Perhaps your one of those people who like to know more about somebody before you commit to spending an entire week with them... I know that I would! So I've included this page to give you an idea of the kind of person I am.
I don't see you as a 'client' - and I don't want to be seen as a 'service'. The reason why I love this job is because of the people I get to meet, sharing stories and getting to know each other, the laughs to be had, and the long conversations. So, here is a little bit about me....
I was born behind the Iron Curtain: a world in which travelling to foreign lands and exotic places was an impossible dream. As a child, if someone were to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up - 'a paid traveler' - was always my answer; nobody, including myself, saw it ever coming true. In 1985, I escaped to the more colourful side of the wall and embarked on my first adventure by hitchhiking from Hamburg to Crete. From here, my itchy feet never stopped; in the five years that followed I visited over 20 countries. With each step of the journey I found new friends, new cultures and new experiences. As a young boy, my biggest 'dream' was to hitch-hike across the Golden Gate Bridge, a dream that seemed impossible.... but in 1990, a boy from the Eastern bloc made it as West as you can get! Looking out over San Fransisco, I felt like dreams really can come true.
The travel bug had me well and truly infected. In the late 80's, I had savings in the bank ready to head off on my 'world tour' - but the universe had other plans. It turned out that I was going to become a father instead of a world traveller - at least for now! My son arrived in 1989, and when he was three months old we moved to the Findhorn Foundation, an eco-village and spiritual community in the North-East of Scotland. Inspired by friends and the search for spirituality in Findhorn, we set off for India. At this point, my son was already a seasoned traveller. During this trip we visited Sai-Baba - the holiest man in the world - and the South-West Coast of India; but the reason for this particular trip being especially rememberable, however, was because it was whilst `I was in the jungle that I heard a little rumour about a certain wall coming down.... this meant that I could finally be reunited with my family and take my son home to meet them.
Of course, my itchy feet returned. I had not found the kind of 'spirituality' that I needed in Findhorn, and so the winter of 1990 saw me head across the Atlantic to revisit another dream - visiting the First Nations of America. Landing in New York, I headed to Canada and visited one of the Saelish Tribes who welcomed me into their family. Although they cherished the rainy seasons - I do not - so instead decided to follow the sun. With the Rainbow Warriors I headed towards California and finally lived out my fully fledged hippy dream! The Rainbow Warriors are followers of the Hopi prophecy, which led me to end up in Arizona to stay with the Hopi people. I was honoured to be invited to stay with the family of Hopi Elder, Chief Dan Evemhema, whose messages are renowned worldwide (although I did not have any idea of his importance at the time).
Then, exciting news from Scotland meant I had to return - another baby was on the way! I was delighted to welcome my new daughter to the world; however I was not settled into life at the Findhorn Foundation. After two years of feeling un-connected and dissatisfied with the way of the Foundation, plus the realisation that myself and my partner were very different people, I returned home to Germany. After a year living in Germany, I missed my children terribly; I had no choice but to return to Moray so that I could live closer to them. This time around, I involved myself with the local and 'native' side of the area. From then on, I spent my time exploring and travelling all over Scotland in the hope of inspiring my children with the magic of travel; numerous road trips and endless adventures meant that I have come to know Scotland very well. My appreciation and knowledge of outdoor activities was deepened even further during my time working as a support worker.
But life has not always been kind. The death of my long-term partner, followed by the loss of my son only a year later, took me to the darkest place that I have ever been; and too much to consolidate into words for a brief bio. But sometimes, I think that bad things in life can lead you to good places... and it was after this point that I decided it was time to do exactly what I want to do
My chosen method of self-treatment for the heaviness inside was to surround myself with beauty. I began to think about all the souls I had met on the road that had enriched my life, and I began to ponder how I may create a company that utilises my life experiences and skills. I started to think about setting up a travel company... next thing you know, I am putting my old van back on the road, and at the same time turning my 'wee' farm cottage into the smallest castle in Scotland – and I knighted myself as the Earl of Earnside!
It was in 2010 that my childhood dream of being a 'paid traveller' actually became a reality when Experience Scotland Differently was born. Opening my business account was a surreal moment of realising that I am now the Director of my own childhood dreams..!