Active European Holidays
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Meet Your Guide: Malcolm Wade

How did you get into active travel?Malcolm Wade
I retired from full time employment in the automotive industry when I was 52 (4 years ago!) and decided to use my leadership and mentoring skills in the outdoors. I began to lead overseas expeditions to third world countries combining travel with project work and I enjoyed it so much, I sought more opportunities.

What is it about active and adventure travel that fascinates you?
I particularly enjoy experiencing different cultures and making the expedition all come together when faced with difficult situations such as language, culture, and lack of structure that we are so used to in the UK. I also enjoy giving something back to the area by undertaking community projects such as building accommodation, providing water and sanitation, developing schools, and teaching children. Life is so challenging in many of the countries that I visit and help is so appreciated and meaningful – it also makes me feel good in that I'm giving back to an area that I have enjoyed so much.

What do you do to stay fit and active travel-ready?
I walk regularly in my home area in the Lake District and spend a lot of the winter in the Cairngorms. As well as walking, I'm a keen whitewater kayak enthusiast, and play a lot of golf (my wife says too much!). I also spend a large amount of time as a Voluntary Ranger in the Lake District National Park where I lead guided walks, train navigation skills, and skipper the Ranger Boat on Ullswater. In my other available time, I lead expeditions and long guided walks overseas and in the UK.

Which traveller or explorer has been your greatest inspiration?

There are so many who have given me pieces of inspiration from all walks of life, but the one who inspires me most is Captain Scott, probably the world’s most tragically famous figure. Scott was an extraordinary figure, a superlative leader of men in possibly the harshest environment on the planet, as well as facing the challenges in his own personal life. I commend the book by David Crane, 'Scott of the Antarctic' to anyone who enjoys the challenge and adventure of travel.

Do you have any advice for first-time active travellers?
Take every day as it comes and reflect every evening on what you have learned about yourself and the area you are in. We are all here for a finite time, and reflection is sometimes forgotten. The other piece of well used advice is that there is no such thing as bad weather – just wrong clothing and even in the worst weather, there is always something to enjoy and remember.

What are your favourite active and adventure travel destinations in the world and why?

I love South America most of all. The culture is so different to our own and it is so refreshingly unspoilt. The Peruvian people are very friendly and hospitable and the country has so much to offer the active traveller.

What has been your best travel experience ever?
Biased I'm afraid - after a month in Peru this year. Trekking in the Sacred Valley, visiting Machu Picchu, spending time Cayman Crocodile hunting in the Amazon Basin, and sand boarding down the massive sand dunes in Huacachina, all made it a very memorable trip. We also worked with an orphanage outside Cusco to provide facilities for young orphaned children. All in all, a great experience.