Carly

Carly Fillis

Carly was born in sunny Wales. Her parents were in the RAF so she was always moving around and gaining new experiences. Having grandparents from South Africa and Austria and a Nan that rode horses, travel and adventure is in Carly’s blood. Growing up in Gibraltar, her Mum always said it was the winds from the Sahara and Levant that gave her a taste for the deserts. From the age of 8 Carly spent every weekend at riding stables working and riding, eventually owning her own horse and entering cross country events. Carly found work as a tour leader in Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and lived in Aleppo for a few years, learning Arabic and immersing herself in the Syrian way of life. Carly has a passion for horse riding, hiking in the mountains, wild camping, kayaking, yoga and delicious food.


Interview

Q: How did you fall into tour leading?

A: I decided to travel rather than heading to university and I continued to live out of a bag on many adventures. I then realised I could do what I love doing and get paid for it! I remember when I got my first phone call saying "We would love you to lead our tours in the Middle East - if you accept you will be flying to Damascus next week". That phone call changed my life!

Q: What do you like most about tour leading?

A: I love being active and outdoors, wild camping and having interesting conversations with like-minded travellers.

Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?

A: Syria, the Middle East, Namibia and Central Asia. I love deserts, mountains, wilderness and more deserts. I’m pretty certain I was a nomad in my past life!

Q: What has been your biggest travel highlight?

A: There are so many. I fall in love with new places pretty easily. Experiencing the outstanding beauty, peace and quiet of the awesome Andes, hiking the Annapurna circuit in winter, riding around Yazd on a motorbike, cycling through Morocco and never getting far due to so many lunch and tea offers, wild camping in Wadi Araba and every single sunset I see.

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

A: Wanting to visit the Golan Heights for a day trip, which of course we did. Another client invited me to her wedding. She was on one of my tours and later married the cook at the Bedouin camp in Jordan who she had met!

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

A: Ear plugs, my faithful sarong and a good book.

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

A: Paul Theroux as he inspired so many of my travel dreams... and Ben Fogle, purely for entertainment as he just makes me laugh!

Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?

A: I once gave the thumbs up to a little old man in the desert village of Khoor in Iran. I think a thumbs up is equivalent to the middle finger... ooops!