OUR TRAVEL EXPERTS ARE IN-STORE AWAITING YOUR QUESTIONS
If you're visiting a country you've never been to before, or planning a backpacking trip that will take you around the globe, it's important to be prepared. Between them, our travel experts have been to most corners of the world, so they're well placed to help you find the right equipment to take on your trip. When you're a long way from home the little things can make a difference, so find a travel expert and make sure you've got the right gear with you. And don't forget your passport.
Giacomo Puelles - Store Manager
Store: KENSINGTON HIGH STREET
Born in Peru, Giacomo has been living in the UK since 2009 and is a Trek and Travel expert. He's been on many hiking and mountaineering trips across the South American Andes, visiting Lima, Uruguay and his home country of Peru, and he recently spent 2 weeks traveling deep into the Amazon rain forest by boat.
Giacomo also lived in North America for 8 years and spent a lot of this time on road trips visiting all corners of the country, and searching out good rock climbing spots.
Lake Titicaca. "One of the highest lakes in the world and breathtakingly beautiful."
Tara O'Rourke - Manager
Store: COVENT GARDEN
Travel expert Tara hails from North Vancouver, so being based in London already gives her a head-start when it comes to travel expertise. As a child, her family would take her on road trips across the USA, and when she finished college, she embarked upon a backpacking trip across Western Europe with her sister.
With a deeply-rooted thirst for adventure, Tara then undertook a lone trip backpacking across the Middle East. Encompassing Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Egypt, she witnessed every aspect of the region - both the good points and bad - but considers Syria one her favourite places to visit. "The people were just amazing and some of the most friendly I've ever met."
Since then, she has lived in Ireland, toured Europe and spent time as a resident in Dallas, Texas - a place she would use as a base to roadtrip the American Mid West and Canada. Never one to keep still, she has also toured South America, ranking Southern Bolivia as one the most beautiful in the world, and recently joined the Haglofs Arctic Weekend in Sweden... it's safe to say Tara doesn't leave many stones unturned!
Tara's next adventure will be 18 days spent visiting Vietnam this summer.
Will uses his Masters degree in Geology and Mining as a thinly-veiled excuse for travelling all over the world. Throw a dart at a map of the Earth, and chances are it will land somewhere he's been.
From trekking in the deserts of Namibia to 3 months working in Mongolia's hostile Gobi, to panning for gold in Northern Ireland, Will has criss-crossed the face of the earth like few others.
He has climbed South Africa's Table Mountain, skied throughout the Alps and been dog sledding in Finland.
Closer to home, Will loves the variety of the UK and considers the Cuillin of the Isle of Skye and moors of the South West some of his favourite places in the world.
Will knows that travelling isn't always as smooth as brochures make out. While in Mongolia, he had the misfortune to contract a parasitic infection for the duration of his 3 month trip(not ideal when you're the only English-speaking person around). And while cycling through the Pyrenean mountains he crashed his bike, breaking two ribs and giving himself whiplash. Will considers this all part of the experience, with adversity a crucial element in his travelogue.
Lots of places. "Any desert! Or the Isle of Skye or Pyrenees."
Liz Boden - Assistant Manager
Store: MANCHESTER 130 DEANSGATE
If a traveller were to draw their route everywhere they went, resident travel pro Liz Boden's would form a cobweb over continental Europe. Despite being frustratingly predisposed to travel sickness, she loves the open road and has been all over France, Spain, Austria and parts of Italy.
A huge cycling fan, Liz has followed the Tour de France around its home nation for years, while in winter she turns to snowboarding for her kicks.
With a big year ahead, her upcoming adventures will include a honeymoon and getaway to the snow!
France. "I love seeing the Tour de France roll into Paris each year, and the waters around Annecy are the clearest I've ever seen!"
Store: MANCHESTER 130 DEANSGATE
Nathan's lust for travel stemmed from his love of snowsports. He learned to ski in Italy before going on to spending a year in Whistler, British Columbia, where he learnt to snowboard. After a winter and summer living in one of the world’s top mountain resorts, he took to the road and set off on a wild off-the-beaten-track tour of Canada and the northern United States.
Having travelled the breadth of the North American continent in the most back to basics way possible, Nathan is a great source of knowledge if you’re heading out stateside.
Next year, Nathan plans on exploring the Antipodes, taking in an Aussie summer and a winter season in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Crown Land Campsites, Canada
. "I loved being able to freedom camp in Canada. You could just find these tiny clear felled areas that served as little free to use campsites, and wake up in the mountains beside a lake or forest, or winery!"
Skiing & Travel Expert
Ryan started skiing at the age of four, when his parents took him to Westendorf, Austria.
Since that first time, Ryan has become addicted, getting out on the slopes at least once a year. Ryan realised getting the right equipment would be vital, and has since been striving to give everything a go, from testing skis and boots to trying out goggles and gloves.
Following the completion of his degree in sports and exercise management, Ryan spent a year travelling, including backpacking up Australia's east coast, camping from New Orleans to New York, finishing with a season in the Portes du Soleil region.
La Grand Bornand, France. "I love it because it's a very quiet resort off the beaten tracks. It also has some amazing freeride areas when the snow is good."
Skiing & Travel Expert
Emily spent most of her early years skiing over in the states at Heavenly, Lake Tahoe and Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone, Colorado. She first started skiing at age 8 and hasn’t missed a season since. She later found a way to keep her passion up at home by visiting Bassingbourn dry slope when not in the mountains.
As well as a passion for skiing, Emily also loves to travel, a family trait she’s inherited. Having been well travelled in her youth she then took a solo round the world trip, stopping off in 14 different countries and went scuba diving and skiing along the way. Her next aim is to visit all of the continents, only two more to go! Her favourite spots so far include Cambodia, Japan and New Zealand.
Lake Louise, Banff / La Plagne, France / Lake Tahoe, USA. "Lake Louise - always a great spot for great conditions and stunning scenery. La Plagne – so much to explorer with the combined Les Arcs pass and some great off piste to find if you know where to look. Heavenly, Lake Tahoe – a great family friendly resort with something for all abilities, with some amazing views!"
Trek & Travel Expert
Store: ST. PAUL'S
Trek and travel pro Hannah has been joining the dots of the world atlas for over ten years. With extensive experience backpacking around Europe, Asia and Africa, she knows what to expect, what to take and how to prepare for any adventure.
Of all her journeys, a two week trek in the Himalayas when she was sixteen remains the apex of her jet-setting career.
Brecon Beacons, Wales. 'The first and still the favourite! Though have recently got to explore the Lake District so it’s a close one.
Aims for this season? There are plenty of places in the UK I am yet to explore and top of the hitlist is the Yorkshire Dales'.