John (or Jonny), hailing from London UK, is a seasoned traveller having visited more than 70 different countries worldwide, and with over 14 years of travel and work experience within Latin America. He holds both BA (hons) and MSc degrees in business and management from UK universities. He is the original founder of Happy Gringo Travel in Quito where he has been living for the past 13 years. Besides travel his big passions are football, rugby, reading and spending time with nature.
Specialist: Ecuador & Galapagos
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: Through my own love of travelling, it seemed like a very natural thing to work in this field.
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: I am very passionate about Ecuador and Galapagos, so to be able to pass some of this onto Wild Frontiers travellers is very rewarding. I feel as if I am making a difference in other people’s lives.
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: Latin America – super-friendly people, wonderfully biodiverse nature, a wealth of culture – what’s not to like?
Q: What has been your biggest travel highlight?
A: Spending two days alone on a deserted island with over 5000 penguins for company in the Falklands; very noisy and smelly, but at the same time extremely liberating!
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: Most clients in Ecuador want to eat guinea pig - which of course is perfectly normal here, but would certainly raise a few eyebrows back home!
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: Any of the great explorers: Shackleton, Scott, Captain Cook, Percy Fawcett.
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: A good book or two.
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: At the Mount Hagen sing-sing in Papua New Guinea I thought it would be genius to get face-painted as a member of the feared skeleton tribe… only to discover that numerous other tribes have grievances against the skeleton tribe, resulting in me receiving dirty looks from the other 50+ tribes for the duration of the festival.