Pietro & Eltje

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Who does not like traveling? We love traveling, and in particular, we have a passion for exploring places known but primarily places less known. We did this and intended to continue traveling to islands. We now plan to embark on discovering Africa. Documenting our travels of video, photography, and in the content on our website ChillHavenTravel.com

As a traveler, you l have a front row seat and gain a perspective of our destinations offered nowhere else.
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Who does not like a good adventure? We bet you do. We love to undertake adventures. Most of our lives have been an adventure, and like a good adventure, it has had its super exciting experiences and challenges.

We have a passion for venturing into places known but primarily places less known. We did this and intended to continue doing so with islands. We now plan to embark on an adventure through Africa. Documenting our travels of video, photography, and in the content on our website ChillHavenTravel.com

As a co-adventurer, you’ll be in the thick of it with us. You see what we up to, how we do it behind the scenes and have a say in our best photo & video clips of the week and month.
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  • Vote On Photo of The Week & Month
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Some just love to explore and discover things for themselves. If you are the same, then you too are cut from the Explorer cloth. We have a deep inner drive to explore and have done so most of our lives. We never seem to be able to hang up the old compass and hiking boots.

We have had this hunger for exploration most of our lives. This went beyond just traveling to less-known places and included exploring our inner selves and continuously learning a new skill or gaining new knowledge.

Recently we spent four years exploring islands. COVID had a say on that and showed us a path to Africa. We now plan to embark on an exploration through Africa. Documenting our travels of video, photography, and in the content on our website ChillHavenTravel.com

As a co-explorer, you’ll be right in there exploring with us. You see what we get up to and how we do from behind the scenes. You’ll have a say in picking the best photo & video clips of the week and month. You’ll get digital mementos of the places we have explored together, and you’ll get a guide to explore one of the Pacific’s least known groups of islands.
  • Digital downloads for screen of the Picture of the week
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  • Access to the full online version of the Cook Islands Travel Guide
  • Behind The Scenes Content
  • Vote On Photo of The Week & Month
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About Pietro & Eltje

Ours is a story of searching for happiness. Not the type one gets from buying a new car or getting the latest electronic gadget, or from that first cup of coffee. Okay, scratch that last one. That first coffee of the day does come damn close to true happiness. But even then, it does not last. The happiness we are searching for is the lasting type. It’s the one that underlies one’s life, in good times or bad.

Our story starts when most come to an end. We are two individuals, close to our mid 50’s now, that seem to struggle with the status quo. If we start to lose that sense of more profound happiness, we can be sure we will change something.

For the first half-century, we dedicated ourselves to developing our identity. We built successful careers in the business world. We were there for our families and took care of their every need.

Around the 50-year mark, we found each other. It was love at first sight. We moved in together, got divorced together – that is another story, and have not been separated since. We share a passion for travel and exploration.

While we were happy in our relationship, we felt bored with our jobs and lifestyles. We were both executives in a German multinational company. We had a penthouse apartment, German luxury cars, the best suites, everything we wanted. But it was not fulfilling. Life just seemed so rushed, with constant pressures and deadlines. There was a time that we thrived under such conditions. But now, all we felt was trapped.

We were seeking happiness that so eloquently alluded us in our “dream” lifestyle. It was time for a change. We could stay and build a “nice” pension, or we could give life a go and truly live.

We made up our minds that we would pull the plug on this way of life. Interestingly, just after we decided, an opportunity presented itself that saw us cash in our corporate chips, get rid of the apartment, the fancy cars, and find something to do on an island in the South Pacific. Exactly what was not so clear. Perhaps own and run a relaxed lounge bar.

Little did we know that we bought our fast-track tickets to self-discovery.

Long story short, we spent three months exploring are a shortlist of countries – Cook Island, Fiji, and Vanuatu – for a business opportunity. This would be our step into the South Pacific, with the eventual plan to explore as many of the South Pacific islands as possible. We settled on a Dive & Surf Shop in the Cook Islands. Not quite a lounge bar, but we thought it was close enough.

While exploring the Cook Islands and getting to know its warm people were wonderful, the shop turned out to be a mini-corporate which did not allow us much freedom to do more of what we love most. We expected it to be more relaxed and less demanding. Often, with expectations comes frustration. And we do like to have things go our way. When not, we kick and scream a bit.

Were we happy? Yes and no. We were happy when we were exploring islands, most of which little is known.

Photography has been part of Pietro's world for a long time (www.pietropazzi.dewww.pietropazzi.com) We were happy when we could enhance our photography and design skills. We set to learn as much as we could about videography, design, the entire Adobe suite, web design, SEO, writing content, and a whole lot more. We completely re-kitted our toolbox. We now do every aspect of our business ourselves.

