As well as writing about the epic trip that followed, you decided to make a fly on the wall documentary about your adventures as you travelled on horseback along the Silk Road. Had you had much experience on horses before the trip, and whatever became of the documentary you produced?
Yes, I have ridden since childhood so that part was easy. But on a long journey on horseback, riding is the easy bit; it's everything else that causes the problems: keeping it from getting lame, feeding and watering it, not allowing it to get stolen etc. The film I made has been shown many times on 'Discovery Channel.'
At what point did you have the idea of setting up your own adventure tour company, and why were you so certain that you had discovered a niche in the market in terms of taking people to the types of exotic and often rarely visited places you had visited?
It was when I was sitting with the Kalash, a pagan tribe in the Hindu Kush - with whom I lived for 3 months - that the idea came to me. I say the idea came to me, that's to say my good friend, Saifullah Jan, the chief spokesperson for the Kalash, told me I should bring tourists here.
I had no idea there was such an industry, knew none of the existing companies, and had no idea about exploiting gaps in the market. I just thought, if I have loved it, so will others, so I'll do it... the whole thing grew from there. (To be honest I still don't look at what others do. I prefer to keep what 'Wild Frontiers' does original.)
Before calling your company 'Wild Frontiers', did you consider calling it anything else?
No. I was in the Northwest Frontier when Saifullah gave me the idea; it was completely obvious that's what I should call it. ('Along The Wild Frontier' was a working title of a chapter in my second book.)
In the first year the 'Wild Frontiers' was operational, how many tours did you run? In comparison, how many tours are you running in 2009?
We ran 2 trips and took 19 clients. This year we'll take about 75 group tours, run 80 tailor-made trips, and a total of about 800 clients.
Do you lead any of the tours yourself, or do you feel more at home back in the UK office these days?
I get to cherry-pick the ones I most want to do. This year I have taken a group riding over the Andes from Chile to Argentina, trekking in Turkey, and I'm off to India next month. Next year will see me riding in the Okavango Delta, trekking in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and returning to India.
Champion horse rider Richard Dunwoody often leads tours in the east. How did you manage to hook up with Richard and what is the reaction of your clients when they learn that their tour has him at its helm?
Well they normally know before hand. He is an old friend; he knows a lot of my family from his racing days. He's a great asset: a really wonderful guide and a great bloke.
Have you done any more writing since unleashing 'Silk Dreams, Toubled Road', or do you find that all of your time and energy is now consumed by keeping your 'Wild Frontiers' customers satisfied?
Yes, very much the latter. I am thinking of writing again, but it's all a matter of time. One day though I will write another book. In the meantime, it's just the odd article.
Are you in the process of conducting research into any new tours which you hope to roll out in due course?
Always - new for next year is a journey down the Congo River; a trek in a remote part of China; a cultural tour in Gujarat; a trip around Mt Kailash in Tibet; and a few others besides.
Check out the website at www.wildfrontiers.co.uk for more details.
Of all the tours that you have now run through 'Wild Frontiers', which one is your favourite and why?
Wow, impossible to answer, but if pushed I would say the one that started it all, the Hindu Kush Adventure through Northern Pakistan. It's a trip that just has everything: gargantuan scenery, fascinating culture, diverse tribes and people, delicious food, amazing history, and virtually no one goes there; perfect really.
Finally, for people who would like to find out more about you, your books and 'Wild Frontiers', what's the best way for them to get in touch?
People - An Interview with Chris Helme By Steve Rudd
Former member of acclaimed Indie band The Seahorses, in which
he penned and performed tunes with John Squire, Chris Helme has never
been one to shy away from the limelight. However, since The Seahorses
disbanded, Chris has been hard at work pursuing other musical avenues, not least
by means of York-based band The Yards.
People - An Interview With Karl Bushby By Steve Rudd
Men come no more intrepid than adventurer Karl Bushby, formerly of Hull. In 1998, feeling like undertaking the mother of all challenges, he set out from Punta Arenas, Chile, with the intention of literally walking around the world: all the way home.
Thus, he walked north through South America, Central America and North America, completing the American leg of his epic walk in Fairbanks, Alaska.
People - Michelle Dee Catches Up With Afterglow During Recording Sessions At Big Hand Studio In Hull By Michelle Dee
It's a blistering hot Saturday I am in the upstairs room of Big Hand Studio
with mixing desk monitors and stacks of equipment covered with LED lights blinking
intermittently. I am here to see AfterGlow who the week previous headlined at Sesh
to great effect playing possibly their best Hull gig to date.
They were all right on the button raising
People - An Exclusive Interview with David Icke, Candidate in the Howden and Haltemprice By-election
Hello David Icke. Is this election the first step in a move into politics?
No. I'm just using the opportunity to draw attention to the issue of the Big Brother state, the global elite which is slowly taking over. I'm not entering politics as a career.
So what will you do if you win?
I'm think there's a one-hundred per cent chance that I won't win, but if by some chance I did,
I would resign. How could I stand up in the houses
People - An Interview with Charlie Heather of The Levellers By Steve Rudd
The Levellers have dominated the Folk-Punk scene for the past twenty years,
having had scores of hit singles and albums.
