About Us

Learn more about the Travel Begins at 40 team

Welcome to Travel Begins at 40

Travelling can be an exhilarating adventure once you pass 40

They say that life begins at forty, so too can travel. Of course, many of us started travelling well before our 40th birthday – some of us even before we could walk and talk – but once you turn forty, you have a bit more time to travel, as well as a higher budget.

The idea for Travel Begins at 40 was to provide our readers with inspiration on what they could do when travelling, where they could visit and what they could do when there. We said that the website was for the ‘independently-minded’ and a little bit more tongue-in cheek for the Lonely Planet generation grown up.

Initially in 2017, we were a small band of brothers and one sister with a shared belief. Now, as you can see below, we have grown into a team of travel writers, each one of us bringing our own personal insights, views and preferences. Travel Begins at 40 is a broad church.

As we developed, we have realised there is one element that unites us all – a view that the future of travel needs to be sustainable. Travel has an enormous potential for good, and is key to the economic growth of nations, but its growth has to be carefully managed. Climate change is a reality. It is our responsibility as travel writers to indicate how your travel can be beneficial for local communities as well as the planet.

Travel Begins at 40 is not the website to turn to for cruise holidays or all-inclusive budget breaks in the south of Spain. It is the travel website for eco-lodges in the Caribbean and zero waste restaurants in Berlin.

We focus on off-the-beaten-track adventures, ecotourism, city breaks, cultural tourism, wellness and the occasional luxury travel destination, while enjoying good food and wine along the way. We interact with local communities.

We offer the experiences of our collective of travel writers from all parts of the globe to inspire the 40-something generation to do something more adventurous with their travel than lying on a beach – although we are not adverse to strolling along virgin white sands and diving in turquoise waters.

Travel Begins at 40 is more a online travel magazine than a travel blog. We encourage our writers to provide our readers with real insight as to what destinations are really like. Our tales are more travelogues that bullet points, although we do have handy guides to destinations as well.

Believing that attending festivals provides a unique opportunity to discover what your host’s culture is really like, we have many pages devoted to events and festivals.

For us the key word in our name is “begins”, not 40, which is after all just a number. Travel, like life, is an adventure that should begin at 40. It is also one to be shared, which is why we ask you to comment on our articles and provide your views on the festivals and topics we should cover in the future.

Sign up to our newsletter, and please get involved with our social media networks. We always welcome your feedback.

I hope Travel Begins at 40 inspires you all to commence travelling again, whatever your age. Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said that, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Take your first step today.

If you wish to contact us, please email [email protected]

Our Team of Writers and Contributors

Travel Begins at 40 is not a personalised travel blog. We have a team of writers based across three continents. If you have a story you would like to pitch to us then please contact Mark at [email protected]. We know how dispiriting it is to have no response, so we guarantee to respond to all serious pitches.

Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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Maria on the beach

Maria Boyle

Maria Boyle is a luxury travel writer and also runs her own PR business, advising luxury brands. Her passion for travel started in her teens and has taken her around the world many times. Top destinations include Australia, Costa Rica, South Africa, the Greek islands and Italy. A lover of skiing, spas and gastronomic experiences, Maria also enjoys going off the beaten track. She lives in London with her husband, three daughters and dog Bertie.

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Marissa Carruthers

Marissa inherited her love of travel from her parents, who would entertain her as a child with exotic tales of their adventures across the globe. Her first solo leap into foreign lands was an Inter-railing trip across Europe and North Africa during her first summer at university and, despite two muggings, several dices with death and a terrifying encounter with the monkey mafia, she was hooked. Has made Southeast Asia her home.

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James Clark

James Clark is a UK based travel writer specialising in responsible tourism, adventure and the great outdoors. He took a leap of faith into the world of freelance several years ago, and hasn’t looked back. His focus for the last few years has been on supporting communities living along the Michinoku Coastal Trail in Tohoku, Japan. But his feet are starting to itch, and he’s thinking about buying a new pair of hiking boots. Watch this space.

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Mike East

Mike East

Mike began his career in travel writing by writing his own guide on his holidays. He sent this manuscript off to a range of travel guide companies and got a range of rejection letters — all except one. Getting a contract to write for Roger Lascelles Publications on Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas was how his career began. With this opportunity came other pieces for British magazines, The Sunday Telegraph and now Travel Begins at 40.

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Gill Haynes

Gill Haynes

A travel writer with more than 30 years experience in the travel industry, Gill loves the great outdoors. Her favourite destination is South Africa where one walking safari involved scrambling up a tree to avoid a charging rhino. A keen skier, mountain biker and windsurfer, Gill’s up for doing as much and travelling as often as her years allow. Still on the wish list are canoeing the Great Lakes in Canada and swimming with manta rays in the Maldives.

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Neil Hennessy-Vass

Neil Hennessy-Vass

An award-winning journalist and photographer who lives in London, France and on things that move, Neil moved from food broadcasting and photography, to travel writing. The last 10 years have been spent trotting around the globe writing about all he experiences. Never happier than ordering a rare Bourbon in some far-flung bar while checking to see his passport isn’t out of date, he prefers to take the path less trodden even if it takes a little longer.

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Roger and Eillen

Roger Hermiston & Eileen Wise

Roger was Assistant Editor of Today on BBC Radio 4, while Eileen headed up the global PR for The Economist and Reuters. When not travelling near and far, Roger writes narrative 20th century history books such as 'The Greatest Traitor' and 'All Behind You, Winston', and Eileen now works as a counsellor from their Suffolk cottage. They have a remarkable menagerie including a pony, two donkeys, three cats, two peacocks and a guinea fowl.

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Joe Ogden

Joe Ogden

Joe is one of Travel Begins at 40's founders, webmaster and resident photographer. As a career freelancer and lifelong traveller he was a "digital nomad" before they had a name for it. He's based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from where he travels the region while keeping an eye on website alerts. With a keen interest in photography and a newfound love of hiking, he is always searching for a spectacular viewpoint atop a mountain.

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Judith Schrut 2023

Judith Schrut

Judith is a writer and journalist who writes about people, places, food and the arts. At various periods she's been an editor, BBC news typist, waitress, library shelf stacker, puppeteer, folk dance teacher, museum guide, au pair, lawyer and Mum. She's more likely to get her kicks cooking up soups and savouries, learning Italian, listening to jazz, walking, e-biking, travelling and writing about it. Born and raised in California, Judith lives in London.

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Johan Smits

Freelance writer, translator, web content developer, author of the novel Phnom Penh Express and Tommy, a short story. Johan has travelled extensively since leaving his native Antwerp. He has lived in Taiwan, West Africa, Central Asia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Thailand, where he now lives. Loves trying out local brews but tends to avoids noise. Chronically indecisive about where to lay down his hat.

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Rob Spellman

Robert Spellman

A former Fleet Street music journalist, Robert’s love of jazz spurs him around the globe in search of it and any related or indigenous sounds. More likely to be scribbling about Herbie Hancock in the southern Med than held aloft at a Taylor Swift gig – although you never know. His stories can also be found in France Today and Reach titles such as the Daily Mirror. London based, Robert is a subeditor at News UK and the Guardian.

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