Natalija has been part of our busy Accounts Department since 2014, working closely with our overseas suppliers.
Imaginative Traveller is an independently owned travel company based in rural Suffolk. Our philosophy is based on a love of travel and exploration and a desire to retain the spirit that we established when we were founded in 1991. We’ve always been known for innovative and inspiring trips, and we understand that everyone’s wanderlust gene is different. Some of us love mountains, others deserts, some the jungle, and some the beach... But we all share the same thing – a curiosity to go out into the world and share experiences.
We are different to most other travel companies. We are based on a farm in Suffolk surrounded by beautiful fields, and have as many dogs as humans in our office for starters!
Our sales consultants are real travellers - ex tour leaders, aid workers, photographers, foodies and musicians. Individuals obsessed with travel and adventure, not hard-sell reservation agents.
We believe that travel should be stimulating, and give you an authentic experience of a destination. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures that the world has to offer through our incredible and varied repertoire of worldwide adventures. Our small, intimate groups are an international mix of like-minded travellers who share our commitment to sustainable tourism.
Anki joined the Imaginative Traveller family when she became an overland leader for our sister company Dragoman back in 2009, working in South America and Africa. She settled back into the office in 2013, heading up Dragoman's operations and product in the Americas. In 2016 she became the General Manager for both Imaginative Traveller and Dragoman, and is now in charge of our HR, strategy, responsible tourism and health and safety.
I'm a former chemical engineer who jacked in a "proper career" for the love of travel. I left my home country Sweden in 2008 for 10 months' worth of travel. This turned into a year, and then a bit more, and then I just didn't go back! Instead, after having travelled as a paying customer on 4 trips I started tour leading in 2009 - the best decision I've ever made. I've now settled down in the UK and am enjoying my continued work in the travel industry.
This is a difficult one! I think probably Patagonia - Los Glaciares NP and Torres del Paine NP are up there for their absolutely stunning scenery.
The whole Andes region. Before going to South America I hadn't really spent any time in mountainous areas and I just fell in love with the breathtaking vistas in the Andes coupled with the culture and lifestyle of places like southern Bolivia and northern Argentina.
A funny episode was when we had to reroute a trip through a seldom-used border between Argentina and Bolivia. There was a local festival going on and the only bridge crossing the river between the two countries was totally blocked by market stalls. After pleading with the chief of police, he blew his whistle and policemen were dispatched to clear the way for us. The stalls parted like the red sea before us and went up again.
Catharina joined the Imaginative Traveller family in 2016 after an extensive career as an adventure tour leader and a wealth of travel experience across the world. She heads the Tailor-Made department, planning and organising personalised travel experiences for adventurous groups, couples and individual travellers.
With both her parents in the Navy, an uncle cycling all over the world, and the rest of her family living abroad or sailing and surfing in every imaginable place on this planet; travelling is in Catharina's blood!
Catharina has lived in Spain, Argentina and Italy and she worked for almost a decade as a Tour Leader all over South America and Europe. Catharina loves climbing mountains, cycling in the Tuscan hills and trying all the local specialties in the places she visits.
Impossible to name just one favourite destination! But one for sure is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with my dad. The combination of walking every day through completely different landscapes, the physical challenge and our incredible team literally singing us to the top is one of the best experiences of my life!
I ran a trip in Romania recently and I wasn't overly excited about going there. The country and its people surprised me completely! It feels like in parts of Romania time has stood still since the Middle Ages, with most people still dressed in traditional clothes going by horse carts to the local market. We visited some tiny gypsy villages with fortified churches and incredibly welcoming people sharing their home brewed Palinka with us.
Our truck getting stuck in the mud in the Maasai Mara! I was on a trip in Kenya and Tanzania and even though it was dry season, it poured down for a few days. When we were trying to leave the Maasai Mara, our truck got stuck in the mud. Two Maasai tribes tried to come to the rescue with tractors, but they were unsuccessful. Even the rangers showed up and tried to pull us out with their jeep, but the truck was simply not moving! After a couple of hours, which we spent laughing and jumping with the local Maasai tribes, a tractor from three villages down finally managed to get the truck out. The truck was towed to the next village, to solid ground and we all had to walk there with the Maasai accompanying us. For most of us this was the highlight of the trip; hanging out with the locals!
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are at the top of my list, followed closely by Kalimantan and Sulawesi.
