Agency Sales and Development Manager
After trying to balance a real life with a travel life for some time, Stuart eventually relented and set his sights on discovering how to travel full time. His quest saw him installed as a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader escorting groups of adventurous travellers across China, Mongolia and Russia. During his time on the road, Stuart was lucky enough to experience the wild cultural festivities of Mongolia’s ancient Nadaam, went close to expiration in a traditional Siberian Banya and ate his body weight in late-night dumplings in Beijing.
Prior to joining Sundowners Overland, Stuart spent time working in remote communities in Vanuatu and Central Australia, backpacked around South East Asia, played orchestral Trumpet in China, rode a push-bike across southern Australia and drove a beaten-up old Toyota through Eastern Africa.
What do you love most about overland travel?
The magic of overland travel lies in the perspective gained from experiencing cultural shifts. Sometimes cultures will slowly morph from one to the other – much like what you experience travelling from Hong Kong through to Manchuria. However, sometimes these cultures crash head-on and you experience stark contrasts from one day to the next – hop on the train in ancient Siberia and disembark in bustling, money-driven Moscow.
Which of the Sundowners Overland destinations fascinates you most?
Siberia continually fascinates me. An area so vast it is unfathomable. Not only does it possess some of the most diverse, precious and extreme natural habitats, the region boasts a rich and complex history of human settlement.
Give us your best tip for travelling on Sundowners Overland journeys.
Research and engage. Travel means different things for different people – for some it is the chance to relax and forget, for others it offers the chance to consume as much as possible. In my mind, whether you fit either of these moulds, a little research and understanding makes the experience so much more enjoyable.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
A question that is always hard to answer. One that has stayed with me was brief but moving. Whilst spending some time with Sundowners Overland travellers in Moscow we visited the iconic St Basil’s cathedral. Inside the cathedral is divided into smaller areas of worship where you can crane your neck to see the spiralling patterns of the building’s onion domes above. As we walked in we were met by the most divine choral singing I have ever heard. A quartet singing Russian Orthodox scripture in one of the world’s most famous cathedrals. Just one of those fleeting occasions where the aura of a location really hits a chord.
Which Sundowners Overland journeys are on your wish list?
Winter Trans Mongolian, Silk Road Railway and Silk Road Caravan..oh and Great Rail Explorer…and Grand Asian Caravan…and then there’s India…mmm!
What is your favourite season to travel?
Is often a season?
Where have you travelled in the world?