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Behind the scenes • Community

Meet a traveller: Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures

By admin   1 May 2014 2:14pm Europe/London

Want to see the world through another traveller’s eyes? For this month’s Meet a traveller Q&A we cosied up to the legendary Bruce Poon Tip to pick his travel brain. Bruce is a world traveller par excellence, the founder of G Adventures (one of Lonely Planet’s longstanding adventure tour partners), and he has just launched a new book  Looptail.

Bruce planting the G flag at the South Pole. Image courtesy of G Adventures.

Bruce planting the G flag at the South Pole. Image courtesy of G Adventures.

Where was your last trip?

I’ve travelled 75,000 miles in the past two months; I’ve had a bit of a travel bender. I was in Morocco for 10 days. And before Morocco I was in Mumbai, India. But also Australia, Colombia, LA…

Where is your next trip?

I’m in New York next week, then I’m going to Switzerland to hang with a very famous British person, Richard Branson – he’s got a private villa there. And then I’m going to Guatemala.

Aisle or window seat?

Window, without a doubt. I’m very angry if I get an aisle. I have bladder control and most people don’t – I hate getting up and down because there’s someone who should be in diapers beside me!

Do you have any travel habits or rituals?

I always do yoga before I get on flights, whenever I can. And I always carry Wine Gums on a flight, I have a big bag right here! And music is a very big thing for me when I travel. I put my iPod on shuffle and listen to whatever comes up – one minute Flock of Seagulls, the next minute Limp Bizkit, and through my kids’ iCloud, One Direction.

Favourite city or country or region?

I couldn’t give one, that’s for sure. But one of my favourite cities in the world is Bath, England. On a summer day Bath is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I used to like the hustle and bustle of travellers’ towns like Hanoi, Cusco, Cairo, Marrakesh. But now I like really remote spaces like Mongolia, Antarctica, the Galapagos – really stark beauty attracts me more.

What is your best travel souvenir?

I always make a major furniture or household purchase from every destination I go to. I bought a handmade desk from a roadside seller in a little village in Pakistan; I gave him money to ship it back to me and it took two years to get there. And I collect masks from all over the world,  I have one whole wall in my house that’s all masks. I find it beautiful but some people would find it creepy.

What is the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?

There was one particular ranch or farm… people described it to me as a magical place where it was organic and they made fresh bread every day. But when I got there it was a total hippie hangout with people that had been there since the mid-70s, high and playing frisbee in speedos – not my scene. It was also in the middle of nowhere, so I was there for quite a while.

Bruce getting a deep cleanse in the Amazon. Image courtesy of G Adventures.

Bruce getting a deep cleanse in the Amazon. Image courtesy of G Adventures.

What’s your biggest travel fail?

A bus on rails in the jungle in northern Ecuador. In the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, the bus broke down and we couldn’t move. We were trapped for three days with no one around for miles. Some of the men got out and hunted rodents, heated up the train tracks and cooked the meat. I stuck to my Starburst fruit chews.

Quick, an asteroid is going to hit the earth in one week! Which is the one travel dream you’d rush to fulfil?

Russia, the full Trans-Siberian. I just don’t have the time right now, but it’s something I want to conquer. I reckon I’ll have to be 82 when I finally do it.

What advice would you give a first time traveller?

Never leave a country without having a meal with a local person. Find any kind of local person regardless of whether you can communicate – I don’t care if it’s your taxi driver, your tour guide or if you find someone in a local market – just ask them to sit down and share a meal, pay the bill (it’s a random act of kindness as well), and it’ll be the best experience on your trip.


Bruce Poon Tip’s book Looptail: how one company changed the world by reinventing business is out now.