Can you tell us your position at Adventure World Travel?
I am a North America & Scandinavia Destination Expert.
Talk us through your career in travel and your travel background that has brought you to this role at AWT?
After travelling to the UK solo when I was 18, I quickly realised travel was my calling.
When I returned home, I obtained a Diploma in Travel & Tourism and got my first industry role with Trafalgar Tours. After a few years, I got itchy feet again and headed off on a solo trip around the US with my backpack. I ended my travels in Toronto Canada, where I spent a year working for Contiki Reservations.
When I returned to Australia in 2003, I started working at Adventure World Travel.
I have had several different roles within the company, all affiliated with the Canada/USA portfolio; from Reservations to Product Co-Ordinator to Team Leader/Destination Manager.
Canada obviously has a special place in your heart, can you share with us the reason/s?
Canada definitely has a special place in my heart. It was my first real adventure away from home and is somewhere I return to on a regular basis. To my delight, it is also now becoming a favourite with my eldest son, who experienced a Canadian Winter in January 2020.
What sort of traveller are you, and what do you seek?
I enjoy a bit of everything. I seek out adventurous activities - particularly winter activities such as snowmobiling and ice walking. I also love getting to know the locals and getting off the beaten track a bit. And of course, wildlife! Canada and Alaska have so much amazing wildlife to see!
Do you have a favourite trip you can tell us about?
Every trip has great moments, however my favourite would have to be my recent trip to Canada in winter. Many of my travel memories are solo, so to have my 11 year old son experience everything with me this time was really special! Canada is an absolute winter wonderland, we did so many winter activities; snowmobiling, dogsledding, ice-skating, gondola rides, snow-shoeing, ice-walks and skiing. Of all those, snowmobiling in Kicking Horse Canyon/Golden was the ultimate highlight!
Adventure World Travel offers many unique wildlife observing experiences, tell us about your favourite encounter?
I was lucky enough to go on a small ship cruise with Un-Cruise Adventures through Alaska’s Inside Passage – on the cruise we had the most amazing whale-watching experience in Frederick Sound. I spent hours on deck watching the majestic humpback whales feeding and breaching from a very short distance – absolutely incredible, an experience to put on any bucket list!
If money was no issue, walk me through your dream itinerary?
So many amazing experiences within Canada and Alaska to choose from - but I’d have to go with a big Alaskan adventure! My dream itinerary would include a small-ship cruise of the Inside Passage with Un-Cruise Adventures – the small ships allow you to get up close to the glaciers and include lots of activities like kayaking and hiking. I would then plan a land-based trip to include some Alaska’s finest national parks. I would include a few nights at the remote Denali Backcountry Lodge – one of the few non-camping accommodation options within Denali National Park and the best way to experience this incredible wilderness away from the crowds.
Next up would be Katmai National Park for a stay Brooks Lodge where every year between June and September Alaskan brown bears gather here to feast on salmon – it is truly one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. Finally, would finish up at Kenai Fjords National Park with a relaxing stay at the beautiful and serene Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island.
If you had to pick another country or part of the world as a favourite, where would you choose? Why?
Almost the opposite of Canada & Alaska, Fiji is my other happy place. It is only a short flight from Sydney, with stunning islands and beaches and of course the warm and welcoming locals.
Where is your next big adventure to?
Hopefully Norway! I’d love to do the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage and see the fjords and stunning scenery. I would also love to visit the Lofoten Islands and cross off Northern Lights viewing off my bucket list.
Do you have any top travel tips for anyone planning a trip to Canada & Alaska?
For Canada & Alaska, my biggest tip is to be aware of the different seasons of travel as many experiences are only available at certain times of the year. I would recommend making a list of your ‘must-do’ sites and activities and then ensure your travel planning is based around the best seasonality for those specific experiences. Bear viewing in particular is highly-seasonal and can vary by location.
If I could provide you an air ticket/boarding pass to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
Right now, I would be happy with a week or two on a remote island/beach in the South Pacific. Somewhere to unwind, relax and re-energize.
Interested in discovering North America or Scandinavia, the source of Sam's passion? Check out our Canada Tailor-Made collection here, our USA Tailor-Made collection here or our Scandinavia Tailor-Made collection here. Alternatively, enquire now, call (AU) 1300 295 049 or (NZ) 0800 238 368 or see your travel agent to custom make your own tailor-made itinerary.