Top picks for 2018: Where our travel experts want to go this year

We asked our office mates for their dream 2018 trips now that Journeys Within & Wild Frontiers offers so many more destinations throughout the world. This is what they said…
 
April’s dream trips:
Heather’s dream trips:
Andrea’s dream trips:
Dudley’s dream trips:
  • Adventure with Philippa: I’ve been to Eritrea and found it fascinating with tremendous people, so I imagine Ethiopia (pictured above) is much the same. See the Ethiopia – Northern Explorer tour.
  • Multigenerational: We’d like to take the kids and the grandkids on a private tour to Costa Rica. See the Classic Costa Rica – Family tour.
  • Traveling with Andrea: Mongolia. On the ski lift I used to quiz her on the capitals of the world and she never got Ulan Bator! I would take Andrea to Mongolia so we could come full circle. See the Mongolia – Land of the Great Khan tour.

A message from Jonny Bealby of Wild Frontiers

Jonny Bealby video

Dear Journeys Within travelers,

I do hope you are well and looking forward to the festive season.

The purpose of this letter is firstly to welcome you to the world of Wild Frontiers and to say how happy, and proud I am that we have teamed up with Andrea and her passionate team at Journeys Within.

As a fellow member of the Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialists list, I first met Andrea at a summit in Los Angeles some six years ago. Chatting to her over the course of the event it became very clear to me that we both shared the same travel ethos – that of striving to give our guests the best possible travel experience, while also being sympathetic to the communities and environments we were lucky enough to be traveling through.

And I thought then if we could ever join forces it would make a wonderful match. So I am delighted that six years on this dream has become a reality.

As far as Wild Frontiers is concerned, I founded and launched the business in 2002, principally out of my knowledge of travel in South Asia: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bhutan. As a travel writer and journalist before becoming a tour operator – during which time I wrote three books and made one Discovery Channel film – I knew many far flung countries and soon the business expanded. With a team of dedicated travel consultants here in London, plus an office in Delhi, we now offer expert travel advice to around 70 destinations, from Argentina to Algeria and India to Iran. We have our own charitable foundation and in 2012 we were awarded the Guardian/Observer Best Ethical Travel Company Award.

So it is my fervent wish that we at Wild Frontiers can emulate worldwide what Andrea, April and their team in Cambodia have given you in Southeast Asia. We will do all we can to make sure that the same level of service and knowledge is offered wherever you choose to go.

I wish you a very happy festive season and happy travels in 2018.

Welcome to Wild Frontiers!

Best wishes,

Jonny Bealby

If you haven’t read Andrea Ross’ letter about the merger with Wild Frontiers, you can do so here.

Journeys Within Merging with Wild Frontiers

Andrea video on merger

What a wonderful adventure life is!

Fifteen years ago when I first visited Southeast Asia, I could never have imagined the amazing journey I would go on; and now, another exciting chapter is being written and the adventure continues…

First, a little background: In March of 2017, I had hit a wall. I was physically and emotionally exhausted and I felt that my time as CEO and owner of Journeys Within should come to a close. So I did what any exhausted parent would do and headed to Disneyworld.

After being rejuvenated by the happiest place on earth, I came back to work and realized that I actually love what I do. I love working with clients, I love my team, and I love travel in general. The problem was, I don’t love spreadsheets or profit and loss statements and I felt that I needed and wanted a change.

Going out on a limb I called Jonny Bealby of Wild Frontiers Travel. I’ve known Jonny for years through the Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialists list and I’ve always admired his company, his tours and his dedication to the people and countries he visits. I explained to him that I wanted to offer our travelers more options and expand our trip offerings, but that I was also tired of running the show. A few phone calls and some in-person meetings later and Journeys Within is now a proud member of the Wild Frontiers family.

Wild Frontiers Travel is an adventure travel company based in the U.K. and Jonny had been looking to expand to the U.S. for the last couple of years. Happily for all of us, my phone call gave him the opportunity to do just that – using Journeys Within as his Wild Frontiers base in the U.S.

For me it means that my team can continue to do what we do – provide amazing tours to Southeast Asia – but our office is growing and we will now also host a sales team for the amazing Wild Frontiers trips around the world.

This last month I was lucky enough to visit India and actually kick the tires of a Wild Frontiers tour. India was astounding, the places we visited and the people I met added an amazing new chapter to my travel-life book and I honestly can’t wait to go back…with the kids this time! I also have a huge appreciation for the team Jonny has set up there and it reaffirmed to me that being part of the Wild Frontiers family is something to be proud of.

I’m thrilled to be working with Jonny and I’m excited to help Wild Frontiers expand to the U.S. Above all else, I’m glad that our team is here and we are now able to offer even more to you, our travelers.

Feel free to give me a call anytime so we can plan YOUR next adventure!<

Best,

Andrea Ross


If you haven’t read Jonny Bealby’s letter of introduction, you can do so here.

