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A bit about me 

I spent the early 1980’s in the Nepal and India Himalaya leading treks, river trips and fishing tours for Tiger Mountain, before returning to the UK to work at their London office (ExplorAsia) with Nick Van Gruisen. 

In 1991, Nick and I founded Worldwide Journeys & Expeditions and grew it into one of the UK’s most successful adventure travel companies, before merging with The Ultimate Travel Company in 2003. Although Ultimate’s portfolio of tailor-made journeys and escorted tours has diversified extensively, I remain passionate about adventure travel as my answers to the questions below will attest.  

My favourite place

Until recently, my instant response would have been Nepal. It’s where I cut my teeth in the travel industry back in 1983 and every visit since has always been very special. But then I hadn’t been to Bhutan. It is a truly remarkable country with a synergy of spiritual and physical beauty that is more pristine than any of its Himalayan neighbours. Buddhism is everywhere and everything, mountains and rivers are considered sacred, and the pursuit of ‘gross national happiness’ is by royal decree.  

My favourite hotel

Thurnher’s Alpenhof, Zurs, Austria. Closer to home than perhaps expected, but this signature address in the Austrian Arlberg redefines the art service and is hoteliership at its finest. The skiing – in Zurs and its neighbouring resorts of Lech and St Anton – doesn’t get much better either.  

My most memorable experience

Climbing Kilimanjaro. Reaching the summit on a cloudless, windless day, and in time to watch the sun rise over the plains of Tanzania, more than made up for the 9-hour ascent at night from base camp. It was far tougher than I had envisaged, but that ‘altitude high’, when all of Africa is below you, is something I will not forget in a hurry.  

My top tips

  • Don’t overfill your itinerary.
  • Leave a few mornings/afternoons free, so that you can then decide what to do or see on an ad hoc basis. Our local agents will be happy to provide cars and guides etc. at short notice.
  • Don’t get too hung up about specific airline seats and hotel room categories. A holiday experience should be so much more than that.
  • Get your laundry done at the end of the holiday. One less thing to do when you return home.
  • Take a squash ball. An increasing number of hotel bathrooms are plugless (to prevent flooding), and a squash ball fits any size of plughole!
  • Book with The Ultimate Travel Company!!
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