Steve Wilson

I love traveling! My first trip to another country was at the age of 16 and I explored my 50th country (Finland) in 2014. I started guiding adventure trips in my native New Zealand at 22, was general manager of an international travel company at 27, and founded Aspiring Adventures in 2009, at 32. My travel philosophy is that life and travel are about personal reflection and growth, and I'm passionate about sharing that with our guests.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Peru. We specialize in real human encounters, real adventure, and taking our guests off the tourist track and under the surface of these places, meeting locals and sharing their lives. We also run adventure trips in Vanuatu and New Zealand."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Like many young Kiwis, I set off for my big OE (overseas experience) straight after finishing university. By the time I got back from Europe, a year later, I knew I'd found my life's path. The experience of immersing myself in other cultures made my life and the whole world feel so much wider and richer, and I wanted to share that with others so I started guiding adventure tours in New Zealand's rugged South Island.

I rose up quickly in the (admittedly not that populated) ranks of New Zealand's adventure travel industry, and soon found myself managing 70 people and an operation that spanned New Zealand, Australia, and South America. Here I met Katy Shorthouse, an Australian travel operator very much embedded in Peru, who shares my philosophy and vision, and is a fount of knowledge about lesser-known things to do in Peru. We joined forces in Aspiring Adventures with a focus on cultural adventures off the beaten track in Peru. We also run - and in many cases, I personally guide - trips in New Zealand and Vanuatu."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"In 2009 I went to Peru to set up Aspiring Adventures with Katy. Before starting on that she was winding up another project - authoring the Lonely Planet guidebook to Peru - and she invited me along on her travels. In one memorable stint, we got stranded in the altiplano for a night and ended up the main attractions in a local parade, danced with broken glass crunching underfoot at a gangster bar the next night, and in-between discovered an abandoned church with a skull and crossbone-filled catacomb (where we still take our guests!)."

Featured trips & expertise

Highlights of Southern Peru

Southern Peru has a long list of both natural and man-made wonders. Come for Machu Picchu, but depart with the memories of the beautiful places scattered across the high, southern altiplano: countless ruins, vibrant local communities, and natural wonders that will open your eyes to the beauty of Peru.

Best Treks to Machu Picchu

A visit to Machu Picchu is the highlight of most people’s trip to Peru. In fact, this ancient Inca Citadel attracts over a million visitors each year. Many visitors get there by way of the classic Inca Trail. Yet, there are numerous treks that take you there, each unique in their own right.

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