Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Pettitts Travel UK 01892 515966

Meet the Intrepid Traveller, Paul Cook

Author: Charlotte Boswell

Paul Cook is our newest Senior Travel Consultant to join our growing Pettitts Travel team and has now been with us for six months continuing a varied career working in the industry.

As an intrepid traveller, Paul brings with him a fountain of knowledge and we are delighted to have him with us and able to pass his expertise on to our valued clients so they can experience a few of the wonders that Paul has seen on his travels.

1 How many years have you worked in travel and how did you get into the industry?

I originally trained as an architect many years ago, but after working as an architect in Malaysia and travelling back to the UK overland, I found I enjoyed travelling more than architecture and started working in the travel industry instead. Twenty-five years later I’m still travelling and arranging tours.

Paul Cook

2 Which areas of the world do you specialise in?

I cover a rather wide and eclectic range of destinations which I enjoy. I’m happiest when dealing with several different areas of the world. I’ve been a specialist in South America and India for a long time, but also I know Turkey very well from extensive time there as well as much of the rest of Asia, including Central Asia, South East Asia and East Asia.

Paul Cook

3 What do you do outside of travelling or whilst travelling?

I am an enthusiastic cyclist. When at home I try to get out on the bike most days, and have done several long tours on my bike Most recently I cycled across Europe to Turkey, and I have also cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats and through the Netherlands and Germany. I am also a keen photographer, and when I am travelling I always have my camera to hand.

Paul Cook

4 How many countries have you visited to date?

I don’t keep a close track, but it is somewhere in the region of a hundred countries so far, which means there are still about a hundred countries I haven’t been to yet!

5 What are your top three destination recommendations?

I love Turkey – it was the first place I ever travelled to independently and where I first caught the travel bug and keep on going back. It has so much amazing history and architecture as well as wonderful people and food. India is somewhere else I keep on going back to as it is such an incredibly diverse destination that every trip is completely different. For wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are probably the most amazing destination I have been to and are a photographers dream both on land and under the water as there is so much wildlife that is completely unworried by visitors.

Paul Cook

6 And the best-kept travel secret locations/experiences you’ve discovered along the way?

I’ve found that Turkey has so many ancient sites that many of them are overlooked – places that would be “must-sees” in other countries can be deserted in Turkey as visitors flock to the more famous sites. Also, wherever you are its often worth starting early in the morning to avoid the crowds – places that can be crowded in the middle of the day are often empty at sunrise (and the light can be wonderful for photographs).

Paul Cook

7 What do you listen or read/interest to when you’re travelling?

How did we cope before e-books were a thing? Nowadays I always have several e-books on my phone to while away the time while I am traveling and don’t have to worry about filling my backpack with books. I like to have a mixture of books set in the place I am visiting, along with some more escapist fiction to pass the time.

Paul Cook

8 Can you speak any other languages?

I’m not great at languages, but I usually try to make an effort to learn some basics. Turkish is the language I’m most confident in. I can also get by in Spanish and have a smattering of Russian from my travels in that part of the world.

Paul Cook

9 Where is next on your wish list and why?

Bhutan is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for many years as it is so different from anywhere else in the world. I finally managed to organise a trip there, but that was in March 2020 and I haven’t had chance to go back yet.

10 Any disaster stories/near misses on your travels?

There have been a few incidents along the way, but the most memorable is failing to cross the border from Central Asia into China. Although I had a Chinese visa and had checked with the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan that the border was open, the Chinese border guards hadn’t got the message and refused to let me enter. At that point I had already been stamped out of Kyrgyzstan and was stuck in no-mans-land at one of the most remote borders in the world at almost 4,000m altitude in the middle of winter. Thankfully the Kyrgyz border guards took pity on me and let me back in the country despite the fact I no longer had a valid visa. It took almost a week of backtracking to get back to where I wanted to be.

11 Any words of wisdom or to tips for travellers?

No matter how much of the world you have seen, there’s always a lot more to visit!

Paul Cook

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