Anna’s love affair with the world started when, at the age of 19, she stepped off the plane in Morocco and hitchhiked her way across the country. Since then the travel bug has taken over her life. Born to Polish parents, she spent most of her childhood in Greece and lived in 7 different countries before ending up at the university in Birmingham. She’s passionate about languages, social anthropology, good music and vegetarian cooking. When she’s not tour leading, she can be found wild-camping in the Scottish mountains, chasing the best snow to ski on, or solo cycling across the Middle East.
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: After graduating in Adventure Tourism Management, I worked for a London-based adventure travel agent. That was the time I realised the place I can thrive and utilise my skills best is ‘on the road’. I quit the job, qualified as the International Mountain Leader, started leading and now I’m lucky to have the best job in the world!
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: I believe that a good trip changes us and our perspective of the world. It challenges our beliefs, broadens our horizons and helps us develop our characters. What I like the most about my job is the fact that I get to facilitate and witness those changes. Tour leading for me is not just about taking a group of people across the foreign country, but more so finding out what the purpose of their journey is and help shaping their travel experience, making it a life-changing event.
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: I’ve visited almost 100 countries, but nowhere compares with the natural beauty of the West Coast of Scotland.
Q: What was your biggest travel highlight?
A: Baking bread and making ‘Sheer-Chai’ (tea with yak milk and salt) with the nomadic women I met during my travel through the Wakhan Corridor in the Northern Afghanistan.
Q: What’s the craziest request you've ever had from a client?
A: I once had a client who asked me to help him hire a horse that travels at the exact speed of 5km/h.
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn't travel without?
A: I recently bought a Polaroid camera, so I could instantly print photos and give them away. The camera goes with me everywhere now. I find it the best ice-breaker with the locals.
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: I would love to take Professor Brian Cox star- gazing in the Fish River Canyon in Namibia.
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: I once felt unwell while travelling in the Comoros Island in the Mozambique Channel and went to see the doctor. I was taken to a private house of supposedly, the best doctor in the village. I complained about the stomach cramps, described in details my condition and showed him the empty box of Imodium I wanted to buy from him. It turned out that I was seeing so called the ‘witch doctors’, who do not use medicines, but heal people through the shamanic journey and practises animism theology. Unfortunately, diarrhoea wasn’t on the list of the curable conditions.