This week, we’re joined by Angelina and her traveling terrier Roger Wellington. They share their blogging tips and travel stories in this week’s community interview!
Tell us about yourself!
WOOF, I’m Roger Wellington, a senior Yorkshire Terrier hailing from San Francisco, California. I’m a rescue dog who has transformed into a world traveler!
Before being adopted by my forever family in 2015, I spent most of my life inside a crate in a two-car garage for a total of 16 to 18+ hours daily. After the arrival of a newborn baby in my first family, I was further neglected and then unjustly surrendered.
My second family took me in for one week (and also crated me inside a two-car garage) and decided quickly that I wasn’t going to work for them.
Shortly after, my third and forever human Gigi came to my rescue! Knowing that dogs are sentient beings who aren’t “toys” that can be tossed to the side, she brought me home and dedicated herself to providing me with the best life ever. It was right then and there that I left my miserable crate life for good!
As a true alpha dog and #1 Human Trainer, I like to lead and take my time on walks, sleep right smack in the middle of my King bed, and get yummy treats and home-cooked meals on-demand. I live the BEST life!
When did you start traveling?
Well, let me first bark that my human Gigi became obsessed with international traveling while studying abroad in Beijing, China. After graduating from college, she got a 9 to 5 like most millennials at the time; however, she would literally use every penny and PTO on vacations abroad when working in the office.
A year into my adoption, Gigi left her management role in the conventional office to pursue a nomadic life and travel the world indefinitely.
To prepare for my first international flight, I went on numerous road trips and domestic flights, mostly from NorCal to SoCal to visit family. After immense research on international dog travel, we hopped on a one-way 10+ hour flight to Paris and the rest is history!
For the last 4+ years, I’ve set my furry paws in over 45 flights and countless trains across more than 20 countries.
Although I plan to catch up with Gigi who has been to 50 countries (thus far), I never travel for short vacations or for the sake of collecting countries. Since dogs need more time to rest and adjust to new environments, I’ve mastered the art of slow travel. As a true nomadic dog, I TRAVEL TO LIVE!
What have been some of your favorite places or activities so far?
As a dog traveler, I love anywhere that loves my furriness back! Here are three dog-friendly destinations that I keep visiting over and over:
Vienna – This world-class city is not only clean and modern, but also boasts some of the most advanced animal rights laws in the world. I love being able to walk inside restaurants and dine at the table like I belong. At a local bratwurst stand, I was even hand-fed my very own dog-safe bratwurst for free – YUM! Plus, Gigi can find free poop bag stations at nearly every corner in the city.
Amsterdam – Amsterdam is Top Dog cool. Canals, skewed houses, and rooftop lounges — I just love how funky and hip it is! Even though I can dine indoors, I prefer sitting outside near the canals to people and dog-watch here, especially in my favorite neighborhood of Jordaan. In addition to a nationwide NO STRAY policy, the Netherlands has strong protections against animal cruelty and abandonment. I gotta wag my tail to that!
Paris – Well, because it’s Paris! Despite the unavoidable second-hand smoke that disgusts me and Gigi nearly every second, it’s hard not to fall in love with Paris. Every dog (lover) knows that this city is flooded with dogs everywhere! From Le Marais to the Latin Quarter, I can hang out at cafes and brasseries from dusk till dawn. I also like roaming around the Louvre Palace.
Have you had any misadventures on your travels?
Unfortunately, yes. I could have died on a flight from Madrid to Geneva. Had Gigi listened to the flight attendants, I may not have survived. As it was a pretty sunny day, the plane quickly became stuffy due to the lack of air conditioning. When I started panting inside the carrier, Gigi immediately unzipped the carrier so I could have more ventilation. However, the flight attendant subsequently demanded her to zip it up. Seeing that I was still heavily panting, Gigi refused to jeopardize my life. In tears, she pleaded our case to several flight attendants by explaining that I would be in a life-threatening situation if forced back into the carrier.
After FOUR TIMES of going back and forth and causing a scene, the flight attendants finally left us alone. Although I landed safely in Geneva, I wonder how many dog pawrents would have given into the airline’s demands.
We can only remember the tragic death of the French bulldog puppy Kokito from United Airlines. Traveling with your dog can be an ARF-mazing experience, but NO TRIP IS EVER WORTH YOUR DOG’S LIFE!
What are three life-changing lessons travel has taught you?
1. The world is both BIG and small
Depending on who you ask, there are nearly or over 200 countries in this world. That sounds like a BIG world when you think about it. However, the more places I mark up, the more I feel like the world gets smaller and smaller. Sure, the culture, language, and landscape may be different in another part of the world, but ultimately there are still more similarities when it comes to human (and dog) behavior.