Charlie is our fearless leader. Always ready and willing to travel to the most remote places and report back his findings. With over 30 years in the travel industry he has a wealth of knowledge to share, and directs the Sales and Business side of the organisation.
At the age of 23, I first travelled as a passenger on an overland trip through Eastern Africa from Cairo to Johannesburg, via Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. I then returned north along the same route to London as a driver! From then to late 1987 I led trips in Africa, Central Asia and India. On returning to the office, I firstly worked as Sales and Marketing Director of Dragoman, followed by Product and Marketing Director and finally Managing Director. During this time I have travelled many of the routes that we have on offer. In 2011 Dragoman bought Imaginative Traveller, greatly expanding the range of destinations, trip styles and partners that we can offer. The Tailor Made trips in particular are one of the most exciting parts of the business!
Chris is our resident tech and web guru and brings an incredible amount of technical expertise to the team, enabling us to further refine and develop our systems and website - he has been with us since 2013.
I haven't really done any travelling, but since working at Imaginative it's definitely given me the drive to do so! I've worked here as the Web Developer since mid-2013, and have developed my skills to a whole new level. I'm responsible for everything that happens on the website, and everything that goes wrong with it!
I'd have to say Cornwall, beautiful coastlines - and plenty of surfing!
Devon or anywhere really on the South Coast! Didn't expect much, but came away with some amazing pictures.
Camping. Anywhere. Love getting away from it all.
Ideally i'd like to go to South America next!
Heather has been part of the Imaginative Traveller family ever since meeting one of our sister company Dragoman's founders George in Africa in the early 1980s, and now heads our Customer Relations.
I went on my first trip on an overlanding expedition from Johannesburg to Cairo in 1983 - there I met George, the tour leader and one of the owners of Dragoman. I then returned to the UK and qualified as a solicitor. Many trips around the world and 4 children later, I am now employed by Imaginative Traveller and Dragoman in Customer Relations.
Somewhere I haven’t been before!
Camping in the Ngorongoro crater.
Bolivia and Peru.
Hollie joined the Imaginative family in 2016 after a wealth of experience travelling the world, joining our busy Sales team as a consultant.
I got the travel bug early, after culture-packed family holidays to destinations around Europe and North Africa. Whilst working full-time and studying literature part-time at
India is undoubtedly my favourite destination and somewhere I will keep on returning to as long as I live. It ticks all of my boxes, including food, music, art, architecture, wildlife, history and colour. The people of India are like no other I've ever met. Welcoming, funny and delightful, yet infuriating and indecisive, and all things in between - they make the destination for me.
I would say Varanasi in India. I felt quite apprehensive about visiting the holy city after foolishly listening to bad stories from friends and other travellers who had already been. When I arrived in the chaotic tangle of people, animals and rickshaws (and got over the initial shock of it all!), I found it to be the most fascinating, beautiful and strangely peaceful place I've ever visited and fully regretted not allowing more time for it in my itinerary.
There are too many to mention, but to narrow it down to a few - travelling on one of the highest motorable passes in the world in Ladakh; celebrating New Year's Eve in Istanbul; and an encounter with the secret police in Syria involving a choc-ice!
There are several destinations I'm keen to visit, and Jordan and Iran are neck-and-neck at the top of the list right now, closely followed by Georgia and a lot of Central Asia.
Michael has always had a passion for travel and has lived in Cape Town and Australia. With 26 countries under his belt he has a wealth of knowledge that he loves to share - after working for many years as a Sales Consultant, he now manages our busy Sales team.
Born in Suffolk, Michael’s thirst for adventure started from a young age when he discovered a love for maps. It wasn’t until much later that he finally got to leave the country at the age of 18. 26 countries later and having lived in Cape Town and Australia, he still has the travelling bug. His passion is for trekking and mountains, the more isolated the better as it makes for much better star gazing!
Alaska – it's huge, magnificent, and the scenery is unbelievable!
Every destination will surprise you in some way, but the one that stands out is Zambia - a country I thought I would just be in for a few days left me amazed by its people, culture, wildlife, and scenery.
There's too many to mention - the overnight trains in East Africa, ice climbing in Alaska, hiking through the highlands of Iceland, sand-boarding in Namibia, celebrating Diwali in Malaysia, the first turtle I saw diving in Thailand - to name a few!
Mike is a well seasoned traveller, whose passion for photography has taken him on many amazing adventures to hundreds of fascinating places. After working as an overland leader for our sister company Dragoman, Mike brought his experience into the office as our Marketing Manager and to head up the Imaginative Traveller brand.
