By Chetan Talwar on July 4, 2023
Tucson, AZ – For the past two and a half years, Paul Hardersen, the founder, owner and CEO of Seadog Travels, has been curating exciting ocean travel experiences for his clients from the US and Canada. Seadog Travels is a unique ocean-themed travel company. Paul has been developing a really diverse multi-component type of travel company that is unique and easily identifiable. Some basic services that Seadog Travels offers are a full array of travel agency services as well as offering luxury and expedition cruises.
The company has two main areas of focus. One is tall ship sailing experiences and the other is island and coastal small group travel experiences. These are the two core activities of the company and will be its forward face as it grows.
Paul says, “What makes Seadog Travels different is that we focus on the ocean exclusively. The tagline for our vision is that we help people to explore and protect the oceans of the world. So we’re not just some generic travel company. We are people who have an interest in exploring the oceans in a variety of ways through the travel services that we offer. Something else to note is that we are also focusing on group travel. This can include groups of all types and includes family, friends, affinity, businesses, and corporate groups.
“Later, we will help people protect the oceans through our truly large vision of operating a small fleet of tall ships. These ships will offer amazing, themed sailing adventures to the public, but the unique twist is that we will integrate meaningful ocean scientific research into every sail. This will truly make us different. We appeal to people who want to help preserve the health of the oceans.”
Originally from Iowa, Paul has been living in Tucson, Arizona for about six years. Telling us about how he came up with the name of his company, he says, “We’re an ocean experience travel company, so we have an overarching theme for the company. Everything that we do revolves around the ocean, either ocean travel or ocean science. That’s why we wanted to come up with a name that really reflected that ocean, that sea image to people and that’s what we came up with, “Seadog Travels”.
Paul is what we like to call a Local Biz Hero, a self-made entrepreneur who brings true value to his community. High standards of professionalism and strong work ethics of small business owners like Paul are the infrastructure of Tucson’s economy.
We sat down with Paul for a quick interview.
Q: Why did you go into this business? Is there a special story behind it?
Paul: “Well, I have a pretty radical past, different than what I’m doing now. I had been in academia. I had been a research scientist and professor. I went on a sailing experience down in the Caribbean in 2016 and 2018.
“In the 2016 one, we basically sailed and island hopped from St. Maarten down to St. Lucia, and it was the best experience of my life. I could do that full-time. And that really, I think, contributed to my evolving interests and where I want to do something in this business. Not just to build a travel business, but help in an environmental sense, to help preserve and protect the oceans.
“Because we have a lot of environmental issues that we need to face, and businesses really need to be part of the solution. In the travel industry, there are piecemeal efforts here and there, to have a smaller carbon footprint, less pollution and such, but there’s really no coordinated effort whatsoever. And we want to be a part of that, and to say that we should really be leading that effort because that’s something everybody is going to have to do in the future.”
Q: How many people work for you? Is there anyone, in particular, you would like to mention in this interview and why?
Paul: “I just have a couple of travel hosts besides myself right now. At this stage of the game, we’re working to develop the brand awareness of the business. We’re looking for seed funding to properly develop the first stage of the business and to develop the travel part of the company.
“Well, it’s kind of been my bailiwick here developing this, although as far as general support, my brother and my wife have been very big supporters of what I’m doing. We had one of our first big clients last year. We booked a trip for her and her mother to Inagua in the Bahamas. She has turned out to be a big supporter of the business too. These are the three people so far who have really been our big supporters.”
Q: What is the most significant event that ever happened to you (personal and/or business related)? What did you learn from it?
Paul: “Personally the most significant, I’d say, would be earning my Ph.D. That was a major accomplishment. That was something I never thought I would do, but I did end up getting that.
“As far as business-related, I did try a business with a couple of other partners before this one, and that’s where I learned all of my painful business lessons of how not to do it. And even though that was painful, it was a big learning experience. It was really beneficial learning how to set up a company properly. Learning how to get the right people involved is very important. Having a clear vision of what you want to do and having an understanding of the business world and how to succeed.
“Because I had no prior knowledge, I had no prior experience in business to do that. So I walked into it kind of ignorant. But this time it’s all on my terms, and doing it the way I want. And I’m taking all of those previous lessons and I’m applying them here, so I think I’m in a much better position now to help Seadog Travels grow and become successful. It’s no fun being in a business that fails, but you learn from it and those are very important lessons.”
Q: What’s the main problem you solve for your customers?
