Dave Levart began Dave’s Travel Corner in late 1996 as a result of a life-changing trip to Nepal in which he trekked near Everest Base Camp. He began writing a journal while he was on the trip and it was the notes from this journal that became the foundation for Dave’s Travel Corner. He has travelled to more than 130 countries in the world and shares some of his favourites in this interview.
What are three of your favourite countries and why?
Probably the most hospitable people I’ve met in all my travels. During my solo trip, I would be walking in the street and people would approach me asking how I was, and if I needed any help. Completely genuine conversations with no hidden agendas. Several people bought me beers (non-alcoholic of course), invited me to meet and then stay with their families. And I ended up making new friends this way and even going on several short trips with people that I met while walking in the streets. However, I’m not sure I would have had all the same positive experiences if I was a woman travelling alone in the country.
There is no country that has taken a hold of my heart like this one. I’ve made it a point to return to places again and again that make me feel good – whether it’s to specific countries or to cities. And Thailand is one of these places; it starts with the people, along with the culture, arguably the best food in the world, and the lovely landscapes. I love the energetic vibe in Bangkok.
I enjoy the wide diversity of geography here – ranging from high mountains, desert, ocean to jungle. One of my favourite landscapes are inspiring mountains and outside of the Himalayas, these are the highest mountains on the planet and out of all the mountains in the Andes. Some of the most impressive terrains are in Peru.
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Food poisoning trekking to Kala Patar, a mountain near Everest Base Camp
Became deathly ill from food poisoning combined with high altitude sickness. Had to be carried on shoulders down the mountain at midnight by our guide and then all the next day on a woman’s back because I physically was unable to walk. This sounds like it would be my worst travel moment, and at at the time it certainly was, but with a longer perspective looking back after many years – in actuality, this trip and resulting hardships helped build character and was the direct reason for my pursuit of a career in travel.
Summers at Lake Tahoe
Spending summers at Lake Tahoe in California lounging with a book at the end of the pier on the west shore. Sitting up every once in a while to check on my fishing pole. Every year my family would vacation there and meet the same people who became friends. When I need to decompress I always think back to these peaceful times in the summer on the lake. They remind me of simpler times in my life with less stress.
Climbing Toclaraju in Peru with good friends
I spent 2 weeks prior to this climb acclimatizing and it’s the best I’ve ever done at high altitudes. Ultimately I didn’t make the summit – but it was the first high elevation climb where I actually felt reasonably well while on the mountain.
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
The laptop was stolen at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg
I’m usually pretty careful with my valuables. But one afternoon when I arrived at the airport in Johannesburg, I pulled out my laptop to do some quick research, I put it down and looked away for just a second and when I turned around it was gone. I ended up going to the airport security looking at video cameras for an hour but we were never able to locate any footage showing the theft. Several years later I received a tweet from a tough-looking guy based on his profile picture, who looked like he set up a Twitter account just to reach out to me. He said he found my laptop in a junkyard and had my hard drive. I didn’t want to get into any negotiations so I didn’t carry the conversation any further!
Terrible food poisoning
This always derails trip plans. I’ve had this so bad at times I couldn’t physically walk or get out of bed – constantly throwing up for several days on end. It felt like I was going to die. It was so bad. Fortunately, these days seem to be behind me as it’s been years since I’ve had any bad food/stomach problems. I think one does build up some resistance if one is an adventurous eater overseas, like myself.
Car not qualified for a race
After an emotionally draining year of building a solar racing vehicle during college – in which the car was ultimately priority over classwork, we trailered the car to the east coast of the USA in about 56 hours, taking turns driving all day and night. We were entered into a solar race – we arrived early and continued work on the car all day and most of the night to get it ready for the race. Unfortunately, all that hard work did not pay off as we ended up having electrical problems and the car did not qualify. So we trailered it down to Florida in the middle of July – we are all emotionally and physically exhausted. Somehow we ended up in the Everglades camping. The humidity and heat was off the charts, the mosquitoes clouds were the worst I’ve ever experienced in all my life and to top it off we didn’t have any tents – so we slept outdoors covering ourselves as best we could with towels. What a nightmare.
What are three of your best travel tips?
Attempt to meet locals and get to know them.
Pack light so that you can carry everything with you.
Embrace fear – especially that of the unknown.