Health & Wellness Inspiration

Sometimes, the stress of everyday life and the state of the world leaves us thirsting for serenity. Fortunately, it can be found if you just know where to get away to.

In the slideshow below, we feature a few of our favorite retreats throughout the region. Even if you can’t plan a trip there now, sometime just gazing at the photos and picturing yourself there helps us feel a little more relaxed…

  • Alms to monks in Luang Prabang (Photo: Michelle Trader)

Introducing Aklile Mekuria – JWOC’s new Fundraising and Communications Manager

Aklile Mekuria

Here at Journeys Within, we are always excited to meet the new staff at our sister non-profit, Journeys Within Our Community, and share a little about them with our travelers who might pay them a visit on their next stop in Siem Reap. And we’re especially excited to introduce Aklile Mekuria, JWOC’s new Fundraising and Communications Manager, who comes to the organization with an interesting CV from around the world…

Coming from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aklile has joined the dynamic JWOC staff as the Fundraising and Communications Manager. Born and raised in Kenya and Ethiopia, Aklile is no stranger to working with cross-cultural programmes. Having graduated from St. Mary’s College in Hyderabad, India with a degree in Mass Communications and Political Science in 2015, it was only a matter of time before she was back in Asia.

Journeys Within: Where were your born and raised?

Aklile Mekuria: I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My family lived there for about 25 years. When I was about 7 years old we packed up and moved back to Ethiopia.

JW: What was your first memorable travel experience?

AM: Taking the train to Mombasa from Nairobi. I was perhaps 6 years old but I remember the commotion on the train so well. The trees rushing past the windows, the excitement of going to the beach! When we got there we had such a memorable time, from monkeys stealing our groceries, to camel rides along the beach, and delicious grilled fish by the ocean!

JW: What inspired you to get your degree from a college in India?

AM: India is such a melting pot of cultures, traditions, languages, and food! I could honestly think of no better place to learn how to work in a multi-cultural environment than incredible India!

JW: What did you study and why?

AM: I studied Mass Communications and Political Science. I’ve always been a lover of writing and I knew I wanted to work in the international field and these two subjects lined up perfectly for that.

JW: What other not-for-profits/NGOs have you worked with? And how were those experiences?

AM: I’ve always volunteered for NGOs, especially during summer holidays in high school, my parents would always encourage me to give back in any way, even if it was just one hour in a day. Well that grew with me and my first job out of university was the Programme Manager for Girls Gotta Run Foundation in Ethiopia, an organization that empowers young girls through running and education who are at risk of underage marriage in rural Ethiopia. It was such a privilege to work with these strong girls who have taken back ownership of their own lives.

Most recently I worked at the Sustainable Development Goals Centre For Africa in Kigali, Rwanda. It was interested to work at such a macro level and see the way policies were created and carried out after having worked at the micro level in communities. It was really cool to work alongside influential people that have been key to the development of Africa.

JW: When and why did you first visit Siem Reap?

AM: The first time I visited Siem Reap was in February 2017. For as long as I remember I have always wanted to visit Cambodia, but I never really acted on it. Then earlier this year I decided to pack my bags and go for a visit. I initially had plans to travel around South East Asia but I fell in love with the quiet town of Siem Reap and spent the entire month here.

JW: Why did you want to work at JWOC?

AM: The main appeal at JWOC was the solid stance on child protection in all their programs and operations. It’s unfortunate that children are sometimes used as bait to attract donations or guests, however at JWOC I respected the way in which the needs of the child is always prioritized. Additionally, I liked that this organization focuses on Cambodians working with Cambodians for Cambodia. The teachers, community leaders, and the majority of the staff are Cambodians. Who better understands the challenges of Cambodia than Cambodians?

JW: What JWOC projects/initiatives are you most excited about?

AM: I love the Community Support programs! They’re so specific to the challenges Cambodians in the villages face. I had the pleasure of joining the financial literacy training and was immensely impressed in the way Konthea, the Educational Manager, was able to relate and connect with the villagers and provide simple everyday tools that they can adopt.

JW: What’s your favorite cafe/bar in Siem Reap so far?

AM: The Siem Reap Food Co-op, the company is always great and it’s the perfect place to laze around and eat great food.

JW: What’s your favorite Cambodian food?

AM: I love love love amok curry with tofu! Oh, it’s just too good!

JW: What has surprised you the most about living in Siem Reap?

AM: It’s so interesting to view Cambodia through the eyes of someone living here opposed to being a tourist. Experiencing the everyday life beyond the Angkor Wat Temples and pub street has probably been my favourite so far. It’s the small comparisons that remind me of home and family.

JW: What other regions are you most looking forward to exploring?

AM: I have yet to see the Mekong River and I am so excited about it! I also can’t wait to visit Laos, it’s quite high on my list!