About

My whole life has been about travel and, for the record, in case you really were wondering how long that is, my life began in 1955.  As a young fellow in 1964 I got to visit Poland with my parents where my father’s brother and his family were posted for a couple of years.  In those days Poland was a long way behind the iron curtain and a completely different world.  Ploughing of the fields was done with oxen and hand-crafted wooden ploughshares.  The house next to us, when we were in the country had the cattle and chickens all living in the one room with the family.  A far cry from my life in Scotland.  After Poland it was annual vacations in Austria and Bavaria for several years and then for a good number of years after that to Spain.

My parents did not have a lot of money but travel and food were two big priorities for them.  Dad always said “Work Hard, Play Hard” and that has been my motto.  For him it was important to take three weeks and go off on vacation regardless of how tight things were.  Mum was amazing with food.  We would be eating some new dish on our travels and I could  see her tasting and dissecting the flavours and, weeks later she would serve up the same dish at home having figured it all out.

From ’66 to ’73 I spend 7 years at Strathallan School in Perthshire with boys, whose parents were based all over the world from Venzuela to Malaysia from Kenya to Cyprus.  While there I was inspired by Mr. MacPherson, my English teacher, who spent 2 years with VSO in Nepal helping to run a refugee camp shortly after China invaded Tibet in 1959.  My turn came when I decided it was time to close out my first career in the sawmill industry and I saw and advertisement for sawmillers to go to Papua New Guinea with CUSO.  2 years in a very remote jungle village of 300 tribal people, living in a bush hut, we had a tiny single blade home-built sawmill with a 2 cylinder diesel engine to run it.  It was, without doubt, the toughest job I have ever had but, once I learned to accept jungle conditions, I loved it.

In life I believe that the most wonderful things often happen when you least expect it.  From Papua New Guinea I spent the next 4 months as the backpacking traveler wandering through Asia and, in Lhasa, Tibet I met Ingrid, an Australian also with the spirit of a wanderer and who had already traveled extensively in her life.  The two of us traveled together for 2 months through China and all the way back to Canada and a few weeks after our arrival she gave me an ultimatum, we get married or she goes back to Australia.  This year (1986) we celebrate 30 incredible years together.  We share so many common interests from travel and food to gardening and hiking.  While I traveled the world on business Ingrid has raised 2 very special and wonderful daughters, Meg and Iona and, like their parents, they have grown to be travelers as well.  Meg lives in Australia and Iona, while in Canada, has spent extensive volunteer time in Panama and India and has circled the world.

Since my childhood I have travelled the world, lived for 6 months in France, 2 years, as a volunteer, in a remote jungle village in Papua New Guinea and the last 33 years in Canada.  Since 1986 I have had the good fortune to have been to all sorts of wonderful destinations, from Iran and India to Indonesia and Italy, selling waterparks and waterpark equipment for the company in which I am a partner, Whitewater West Industries Ltd.

How lucky am I?

One Response to “About

  • Simon Venn
    1 year ago

    Hi Andrew,
    I have just found you and realise what a distiguished character found me stranded in the rain and set me on my road to recovery! When you appeared on the coast path at Coverack two weeks ago, you were definitely an answer to prayer. ” Help Lord, get me put of here!” And three hours later up came your smiling face with a warm cape and a phone signal. My only question is “what kept you?” I am so grateful for your kindness that morning, the practical things you did and your friendship in sitting on a wet tussock and talking to me until the cavalry arrived. I found your company through Google but have only just found your blog – not read it yet but I’m going to soon. Thank you again my friend, my new bionic leg with titanium “nail” in place is coming along nicely although not ready for walking on yet. My wife Trish and I are booked into Covereack for the same time again next year so if you’re in the area look out for future “strandings” just in case!
    With much gratitude and my best wishes,
    Simon Venn

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