This is the 7th post in our ongoing series about people who travel with their pets. We interview people whose lifestyle allows them to spend A LOT of time on the road with their furry folk. Then, we’re sharing their stories in hopes of inspiring our readers to do something cool with their pets. Let us know what you think! And if you have a story you would like to share, please contact me.
Give us the basics. Who are you and what do you guys do for a living?
Hi! I am Susan Kennedy. I just got married at the beginning of September. I have a business called Bold Media Designs. We help small to medium size companies with their branding through social media, video, and graphics. My husband, Nate, has an internet marketing company that helps business owners grow profits by generating and retaining new clients using effective marketing systems. Although we’re settled in North Carolina, we are able to travel and work anywhere in the world – which has allowed us to do most of our traveling.
And more importantly, tell us about your dogs Zeus and Kala.
Zeus is a 5 year old, 90 lb Boxer … he actually just passed away a few weeks ago. He was the best dog ever, scared of his own shadow but the most lovable dog. We called him our gentle giant because he looked scary, but was a teddy bear. He tried to be a 10-pound lap dog, and if he couldn’t lay on you he would get as close as he could.
Kala is a 7 year old Lab mix … he is our lassie dog and our protector. He comes and gets us when anything seems wrong or out of the ordinary. Loves people – if he could people watch all day he would. He is the most low maintenance dog I’ve ever met. He just “chills” all day.
I know from reading your blog that you and Nate took some time out from life to travel with Zeus and Kala. How long were you gone? Where did you go? Where did you stay?
We were gone about 7 months. We started in Atlanta, packed our belongings into storage, and headed south in our car with our dogs. First we stopped in South Beach, then went to Key West, Delray Beach, St. Augustine, and Lake Norman – staying for about a month to a month and half at each. We also traveled to other parts of the country while we were traveling!, Unfortunately, the boys didn’t get to go with us when we flew to some locales. We rented furnished vacation rentals off of VRBO.com – lots of dog friendly places to choose from.
What’s it like traveling with your dogs? What’s the best part? What’s the part that’s least fun?
We love traveling with Zeus and Kala. They’re happy and excited when they get to go in the car. We don’t have kids right now so they are our kids. It’s like traveling with your family, and it’s nice to all be together. Plus, you don’t have to worry about them while your gone or spend extra money on boarding., which can get expensive. We travel so much with them that they know the drill. Get in the car, sleep, wake up, adjust to new home. As long as they have their beds, which we take everywhere, and their food bowls – they are comfortable … they realize when the suitcases come out it’s go time!
The least fun part is finding places that accept dogs, so there’s a little more planning then if it were just the us two. With such big dogs, people tend to think the bigger the dog, the messier – which isn’t always the case. We kind of have to tell them they are older, and that they are pretty chill dogs. We usually don’t have too much of a problem, though, just a bit more planning. However, the positives outweigh the negatives by a ton. It’s just so much fun and to see their little happy faces is a good feeling.
What kinds of things did you do on your trip? Were you able to include Zeus and Kala in your activities?
We love going to beaches and the boys do too, so we always take them and let them run around, jump in the waves, and play catch. South Beach is pretty dog friendly, and we got to take them to some restaurants and bars while we hung out. They weren’t allowed on the beach but there were some parks that they went to. Key West was also very dog friendly and we would take them to restaurants and bars there as well.
What was the favorite place that you’ve visited?
My favorite place with the dogs would have been Key West or St. Augustine. In St. Augustine, we stayed right on the beach – it was winter time so the beach wasn’t crowded and the boys played there every day. They loved it. Key West was fun and we would take them with us the majority of the time. The restaurants and bars all had water bowls out and dog treats. Unlike Kala, Zeus didn’t like all the crowd commotion.
What is the place you are most looking forward to seeing?
We’ve always talked about renting an RV and driving across country and stopping at different places along the way, which I think would be so fun. A house on wheels :) We’ll see. [GoPetFriendly note – go for it!]
Based on your travel experiences, what could businesses do to make traveling with a pet easier/better?
Make themselves known more. There are a ton of hotels that accept pets but don’t really come out and say it. So a pet owner has to do a lot of research on where you can stay with your pets.
What did you learned about life on your trip?
That it’s ok to go by the seat of your pants. I’m a huge planner so this “live by the seat of your pants, don’t know where we are going to go next” method of living was a drastic change for me. I never thought I could do it. My husband is a whatever happens, happens type of guy. “Don’t worry it will work out” … so adopting his attitude was different but created a fun and unforgettable time.
I also realized that life is so unpredictable. You really don’t know what is going to happen next. Cherish every moment and memory you have and experience life to get those memories. After Zeus passed I looked back at all the fun things we did with him and all the places we went and have no regrets. I am so happy we were able to travel with both of them. He lived and experienced more in his 5 years then most people do in a lifetime.
What would you like to tell people who say, “Boy, I envy you. I wish I could take an extended period of time off to travel like that.”?
I would say, even if you can’t take off an extended period of time you can always take some time to travel and experience life. Even if it’s just a weekend. Even camping 20 minutes from your house for a night is an experience in itself. Traveling, I believe, is all about the experience and anyone can do it. My husband has worked hard to get his business to where it is today. And we were blessed to be able to experience what we have. But realistically anyone can travel, and it’s what you make of it that counts. It’s really about the people who you are with rather then where you go.
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