The Best Interview With Rocky the Traveller!
Hello Dear Reader! Well our last interview was such a success that I reached out to another “with pet” international traveller and decided to do this again! Why is it important that we do this? Well to be honest I get a lot of “Only You” type comments. And the thing is we REALLY are NOT the only ones. So … that is what these interviews are trying to demonstrate. ENJOY! Because this is a BIG dog story!
Montecristo: I am thrilled to welcome Rocky the Traveller and his human to Montecristo Travels! Thank you so very much for agreeing to this interview. We discovered you, like most people on Instagram, with all the awesome photos of you travelling around. Then we popped over to your Fb page and found even more goodies. As a “with small pet” international travel blogger, we were hooked and really wanted to get to know you better. Especially since, Rocky, you are a lot bigger than my 3.5 pounds and thus don’t have the luxury of flying in cabin!
Rocky: Well the camera adds 1 or 2 extra pounds and maybe the filter adds another half a pound.
Montecristo: First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who makes up the team? Where do you live full time — what is your home base? And how did you end up together?
Rocky: Well thanks for having me here. I will answer for myself and for my human. My name is Rocky the Traveller, aka Rocky the Bull Terrier. I am originally from the good ol’ U.S. of A. and grew up in Virginia and Florida, but my human and I made the move to the United Kingdom and that’s where my journey to discover the world and my roots as an English Bull Terrier began. Our home base is Brighton, England, but really, home is anywhere for us. We are always on the road, meeting new people, seeing new things and, more importantly, smelling and eating new foods!
My human is an American journalist in the United Kingdom and his job allows him to travel quite often and work remotely. So it’s a perfect furriendship of man and dog. I get to see all of Europe and fulfill my life’s missions while he gets to do his thing as well. ☺
We ended up together when I was a wee young lad in Virginia and he raised me. It was fate that brought us together and we have been inseparable ever since.
Montecristo: How many countries have you visited so far? How many continents?
Rocky: I believe, as of now, I have visited 15 countries; that is, if you want to count Monaco as a separate country. My aim is to have visited 20 by the end of this year. So far for continents, only North America and Europe. But in North America, I visited over 10 states before I even became a traveller by occupation. I’ve now visited most of Western Europe and some of Central Europe. This year, I plan to see Greece, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, and Spain. Next year I would like to visit Asia!
So far my favorite countries have been Switzerland, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Scotland. I had the best times there and spent time with great friends!
Sonja: You will LOVE Bulgaria! We certainly did. And Greece … ah Greece … What prompted the decision to travel together? Rather than leave Rocky behind with family, friends, or a pet sitter? And what was it that made you know in your heart and gut that you were taking your pet with you? Was it a conscious choice or just circumstances that led to that happening?
Rocky’s human: Hi, I’m Rocky’s human, Danny. I would say it’s similar to you and Montecristo (love the name). Rocky is so well-behaved in trains, cars, ferries, busses — you name it. He’s pretty docile. I think I’ve even taken him to fancy restaurants in Cannes and Prague and he behaves so well.
Rocky: Thank you. I like to think you behave well too. Sometimes.
Danny: Basically, he goes where I go and it’s been like that since he was a pup. When I first came to Europe with him, I thought it would be a cool idea to take him to all the spots that I go to. I discovered just how pet-friendly Europe is compared to the United States in terms of being able to bring Rocky to pubs, restaurants, cafés, and so on.
I knew if I went on these adventures, I did not want to leave Rocky behind, especially not in a kennel. I worked a lot when I was younger and I would leave Rocky at home. So now I owe it to him to take him on all these adventures and give him the best life, because he is an amazing dog, just like I’m sure Montecristo is.
Sonja: I completely understand. I feel the exact same way. How we owe it to them, for all the patience and unconditional support they provide. They put up with the long hours and less than perfect situations so gracefully. I, too, see it as a reward.
What is the best part of having your pet with you? I know that for us, having Montecristo with us brings the most unexpected and pleasant surprises, including not being treated like tourists. People think we live there and are just walking the dog and so the entire vibe changes. We don’t feel as targeted by the business of tourism.
Danny: I see what you mean. It can feel that way too sometimes, but I love the tourist aspect of it. I don’t get as targeted by businesses when I’m with Rocky compared to when I’m not. Maybe it’s because I don’t look like a tourist when I’m walking him.
Rocky: Or when I’m walking you …
Danny: I love that people come up to us to say hello and it leads to interesting conversations and even friendships. Rocky is super friendly with everyone so he’s really a perfect travel companion. One of the coolest adventures we went on was in Budapest. But it was more the journey there and back than the destination. On the way back we took a sleeper train all the way to Amsterdam. Long journey, sleeping on the couchette, changing trains, but it was really cool! Meeting new people and everything. Rocky always has pep in his step when he’s surrounded by big crowds. It’s like he loves the energy of big groups of people.
Sonja: Oh, you are giving me an idea: maybe we can take a sleeper train from Prague to Vienna this fall! Thanks! … And the biggest challenges are … ?
Rocky: I would definitely say that I wish the Eurostar allowed dogs on their trains. We are all well-behaved for the most part. Take it from me, most of the time we just sleep on trains, so it would not be a problem to let us on!
Danny: I agree; going from the U.K. to France by train with a dog is not possible now, unless Rocky were a guide dog.