Paul: “When I decided to start this company, I looked around at the travel industry and one thing that I noticed is that few travel companies really have an overarching theme. They may have a geographic focus, or they may focus on a particular type of travel, but few of them really have any kind of guiding theme. We developed an ocean-theme based on my interests and my experience, and thus far, I haven’t found anything similar to what we’re trying to accomplish.
“Another important aspect of the company is our big vision. Right now, phase one of our efforts is developing the travel side of the company. But the other really important and unique thing that we’re working to do is, down the road, to purchase a fleet of tall ships.
“The goal is to not only have truly immersive thematic sailing experiences so people can personally experience the ocean, but we plan to partner with the science community to integrate ocean research into every sailing. This idea is something unique that you don’t find in the travel industry, we want to actually bring a science component into it that does meaningful research.
That’s phase two of building the company and that will be a huge effort. The first part of the company, though, is getting the travel side of the business built up.”
Q: If you could share one tip with the readers for choosing a travel company like yours, what would it be?
Paul: “Well, you should work with a company that you trust. Obviously, you should have a company, and the people in that company, who actually care about your travels. If you don’t have people who are authentically interested and care about what you’re trying to accomplish and treat you like a number with the goal of just getting your money, then that’s not good for anyone. So it’s important to have a personal relationship with the company and they must show you that they care – and do a great job for you.”
Q: Do you have any special awards/certifications? Both business or personal?
Paul: “As far as the business and travel side of things, I’m a Certified Travel Associate with The Travel Institute. I also received a Certified Niche Specialization in destination weddings.
Also with the Travel Institute, I have a variety of certificates in different destinations like the Caribbean and such. I’m also in the process of earning certifications through Cruises Lines International Association (CLIA).
“As I mentioned previously, I have a Ph.D. in Geology and I’ve conducted NASA-funded research in Planetary Science. I did receive a professional teaching award when I was at university back in the day before the travel business.
“There will be more training and specialization in the future because continuing education is very important to work in any industry. You never know enough. It’s always good to keep that education going.”
Q: What’s the best thing you like about Tucson, Arizona?
Paul: “The one thing that I like the most about Tucson is the food scene.”
Q: Do you have a hobby?
Paul: “I have a variety of hobbies that I pursue in what little free time that I have. I began learning how to sail last year. I received my first level of sailing training back in June 2022 and I’m going to keep pursuing that in the coming years. I’m also in the process of earning my scuba open diving certification in the next year or two. Last but not least, I’m a self-described foodie, so I enjoy cooking at home as well as dining out.”
Q: What’s the most unusual client interaction that’s ever happened with you in your business?
Paul: “Nothing terribly unusual, but I did have a client who wanted to book an international trip with only a couple of days’ notice. That’s kind of impossible in many ways. I don’t have anything more specific, but sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand why the vision of their travels can’t be booked immediately. Consumers don’t really know the inner workings of the travel industry, but it is our job to educate them and help them to understand the process and realities of booking and planning trips.”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add that you think readers should know?
Paul: “If you’ve never been sailing on a tall ship in your life, you have to do it. I fell in love with it. It’s not like a cruise ship, it’s not like a yacht. This is real sailing. It’s relatively smaller and you’re closer to the water. If you want a real nature experience, then just go on a tall ship sail somewhere, because if you like nature, and if you like the ocean, and if you like exploring, then it’s something you have to do. It’s really a get-close-to-nature experience that I think everybody should try at least once. So do it with us, do it with somebody else, but just do it!”
For those of you who are looking for an ocean travel company that offers luxury cruises, tall ship sailing or island travel experiences, Paul’s Seadog Travels should be your first choice! Paul also supports our troops by offering a 10% discount to active duty military and veterans. Being a Navy Veteran himself, he made sure to do that.
REVIEWS: What clients are saying about Paul’s Seadog Travels…
Phone Number: 520-451-4597
By Christopher Benson Feb 25, 2021
For the past six years, Oswaldo Ramirez, known as Tino from Tino’s Heating & Cooling, has a team of ‘Seriously Great Contractors.’ They have been providing HVAC maintenance services in Phoenix and service houses, apartments, and even trailers. “What makes us different are our principles. We’re honest and offer fair prices. I know everybody says […]
By Alan Mitnick Feb 25, 2021
For the past 5 years, Darrell Sims and his team at Sims and Sons Electric and Plumbing have been providing comprehensive electrical services and, more recently, plumbing services for all of Chicago. “What makes us different is that we have creative ideas, we pay attention to detail, and we provide above and beyond customer service.” […]