With my travels, I see myself as trying to emulate the explorers of old: it was reading the accounts of individuals like Sir Francis Drake or Alejandro Humboldt as a teenager that inspired me to want to travel in the first place. Fast forward a couple of decades and I am a travel writer specialising in the South American wilderness (the Andes and Amazon Basin primarily).
My travel writing has appeared in the Independent, Telegraph, GeoSaison, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Avalon Travel Publishing, Insight Guides and many others. My debut novel, Roebuck, is set in the South American jungle during the 1590s, and follows the misadventures of real-life gentleman explorer Anthony Knivet.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"As a novelist: Historic Fiction
As a travel writer: Andes, Amazon, South America, Caribbean, Eastern Europe, UK, Adventure Travel, Hiking, Culinary Travel"
How did you get involved in travel?
"I always dreamed up travels as a child, tracing imaginary routes on atlases. As soon as I finished university, I headed off to Canada and spent the following 18 months travelling from there overland down through the Americas to Tierra del Fuego. Afterwards, I started writing about it: initially for local newspapers, then for Lonely Planet, and finally for other publications from BBC Travel through to the Telegraph, the Independent and national newspapers/ leading travel publications everywhere from the US to Sweden and Germany."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"The first time I ever took the bus in the Andes from Ayacucho to Huancayo, I didn't realise the main highway was a track barely wider than the width of a truck that followed the rim of a very sheer valley. After several hours of heart-in-mouth moments, we reached the half-way point where the villagers had just decided to close the road because they wanted to have a fiesta. We were left with no choice but to get off the bus and join in for the next six hours or so. The locals had rarely set eyes on any foreigners before, and we were given seats of honour alongside the mayor!"
Featured trips & expertise
The vast and fascinating Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is what you make of it. It can be overcrowded if you have limited time and stick to the main site, but if you ascend to surrounding peaks or arrive via one of many beautiful treks, this region can hold your attention for many days. This article breaks down what you can best do here in the holiday time you have, be that a whistlestop half-day tour or an off-the-beaten-track weeklong adventure.
Machu Picchu and its surrounds offer a variety of seasonal outdoor activities and phenomenal festivals throughout the year. For ideal weather (bright, dry and cool), you'll want to join the many travelers that flock to the area from June to August, but almost-as-great conditions can still be had in September and October, with considerably fewer crowds. Learn more about Machu Picchu's weather, crowds, and annual events below.
Come to Cuba in dry, sunny winter and spring for fantastic outdoor activities, including some memorable hiking and idyllic beaches. And tap into the island's cultural activities in the wetter summer and fall months, especially the diverse music scene and museums in big cities like Havana, Matanzas, Camagüey, and Santiago de Cuba. Below, learn the reasons for visiting this spellbinding island destination in every season.
It may be winter, but in Santorini, it's far from the worst weather of year with a glimmer of fairer temperatures hanging around still. The crowds, though, are most certainly gone, and this month you can enjoy the island in its authentic state: try a quiet coastal hike alongside a huge volcanic caldera, dine in one of the excellent local restaurants, explore Santorini's history at museums and archaeological sites, and sample native wines at one of many wineries.
November is the last month of autumn and the first of the low season. Its weather can be a mixed bag, with vestiges of sunny summer weather and the hints of winter both possibilities. Still, Santorini at this time has a more favorable climate than much of Northern Europe in the height of summer, and there are no crowds to be seen. Watch out this month for those restaurants and tours which have closed for the season, but get ready for seeing a side to island life that has a distinctly more local flavor, and for superb deals on accommodation.
October is an ideal time to visit Santorini. Many seasonal flights and restaurants finish for the year this month which means that, despite it being shoulder season, the crowds that filled Santorini over recent months are gone. And yet the weather remains very pleasant: the sun is still out, and the heavy autumn rain holds off for at least most of the month. October also sees the opening of the year's wine barrels on Santorini, giving you many excuses to stick around and join in the fun.