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On the road with Dave Petts


Our tour leaders are the best trained in the overland travel market. To find out more about what makes them tick, read on. This month, we're featuring Dave Petts, who is currently leading a trip through Nepal and India...

Dave PettsWhat's your favourite destination and why?
Mongolia.....I really enjoy being in remote locations. Mongolia has such a sparse population and is an unspoilt wilderness paradise. It’s incredible to see how the nomads live and adapt to life in such remote parts of their country, being self sustainable from their animals. With no TV, no Internet or mobile phones - it makes you think how materialistic our world is.

Best thing about being a Drago crew member?
There are too many – let’s try to narrow it down....It is so nice to see family members (passengers) that are maybe slightly nervous or quiet within the first few days of a tour. Their true personality may have been trapped behind a computer screen at work or they have made little personal time for themselves. Step by step I see people change, they relax, they smile, they make new friends and they release an inner happiness that they may not have experienced for a while ….. it makes them someone special.. That change is beautiful to watch and be a part of.

What's the funniest thing that's happened to you on the road? 
While we were camping on the beach in South America I made our group fresh lemon, ginger and honey tea...the first pot went down so well everyone wanted more. The second pot brought frowns and concerns questioning the quality compared to the first pot. It turned out I had refilled the kettle from a tap with salty water, oops....I thought it was funny, the others not so much.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
I really enjoy eating local food, street food or from the markets. So when I was in China I could not pass on the opportunity to sample....sheep penis (it was a bit chewy).

Best Drago moment?
We were in South America, Peru, at 5000m above sea level in freezing conditions with a lot of snow. We came across a mini-van full of locals that had slid off the icy road into a deep ditch. They had been trapped for 10hrs throughout the night in sub zero temperatures, with no food, water, blankets or anyone willing to help. Dragoman did - our passengers shared their food, sleeping bags and water with the Peruvians while the crew dug an ice-cave under the van to secure it with steel ropes in the hope of pulling it back up to the road without rolling over. We did it, we made it happen as a team.....and there was tears of happiness all round. We got their van started and followed them to the nearest town. I will never forget it. That's over landing.

What’s the one must-have item in your back-pack?
Toilet paper is very handy

What's the one piece of advice you would give someone wanting to join a trip?
You deserve it, go for it...life is too short to regret what you could or should have done. Challenge yourself and your soul, explore the world, make new friends, live outside the circle...it’s a beautiful feeling.

Where are you going next? 
I'm so excited about this amazing new trip, starting and finishing in Kathmandu combined with a full circuit of India. I love India - with 1.2 billion people, sure it’s a little crowded, excitingly hectic, colourful and beautiful all at the same time. The amazing food, beaches, sunsets, cities, landscapes – they all make India so appealing. Early next year I start an epic trip from Istanbul to Beijing ....wow!