Cally

Since learning to ride at the age of 7, Cally has grown up with a love of horses and travelling. She has worked in stables around Ireland as a groom, racehorse exercise rider, instructor and a riding tour leader. It was through her love of horses that she found her day job. First working at a riding therapy centre for a number of years and being involved with the Special Olympics to qualifying as a Primary School Teacher.

She first got the travel bug when she was 15 and visited Iceland on a school tour. The sheer raw beauty of the place and the fact that the country was full of Icelandic ponies was a dream come true for her. She has travelled extensively around South Africa, Egypt, Bali, Barbados, Malaysia, America and Europe. Her favourite place is being anywhere away from mass tourism and immersing herself in the local culture.

She enjoys nothing better than galloping around bareback on her horse or tearing around the cross- country field outside her house. When out of the saddle she’s honing her mountain bike skills, surfing, hiking or just generally getting up to something fun and preferably adrenaline fuelled in the outdoors.

Specialist: Georgia, Oman


Interview

Q: How did you fall into tour leading?

A: Having a love of the outdoors and meeting new people, I started working in the west coast of Ireland as a riding tour leader during my summer holidays; and as a mountain bike guide for when I wanted a different kind of braking system!

Q: What do you like most about tour leading?

A: I love travelling to new places and meeting new people, discovering we’re all the same with a little twist in our tales.

Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?

A: It's hard to say really, anywhere that has wide open spaces or wildlife does it for me. I’ve learned every place has a certain special quality. But I guess if I had to be specific, Africa would be top of my list.

Q: What was your biggest travel highlight?

A: I've been lucky to have had many great experiences whilst travelling. Some that spring to mind are swimming with turtles; riding across an African plain as a herd of buffalo and giraffe come charging past you; drinking gin and tonics in the desert and climbing into an ancient burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings before they prohibited tourists doing that!

Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?

A: Sorry to say I haven't had any, but never say never!

Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?

A: Talc and duct tape.

Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?

A: Anyone with a zest for life and a bit of mischief will do.

Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?

A: I nearly walked past a sacred idol spot in Georgia that brings bad luck to the whole village if a foreigner passes by it!