James L

Originally from North Wales and having always had a love of being in the mountains, James moved to Canada for six years after finishing university, enjoying the ski instructor/adventure sports guiding lifestyle. Wanting to see more of the world, he became an overland tour leader in 2008, guiding epic three month trips from the UK all the way to Australia. This experience took him on some amazing adventures (which he’d be happy to tell you about sometime) through many of Wild Frontiers' most popular destinations such as Iran, Pakistan and Burma. When James finally did move back to the UK in 2009, he took the next step in his travel career to become as a sales manager for a major round the world travel company. In the past seven years James has continued to travel as much as possible, including trips to New Zealand, Peru and Brazil and has gained a wealth of travel industry experience along the way. He joined Wild Frontiers in April 2016 as our new Head of Group Tour Sales.

"Kyrgyzstan is one of my favourite countries - the scenery is unmatched pretty much anywhere else."

Interview

Q: Favourite city?

A: Hard to choose one but I’d say Varanasi is my favourite Indian city so far. Experiences like greeting the dawn on the Ganges and the spiritual buzz of having so many different religions co-existing in such close proximity makes it a very special place indeed.

Q: Favourite country?

A: Nepal, for the friendliness and hospitality of its people and of course for the jaw-dropping mountain scenery!

Q: Favourite meal?

A: I do remember where I ate the best Daal ever, in a mud-shack “restaurant” somewhere in the Balochistan Desert, Pakistan. It was a kind of local truck-stop, with the famous brightly coloured Pakistani trucks all lined up outside on the road to the Iranian border. A man actually rode his motorbike in to middle of the room and parked it there before getting some lunch himself, just because he could! The food was simple but delicious and I remember going back for seconds.

Q: Most memorable journey?

A: Peru definitely. We had to drive overnight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado to catch a boat early in the morning, as we were planning to stay in a jungle lodge for a few days. All flights out of Cusco were cancelled because of the weather, which isn’t uncommon. This meant squeezing in to a minibus, driving up over a freezing cold 4,500m Andean pass (there were signs saying to stay in your vehicle because of mountain lions!), and then the long journey down into the Amazon basin. Within a few hours we’d gone from alpine conditions to tropical jungle which was a mind blowing contrast. After having to abandon our bus and walk across a huge landslide where there once was a road, we then had to negotiate with the locals on the other side to drive us to the nearest town, and then tried to find a few taxis (at 3am in the morning) to drive us the rest of the way. My taxi driver was even more tired than I was and fell asleep at the wheel! But fortunately, with all of us screaming in the back, he woke up again and we finally got there safe and sound. Epic, difficult, dangerous and ultimately, very memorable.

Q: Favourite travel advice?

A: Go with an open mind and make your own opinions. Everyone has their personal version of a place but your experience will always be unique to you. Just because you’ve heard something about a place before you get there, it may just surprise you still.

Q: Next on the must-see list?

A: The list keeps getting longer the more I travel but I know I just have to get to Patagonia at some point. If you do a search for images of the Torres del Paine National Park you’ll understand why…