Born and bred in Ireland, Philip has spent almost half his life working and living elsewhere, such is his curiosity and fondness for our world beyond his native island. An experienced professional in both Advertising and International Development, his travels have taken him to 100 countries across 5 continents, at last count.
With a passion for culture and multi country overland trips, he's fast running out of land masses to explore, having connected Ireland to South Africa (and back), the United States of America to Argentina and Spain to China, all by independent travel and land borders. Philip's travels have found him working as a journalist in Yemen, an NGO worker in India and throughout Africa and even on Hollywood movie sets in Hungary before admitting he had a travel problem and stepping into the world of leading tours and peoples curiosities to new and beautiful places. People, their customs and culture and Nature never fail to inspire Philip to keep adventuring and exploring.
While not travelling for work, Philip can be found on the road, house sitting in exotic locations or running around Madrid discovering hidden corners of his current home.
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: Having always felt comfortable in the group leading role among those around me and inspiring/motivating others to just get up and get out there, getting into leading felt like a natural step. I've had wanderlust since first going to Kenya to visit a friend when I was 18. A world of possibilities really did open up for me and I continued to seek out far flung corners of the globe to explore. Being on the road so much I inevitably crossed paths and built friendships with other tour leaders, leading me to the realisation that there was a tribe I could fit well into.
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: Getting back to places I've previously explored to share my experiences and enthusiasm for the world I know. I also love showing people places and seeing in their eyes the excitement and joy I experience. We never stop learning, it's an outdoor classroom for all with a surprise around every corner, what's not to like.
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: This is the toughest travel question to answer as picking one is like asking me which of my siblings I like most. However, the Middle East has kept me busy for years and would probably take the title of preferred region at a push. Besides my longstanding love affair with the Middle East, Africa is where I always feel called back to and I have worked hard to see as much of its many faces as possible.
Q: What was your biggest travel highlight?
A: Another tough one to pick but for pure pioneer adventure spirit, hitching a ride across the Bab al-Mandab strait on a Dhow carrying rice between Djibouti and Yemen. 18 hours of the wildest travel across one of the world’s most notorious crossings to be dropped on a beach at Moca in Yemen, salt encrusted in the blare of the morning sun, I had to walk into town and find an official to stamp my passport, the beginning of another great adventure.
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: I've either being very lucky with the people on my tours or by the law of averages I've got a lot of weird stuff coming my way because I actually haven't had any crazy requests. I'll keep you posted though.
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: I travel light after many years trimming down from long overland adventures but I always have at least one book. They are easy to cram in, hard to break, water and shock resistant, can be used as a pillow in most cases and there's rarely a bad time to stop and read something.
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: Herodotus, the first great Greek traveller and trailblazer or Michael Palin, a peer of modern travellers and having a Monty Python member along for the ride can only be a good thing.
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: Finishing my plate of food completely in Iran, as plate after plate are re-served to me, not realising that one should always leave some food on the plate when full as a sign to your host that you enjoyed your food. While not the worst of cultural faux pas´ it was quite embarrassing and I also ate far more than I needed or wanted to out of sheer politeness.