Following a 22 year career in the police service, Paul and his wife took a break and back packed around the world for 12 months - a trip that was to change his outlook on life, and steer him to his current activities. As well as being a qualified Sports Massage Therapist with his own clinic in Harrogate, Paul is also a qualified Mountain Leader and Cycle Guide. This has led to work all over the world with trekking and cycling events, both as a leader and as a massage therapist. A substantial amount of his time is also spent teaching mountaineering and navigation skills to the British Army, including the Ghurka regiment. Paul is a keen runner and regularly takes part in marathons and ultra marathons, with his longest event to date being a 78 mile run in 20 hours - though it's his intention to complete a 100 mile run in this, his 50th, year! Paul's greatest love in life is travel and exploration, so working with Wild Frontiers Travel is a dream come true!
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: started by joining various events companies as a massage therapist and cycle guide. For example, I've completed many London to Paris cycling events where I will generally cycle 80 miles each day, and then provide massage to the clients for another 5 or 6 hours after that! Gaining my mountain leader qualification was then a huge boost to my CV, and it has just taken off from there!
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: I love the thrill of travelling, but always find it's best as a shared experience, so being able to take clients to exciting destinations and sharing the joy is hugely satisfying.
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: I'm happiest in mountainous environments, whether that be skiing, cycling, running, climbing or trekking. I find the mountains have a very therapeutic effect on me, yet also remind me of our vulnerability. They're good for focussing the mind! If I had to choose a favourite, I'd probably have to go for New Zealand, as it's a country I could quite happily settle in. However, when in England I spend a huge amount of time in the Lake District, both working and at leisure. It never fails to make me happy! And how can I not mention Tibet......???!!! Too many places to choose from! It's an impossible question!
Q: What was your biggest travel highlight?
A: I think spending a day at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina tops my list. Quite simply just sitting there with my wife, watching the three mile width of the face of it, for several hours was absolutely hypnotic! An ever-changing environment with constant calving of icebergs. Truly amazing and spectacular!
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: Haha! While on a trekking expedition in the Sahara Desert I was asked if there was "a little man who could pop to a shop to buy some cigarettes"!!! The best I could do was barter with one of our Berber guides for some of his tobacco!
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: I'm an avid reader, so I can't go anywhere without my Kindle!! Also Wet-Wipes can be a man's best friend in all sorts of situations!!
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: The author Paul Theroux has been a huge influence on my life, and his book The Old Patagonian Express initially lit my craving for adventure back when I was 15. However, for the past 25 years my wife (who is also my very best friend) has been the absolute greatest travel companion!
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: Not that I'm aware of, though that doesn't mean it hasn't happened! A large part of the joy of travelling for me is learning about other cultures so I always try and read up before I go!