In keeping with my article “Inspirational Travelers” I wanted to bring to you one of my favorite authors of travel, Jonny Bealby. For those seeking a life in the travel industry, this may help you too!
Jonny’s written three books chronicling his travel life from a motorcycle adventure around Africa, to following in the footsteps of kings around Pakistan and Afghanistan to riding on a horse with a stranger whilst trying to make a documentary through Central Asia. Prior to that Jonny backpacked Kashmir, played in a band, worked as a waiter and as a journalist.
That was all about ten years ago, so what happened in his inspirational life after travel?
Can you tell us what happened after your last book, did you stop traveling cold turkey? or were there other adventures you haven’t written about?
I started a travel company, called Wild Frontiers, which I now run. Regarding careers, I remember years ago being told, work out what it is you most enjoying doing and then find a way of getting paid for it. I think that’s more or less what I have done. I now have a very good life travel balance
Is running an adventure travel company the cure to “itchy feet”?
As above yes it does. Of course it is not the same as climbing on a motorcycle and driving round Africa, but that’s okay. I am older now and the travel I do for Wild Frontiers I enjoy very much
How did Wild Frontiers come about, was it your idea?
Yes, and no. A pagan chief in the Hindu Kush suggested I start a travel business in order to take people to visit the region. That was in 1998, before I even knew there was such a thing as an adventure travel market. It was a good idea, and so long as you produce something unique, stylish and sympathetic to local ideals, its good business
Can you tell us a bit about what you do in Wild Frontiers?
I run the business – that can mean anything from talking to the press, writing itineraries, dealing with bespoke trips, updating the website, buying off ward dollars to leading a trek to K2 base camp!
What advice would you give to travellers out there looking to work in adventure travel companies?
Get out there and travel. Degrees are all very well but what we really want are stories, experience, knowledge of a region and its culture. Anyone can learn about hotels, what is much harder to find is real knowledge
With social networks, travel television networks, and books galore, do you think the age of traveller exploration is coming to a close?
To some extent yes, I think it is inevitable. The journeys people make these days are often of an internal type, that’s what people find interesting.
Have you any plans to write another book, and any hint about what it could be about?
I do want to write another book – but it will be sometime yet I fear… not enough hours in the day
Do you see yourself working in the travel industry until retirement, or do you think you will change career?
Goodness, I don’t tend to think about such things. You must know the old adage: How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans! Well I kind of think that’s true… this is what I do now, who knows what I’ll being doing in 5 years? Not me
Is there any great travel tip you would like to share with the readers here that’s helped you on your own travels?
Don’t take advice from people like me! No, I know that’s a bit silly but it is also true. So many people told me things I did could not be done. Anything is possible and I think the fun is as much in the making mistakes as it is in getting it right. So buy a one way ticket to Lord knows where, turn right out of the airport and don’t look back…
Thanks for taking the time to join us here for the interview; I certainly wish you the very best with Wild Frontiers and your future endeavours.
Thanks, it was a pleasure
Please have a look at Jonny’s own travel company www.wildfrontiers.co.uk for a look at some great adventures and to see what one man did in his life after travel.
If you’d like to read my reviews of Jonny’s books head over to by Travel Books section.
Post interview question:
Are you thinking of getting into the travel industry after traveling?
Has this given you ideas?
This interview is an additional entry exploring how other travelers are inspiring and can help us all learn
Inspirational Travelers: An interview with a solo female traveler doing something no one else has!