Q&A With Luxury Tour Founder

  • Simon Cameron, founder of bespoke tour operator, Lightfoot Travel.

    Simon Cameron, founder of bespoke tour operator, Lightfoot Travel.

  • Simon Cameron specializes in designer holidays.

    Simon Cameron specializes in designer holidays.

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An inveterate traveler whose résumé includes a stint as an apprentice hunting guide in Zimbabwe and risk-management consultancies in the Middle East, Simon Cameron founded bespoke tour operator Lightfoot Travel (lightfoottravel.com) in 2009, specializing in Asian, African, and South American destinations from its offices in Singapore and Hong Kong. Here, the globetrotting Briton shares some of his choicest travel moments.

Of all the places you’ve visited, which has left the most vivid impression?

In 2002, I was working for a firm that won a contract from the UNDP to help with reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. I traveled all over the country talking to villagers and tribal chiefs about the upcoming elections. Everywhere I went, whether by Land Cruiser, helicopter, or even donkey, we were met by such warmth and hospitality that my preconceptions of this war-torn country were instantly erased.

And more recently?

Myanmar, which I visited last year on a 10-day trip with my wife. We began in Mandalay, took a boat down the Irra-waddy, then flew to Inle Lake before going south to the beaches. It surprised me how big Myanmar is—it’s the second-largest country in Southeast Asia. It’s also a little like step-ping back in time, especially Yangon, where there’s an amazing inventory of colonial buildings that, while run- down, evoke a bygone Southeast Asia like nowhere else I’ve been.

Do you have a favorite beach destination?

In Indonesia, north Lombok is great. Sri Lanka, too; I grew up there, and now it’s a convenient place to reunite with family coming from Europe.

Where do you recommend for getting off the beaten track?

Trekking in Bhutan can be very remote and is a great option for the escapist. You can go for as little as one night or as long as three weeks on the challenging Snowman trek, which leads from Paro to the northern district of Lunana, passing beneath six 7,000-meter-plus summits along the way. And then there’s Africa: some of the lodges we work with there have huge concessions with only eight rooms. It doesn’t get more “out there” than that. -Christi Hang

 This piece will appear in the August/September 2013 issue as “Q&A”

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