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
Switzerland's rail network is one of the world's best, defying steep mountain gradients, threading through dramatic valleys and around beautiful lakes to showcase the country's finest scenery. Here is all you need to know about Switzerland's best train rides.
From snowy peaks and alpine meadows to vineyard-carpeted valleys, Switzerland's stunning scenery makes for some of Europe's best hiking. If you have only one day to spare for a walk here, these eight day hikes are all easily accessible and take you out into the middle of the most exceptional landscapes the country can offer.
Switzerland has two high seasons. Winter (December to March) offers some of Europe's finest Alpine snow sports. Summer (June to August) offers the best hiking opportunities and the country's liveliest festivals, such as Europe's biggest celebration of jazz, the Montreux Jazz Festival. Meanwhile, the low seasons of spring and fall let you see popular sights like the iconic Matterhorn without the huge crowds.
Small enough to traverse end-to-end in a few hours and with excellent public transport, Switzerland can be explored in as little as three days, specifically if you stick to one or two key regions. A five to seven-day trip will let you see a broader mix of city and countryside attractions. And with 10 or 14 days, you will be able to get properly off the beaten track if you choose. Read on for itinerary options that will show you the very best of this small country.
Ireland makes the ideal choice for a holiday with your true love: beautiful, mystery-steeped, constantly surprising and delighting, and one of the most warmly welcoming places on the planet. The enchanting Emerald Isle is country singer Johnny Cash's '40 Shades of Green', after all. Yes, you risk trading sunshine for far-wilder weather, but with some of the most dazzling coastline around, several millennia of poignant history and world-famous traditional music at its best when starting impromptu in a cosy traditional pub, this is a land highly charged with romance. Here are the best destinations for a honeymoon in Ireland.
Conjuring up romance effortlessly and with subtlety, Scotland is a stunning destination in which to celebrate your love for each other. For the backdrop to your honeymoon here, expect dazzling skylines of moody mountaintops, emerald-green glens, myriad remote, sand-rimmed islands ideal for escaping or eloping, and a mysterious fortress or three for every horizon. But for vacationing newlyweds, what truly makes this land so romantic are the stories that lace each place you pass through: legacies of great romantic writers like Sir Walter Scott, tales of trysts involving the likes of Mary, Queen of Scots and more. Here are the most romantic destinations in Scotland for honeymooners, with suggestions of what to do in each.