Sam Gough, Founder, Travel Differently
Travel Differently was formed in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the planet ground to a halt, borders were closed and countries thrown into lockdown. We promised ourselves that when things got back to "normal", we wanted to do things differently. It was still important to discover the world, to interact with other cultures, and expand our minds, but it had to be done in harmony with local populations and their environment. We needed to reduce our carbon footprint, by flying less and traveling slower. To be more thoughtful about where and when we visit, to leave a positive impact behind, and ultimately to make the travel experience itself better than ever before.
And so, Travel Diffferently was born.
We strongly believe that travel is a force for good if it is planned thoughtfully, mitigating environmental impacts, and ensuring that both local habitats and communities benefit from our visits. This is why we joined the campaigns Tourism Declares (a Climate Emergency) and Future of Tourism, are a founding signatory of the Glasgow Declaration, members of the Inspire Global Community, and created our founding pillars; to Travel Greener, Slower, Fairer and Better.
We invite you to join us, and to enjoy a truly exceptional next adventure.
Having been lucky enough to take the Trip Of A Lifetime aged just 10, travelling with my family for an entire summer through the National Parks of the USA, I was soon addicted to epic adventures! A two month solo backpacker trip from New York to California followed when I was 18, and by 23 I was spending six months ambling around Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina & Chile, a region that would become my spiritual home (I have since visited Latin America a further 10 times!)
Ever since I have been arranging amazing travel experiences as my full-time career, including several years managing teams of luxury adventure travel experts at Imagine Travel and Scott Dunn. During this time I've spread my wings as far afield as Japan, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico, Uganda, got engaged in Chile and honeymooned in Kenya.
Using all of this experience, and a burning desire to create a more meaningful and sustainable form of tourism, I launched Travel Differently with my network of ethically-focussed partners in South America and Africa in late 2021. Writing this almost one year in, we take great pride in having had nothing but positive feedback and reviews from the more than 20 guests who have travelled with us already... and look forward to welcoming them back again!
- Explora Atacama, Chile
- Virunga Lodge, Rwanda
- Jawaii Leopard Camp, India
- That first glimpse of mesmerising Machu Picchu, Peru
- Meeting the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda
- Snorkelling with Whale Sharks in Baja California, Mexico
I got the travel bug from a last minute change of plan to hop on a small boat from Malaysia to a little known Island in Thailand; Koh Lipe. I had never seen or experienced anywhere so unique, magical and beautiful...the food, the smells, the colors, the sand, the people...from that point there was no going back.
I make no bones about preferring 5* lodges over hostels, I'm no backpacker... so a job in luxury tailor-made travel was the dream! During the last 10 years I've worked at various top London based Tour operators, building my travel knowledge and love for Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.
In later years I was finally introduced to Latin America on a trip to Chile; where my long-time favourite destination (Bhutan) finally had its first rival. Everything about Chile I loved; the shockingly beautiful landscapes the relaxed people, the wine... it had it all.
After a career break to start our family, I'm now thrilled to be back in travel, to pool everything we know into something fulfilling and meaningful; a travel company that puts the environment and local people first. To travel greener, slower, fairer... and better!
- Gangtey Lodge, Bhutan
- Patagonia Camp, Chile
- Silent sunrise on a private boat sailing round the Komodo Islands, Indonesia.
- Galloping on horse back after a few Chilean wines on an Estancia in Patagonia, Chile.
- Waving goodbye to Bhutan from the plane and noticing you're flying over Everest...wow.
I’ve loved to travel for as long as I remember, but things only started to get exciting when I was old enough to travel independently on what I considered true adventures!
My first big trip was exploring New Zealand (and its multiple bungee jumps) at 19. The vast landscapes, stunning scenery, empty roads, mountain peaks and general attitude to life was a fantastic start.
After then studying Geography at university, I travelled overland from Mexico to Brazil over 9 months. Moving at a slower pace, spending time in each destination really allowed me to get under the skin of each place and understand the local people, their traditions and of course their food. Watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu, climbing volcanoes in Guatemala, driving across the expanse of the Bolivian Salt Flats were highlights, however nothing beats Porto Jorfe where I was lucky enough to stand 3 metres from a jaguar…
On return I knew the only industry for me was travel. I joined Imagine Latin America and then Scott Dunn and spent the next 10 years specialising in Latin America but have been lucky enough to also visit places like Sri Lanka, South Africa, the US Tanzania to name a few.
It’s had its highs and lows - the pandemic was a tough period and really hit home that we can’t take anything for granted and being able to travel, fly and explore isn’t a given.
When I heard about the launch of Travel Differently, and the values it stood for, it all seemed to fit into place. It's time for us to start taking more responsibility for the impact travel has on our planet and the local populations and environments but also recognising how enriching it is and keep moving forward but with a more conscientious approach. Joining the team it as a fantastic opportunity to combine my passion for slower more experiential journeys with the luxury element and exceptional hands on service I’ve become accustomed to!
- Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Brazil
- Playa Cativo, Costa Rica
- Garonga Camp, South Africa
- Coming face-to-face with a Jaguar in the Pantanal
- Swimming with playful baby sea lions in the Galapagos
- Flying over Teotihuacan at sunrise in a hot air balloon
Our love of travel is primarily inspired by nature, and yet modern tourism has done much to damage the very places that we venture so far to admire. However, it also has a unique potential to regenerate ecosystems, protect wildlife, and to inspire further action on sustainability.
This is why Travel Differently work only with destinations, properties and activities that seek to operate in harmony with their local environment, and why we Carbon Offset all trips at 150% of their calculated emissions with the aim of providing nett positive holidays.
The idea of Slow Travel was an inspiration for the creation of the business. By travelling less often but in more depth, and by land rather than air wherever possible, we reduce emissions from flights, lessen the pressure on tourist hot spots, and spread the money from tourism across a wider sector of society in the countries we visit.
It also creates a deeper and more authentic travel experience, spending more time getting to know a destination, visiting lesser-known gems, and taking time to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
We believe that engaging and supporting communities in the areas that we visit is not only the ethical thing to do, but that it also significantly improves the travel experience. As such we work exclusively with partners who hold this same commitment to sustainability and social development, and treat local communities as partners (rather than products.
Similarly we use carbon offset schemes that benefit people as well as the environment, by seeking to reduce poverty, inequality, and a reliance on fossil fuels.
We know that by travelling in a greener, fairer and slower way, your expereince will be more enjoyable and rewarding. We also pride ourselves on providing a fully personalised service, arranging fully bespoke trips after getting to know you and your individual travel needs, rather than selling a readymade package.
As a 100% independent boutique tour operator, the quality of your trip is our only priority, and every booked guest will have direct contact with our founder to ensure the trip is perfected.