Born in London, Amanda’s joy of travelling was first awoken at age 4 when her family relocated back to Sydney, Australia (her first memory is of sailing through the Suez Canal). By the time she was 10 she had already travelled one and a half times around the world by ship and visited every continent bar the Antarctic. During her years as a ballet dancer she continued to travel extensively around the Far East, India and Nepal, before moving back to London to work in arts administration and then personally for some of the most high profile businessmen and personalities in the UK. However, having inherited her grandfather’s adventurous spirit (he was a pioneer on Australia’s opalfields and an extensive world traveller at the end of the 19th century), she has resigned from her life in the international business world to combine her organisational skills with her infectious enthusiasm for adventure travel, which she now shares with our clients.
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: I was a devoted WF client when the company first started but soon thought that I might have the skills to lead trips as well and I knew that this would be a far more fulfilling job than working behind a desk in the City!
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: Of course there's the travel but mostly I love being a facilitator.... enhancing someone's travel experience, making them feel comfortable in their surroundings and with their group and occasionally being the bridge between the group and the local people. I also love challenges and problem solving and the kind of licence WF has always given me to fulfil these goals!
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: Anywhere east of the UK! The Indian subcontinent always feels like home though and I go there as many times as I possibly can!
Q: What has been your biggest travel highlight?
A: It would either be doing the first ever riding trip in India with the family from Castle Bijaipur, Jonny and nine other lovely ladies or meeting the BBC Natural History team in wintry Northern Pakistan and spending the night with them down in their remote camp... much tale telling and whisky drinking! It's unexpected encounters like that which really make our kind of travel so exciting!
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: I would never insult our clients by insinuating that some choose to not think at all when they are safely travelling in our care but I was once asked by a lady, did I know if her husband was at home at the moment?
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: I did one trip in Syria with no luggage at all... It was lost at Heathrow and didn't catch me up until the last day of the tour, which focused my mind - what do you really need in your heavy 30kg bag? I guess everything is expendable except your passport and money! Although good comfy footware is pretty important too!
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: I'm not a big fan of our celebrity culture, but I love reading the books written by Richard Burton (the Victorian explorer). He was a real adventurer and travelling with him would have been thrilling!
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: There are always so many opportunities to do this, but mostly locals are very forgiving of us ignorant foreigners. I do remember once absent-mindedly flicking water off my hands in a rather upmarket public unisex toilet in a foot massage parlour in Kashgar and everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me with wholehearted indignation; this behaviour is considered incredibly rude in the East!