to see another famous ruin (piles of rocks to Pat), he just tells her it’s ‘romantic’.
Married for 25 years, our love for each other and travel has brought us to the ends of the world scuba diving in Egypt’s Red Sea, visiting the great pyramids of Giza, riding an elephant in Thailand, hiking a glacier in New Zealand, and skiing the Alps in Zermatt, Switzerland. We also love relaxing having gone on 26 cruises on ships ranging from 10 to 3,000 passengers.
How has travel changed your life?
Many valuable lessons learned, for example:
– the world is a wonderful place and people all around the world are joyful and loving
– more patience in dealing with situations and people
– simplifying needing less material things to be happy
– a renewed playful spirit and love of life
– learned to slow down and enjoy experiences and friends
– a closer relationship with each other
How would you inspire someone to travel?
Our life-changing experience, speaking engagements, and comprehensive how-to travel book have inspired many people to realize their travel dreams. We do this by living our dreams of traveling the world having more adventure and romance. We show people that we wake up every day excited about having an experience we choose. Also, by learning more about the world and the people in it, we learned much more about ourselves and what makes us happy.
We had many concerns before we started. Could we afford it? Is it safe? Is it right for us? Instead of having fear keep us in our familiar routines, we learn the difference between the fear that keeps us alive and the fear that keeps us from living. The first can save you from potentially dangerous things like dark alleyways and sleazy characters. The fear that keeps us from living is of the unknown. It limits our potential for wonderful things. Once we started, we learned that it was safer, easier, and more affordable than we thought.
What are the most underrated and overrated places you have visited?
We do a lot of research before we take off so we have been pretty lucky in having most places have something special. With so many wonderful places in the world with such diversity of customs, food, history, beliefs, and architecture, it is difficult to pick just one favorite. So here are some favorites – Italy with its amazing culture, beautiful cities, history, cuisine, and diverse scenery; the Greek Islands for the people, the astounding beauty of the ocean and white architecture, winding stone streets of the old towns, trellis-covered tavernas, and food; New Zealand with the amazing beauty and laid-back people; and Thailand for its warm people of the Buddhist faith, amazing food, and architecture.
Travel is an adventure and a chance to enjoy yourself and learn more about yourself and other cultures. To get the full enjoyment of your experience you should embrace new ways of doing things, enjoy new foods, and appreciate people and beliefs different from what you already know. Try to understand and not judge the correctness compared to your beliefs. In doing so, you will learn more about yourself and adopt new attitudes that will enrich the rest of your life.
Look forward to changing your plans if something interesting comes along. We have been invited into people’s homes for dinner, teamed up with people we have met taking unexpected excursions, and taken other people’s suggestions – all creating an even better adventure than the one we had planned. Remember, it is a travel adventure.
What is your travel pet peeve?
We try not to live with regret or dislike. When it comes to world travel, we wish our government and news media would make less use of fear of the world when attempting to control people and sell media. You do need to use common sense and always be aware of your security but we learned that the world and the people you meet can be wonderful, generous, and lovely.
I love food. What is your favorite dish?
With the large diversity of great food around the world, best it is hard to pick. Here are favorites that come to mind: food and cheese in France; free-range beef in Buenos Aires, Argentina; real pasta in Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy, or most anywhere in Italy; fish head curry and chili crab in Singapore; sukiyaki and okonomiyaki in Japan, Padang curry in Thailand; the authentic version of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper in an English pub; lobster pizza in Bequia in the Caribbean Grenadines; and Greek food in the Greek Islands.
Have you tried some exotic or weird foods (insects, organs, or something like that)?
Yes, I (Wayne) like to try everything a place has to offer and new foods can be an amazing experience. You should try things you never had before. Sometimes it may not work out so well. Other times you will gain a passion for a type of food that remains for the rest of your life. On that note, it reminds us of a story of the dancing shrimp in Thailand.
