Michael

Michael became interested in travel at a young age, when his father would come home with souvenirs and tales from work trips to exotic sounding destinations like Bolivia and China. After university Michael spent a year backpacking around India, the highlight of which was a month spent sleeping in a hammock on a remote island in the Andamans. Later Michael spent a year teaching English in the rainy but beautiful region of Asturias, northern Spain, where he put many hours into perfecting the art of pouring cider in the traditional Asturian way. After returning to the UK and getting itchy feet once again, Michael spent a year travelling around South America, including 6 months teaching in a school in the picturesque Andean town of Merida, Venezuela. Since getting a job in the travel industry Michael has been lucky enough to fulfil some of his travelling dreams, including visiting Japan, the Galapagos Islands and Iran. His favourite country is Iran, for its history and friendly people, and his favourite city is Beirut.

"Spot huge reptiles and abundant birdlife in the wetlands of Los Llanos."

Specialist: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador & Galapagos, India, Iran, Laos, Lebanon, Turkey, Venezuela


Interview

Q: Favourite city:

A: Beirut for its amazing food, hedonistic nightlife, fascinating recent history and beautiful setting.

Q: Favourite country:

A: Iran for so many reasons. The architecture is unbeatable, with the splendid turquoises and blues of its mosques, palaces and madrassahs, and its tranquil gardens. Its history, highlighted in the ancient site of Persepolis and Naqsh-e-Rostam, is rich and fascinating. The Persian culture, one of the oldest in the world, which is best summed up with a visit to Hafez' tomb in Shiraz, where locals gather every evening to read poetry and honour the revered poet. The scenery is also surprisingly beautiful, particularly in the mountains north of Tehran and the fertile Bavanat Valley. And finally, the biggest highlight - the friendliest people you will meet anywhere one earth. Be prepared for plenty of conversations with locals about everything from world politics to Premier League football!

Q: Favourite meal:

A: Central Asian cuisine is much maligned, and unfairly so these days. One of the best meals I've ever had was plov, in its spiritual home of Samarkand - deliciously tender lamb with rice, carrots and raisins, cooked to perfection.

Q: Most memorable journey:

A: Driving up the coast-hugging Highway One from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Q: Favourite travel advice:

A: Put the camera down every now and then and take in the view.

Q: Next on must-see list:

A: I'd love to explore the wide open spaces and grassy steppes of Mongolia.