Time to decide. We could expand the shop, get in more employees, etc., etc. Would that have us find happiness? Hell no.

We looked at what we had. We had loads of video footage – not the creates back then because higher-end technology is not available in the Cook Islands – even more pictures and a lot of information that nobody in the world has on these islands that few visit.

We had the makings of a travel guide. IslandAwe.com was born. We put the shop of for sale. Interestingly, it sold a couple of weeks before all hell broke loose with COVID. We plan to move onto French Polynesia and travel its many islands and compile a travel guide. And on through the Polynesia and Melanesia.

But COVID had other plans. No flights were coming in or leaving the Cook Islands except a weekly cargo plane. Yep, we were trapped on a tropical island. But we wanted something else. So, kicking and screaming but in a more controlled manner. We did, however, enjoy the island.

Months later, we could depart but only to Europe via New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Zurich. Europe it had to be as we had family and grandchildren that we have not even met yet. Flying in COVID times was an experience – a story for another time.

What should have been just a six-week visit in Europe then back to take up our plans to explore French Polynesia turned out to be a four-month stay. Compliments of COVID complications.

At the same time, we were working on the Cook Island Travel Guide, but progress was slow with all the disruption. We got videos up on our Island Awe YouTube channel, while Europe was a nightmare to travel in. Every time we think we have a destination where we can settle for a while to get the travel guide done, borders were closed.

We learned that South Arica was allowing visitors in. Cape town would be a great place to consolidate and get everything done. But which airline would be willing to take us there. After three canceled flights with three different airlines, Lufthansa got us to Cape Town.

The first few months in Cape Town gave us time to consolidate and finish the Cook Islands Travel Guide which is now available on AmazonApple Books on an online version on IslandAwe.com. We learned a lot the last couple of years and got the job done without outsourcing a thing.

This website takes up the story at the point of arriving in Cape Town. We will continue to follow our passion for exploration. For now, it seems life has brought us to the tip of Africa to do so.

We’re now planning a drive through the Southern African countries. The dream would be to do so in a purpose-built outdoor MAN truck. Follow our story as it unfolds on Chill Haven Travel.

Our search for happiness continues, but now not just out there.

Now that you know our story, you might be wondering "so what exactly are you offering. What are your skillsets?" 

Well, we've developed a large range of skills. We are both passionate learners and never satisfied with just the essentials of a chosen topic. We really get deep into it. Here is a list of what we can confidently say is our skills:

  1. Business Expertise. We know business from many angles: Corporate executives, Small business owners, and the online world. As deep as having an MBA.
  2. Life-Changing. We have made significant changes in life and know what it takes. The deepest knowledge is ditching successful executive careers to go wondering.
  3. Relocating. We have moved to countries across the world. The deepest, from Germany to the Cook Islands.
  4. Minimizing: We take our belongings with us, and that includes photography, video, and audio gear. How deep can we minimalize? We moved to the Cook Islands with a filled 40ft container. We left with 4 x suitcases bags and 2 x pelican cases.
  5. Adventure: We plan and undertake adventures to places that few have been. We did it in such depth that we could publish a travel guide on places that never had one before.
  6. Planning & Organising: No doubt. One word - German. Say no more. No really, Eltje's ability to plan and organize continues to astound.
  7. Photography: 20 years experience ... see pietropazzi.de, pietropazzi.com. Deep knowledge of Lightroom and Photoshop.
  8. Videography: Transitioning to video from photo, is not as easy as it sounds. We have learned loads. Check out our videos on Island Awe & Chill Haven Travel YouTube channels. Deep knowledge of Premiere Pro and After Effects.
  9. Audio: A passion of Pietro, really good sound. Developed great knowledge of recording equipment and sound processing software. A favorite remains Audition.
  10. Graphic Design: We do all our own designs as business owners, online, and for clients. Deep knowledge of Illustrator and Photoshop.
  11. Book Design: We learned a lot by designing and creating our 307 travel guide and getting it ready for Amazon, Apple Books, and for online use. We love InDesign.
  12. Web Design & Development: We have created many sites. Mostly using WordPress and Elementor which we know well.
  13. Content Creation: We have spent hours learning from the best and keeping up to date on the best formula for creating valuable user content. We had to learn a new way of writing, and it's working.
  14. Search Engine Optimisation: As everyone knows, this is very agile and a tricky thing to get right. We have managed to get top rankings and snippets in a rather short period.
  15. Search Engine Marketing / Advertising: Learned it, used it, got the results.
  16. Social Media & YouTube: An essential aid is getting your message out when active in the online space. But, one has to pick your platform carefully without wasting valuable time.

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