10/14/2014 04:13 EDT | Updated 10/14/2014 04:59 EDT

Dalene And Pete Heck Awarded By National Geographic For Travel


An Alberta couple who are seeing the world on a never-ending trip have been awarded by National Geographic.

Dalene and Pete Heck packed up their Okotoks home and began their journey after several personal tragedies in 2009.

They bought two one-way tickets to Bolivia, reports CBC News, and never looked back.

“Everyone assumes we won the lottery, or life is a giant vacation but that’s really not the case,” Dalene told CBC. “We’ve found a way such that it’s cheaper for us to travel than it ever was to live a stable life here in Alberta.”

They afford their travelling ways in part by offering to house-sit wherever they go — a move that has resulted in almost $50,000 in savings as well as free accommodation, Dalene told Metro Calgary.

To traverse the globe as they do, their rules are simple: no possessions, no plans, just travel.

The couple told the Edmonton Journal they've done everything from watch a Saharan sunrise to get matching tattoos in New York.

They've also taken more than 70,000 photos.

Many of those photos get posted to their blog, which also acts as a source of income, and they help make ends meet by working as travel consultants.

The Hecks have been recognized as one of 10 National Geographic Travellers of the Year and will be recognized in the November edition.

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