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Stephen - Selective Asia

Meet Stephen

Stephen’s interest in travel was sparked when he moved to California as a child and spent time exploring the US. A subsequent trip to Zimbabwe to visit family cemented in his mind that travel would play a central role in his future. A few years later, he planned a short stop in Thailand en route to Australia, working visa in hand, which turned into an extensive three-month meander through South-East Asia before finally making it all the way down under.

Once back in the UK, plans for his next trip were never far from his mind. This time, the idea was to pay his way working as a dive instructor, which took him to some exciting destinations including New Zealand, Tahiti, The Cook Islands and Fiji, before heading to Israel to live for a while. The continuing urge to explore and find new places took him out to Costa Rica and finally the British Virgin Islands, where he settled for three years, before heading back to the UK and adding his passion and expertise to the Selective Asia team.

After working in the pub trade for a few years, I knew it was time to head off and explore pastures new. I spent a year in Australia, which included securing my qualification to work as a dive instructor, before heading back to the UK. I made an Asian detour along the way and stopped in Indonesia, keen to discover what Bali and the surrounding islands had to offer above and below the surface of the sea. I was hugely impressed by both.

“Travel is able to give you a different view of life, opening your eyes to how other people live and drawing you into finding out more about different lifestyles and cultures"

As a very keen diver, I would have loved to meet Jacques Cousteau and hear about the things he’d seen over the years and how diving had changed over time. I imagine listening to his stories of finding lost and forgotten wrecks and of seeing wildlife in the numbers around in years gone by. Coming from a time when diving was not as accessible as it is today, and before the levels of pollution and climate change affected the underwater world as much as they do now, hearing about how he created an early awareness of the need for marine conservation would have been incredible.

"Take a moment to master a few simple words or phrases in the local language to get you through the day. It can make all the difference at times just being able to say, “Thank you very much” for things."

Despite seeing many different parts of the world, those original stops in South East Asia offered such an eye opening array of things to see and do that the region has remained my firm favourite. I’m never far from booking a ticket for my next trip.


Countries visited?

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia & Borneo

 Favourite Asia-related book?

You can’t beat the Lonely Planet guides… 

Favourite places in Asia?

The islands surrounding Komodo which combine excellent diving and surfing with pure relaxation, and Tokyo which has a mind blowing amount to see and do.

Favourite Asian food?

Green papaya salad, although a bowl of phó or a plate of ribs both come in a very close second!