Whilst studying biology at the University of Exeter, Tom was fortunate enough to visit China, South Africa and Cyprus, experiences that ignited his love of travel.
After graduating he spent a further year at the university, working in event management until deciding to leave and pursue something more exotic, namely working at an ecolodge in Belize, Central America. After several months having gained valuable experience in management, tour development and marketing, he left to start a backpacking trip through Central America. Some personal highlights of this adventure included a tough trek to the top of Acatenango Volcano in Antigua, Guatemala; tasting some of the world's best coffee in Armenia, Colombia; zip-lining above the cloudforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica; and horse riding in the picturesque Chiriquí Province in Panama.
Once back in the UK, Tom was thrilled to be offered a position as a country specialist at Audley, where he now specialises in Belize, Cuba, Colombia and Guatemala.
I'll never forget when…
One of my most memorable experiences is undoubtedly the time I explored Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave in the Cayo District, Belize. The Mayan civilisation that spread throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras experienced its golden age between 250AD and 900AD, though towards the end of this period its populace was experiencing severe drought.
Inside the ATM cave, I was able to see ornate ancient pottery, which when filled with offerings such as maize and chilli peppers, was offered to the gods in order to alleviate the Mayans' situation. Inevitably, the drought continued and as a result humans began to be offered as sacrifices.
Towards the final chambers of the ATM cave I was able to see a variety of skeletal remains, culminating in seeing the calcified, sparkling skeleton of the 'Crystal Maiden'.