Ron Robbins: Active Planet Travels

Traveling is an art. It takes constant persistence and lots of vigorous preparation. And even though I fancy myself as someone who could simply pack up a carry-on bag and fly away to any country, in reality it usually takes a little more planning to make a trip successful, which brings me to my second interview of the day, with another professional Traveler.

My second of two interviews with professional travelers was with Ron Robbins of Active Planet Travels. Ron has been traveling the world for about 4 years now, and has spent time in 13 different countries, from Asia, to North and Central America, and the Caribbean.

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But how did Ron get started on this journey around the world? Well, that was of course, my first question.

To be honest, I didn’t actively look to become a travel writer…it was the sort of job I fell into.  Back in 2011 I created my personal blog just to document my travels as an online journal to reference back on when I grew older.  About 6 months in, I received an offer to sell my blog for $8,000.

Although extremely tempted, I refused the offer and researched why my blog would have been worth so much money (after all, $8,000 back when I was 19 was a LOT of money to travel with).  After stumbling on a few websites like my own, I decided to turn the blog into a business and, long story short, developed the Active Planet Travels community that you see today!
— Ron Robbins

The key to it all though, as Ron says, is in the details. Details are what make a story interesting, and what will bring in more and more readers, and it’s not just the words. Photos, videos, slideshows, all of this can help a blog gain recognition.

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“People, at least in my community, want to know what a place is like. They want to see what you see, hear what you hear, and taste what you taste…Stop using words and phrases like “crazy, amazing, exotic, gem, breathtaking, or best-kept secret”. They are overused and, frankly, don’t tell you what it’s really like. Sure, a place is breathtaking…they all are. But what makes it amazing? What makes it the next best-kept secret? Give ingredients to your meal, character to the landscape, and facial expressions to an experience. Give details.”

Just like in previous interviews, one question that came up was how Ron actually came up with ideas for stories.

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“I look at places and things that inspire me. I write about things I legitimately want people know. I also look for unreal experiences. For instance, when I saw a local woman give birth during my showboat cruise in Laos, it was obvious that this made the top 10 list of my favorite experiences in the world. And for that, I had to write about it to share with everyone.”

And with travel, as always, comes crazy stories; stories of crazy adventures, weird foods, amazing people. In my own travel experiences, it’s been activities like smashing bottles of wine in the streets of Florence on New Year’s, walking the coast of southern Spain for 10 miles, or staying with a few amazing Brazilians in the city of lights, Paris. Ron came with his own stories of crazy adventures…

“I’m a big fan of crazy adventure activities and have done things anywhere from shark diving, to white-water rafting down a 15 foot waterfall on the Upper Gauley. But, to this day, I think my favorite and most adrenaline pumping trip was sky-diving for the first time.

I know what you’re thinking, that this is pretty cliché. But I’ve got a twist for you…the first time I ever went skydiving was also solo. That’s right, I was between 9,000-10,000 feet in the air, climbed out of the plane by myself, held onto the wing by myself, and dropped by myself to the ground that waited below. It was a pretty exciting moment, until my chords got tangled. During that instance I used my newly acquired skills to untangle the chords so that the parachute would deploy correctly for a safe landing.”

Even crazier than the adventures sometimes, are the foods adventurers eat.

“It’s hard to say the “craziest” thing I’ve ever eaten - it really depends on where you from. One thing that’s crazy in North America is totally acceptable in other regions of the world such as Southeast Asia or Central America. For instance, it may seem weird to munch on insects as a bar snack in North Central Florida but, in Laos, this is considered a regular delicacy. Just like eating guinea pigs in Peru is normal but in Colorado, most people couldn’t stomach it. I personally think comes down to personal preference…and as any of my friends will gladly tell you, I’m a human garbage disposal that will eat anything. But, to name a few “odd” things: cockroaches, tarantulas, canine, giraffe…take your pick.”

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When it comes down to it, travel writers and bloggers are adrenaline junkies, but not the kind of adrenaline you’re thinking of (although I for one would love to skydive, bungee jump, board down the side of an active volcano, you name it!), our adrenaline comes from the need to travel. The need to see new places, to find new faces to call friends, to blaze a trail unlike any other.

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It’s a tiring job, it tests a person’s limits to the fullest extent, but for most of us, it’s one we wouldn’t trade for the world.

“Pursue your passion, and the money will follow. Never focus on how you’re going to make money. Of course, this is an important element of travel writing. After all, how else are you going to afford that weekend getaway to Paris? But if you follow your heart, your mind, and work strategically towards what you want to write about, good things are bound to follow you.”

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It has been great getting to talk to travelers from across the globe for the past few weeks, and a true pleasure to talk with Ron about his travels. As I make the final prep for my Southeast Asia adventure, I know I’ll put the advice to good use.

Check out Ron's website, www.activeplanettravels.com it's full of amazing stories! Until next time, peace, love, and Carpe Diem Amigos!

 

Jake Allegro