Central Asia & Pakistan expert
My grandparents lived in Nairobi when I was young and we have always travelled a lot as a family so I don’t particularly remember a specific moment that sparked my love of travel. I set off backpacking in South America with a friend as soon as I left school and spent my university summers working and travelling. Having studied in Sydney for a semester I went on to do a Masters in Cultural Studies at SOAS which only continued to fuel my interest in foreign cultures.
Wild Frontiers was the perfect place for me to indulge my fascination with off-beat and responsible tourism, both ethically and environmentally.
I joined Wild Frontiers in 2016 in an admin role with my sights set on Southeast Asia, as that was the region that I had experienced most and had studied during my masters at SOAS prior to working in the industry. My focus very quickly switched to some of our more off-beat destinations as the allure of the less travelled path and all the amazing destinations we offer really sparked my imagination.
My first trip with Wild Frontiers was our Mongolia: Land Of The Great Khan group tour which did not disappoint! My first Central Asian (and also desert) experience and I was hooked – I loved experiencing the epic scale of the landscapes and fascinating nomadic lifestyle.
But it was on our famous Pakistan: Hindu Kush Adventure that I found the country that would become the focus of my energies for the following years. I finally got to understand why this is our flagship destination that Jonny has been singing the praises of for so many years. The land of the beautiful Hindu Kush mountains and fascinating Kalash Pagan tribe doesn’t come without its complications, but I love specialising in such a hidden gem of a destination.
I have since travelled to Kashmir, Uzbekistan, Iran and Namibia with Wild Frontiers as well as a whole host of our other destinations giving me a good spread of knowledge cross-region.
Best Travel Moments
In Pakistan – it has to be Lahore. There is so much to see and explore, from the bustling bazaars to the Mughal Architecture and British Raj heritage. You have to witness the Wagah border ceremony from the Pakistani side with views of the giant stadium-like seating arena on the Indian side of the border - it’s honestly quite a spectacle!
Srinagar in Indian Kashmir is also one of the best cities I have ever visited. Staying on one of the beautiful traditional houseboats on Dal Lake is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the crumbling Old Town is just fascinating to explore.
You guessed it – Pakistan! The warmth of the local people is so genuine it’s infectious. Everywhere you go you will be welcomed into people’s homes to meet their families, share their food and exchange stories. The regions we travel to are so remote, it makes for the most rewarding travel experiences that will stay with you forever!
I also absolutely loved Mongolia. For those that love a more adventurous and outdoorsy trip, this has got to be one of the ultimate destinations. Also sleeping in gers is a lot of fun!
Head to Food Street in Lahore for a delicious (and very spicy!) meal with views of the breathtaking Badshahi Mosque below. After a few weeks travelling in the northern mountains, where the food is a little blander as they’re mostly working with what they have, heading down to Lahore was a real treat for a spice lover like me.
Iran comes to mind as the best destination all round for amazing food! The freshly baked breads are to die for, accompanying delicious meats, stews and rice dishes that are bursting with flavour and laden with fruits and nuts.
Most memorable journey
Self-driving around the deserts of Namibia comes to mind as a pretty memorable trip. Setting off with an old-school paper map and burner phone with just the lodges numbers saved felt like a big undertaking and, wow, what a journey!
Favourite travel advice
With my expertise covering Pakistan, Mongolia and Iran, I am lucky enough to be able to share some truly unique and less explored countries with our clients. My advice would be to try to leave any preconceptions about your destination at home, especially those you’ve seen in the news.
What you should know before travelling to Northern Pakistan
The varying conditions of the mountain roads make for some long driving days. Luckily you are often rewarded with the most spectacular scenery so you will hardly notice. But be warned, some of those hairpin bends are not for the faint of heart!
Best thing to pack before travelling to Northern Pakistan
Bring lots of layers in your day bag. I was baking hot in a t-shirt one minute, and then on the Shandur Pass, I was reaching for my hat and scarf even in the height of summer.
Next on your must-see list
I am desperate to make it to the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia!