Travel, photography, and becoming your own superhero!

Monday Meetings – Olly ‘Deer Hunter’ Whittle

Posted on November 5th, by Peter Parkorr in Everywhere, Monday Meetings. 2 comments

Monday Meetings is a weekly feature on people who are busy ‘breaking the mold’. Using their initiative, each of these people has taken control of their life to do what they feel is most important – whether that is seeing the world first hand, starting a business, or learning to talk to animals. (There’s no-one lined up for that last point yet, so if you’d like to get in touch… )

The first four people we meet were interviewed with their travels in mind, but I will be visiting them again later in the series for a more rounded perspective…

Oliver 'Deer Hunter' Whittle

Olly along the Mekong

So, without further ado, meet Olly!
A multi-talented man, with a real hunger for learning and discovery.








31 years, 2 months, and a few days

1. So, who are you and where on earth are you from??
Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Olly, from a little town outside London. I studied physics at Bristol Uni and then went into banking and then management consulting in London. Before I travelled I specialised in strategy consulting in financial services and that is how I saved up for my latest trip

2. When did you first start travelling, and what did you do? Did anything prompt your travel or was it spontaneous?

This latest trip is my most major travel adventure and I dreamed it up over the last five years. I was basically just too curious about the world to simply read about it from my comfortable flat. I had to get out there and see it for myself. I had a gigantic map of the world all across my bedroom wall and I’d just wonder what things were really like in those seemingly random places. I was also going through a stage of wanting to explore my physical and mental limits and I felt a huge need to go and test myself in unfamiliar environments. I set out to cross the world without flying, planning to take around 2 years. In fact it took just 20 months and I only made it around Asia. But that was fine, I’ve learned that, for me, plans need to be flexible. I could have been to South America for example, but I would have had to cut short India, and it was just too cool to do that!

3. Could you describe your personal travel philosophy? Are there any rules you stick to or ideals you try to follow?

Everyone should have their own principles and philosophy. Mine could be summarised like this, I guess: 1. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. This means I don’t consider myself above anybody, I don’t consider my culture to be superior, and I try to behave as close as I can to the way locals do. This is often difficult but it is always rewarding. e.g. wiping without paper, traveling in lowest class on trains. 2. Learn a few words in each language. Just 10 words and a couple of greetings and so many barriers are broken down, it’s amazing. 3. I’m hear to see real life, not to pamper myself in luxuries just because they’re cheaper and I’m on holiday. I avoid western food and needless luxuries like air conditioning. 4. I don’t expect to have a good time all the time, I know also that the bad times won’t last forever either. It often takes hard work and endurance to get the best rewards.

4. What is your number one tip for new and experienced travellers alike?

There are always positives in any experience so if you feel things aren’t going your way, change the way you look at it.

5. Do you want to travel more in the future? Where do you want to go and what are you thinking of doing?

I would love to travel to Africa, for the simple reason that I know so little about it. I am imagining some sort of road or cycle trip. I like traveling overland because it forces you to go through places you may have been tempted to skip otherwise. You also know how far you’ve been and how big the world really is. Plus it’s all about the journey, not the destination!

6. What do you most like about travelling, and why do you travel?

I most like interacting with people from different places. Simple things like sharing a bus journey. The other buzz I get is from natural beauty. I love the feeling of being on planet Earth in all it’s glory when I gaze at nature in places I’ve never seen before.

7. What has been your favourite journey or travel experience to date?

My favourite travel experience has been volunteering for a trekking company in Kerala, South India. In that time I got to learn about tracking and conservation of elephants and the forests as well as getting to know some real buddies for life, completely immersed in their culture.

8. Last but not least, how do you most like to travel?

I love seeking independent adventures. I love having my own transport and being totally self sufficient i.e. having a stove, food, tent etc. In this way I’ve motorbiked India, canoed the Mekong and trekked across a frozen wilderness in Siberia.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Olly, incredible and inspiring stuff, we couldn’t agree more. Especially that tip on learning a few key words wherever you go, and remembering to change your own mind to overcome those tricky mental barriers. Read about Olly’s big trip (84 posts and nearly 600 photo’s) on his fully stocked blog over at
You can also see videos he has uploaded at   – including his 30-minute film about crossing Lake Baikal.

We look forward to hearing more from Olly in another of our Monday Meetings… Be sure to subscribe to TravelUnmasked by email and get new content like this delivered straight to your inbox.

On Thick Ice – Irkutsk, Russia