Now that he’s put the finishing touches to our upcoming trips for 2017, William McGarroch, Product and Tour Manager, shares his inspiration behind the destinations we will soon be visiting.

Whilst spring-cleaning last night, I came across an old travel journal from 2012. This was the year that I unknowingly created the first of many travel itineraries, and, armed with just a backpack and rough list of destinations I wanted to explore, journeyed to Asia full of naivety and excitement to fulfill my dream of adventuring like Indiana Jones.

Reading about my first travels, I was reminded of the sheer sense of awe I experienced as I explored the crumbling, overgrown ruins of Ta Prohm in Angkor for the first time, the feeling of tranquility as I sailed down the Mekong River in Laos for two days as it was the only way to reach Luang Prabang, and the

A tribal dance on the Island of Flores. The native people are dancing with swords and wearing traditional dress

A traditional tribal dance on the Island of Flores!

overwhelmingly warm welcome I received from a remote tribal community deeply rooted in the island of Flores. Not only did the stories from my journal remind me of the adventurous sense of wanderlust that has led me to working with Traveleyes, but it struck me that the most vivid memories of my early travels are the sensory stimulations I recall; it’s the sounds and smells of Asia that I treasure the most.

Over the last year, I’ve been blessed to journey alongside Traveleyes groups to the four corners of the world. Every time, I return with evocative memories such as the smooth floury textures of the Taj Mahal in India that we really took our time to feel and describe, to the rapid sounds of rustling grass leading to the echoing thump of two juvenile male lions play fighting on safari in Swaziland.

It’s these sensations, not photographs or vague visual memories that makes travelling the Traveleyes way so special, and fills me with inspiration and excitement for our upcoming trips to satisfy our globe-trotting travellers’ own wanderlust. It’s with this vision that I look forward to our 2017 programme of discovery tours which touch on destinations I travelled to in my youth and are set to be some of our most exciting yet.

Will, center, exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia!

William, centre, exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia!

Coming up soon is the first time Traveleyes heads to Indonesia in July. Of course, we all know about the amazing spectacles on offer on the popular island of Java, but for a true feeling of discovery and exploration, I knew from my own visit to Flores and Komodo that these were the ideal islands to base our adventure. Although the trip starts and finishes on the ever-popular resort of Bali, we’ve learnt that our travellers have an adventurous flair, so it’s the rural life of tribal families on Flores, miraculously untouched by mainstream tourism that will make this journey worthwhile. Throw into the mix the chance to come face-to-face with the infamous Komodo dragon in the wild, millennia old volcanos and hidden beaches, and the journey becomes unmissable.

In September, we’re returning to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. I  first visited Myanmar in 2014 and it was love at first sight. If you’ve been to Thailand, Malaysia or Vietnam and felt that the peace and tradition you were expecting is missing, replaced by the hustle and bustle of modernity, then Burma is the place to go! Our tour includes all the highlights, beginning with the glistening Schwedagon Pagoda and culminating with the breath-taking city of temples, Bagan.

I’m also excited about our trip to Cambodia, which we’ll visit in October. If I had to choose a favourite destination, Cambodia easily wins, and I returned twice since my first visit in 2012. Only the scale of Bagan which I mentioned above comes close to how epically monumental the archaeological site of Angkor Wat is. It is in Cambodia that I met the friendliest and warmest local people before finding my personal favourite beach in Otres that is as tranquil as it is unspoilt.

Will with a Traveleyes group at the mighty Taj Mahal! The Taj is rising in the background, with 4 impressive spires and a vast central dome.

William with a Traveleyes group at the mighty Taj Mahal!

This is just a small selection of our upcoming trips for the rest of the year. Whether you are a first-time traveller, or have been with us before, we hope you’re as excited about our programme as we are, and I look forward to seeing all of you on a trip soon!