After graduating with honours from Sheffield Polytechnic (remember those?) in 1991, Lionel set about clearing debts and saving enough for a long round the world holiday.
Finally, in 1994, Lionel first visited South East Asia. Scheduled to be a six week stopover in Thailand en-route to a working holiday in Australia, Lionel found it very difficult to leave Asia due to his immediate love of the region. After travelling through Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra and a three month stint of construction work in Hong Kong on the new Chek Lap Kok Airport he arrived, just 5 months late, in Australia!
Lionel has since returned to Asia many times for all-too-short holidays and longer wanders, as well as a number of work-related visits to Borneo, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. His passion for travel has taken him as far afield as the Mayan ruins in Guatemala, tropical cayes in Belize, a number of States of America, the Skeleton Coast and deserts of Namibia, The Garden Route, Johannesburg and Kruger NP in South Africa, the South Pacific Islands of Fiji, Raratonga and New Zealand, and of course the Indian Subcontinent.
Lionel joined Selective Asia in 2007 and has worked in tailor-made travel for over 15 years. He lives near Brighton with his wife Donna, and their three young children.
"You really know when you have arrived in The Land of Smiles. Nothing seems to be too much of a problem and the attitude is why say no when you can say yes."
Countries of expertise: Borneo, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, India and Vietnam.
Other Asian destinations visited: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.
Cycling through villages in Indochina. Everywhere is accessible by bicycle, and makes exploring so much more enjoyable. It makes a lot of sense to travel as the locals do, and occasionally you will get a small following of smiling faces and a junior hitch-hiker on the pannier rack.
Seafood Green Thai Curry – very hot, packed with flavour and with the freshest ingredients. Best served on a beautiful Thai beach of course.
Tuk-tuk, cyclo, or cycle rides are perfect ways to see your destination. I’m also a bit of a secret train buff!
It's so difficult to pick a favourite, but Sapa in Vietnam for the sheer beauty of the region and the cultural diversity is very hard to beat. I also vividly remember seeing the incredibly impressive Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phu near Pakse in Laos after an 18 hour bus ride from Vientiane and thinking 'wow that was worth the journey'.
60 second interview
If you could turn the clock back 20 years
"I wouldn't change much to be honest, I might have snapped up that terraced house in Notting Hill, but not much else would be different."
Who is the person you'd most like to sit next to on a flight?
"I'd love to spend a few hours chewing the fat with Elvis (for the purpose of this interview I mean the singer, not my son)."
What is your favourite aspect of travel?
"Invariably when I travel these days it is in Asia. Just being on that continent; the food, people, sights, smells, and way of life - everything about it!"
Any useful advice?
"Aim to get to the airport at least 3 hours prior to departure for international flights, your holiday can start as soon as you are air-side."