We are Dalene and Pete Heck, and when we begin to tell our life story, we often don’t believe it ourselves.
We’ll skip the tedious parts, the work-our-ass-off-climbing-the-social-ladder-parts that defined our 20s, and begin in early 2007. At that point, we were not terribly unhappy with our lives, but a four-month barrage of personal tragedies, including two deaths in our immediate family and the realization of our inability to have children, pushed us to our limits. It broke us down in grief and forced us to truly consider what our lives were meant to be.
We had learned, the very hard way, the impact of the age-old cliche: life is too short.
We made our move. In 2009 we blindly transitioned from a 2,100 square foot house full of unnecessary goods into combined luggage space of 200 litres, and began a life of travel that was endlessly fulfilling. We taught underprivileged kids to swim in Bolivia, rode camels in the Sahara Desert, kayaked among icebergs in Greenland, and so much more.
Quite simply put, we went from scraping the bottom of life’s deepest hole to blowing the roof off the top. For almost eight years we lived out of our suitcases and across the wide world. We had found our true happiness and had no intent on settling down.
Dark twists of fate weren’t quite done with us yet.
In late 2016, while housesitting in Washington State, a rush of unexplained symptoms forced Dalene into an emergency room. We learned then that she was days, if not mere hours, away from death. A rare strain of leukaemia was making quick work of her, and we were immediately on a plane back to Canada for treatment. What followed were weeks of hospitalization, months of intense treatment, and finally, molecular remission.
We are once again able to celebrate our health and ability to travel. But we also grieve for our lifestyle lost. With further tests and treatments binding us to one spot for the next several years, we bought a house. We have a car. We are no longer the carefree nomads that defined us for eight years. We are rooted and readjusting, but also have plans to be on the road as much as possible.
We will embrace the free days we have and invigorate them with discovery. We will endeavour to once again dig our toes into white Caribbean sand, taste Thai food from a street stall, and hike among rocky mountains. Our lofty travel goals have not changed, only the pace at which we chase them. And as always, we will bring you along the journey through every bump and glorious highlight.
Since we began our worldwide travels, we discovered that we like to tell stories, and so that is what you will find here on this wee blog. If you want to be swept away to a foreign land with choice photography and video, stories of meeting new people, feasting on new foods and experiences, then that is what we are here for.
If you want to know about the ups and downs of being on the road, of dealing with cancer, of growing a business, and of our relationship, then you best start here: behind the scenes.
As well, these articles are also a great way to get to know us even better:
- The full story behind our decision to live a life of travel
- In celebration of our wedding anniversary, a look at our love story. Also, seeing as we’ve been traveling for nearly half of our marriage, you can bet that we have lots of marriage tips to give for travelers and non-travelers alike
- Learn about our favourite method of travel: house-sitting
- We answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to travel long term
- One of our best moments from all of our travels
- And another story that speaks dearly to our biggest rewards in this travel lifestyle
- Interested in our blogging strategy and progress? Check out our latest “State of the Blog Address“
We are also thrilled to have been honoured by the industry with the following:
- The 2016 bronze medal for “Best Independent Travel Blog” by the North American Travel Journalists Association.
- For this piece, we were finalists for an Alto Award for tourism media in Alberta, Canada in fall of 2015.
- In 2014, we were named National Geographic “Travelers of the Year”. Read our thoughts about the win here.
- In 2012, Dalene earned her first nod as a BlogHer “Voice of the Year” for her revealing post about why we began our travels. She won again in 2014 for our story on visiting the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland.
Dalene is the Chief Storyteller, Ladyboss at Hecktic Media Inc., and slayer of Leukemia. She was schooled in business and spent her twenties as a corporate climber, before discovering her true passions while on the road. Dalene’s ultimate goal, however, is to be a groupie/roadie for Arcade Fire.
Pete is the Chief Pretty Photo Maker and is also the guy who fixes everything Dalene breaks on this website. Pete was an accountant in his former life but now enjoys snapping photos, cooking, sampling the weirdest of foods, and discussing conspiracy theories.
Join us on our journey!