Adventure abroad - and at home
Tom Allwright is the founder and CEO of Adventure Abroad, an Australia based company specialising in hiking and trekking in some of the world’s most challenging and inspiring destinations – Everest Base Camp, Mont Blanc, Mt Kilimanjaro and Norway to name a few.
A talented former Aussie Rules pro, he is also a passionate cyclist, so our partnership working together to create our nine-day adventure exploring his homeland of Tasmania on two wheels came easily. We caught up with Tom at the top of the Mare de Deu del Mont, Catalonia, on his recent travels through Europe.
Photography: Alex Duffill
Tom, we hear you’re quite the sportsman, where did it begin?
I grew up on a farm in Tasmania, and sport is such an integral part of belonging to a small community. From a tender age, you would have seen me hanging off to the oval fence watching AFL or trying to kick the ball into the bin, or even worse - kicking the ball through the gap of an open window!
What is your day job?
I don't really see what I do as a job, because I absolutely love it and I get motivated to deliver amazing experiences by continually meeting inspirational people. Adventure Abroad motivates and empowers people to go and do things that inspire them. We have thrived off the principle that anything is possible. Whilst our everyday business is delivering incredible luxury hiking experiences around the world, we've also been responsible for delivering some extraordinary charity and corporate events, such as 1000km tuk-tuk events and 15-course degustation meals on the ice in the Arctic.
You’re a proud Tasmanian, which is very far away from most places, and you now have a business and career in travelling the world. Do you think these two things are related, and what sparked your passion for travelling and adventure?
Tasmania is an adventure destination mecca. My father used to take me bushwalking from a young age on the farm and up some nearby Tassie mountains. Mixing these experiences with the networks that I met from playing AFL with Geelong Cats, I found a niche and passion for taking people to incredible and unique places all around the world. I used to go to these places and think it unfair that other people didn't get to see and experience these amazing and unique places for themselves.
What are they key things you have in mind when developing a new adventure trip destination or experience?
For me, it's about being unique and making sure customers feel valued. What are we able to do and get access to, that nobody else can? That's a question I always ask our team before pursuing a new destination and tour. We don't cap our imaginations, so usually, we start out really wide and then bring it in. I have no interest in being just another tour company that is competing over the same old itineraries, I'd prefer to just not do them.
What is the most satisfying part of your professional life? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
For a long time, adventure travel had always been associated with having to rough it - cold, wet and poor quality food. We were always told that's just part of the experience if you want to go to remote and beautiful places around the world. After an AFL career and a personal experience where a friend passed away in my arms walking to Mt Everest, I found myself uniquely situated to provide inspiration through travel. I started Adventure Abroad to motivate and empower people to have unique adventure experiences without compromising luxury, for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
How long have you been cycling for and what are the most memorable experiences you’ve had on a bike?
Cycling was always a thing I wanted to keep to myself until I met my friends from Attu. I have been riding for around 10 years. My most memorable experiences include the first time riding the French Alps - I spent two weeks chasing down every Col I could find! Coffee halfway through a social ride is always a treat, as well as catching up with the numerous people around the world that I've connected with through cycling.
How did the collaboration with Attu come about, and what makes the Tasmania trip special for you?
Attu is a very special relationship for Adventure Abroad that has grown from when Darius, Jack and Joe headed up Rapha Travel. It has been a natural fit that has evolved through passion and honesty. The Tasmania trip is exceptional for many reasons, including; the incredible food and boutique accommodation; the spectacular landscapes and brutal climbs in rugged Tasmania; our Tasmanian rockstar team - they have all been at the elite end of their sports at one time or another, including Olympic medals; being able to play and dine at Australia's longest-serving golf course; Mt Wellington, Cradle Mountain and Bay of Fires… it’s a really special place to explore by bike.
Where/what is currently sitting at the top of your adventure bucket list, and why?
Personally, I'd love to do an epic cycling event with some mates. Perhaps Trans-America or 10 countries in 10 days throughout Europe... I haven't quite worked it out.
In terms of business, I'd love Adventure Abroad to contribute over $1,000,000.00 towards charity projects within the next 12-24 months through our charity adventure programs.
Discover the rugged coastlines and wild landscapes of the Apple Isle
The ultimate Tasmanian cycling experience. With highlights including Mount Wellington, the wilderness of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, the Bay of Fires and the magical Freycinet National park, there’ll be no shortage of inspiring views and rugged coastlines to enjoy from some long and beautiful days in the saddle. We’ll check out some of Richie Porte’s old training loops at his hometown of Launceston, and return back to Hobart, Tasmania’s booming capital, to toast a glorious week of riding and dining.
Trip dates: Sat 23 Nov - Sun 1 Dec 2019 (9 days / 8 nights)