Andrew Williams, Solos Holidays

Andrew Williams Andrew Williams likes an adventure and loves to travel!  Was it his experiences with the Royal Navy, more later, that caused this or the fact that he was born and brought up in the Far East on the Thai/ Malaysian border. Whichever it was, he’s been on the move, often in exciting places, ever since.

For the last 5 years, Andrew has been at the helm of Solos Holidays, the award-winning tour operator for single travellers. A few quick statistics, the average age of customers is 55 years old and the number of travellers who holiday with Solos time and again is very high. The biggest worry for anyone who is travelling alone for the first time is, quite sensibly, what will the others in the group be like? Well, Andrew has been that traveller, he ventured off, unattached for the trip and incognito, on an activity holiday in Andalucia. And yes, he was pretty apprehensive, however his companions turned out to be a professor, a City PA, an older woman, recently widowed, and a senior CID detective, amongst others. So, a highly diverse bunch, who all liked the great outdoors. He really enjoyed the week, and the company of his fellows. There were one or two ‘moments’ as with any group, neatly diverted and sorted by the tour leader.

Now, these experts at group dynamics are often former Solos travellers, who so enjoy their holidays, they would like to lead a group.  What better qualification could there be? Andrew’s tried this too, he reckons it’s a 24/7 role for the duration of the trip, with bucket loads of empathy needed. However, the job satisfaction is sky-high, with good, honest people enjoying companionship, a fun time and the services of a pro-active, yet discreet, tour leader, who should allow them to abdicate all the mundane responsibilities. Norway Sounds like heaven, no maps, no planning, no logistics, it’s all taken care of. Tour leaders seem to be a cross between your favourite nanny and a Duke of Edinburgh expedition leader.

Which brings echoes of Andrew’s naval career to mind. He served in Norway during the ‘Cod Wars’, and retains reverence for the magnitude of the landscape there. He recalled his ship chasing a Russian trawler cum satellite spy ship through frozen waters, all very exciting. In total contrast, Key West in Florida was a great place to store the ship, Andrew described it as Flipper-esque, so laid back his flip-flops stood still. Other memorable ship visits were to Barbados and Cartagena in Colombia. So it’s true, join the Navy and travel the world. All this whetted Andrew’s appetite for exploring far and wide.

On leaving his military career behind, he wrote to every travel company that was recruiting, ultimately securing a job through an old contact. Success followed, and after a remarkable trip to South Africa, including a very thought-provoking trip to Soweto, Andrew started The Mighty Fine Company, ‘soft’ adventures to interesting places, and built it up over four years.

And thence to Solos Holidays, where activities, beach breakscruises and more are all available. For adventures, take a look at The Fabulous Experience Company for great ideas. Andrew Williams loves travel, is dedicated to his single travellers and certainly isn’t afraid to try anything – even being a tour leader!

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