As part of our Meet your Travel Director series, Content Producer Rachel Gee has been catching up with Insight Vacations Travel Directors to get the lowdown on their role and what inspired them to get into the industry.
For the next installment in the series, she caught up with Tim Pendlebury who has been working for the company since 2005.
“I love traveling, I’m addicted. Nothing beats the feeling of setting off on a journey or setting foot in a new place for the first time”, Tim tells me. Having spent 14 years with Insight Vacations and six years with our sister company Contiki, Tim has had experience setting foot in new places many times.
“ I love the sights, sounds, flavors, experiences and people I meet along the way. When I discovered this career opportunity it was a perfect fit for me!” he says.
When Tim first started with Insight he was based in London and led our Discovery trips, visiting many Western and Eastern European countries. Since meeting his wife Sabina and moving to Krakow, Tim had focused increasingly on our Eastern European itineraries to be closer to his home and family.
When asked what his favorite part of his job is he immediately answers:
“Introducing our guests to new places, people and experiences. It never gets old”. He tells me he particularly enjoys introducing new cultures to guests who have never traveled much outside of their hometown and who get a thrill out of these entirely new & foreign experiences.
One of his most treasured Insight Experiences is visiting an oyster farm in the Bay Of Mali Ston in Dalmatia, Croatia. He tells me how guests go by boat to a floating oyster bar where the shells are pulled straight from the sea, while a the local oyster farmers explains the process over a glass of local wine.
“Our guests love it and they wouldn’t be able to enjoy such an experience traveling on their own”, he explains.
His favorite optional experience is also in Croatia, where the group joins a Local Expert on the island of Hvar. After a mountainous drive along the back-roads, past 2000 year old dry-stone walls, guests head to one of Europe’s oldest towns, Stari Grad. They then stop in a small village to visit a local winemaker to enjoy their wines and grappas with a home-cooked lunch in a rustic & authentic setting. Tim tells me the entire experience is “everything our guests dream that Croatia & Europe will be”.
Throughout or chat Tim has plenty of tips to give me, including some of his travel favorites to help those prepping for their next journey.
- What is your favorite Insight Vacations trip and why?
There are a lot that I love. Italy is a favorite destination of mine, and I love the ‘off the beaten path’ nature of our ‘Treasures of the Balkans’. But for sure my favourite now is the ‘Highlights of Poland’. It’s my home, and for the last six years my wife and I have lived with our children in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains.
- What are your favorite cities? Wow that’s a tough one! My top five in no particular order would probably be Krakow, Warsaw, Paris, Venice & Rome. I also love Mostar & Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
- What’s your favorite food and why? Bistecca Chianina with a good bottle of Brunello at Ristorante Fagioli or Ristorante Montebuoni in Firenze.
- Where is your favorite place to take Insight guests for food? Tuscany. I love Tuscan food. The really traditional stuff like lampredotto & trippa alla Florentina. Everything tastes great in Tuscany!
- Where is your favorite scenic journey/drive? Amalfi Coast, Dalmatian Coast in Croatia & Bay Of Kotor in Montenegro. Anywhere in the Alps.
- If you could try any Insight trip you haven’t yet been on, where would it be and why? Israel and Jordan. I love history and the Mediterranean region. I’d love to visit Jerusalem.