Welcome to a new feature of travel bloggers roaming the world with their pet as a companion. In today’s interview you’ll meet an Australian Shepherd rescue, Sora, and travel couple Jen and Dave who document the adventures the three of them go on at Long Haul Trekkers. So buckle up for one entertaining interview and some gorgeous snapshots of their travels!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your pet(s)
We are Jen, Dave, and Sora, our rescued Australian Shepherd, the adventurous team behind the Long Haul Trekkers. Since April 2015, we have been traveling the world with Sora, mostly by bicycle. We began in Oslo, Norway and pedaled to Athens, Greece via the Balkans and Turkey and will be finishing our Patagonia, Argentina to Medellin, Colombia tour this April.
Which was your first trip with your pet and what made you want to bring them along?
At home in Oregon, we took Sora with us everywhere—camping, running, hiking. We rarely left home without her. About a year before we left on this particular adventure, some friends invited us to go on an Oregon wine country cycle tour with them. We jumped at the chance. We had two dogs at the time and zero clue about cycle touring. We brought far too much gear for a weekend tour and suffered going up all those winery hills! Regardless, we were hooked and started planning our next bike tour with the pups.
How often do you travel with your pet?
Right now, always! Sora is by our sides most of the time, unless we’re eating at a restaurant or visiting a place where dogs are not allowed.
When your pet does not tag along, what do you do with them?
We will leave her in the hostal room, as long as our time away isn’t too long. Once, we left her with a friend we had met while cycling in Patagonia for the morning so we could go on a hike that did not allow dogs.
Do you find it much harder to plan your trip when your pet joins you?
We thought that it would be much more difficult than it is. We just make sure to plan around her. If it’s not dog-friendly, then we don’t go. It’s as simple as that. Finding hotels or rides if we are not on our bikes can take some convincing sometimes, but most countries have been fairly accepting of the fact that we travel with our dog.
What is your favorite destination to take your pet to?
We love hiking with Sora. South America has so many wonderful hikes that we can bring Sora along and most are completely void of people. We’re also big craft brewery fans, most of which are dog-friendly, so we bring Sora when we can.
Which are the most pet-friendly places you’ve traveled to?
Norway was super dog-friendly, we could bring Sora practically everywhere and there was always dishes filled with water out for the pups to drink on the trails and parks. Ecuador was also quite dog-friendly. All of the city parks allowed dogs and had fantastic dog parks. Almost every restaurant we visited allowed dogs, as did most taxi drivers.
Which are the most unfriendly places to travel to with a pet?
Chile was by far the most unfriendly place to travel with Sora. We had a difficult time finding dog-friendly accommodations, people told us we our option was tie her up outside all day long. After traveling through so many countries, we actually find the US to not be as pet-friendly as we had thought. While there are a lot of great spots outdoors to take the pups, it is impossible to get there without a car, as dogs are not allowed on the train. In cities, most public transportation doesn’t allow dogs either and in Oregon, dogs are not allowed inside restaurants. Surprisingly, Muslim countries like Turkey and Bosnia were not as difficult as we had thought they would be, given Muslim views on dogs.
Any anecdotes or mishap you want to share?
Sora had a small growth growing on her paw before we departed. Our vet in the US had told us it was just a corn and nothing to worry about. It kept growing and started to bleed, so we took her to a vet in Germany. It turns out that the growth was a cancerous tumor, so we had booked a surgery in Berlin to have it removed. It came back again while we were in Chile less than a year later, and we had it removed again. We have to monitor the growth, as it had a tendency to return, but so far, she’s cancer free.
And, we’re so glad we had this happen outside of the US. Veterinary care there is unaffordable, and in Germany and Chile, we paid less than $350 for both surgeries combined. In the US, this would have cost us thousands.
What advice would you give to others wanting to travel with their pet?
Finding dog-friendly activities can be tricky sometimes, especially in touristy places, so we ignore all the tourism posts and tours and ask the locals. They know where all the best hikes and uncrowded places are, most of which tend to allow dogs.
Jen, Dave, and Sora, thank you so much for being here today! I know if we ever met in real life, Ares would be just as thrilled to hang out with Sora as I’ve been to read about your adventures!