2. Humans need to treat animals better
The great Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Sadly, animal abuse exists virtually everywhere in the world, even in my progressive hometown California. Traveling creates more awareness of animal welfare and rights in societies and cultures around the world. As Gigi and I are always seeking dog-friendly or dog-accepting places in our destinations, we’ve experienced a wide range of attitudes and treatments towards dogs.
And, it’s not just about dogs – from chained monkeys in Marrakech (Morocco) to enslaved donkeys in Santorini (Greece) to drugged tigers in Chiang Mai, we as travelers need to do a better job in decreasing the demand for such unethical animal attractions.
Whether it’s skipping animal attractions or simply eating less meat, a small action can make a huge impact! Yet the origins of Covid-19 also reiterate that animals need greater legal protections and wildlife should be left alone.
3. Experience trumps possession
Minimalism rocks! Since we’ve been living out of a suitcase for almost 5 years now, my tail is wagging to bark that personal experience trumps possession of material goods any day! We only buy what we need and save the rest to travel. Without squandering money on stupid luxury goods, we’ve never felt more fulfilled.
What countries/activities are still on your bucket list?
Even though Gigi has lived and spent a lot of time traveling in Asia, she still hasn’t taken me there due to strict dog entry requirements, which often include a mandatory quarantine (GRR, no way!). Unless it’s for a long-term move, she doesn’t want to put me through unnecessary stress and risk. If it weren’t for such a lengthy 180-day process with a titer test and additional rabies shot, I’d love to sniff out those stylish, flawlessly groomed furry cuties in Japan, which is Gigi’s favorite country.
And, I would love to go to Argentina — I heard small dogs rule there!
Do you have any favorite travel books/movies/TV shows?
One of Gigi’s beloved travel books is Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams. She purchased the book right before her trip to South America, which was B.R.W. (before Roger Wellington). She also loves the travel-themed movies Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love, and Eat, Pray, Love.
What are 3 tips do you have for travelers (or bloggers) who are considering traveling with a pet?
1. Know Your Pet – Just because YOU like to travel doesn’t necessarily mean that your furry family member does. Even though I help dog pawrents travel with their dogs, I don’t always recommend it. Like humans, some dogs will simply travel better than others. Some questions to ask yourself before making the decision: Do you think they’ll like it? Would they be better off at home with someone you trust? How do they fare when out and about? How well do they adapt to new environments?
2. Stay Longer – As I barked earlier, dogs need (or should be given) more time to rest and adjust. For instance, if you’re planning to do a 12 or 14-day tour of a country that includes more than multiple destinations on your itinerary, then it’s better to leave your dog at home with someone you trust.
Traveling with your dog is certainly rewarding and fun, but it must be done so through slow travel, NOT ambitious travel where you’re destination-hopping in attempts to check off a bucket list or collect countries. Ultimately, traveling the world with your dog should mean living the world with your dog.
3. Health Comes First – Travel days are tough for everyone, including your dog. As valued family members, dogs aren’t luggage to be hauled around from place to place. Whether you have a senior dog like myself or a 9-month-old puppy, your dog’s health must come first and foremost. Make sure you get veterinarian clearance and address any pending health issues before taking your dog on a long flight.
Tell us about your blog!
My blog is Wet Nose Escapades, which was launched in 2016 during my very first international escapade. Since I’ve become an expert dog traveler, I teach dog pawrents how to travel with their dogs AND keep them safe and happy on the road. I also bark out the best dog-friendly activities wherever I’ve made my mark!
What is one thing that has surprised you since you started blogging?
Sadly, it’s finding my content stolen! I would not say that it was too surprising, but it’s something I never thought about before starting my blog. It has been emotionally draining and upsetting to find my images and/or writing reproduced without permission. Now, I recognize how common it is along with the actions I can take to address stolen content.
How do you balance blogging and travel?
Blogging is A LOT of work! Since I live a nomadic lifestyle, I travel and blog at the same time. As a dog traveler, it’s important to slow down the pace and take my time to explore each destination.
Unlike humans who can tear down the city and hop from one flight to another, dogs need more time to adjust as they thrive on routines. This means spending at least a whole month (often longer) in one city to immerse ourselves with the local people and culture versus checking off that bucket list.
Spending more time in a destination means less pressure to sightsee every single day, which allows for a balance between blogging and travel.
What tips do you have for new bloggers just starting out?
Don’t give up! Keep going. You’ll be driven on some days and completely discouraged on other days. As long as you keep going no matter how you’re feeling, you will see progress!
What are your blogging goals for 2021?
Build up my backlinks and guest post like crazy! I’m trying to increase my visibility on Google through SEO tactics and domain authority.
Plane or train? Plane
Aisle or window seat? Window
Beach or mountains? Beach
Chill cafe or adrenaline activities? Chill cafe
Where can we find you online & on social media?