See Asia Differently sets up in Royston
We moved to Cambodia the day we found out that my wife was pregnant with our first, back in October 2009. Since then, our life has been quite a journey with so many incredible memories, lifelong friendships made and two extremely happy children. Asia offered us so much as a family to keep us all entertained and we thrived there. On the flip side it was not always plane sailing and we also faced lows and the many challenges of living and launching a new travel company in a developing country.
I will always leave a piece of me in Cambodia, it was the place that I always felt the most at home and where I could express myself the most. Moving back to the UK was always on the cards and planned so that the children could be educated here. However, with Covid making an appearance all of our finely made plans pretty much went out the window.
Going back to the beginning we relocated to Cambodia with the aim of creating a single destination Cambodian travel company which seemed like an absolutely crazy idea back then. As at the time the average tourist spent only 3 days in total: seeing the temples of Angkor Wat before upping sticks and moving onto Vietnam or Thailand.
But there must be more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat right?
When I landed back in 2009 with the country being completely different to the way it is now, I rented a car and then hit the road to see what was out there. During my nearly 2 months on the road, it was soon clear that Cambodia had so much more to offer than just temples; it had beaches, wildlife, adventure, incredible food, wonderful people and so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
I remember back then before the roads were completed that a 2 hour journey took me almost 2 days.
See Asia Differently’s philosophy is that we put ourselves in your shoes with your budget and interests and we will carefully craft a profoundly different holiday experience just for you, with our years of experience and living in Asia. Also travelling this way does not cost you more as with ‘See Asia Differently’ there is no middleman as unlike most travel companies you book and travel with the same company. This way we can get to know you and then match your personality and interests with a guide, making your holiday experience even more special.
Question: What are your biggest dreams.
Answer: I want to wear a suit to work, I would like to see the sea and learn to swim, and I would also like to learn how to drive a car.
I replied well its 30 degrees most days, but you are more than welcome to wear a suit to work if you wish. (This is a Cambodian status thing, if you can afford to wear a suit you have made it).
The next day I offered him the job and said pack your bags we are going to the coast which at the time was a 2-day drive away. We taught him how to swim and you should have seen his face when he saw the sea for the first time in his life. Later, we taught him how to drive, so am please to say we fulfilled all of his promises.
I asked him again yesterday what he now wants, with his reply being; ‘I want tourists to come, so that I can show them this wonderful country’
Then Covid hit just before our 2019 season, and we have been trying to keep afloat ever since. The situation in Asia and many countries heavily reliant on tourism was completely dire. There was no contingency, many people don’t have savings and live hand to mouth. So just like the UK government we created our very own furlough scheme for our staff, paying them 25% of their full salaries out of our savings. It’s painful to write but £25,000 lighter and over 2 years later the travel industry is still on its knees; but just like Pandora’s box we still have HOPE.
My hope is that the people who have read this far can help us start a mini revival and help our family-owned independent travel company out of the black hole of the last 2 years. Without blowing our own trumpet we are bloody good at what we do, and our holidays have been featured in the New York Times and also the BBC travel show.
In order to springboard this I am available to talk with you personally about all things South-East Asia and what you would like to get out of a holiday so that I can then personalise an itinerary for your individual or family needs. So, please get in touch with us throughour contact form or directly to me using my email or phone: [email protected] / 07939206599