I’m a long term traveller, ranging from hitch hiking around Europe to overlanding around Africa. I never tire of that exciting feeling of arriving in a new place, meeting new people and enjoying new experiences. As well as a decades of travel experience I have also worked as a photographer and writer. I’m currently working as the brand and marketing manager for Imaginative Traveller and Dragoman, which means I get to spend my days writing and talking about travel.
The Andes of Peru and Bolivia. There is nowhere else like it and so much to see and experience.
Burkina Faso. I left feeling impressed by the good-natured welcome by the people who are respectful, friendly and always have a huge smile.
Spending a few hours in Africa's largest market in Kumasi. The outgoing friendliness of the people and vast array of sights, smells and noise is an unforgettable experience.
Central Asia. Everyone says they have a great time travelling there so I'm looking forward to visiting soon.
Natalija has been part of our busy Accounts Department since 2014, working closely with our overseas suppliers.
Nathan has been with Imaginative Traveller since 2013, first as one of our expert travel consultants and now as our resident graphic designer.
I got the travelling bug after working in a US summer camp during the summer of 2005, a year later I went on a round the world trip. I then got caught up in the world of work whilst still fitting in the odd trip here and there. I then returned to education and gained my degree in Graphic Design - as a graduation present I went to Japan and absolutely loved it, this re-ignited the traveller within. Since then I have added a few more countries to my 'visited list', including Ethiopia and India, with many more on the 'to-do' list too.
Japan - the mixture of east and west is amazing.
Ethiopia - this destination blew me away, I went not knowing what to expect but left loving the country and it's people.
Hitchhiking a lift from a trucker in up-state New York.
Sam has been part of the Imaginative Traveller family since 2009, first starting as an overland leader for our sister company Dragoman in South America, Asia and Africa. He has now settled in our office and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience.
I first started travelling at the age of 17, mainly to East Africa and Russia in search of big mountains to climb! After graduating with a Physics degree, I started working as a professional pianist – this gave me the flexibility to have a huge summer of travelling in 2007, when I explored much of Europe and Central Asia independently. After this, I knew I had to start working in the travel industry, and soon moved across to working as a tour leader in Central America, and then later as an overland driver in South America, Asia and all sides of Africa. I’ve been back in the UK since December 2013.
Haha, the impossible question! Everywhere is incredible for different reasons - I love the variety of South America, with it's spectacular scenery, fascinating history and wonderful atmosphere (especially Argentina); the friendly welcoming people of the Middle East, the cultures and wildlife of Africa, the delicious food and beautiful busy chaos of India and China... However, I always feel at home in Istanbul – it’s a awesome city, packed with fascinating history and culture, great food, excellent music, stunning architecture, beautiful art, and fantastic people.
Ethiopia - I wasn't too sure what to expect when I went through, but the people I spoke to who had been talked a lot about the phenomenal rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the incredible cultures of the Omo Valley, and how the national food injera was "an acquired taste...". These places were obviously fantastic and a real highlight (and injera is indeed 'interesting'...), but what blew me away was the sheer breathtaking beauty of the landscapes of the country, and seeing the difference between the lush green south and the rugged mountainous north. The winding roads through the Adwa mountains and the Blue Nile Gorge, and the massive cliffs of the Simien Mountains were truly jaw-dropping. And when you add in the history, the atmosphere, the very unique culture and people, and the music, Ethiopia was one place that really surprised me as I hadn't many pre-conceptions about the place before.
My first day in Mongolia – having driven all the way from the UK on the luxury of (relatively) decent roads, suddenly the tarmac ended at the border, and the epic 2000km off-road adventure really began… the first day was one of the most memorable, with lots of fun river crossings and our first of experience of the haunting, desolate beauty of Mongolia. While bush-camping that night we were approached by some curious nomadic locals who stayed for a drink, and then they later invited us to their ger where we stayed for a few hours, a wonderful and fun evening for all of us despite the lack of a common language.
I'm heading out to run a one-off trip in Ladakh and Kashmir this summer. And having been away from Europe a long time, I’m looking forward to seeing a bit more of it this year – I’ll be heading to Italy and the Balkans this summer to see some friends and explore the countryside. After that, I’d definitely like to explore a bit more of Southern Africa or Central America! Everywhere’s on my list…
Sue is an avid and accomplished traveller with most of her career being in the travel industry, as well as being fantastic with figures!