Often voted as one of the best live bands in the UK, they've wowed venues and
festival audiences all around the world with their brand of politically-charged music.
On the brink of performing a huge number of dates at various summer festivals,
The Levellers are also on the verge of
People - An Interview with Leila Slater (Mastermind behind Moonbeams Acoustic Nights in Driffield By Steve Rudd
Fed up with having to travel out of town to indulge in her passion for live music,
Leila Slater boldly took it upon herself to start organizing and promoting her own nights of live music in Driffield.
Taking the form of intimate Acoustic nights, her Moonbeams events have so far
attracted a whole host of marvelous musicians and singers from near and far.
People - An Interview with Adam Towse of Filth Wizard By Steve Rudd
Fans of Torso Horse might have been wondering why it's been so quiet on their metallic front in
recent months. Well, rest assured - they haven't split up; they've simply been taking a break.
In the meantime, band ringleader Adam Towse has been busy writing material for a new project:
Unleashing auto-erotic fury in a similar manner
People - An Interview with Phluid By Steve Rudd
Leeds-based band Phluid have been whipping fans of Glamtastic
Punk-Rock into a frenzy for the past ten years and then some. Not only have
they proved to be one of the most exhilarating live bands in the UK, they
have also released some stunning CDs, most notably their
Cynical Smile album that was absolutely jam-packed with glorious anthems.
People - John Science Talks Exclusively To Thisisull.com - Sixties Bands and The Seventies Fast Food Phenomenon By Michelle Dee and Cilla
... he rang me up and said, 'John, I've got this group.
Don't know whether you've heard of them or not, but they're called The Beatles.
They've just come back from Hamburg...'
It's a wet Friday, the one a week before the floods last year, and we are
drinking Cappuccinos, sitting in the lounge at The Village Hotel.
People - Interview with Christopher Manson By Steve Rudd
Lights! Camera!! Action!!! Christopher Manson, a photographer from Driffield,
has in recent years had work published in a plethora of high-profile magazines
and newspapers such as The Observer On Sunday, Time Out and Hello.
Having lived and worked in Dubai and Toronto since graduating from university,
he is currently back in the East Riding,
People - An Interview with Sandi Thom By Steve Rudd
Since releasing the chart-storming hit I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker, Sandi Thom's career
has gone from strength to strength. Such a tune featured on her debut album,
Smile... It Confuses People. Now, Sandi is on the verge of unleashing her follow-up
LP, Pink and The Lily, a record she's set to promote with a lengthy UK tour.
It just so happens that Sandi
People - Interview With Sid Stovold of Brassneck By Steve Rudd Brassneck photos by LMI Photography
Sid Stovold, former guitarist for Indie-Pop-Punk heroes Inter, recently
got together with a new band called Brassneck.
Here, in an exclusive interview with Steve Rudd, he chats candidly about his time in
Inter, and about more recent musical endeavours, as well as his frenzied involvement
in the UK's underground fanzine scene...
People - An Interview with Athlete By Steve Rudd
Athlete first burst onto the scene with their
Vehicles and Animals album, a stunning debut which they followed-up with Tourist.
They recently released their third album, Beyond The Neighbourhood, and in
promotion of such an album the Deptford boys have been hard at work touring
the length and breadth of the UK for the aural pleasure of their fans.
They even stopped by Hull University
People - Interview With Miles Cain By Steve Rudd
Miles Cain, once a Hull resident, is a superb singer-songwriter who is now based in York.
Back in April he unleashed yet another outstanding album - A Way Of Being Free' - and,
fresh from his recent support slot with Lucy Kaplansky in York, here he chats exclusively
to Steve Rudd about the state of the local music scene in general, what
People - An Interview with Kris Mole, Skint In Europe By Steve Rudd
Intrepid travellers unite, and meet Kris Mole... metaphorically speaking!
He's a globetrotting man on a mission, determined to visit the capital city
of every EU country on a budget of... wait for it - NOTHING!
And all in aid of charity, too! How, you might ask?
Well, if you read this here interview that Kris took time out to conduct
with Steve RuddRead more...
People - An Interview with Lucy Kaplansky By Steve Rudd
New Yorker Lucy Kaplansky is a renowned Folk/ Country singer-songwriter who
recently unleashed her latest album, Over The Hills.
Born and raised in Chicago, Lucy moved to New York in her late teens, where she
got involved with the Folk scene in Greenwich Village, going on to play with the
likes of Suzanne Vega and Shawn Colvin.
In 1994 she released her much-anticipated
People - An Interview with Steve Steinman By Steve Rudd
Steve Steinman is the mastermind behind the hugely successful shows
Vampires Rock and The Bat Trilogy.
After appearing on Stars In Their Eyes as Meatloaf, Steve threw himself into the
world of entertainment without hesitation, and today he is one of the hardest-working
performers in the UK, regularly touring his shows the length and breadth of the country.
People - The Scarlet Lights Theatre Company By Michelle Dee
The group of students that would, in time, share a stage as the Scarlet Lights Theatre Company, first shared corridors and common rooms inside Hull College. Most of the young actors were studying for a B.A. in Performing Arts, except Louisa, who was taking an HND.
Helen is the newest member of the group and the girls were immediately drawn