What Is It About The Name “David”?
When I grow up, I want to be David Thompson. No, not Dave Thomas, the Wendy’s burger guy (although, I admire him too). David Thompson, the blogger, wine aficionado-entrepreneur, and world traveler who, literally, has the coolest life around. He lives in Napa Valley, treks across the globe, writes on it, then gives vineyard tours...meeting all kinds of people while reviewing wineries too.
Who gave this man his job?
The answer is, “No one”. David crafted his life to be exactly as he wanted it to be, not remiss of near-catastrophe along the way. But that challenge left him more convinced than ever of the importance of finding happiness and living according to your own terms.
It is quite the story and one you will learn below as you read the tale that inspired David Thompson to become one of the most successful travelers bloggers in the space.
What is your full name?
Briefly describe you and your life, including where you live, children (if any), and whatever else you would like to share?
My life revolves around several passions/obsessions, at any one time! Adventure, wine, food and travel. I founded my travel site, Dave’s Travel Corner, in 1996 and have been fortunate to have seen much of the world. My home base is close to the northern part of the Napa Valley in California, where I am surrounded by vineyards and wineries.
If you were asked to describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?
What is your personal mantra?
Ownership of most things is overrated. Ownership of worldly experiences is not.
Share the name of your blog as well as the date it was launched.
Dave’s Travel Corner, December 1996
Explain what compelled you to begin blogging.
Without creating any set direction or specific goals, life may set you out on a path that is completely unexpected. At least that is what happened to me. While in college, I spotted a poster of an impressive glacier covered mountain hanging in the window of our student activities office. This advertised a trip to Nepal “as a trip of a lifetime” – ultimately it would be exactly that for me.
While trekking to near Everest Base Camp I became extremely sick from both food poisoning and altitude at our last camp before the group would go on to summit a ‘small’ mountain, Kala Patar (18,514 feet).
Our guide ended up carrying me down on his shoulders to a lower elevation at midnight. The next morning I was so weak I could not physically stand or walk. A lady from our group also descended and was with me. She ended up carrying me down further for most of the day while our guide headed back up the mountain to the rest of the group. The problem was we had two backpacks and I could not walk. She hoisted me on her back – carrying me down, dropping me off, returning to get our backpacks and carrying those down the trail past where I was crumpled up on the ground waiting for her to come back and do it all again.
While one might think this experience would discourage me from every traveling abroad again – this hardship combined with the incredible beauty of the mountains, and the culture turned me on to International travel and was the impetus to start Dave’s Travel Corner. I had never been this far abroad before with these types of experiences. I had long enjoyed writing – and I soon combined this love with my new interest in overseas travel to create the website.
Share with us the primary focus of your blog and what you hope to accomplish through it.
The primary focus is to create an International travel community built around quality content across a wide range of budgets and interests. I hope to continue to create a resource that inspires and benefits travelers.
List any awards you may have won.
I was one of the CorOZpondents hired by Tourism Australia and was part of that team and campaign that took a Platinum award for PR at the Adrian awards in New York City.
Are you a Brand Ambassador and if so, for which companies?
I have been in the past, not currently. Some of the prior work I’ve done with brands has included work with American Express, Can Am Spyder, Capital One, Contiki, Holland America Line, HotelTonight, LAXishappening, Marriott, NatureBox, Oceanwide Expeditions, Rocky Mountaineer, Stearns & Foster, Tourism, Viking River Cruises, Volvo, Lufthansa & Swiss Air among others.
Which social media outlet works best for your public relations/marketing efforts?
I like Twitter and Instagram. I’ve spent significant time on twitter over the years building followers, engaging with followers, and promoting a variety of content. Based on the number of followers, this platform works well. Instagram is so visual; rather than creating a steady stream of posts, like I do on Twitter, I use my primary Instagram account to only post a select few (the best) photographs from my various trips.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone interested in beginning a blog?
Network with others in person through organizations that promote and connect bloggers. I engage with many people on social media but have found the most important connections are those in person.
Share some names of favorite blogs you follow.
Beyond being a blogger, are you an entrepreneur, professional or business owner? If so, please explain.
I have blurred my passion/obsession for wine through a project I started called The Napa Wine Project. Over the past 10+ years I have visited, tasted the wines and written reviews of more than 900 unique Napa wineries and producers. This has given me a winery perspective of the Napa Valley that few have. I’ve leveraged that knowledge by starting a small tour/concierge company where I personally show people around the valley, creating custom tours based on their interests and knowledge around wine.
Share a social cause or cause-based organization close to your heart.
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
As someone who embraced as much as he could from life. Someone who was curious about the world, its varied landscapes and people - and was open to trying a variety of experiences. And as someone who left the world a better place.
Like my interview with Pegi Young, David Thompson is just another kind of example of “no mountain being high enough!” And if it is, just drink a glass of really good Pinot Noir and you’ll find yourself over it in no time. Both of which you can learn more about through Dave’s Travel Corner.