Van hails from Washington DC but has lived in Colorado since he was a teenager - which perhaps accounts for his passion for the great outdoors. Whether it's mountain biking, trail running, hiking, or climbing, Van is your man for all things adventurous - so it's no surprise that his top tip for visitors to Japan is to get out of the big cities and explore the beautiful countryside.
Van spent five years living in Japan, teaching English on the JET programme. While there, he enjoyed observing the differences in architecture and aesthetics between his own country and Japan: the different textures of wood and tile, plants and concrete, and nature within the cities. As well as his interest in nature, Van describes himself as having a "mild obsession" with ceramics, and has a keen interest in photography and light painting.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Central Japan, Shikoku, & Kyushu. Biking & hiking are my main areas of interest along with photography and ceramics."
How did you get involved in travel?
"Before joining us at Inside Japan Tours, Van worked at the Denver Botanic Gardens and REI, an outdoor equipment store in the US. Like all of us he loves to travel, and spent six months exploring New Zealand with the WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) programme. "
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"His favourite places in Japan are Yakushima, the island that inspired Miyazaki's masterpiece Princess Mononoke, and the town of Kumamoto for its incredible food, art and history."