Frequent flyer: Andreas Holland

Walking ancient trails makes this tour organiser feel at home.

Q You are considered to be an authority on South America. What was the initial attraction?

A My family moved to Paraguay when I was two. When I returned to Britain aged 12, I felt out of place and I knew then that I would return to South America. I finally managed this in 1979 when my wife, Rachel, our two-year-old son, Quino, and I moved to Peru.

Q How many trekking routes have you pioneered?

A It's difficult to claim to have pioneered a route that has existed as a local trading route for centuries but I would admit to having walked and then promoted a number of these ancient trails as routes for trekking over the past 30 years. My favourite is one that I first walked in 1979. It takes you out of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and on to an Inca trail that crosses six passes and goes along the ridgelines and flanks of some of the most striking snow peaks in the Andes. After 10 days of walking, the trail descends into the valleys of the Vilcabamba that still hide ancient ruins and whose great rivers flow into the Amazon.

Q How long are you away from home?

A I spend at least six months of the year travelling, with the time split between Peru, Europe and Australia. I'd like to call all of them my home, so in a sense I never leave home.

Q What's one thing you take with you on every trip?

A A laptop. I'm glad to say I have a paperless mobile office that is also full of my music. Impossible to travel or work without it.


Q What's one thing a trekker should take on every trip?

A Good quality, well worn-in walking shoes or boots and a sense of humour.

Q What's one thing you do on every trip?

A Feel lucky that I can travel.

Q Do you have a favourite mountain range?

A The Vilcabamba Range in south-eastern Peru and probably Machu Picchu for the simple reason that it has a dreamlike quality.

Q Favourite South American dish?

A A Peruvian "caldo de gallina" - a chicken soup like no other. It includes a large piece of chicken usually on the bone, part of a corn cob, whole potatoes, rice and a broth.

Q What is the biggest misconceptionabout South America?

A That it's a single large country and dangerous. It is neither.

Interview by Jane Reddy

Andreas Holland is the South America operations manager for World Expeditions.