Most of my working life has been within the travel industry in various roles from operations to sales, ending up in accounts after taking my accountancy exams at the age of 40. I have worked for Imaginative Traveller and Dragoman for 14 years, having spent time with various main stream operators including Thomson's and Thomas Cook. I spent 10 years living and working in former Yugoslavia (Croatia) before returning to the UK after the war broke out in the early 90’s.
Croatia – having lived there for 10 years and having a Croatian husband, this country holds a big part of my heart.
After passing my driving test, I bought a left hand drive VW Beetle and drove through Europe to Dubrovnik, which included setting the car on fire in Amsterdam, driving along an old railway line through the mountains, and almost being pushed over the cliff on the Adriatic Highway!
Suzanne has travelled extensively in South America and Asia, and worked as a Tour Leader in the Middle East. She joined our busy team of Travel Consultants at Imaginative Traveller in 2015, bringing her love of nature and her wealth of knowledge and experience with her.
After a month's expedition to Brazil at the age of 16 I had caught the travel bug! My degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies led me to spend four months volunteering and backpacking my way around South America before heading on to Thailand and Laos. I've since worked in the adventure travel industry both as a Tour Leader (in Egypt and Jordan) and Travel Consultant. As a nature enthusiast, my favourite travel experience so far was volunteering for Tortoise Conservation Centure in the Galapagos; it's a place I'd love to return to one day!
The Galapagos because of the wildlife.
Cuba exceeded my expectations. The vibrant and dynamic atmosphere of Havana and Trinidad was even better than I'd imagined.
One that sticks out is whizzing down a volcano on a board in Nicaragua! It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I've ever had!
India is a place I've always wanted to visit, so that's next on the list. I'd particularly like to visit the more remote parts of India, from Chennai to Kolkata.
Imaginative Traveller is an independent company, both in spirit and in practice. Our ethos and philosophy towards travel is built upon our passion and experience for exploration, and is never compromised by corporate goals or incentives. We still operate by the same values that we were founded upon.
From humble beginnings in 1991, Imaginative Traveller was founded with one sole aim - to provide travellers with exceptional holiday experiences. Many years on, we’ve become part of the Dragoman family based in Suffolk and we’ve used our experience of designing, operating and selling group adventures to become a trusted and authentic brand in the adventure travel world.
Diversity of Knowledge
First-hand knowledge can be an overused phrase in the travel industry, but we genuinely think we have some of the most diverse and exciting travel experience and knowledge out there. Our HQ is run by people who live and breathe culture and travel, and our sales department are not the only ones who have seen the world! We use this specialist passion and expertise to curate and manifest a truly unique range of itineraries and tours.
The Personal Touch
Imaginative Traveller is just the right size - big and mature enough to have experience and efficiency, but small enough to remember who you are when you call again. Our friendly travel consultants will treat you as an individual, taking the time to listen to what your interests are, where you’ve travelled to and what’s on your bucket list.
As well as designing and operating our own tours, we offer hundreds of carefully selected trips from our trusted partners Intrepid, Exodus, Sundowners and Grand American Adventures. Whether you’re looking for a budget group trip to Thailand or a bespoke honeymoon in Botswana, we will use our consultative approach to find you a dream holiday.
We believe that travel and the desire to explore should not be limited to any specific chapter of life - age is after all, just a number. We have an open age policy on all of the trips we sell, which means that, whether you’re 18 or 80, if you’re in good health then you’re welcome on our trips. We don’t deal in demographics, we deal with real people.
We are experts in arranging every element of your holiday, including flights, airport transfers and insurance. Let us take the stress out of the boring bits so all you have to think about is getting excited about your upcoming adventure!
For your peace of mind we are fully bonded and licensed with AITO, ATOL and ABTOT.
The philosophy of travelling responsibly has been at the heart of Imaginative Traveller since we were founded in 1991. We are dedicated to building a sustainable travel business and environmental, social and ethical considerations are key to our decision-making. We care about travelling in a way that has a positive impact on the environment and on the communities we visit, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.
As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. The journeys we offer are designed to not only be incredible experiences, but to have the most positive impact on the places that we visit.
We passionately believe that as imaginative travellers we should not impose our own cultures on others but instead can experience and respect the differences between the cultures we visit and our own.
To deliver these objectives, we have forged long-standing relationships with suppliers that share both our joy of adventure and our responsible travel ethos.