Martin’s first big trip came relatively late in life. Taking a 1 year sabbatical in 2003/4, he embarked on a life changing round the world trip. Having sampled the delights of the USA, New Zealand and Australia his love affair with Asia began!
First stop was Singapore, he then travelled the whole peninsular through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam – then on to Hong Kong, Japan and India for good measure. As he puts it, the people, the food, the history, the landscapes, the beaches and the diversity of cultures makes it pretty hard not to fall in love with the region. You always leave it wanting more and there is always another corner to discover, if you know where to look!
Having enjoyed an exciting and varied career in the music industry since leaving school, this trip of a lifetime completely changed his outlook on life as well as his career aspirations. Having been fully gripped by the travel bug, he returned to the UK with the intention of travel playing a central part in his life. The first step was to embark on furthering his education and in 2005 he embarked on a degree in International Tourism Management. Having successfully completed the degree in 2008, it was time to travel again. No excuse was needed to return to Asia again and this time with the added bonus of being able to use his sister’s home in Singapore as a base camp from which to plan a wonderful and varied six months exploring the region. This time trips took him to Borneo, Indonesia and The Philippines.
On his return to the UK in 2009, he kicked off his career in the travel industry living overseas and working for a large tour operator and in 2012, he worked for a luxury river cruising operator based in London.
In 2015, the call of the seaside was too much to resist anymore and he moved to Brighton where he loves to spend his spare time walking. He really enjoys the variation of coastal paths and rural trails through the wonderful countryside, as he wears out his “well thumbed” AA guide of 50 walks in Sussex. It almost goes without saying that most routes, being well planned, end with a cosy country pub and a well-earned pint!
Countries of expertise: Borneo, Vietnam, Cambodia & Malaysia
Other Asian destinations visited: Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, India
Walking and eating are two of my favourite activities but when not engaged in either of these, I love to learn about local history. There are so many fascinating aspects to the history of Asia, both ancient and more recent.
I loved learning more out about the American war in Vietnam and visiting the famous Cu-Chi tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City The Killing Fields and S-21 Prison near Phnom Penh - both harrowing evidence of some very dark parts of history and they are etched in my heart and mind for ever.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner – everyday! When I am not walking I am eating! Food alone is reason enough to visit Asia!
One of my favourite meals was not the meal itself but the experience that accompanied it. I was staying with the chief and his family at a tribal longhouse on the Batang Rajang in the Sarawak region of Borneo. The simple meal of rice and chicken was lovely – but it was the company and the setting that made it so special.
I love the travel aspect of travelling and the getting from one place to another is very much part of the fun. Just simply looking out of the window of the bus, train, car or ox cart that you are on, watching local life and wonderful landscapes unfold around you is a great way to pass time. Keep your eyes open and you will really get a feel for the country you are in.
It is impossible to pick just one with so many fantastic experiences. Getting off the beaten track is always a lot of fun. The Gunung Mulu National Park in Borneo was a real treat and made for a very memorable few days. Set in a beautiful pristine rainforest with one of the world’s largest cave systems to explore, secluded rivers, incredible wildlife (bugs the size of cricket balls!) and great trekking to the ‘The Pinnacles’ make it a top destination for my tastes.
60 second interview
Most likely to say
"Immerse yourself in the culture - the food, the people, the history, the landscapes. Guaranteed you will end your holiday wanting more!"
Who is the person you'd most like to sit next to on a flight?
"Marco Polo - having spent 24 years exploring Asia and travelling over 15000 miles I am sure he would have a story or two to tell! I imagine Asia has changed quite a bit since those times but I am sue the adventure would have been amazing. Failing that - Paul Weller. I have a lot to ask him!"
What is your favourite aspect of travel?
"Drink in the journey. Just looking out the window of your bus, train or car will give you a great insight into the lives of local people and the landscape of the country. Enjoy it - there are always a few surprises along the way."
Any useful advice?
"Get into the rhythm of the pace of the country. It will help you relax into your holiday and allow you to enjoy being in a an unfamiliar environment, especially if it’s your first time to Asia."