Rocky: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Rocky: I can be a guide dog!
Danny: So we usually go by car then take trains or just drive everywhere. If not, we take a nice ferry from the U.K. to mainland Europe. It’s easy, inexpensive, and enjoyable.
Sonja: I feel your pain. VIA Rail in Canada is totally anti-pet. It drives me crazy. I have contacted them repeatedly to try and push change. We shall see. I think the fact that quarantine was dropped in the United Kingdom in 2012 was great, but they are still making it difficult to come and go. Time will change things, I hope, with people like us, and well-behaved dogs like Rocky and Montecristo to blaze the trail!
Montecristo: Thanks … I think it’s a huge responsibility. But some dog has to do it!
Sonja: Did you learn anything about Rocky that you did not know prior to your first travel adventure? In our case, I know that we hike a lot more after our trip to Greece. After Montecristo hiked on his own, four paws, all the way up to the top of Mount Zeus (8 km round trip in one day), we realized that he might only be 8 inches off the ground but he might just be part goat! We had always agreed to treat him just “like a dog” and not carry him everywhere, and we had done long walks … yet we still had really underestimated his endurance.
Rocky: He sounds like quite the adventurer! I can’t say that I’ve been to the top of Mount Zeus … but I will take that challenge. I love climbing up things! I’ve climbed the United Kingdom’s biggest hills and monuments: Durdle Door, Arthur’s Seat in Scotland, you name it!
Danny: I will definitely say that I wasn’t sure how he was going to behave on a bus or a train until I brought him here. Then I was pleasantly surprised at just how well-behaved and calm he was on a bumpy train ride. I also learned that horses get him overly excited, he loves running on snow, doesn’t like going out when it’s pouring rain (in England), and he’s friendly with just about anyone from anywhere. And as I said, he makes a great travel buddy. Can’t wait to go camping soon up in Ireland!
Montecristo: If you could go absolutely anywhere and not worry about quarantine, papers, costs, etc., where would you all go and why?
Rocky: Japan! It’s a dream of mine! So many quirky things, I bet they have the best sushi and treats!
Danny: Seconded! Japan and China! We also have friends in Taiwan and want to go there as well.
Montecristo: Oh, YES! Japan! Australia and New Zealand too. … *sigh*
Sonja: Sorry, little one. What little tip or trick did you perfect over the years or months that you could share? Maybe something particular to travelling with a larger dog. Do you fly? If you do, please elaborate a little on how that is for you. If you don’t, let us know why not.
Rocky: I avoid flying as much as possible due to the fact that I’m on the bigger side 😉 and over the weight limit for bringing pets in the cabin. That being said, private jets are definitely still an option.
Danny: In Europe it’s very simple to take your pet anywhere. Simply hop on a train. Some trains require your dog to have a muzzle if he/she is medium- or above-sized, so just bring that with you. If you want to travel to mainland Europe from the United Kingdom, then book a car, ferry, or flight.
From America though, it’s a bit tricky. There’s certainly ways to bring your dog from the United States to Europe without flying. A cruise from New York to Southampton is definitely an option if you want to vacation with your pooch.
Some American air companies will let you bring your dog if he/she qualifies as an emotional support animal, so that’s worth looking into. My tip would be that if you have no choice but to travel by cargo, always check the airline company’s reputation. Be in constant contact with the pilot and crew and notify them of your pet. Do not let them fly in the hot summer months! And if you can avoid the cargo, then I would recommend that.
Sonja: How much extra work is it to plan trips with Rocky? I know I don’t find it that much more work but I was wondering if it’s different with a bull terrier and a dog larger than a tiny Chihuahua?
Danny: Not that much more. In Mainland U.K., dogs travel free by train or bus. When I travel to mainland Europe, I either drive or take a ferry. The ferry might be a bit more time consuming, but it’s a pleasant journey for us and economical as well.
Sonja: I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share your story with us and answering our questions. Before we part, what’s next on the horizon for you guys?
Rocky: It’s been a pleasure! Next up is Ireland within the month, then after that, I’m excited to say, I will be following in Montecristo’s tiny footsteps in Greece and the surrounding regions and countries: Macedonia, Bulgaria, and the Greek Islands!
I will also continue to explore English cities such as Cambridge, Oxford, Cornwall, and more. I hope to find out more about how cool we English Bull Terriers are and about our history.
Danny: It’s very exciting times! I’m so glad to be able to share all these adventures with everyone. I hope Rocky inspires everyone to go out and travel and see the world. Our mission really is to see as many countries as we can and live as many cool experiences as we can.
Rocky: And eat as much food as we can!
Danny: Yes. I’m also very excited to say that we are putting together a web series with different episodes detailing our many trips across different cities and countries with all the video footage that we have collected. Each episode will be a different city that we visited. All from Rocky’s point of view. Thanks to everyone for joining us on our adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and more!
Thanks for your time, Sonja and Montecristo! Love all your adventures! Keep travelling and exploring! Hope to meet up sometime!
Sonja: We DO want to go to the United Kingdom so we might meet up sooner rather than later! I can’t wait to see what you all get up to next. You can bet we will be following you on Fb and Instagram! And I hope we meet face to face and snouts to snouts one day. Until then, take good care and keep travelling!