There is a large lake in the middle of Thailand – a beautiful peaceful place. In this lake lives a small shrimp about 1/8 inch long. They catch these shrimp, put hundreds of them in a small paper cone with water, and add mild Thai spices. Get ready now… you swallow them alive and they die ‘dancing’ down your throat while you enjoy the Thai spices. It sounds awful but it was one of the most memorable and delightful things I have tried in the world. Pat passed.
What travel moment has made you laugh like there is no tomorrow?
We have had many lol experiences. We would like to tell an amusing story that happened during one of our first trips to Europe. We were taking the train from Paris to Venice. The train slowed down for a stop and the conductor yelled out “All passengers for Pisa please prepare to depart.”
Pat asked Wayne, “Pisa? Is this the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa?” Wayne answered yes and she said, “We have to get off the train!” As a child growing up in New York Pat’s family had tomato sauce jars with a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on them. When she told her family she was going there someday they would make fun of her thinking it was just a dream. With her feet barely touching the ground, Pat visited her ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ that day. We believe we all should explore our dreams and ask, “What is your Leaning Tower of Pisa”?
What travel resources do you use?
Here are a few of the great resources we use that can be found on the Internet:
– Flights, hotels, car rentals: Kayak
– Discount cruises: VacationsToGo
– International flights and trip planning: AirTreks
– Hostels and budget hotels: Hostelbookers
– Travel Precautions and Vaccination Requirements: CDC
– Research City and Country Destinations: Wikitravel
– Internet Forum to Answer Travel Questions: Lonely Planet’s ‘Thorn Tree’
– Currency Conversion: Oanda
– Free Business/Travel cards: Vistaprint
– Airline Fare Tracking: Yapta
– Spare Room and Private Studio Apartments: AirBnB
– Inexpensive phone calls: Skype
What is your blog about (and why you started to blog)?
You can visit our popular World Travel Adventures Blog Unhook Now to see photos, interesting things to do, history for 155 wonderful places in the world. You can also sign up to receive free cost-saving travel tips and bargains. We started our travel blog to record our adventures.
Then our friends asked for more information about food, history, and interesting things to do. Now the blog is receiving a large number of visitors. We have a following of people we stay in touch with and many people who introduce themselves from our blog.
How can we find more about you and your upcoming projects?
Please subscribe to our world travel adventure blog Unhook Now and ‘like’ our Facebook page to learn more about us, our speaking engagements, and to receive updates on our travels and travel tips and cost-saving bargains.
Planning is key – learning what is right for you, where to do, and how to do and afford it. We spent 6 months writing our popular selling comprehensive how-to World Travel Book “Plan Your Escape, Secrets of Traveling the World for Less Than the Cost of Living at Home” that is receiving 5-star customer ratings on Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.
It shows how you can travel and see more for half the cost for all trips, have more adventure and romance, safely realize your travel dreams, and much more.
Something else you want to add?
Our travel philosophy: Be grateful that you have this experience. Be kind, respectful, wear a smile, and be a good ambassador for your country. If something doesn’t go right, go with the flow – it is part of the adventure.
Spend longer periods of time exploring and enjoying a region of the world. Allow yourself to slow down and really soak up the culture of the countries you visit. Eat local cuisine and stay in guesthouses and hostels.
Don’t isolate yourself with other tourists. Pack light – simplify. Find the beauty and pleasure in everywhere you go.
Thanks, Wayne and Pat. You guys have motivated all us to keep traveling.
Divinne Grace says
I want to travel a lot with friends or even with my family…I have never tried this kind of place but I think it looks really interesting…
That was a wonderful adventure ever. Thanks that you’ve posted. Hope I could visit the places in the picture.
Michaela of Awe Inclusive says
This is a great interview. It’s so inspiring and the pictures are great! This couple has been to 10 times more countries than I have and they are still enjoying their journey.
I love the tip to “be an ambassador for your country.” Great tip!
I can’t wait to experience the world in the capacity that they have. Thanks so much for sharing!
Cathy Sweeney says
Happy to get to know Pat and Wayne. Such a cool story of how they met and the wonderful journeys they’ve been taking together. I’ve heard of those dancing shrimp in Thailand before. It seems that everyone loves them, but I’m afraid I’d probably pass. Great interview, Ruth.