Interview with Heather Cooper, Hike + Bike Founder & Guide
Read Heather's interview with Adventure Travel Magazine, as they ask her about her former travel history before setting up Hike and Bike the Sierras in Ronda with her partner, Wayne.
I was interviewed for a regular feature in Adventure Travel magazine which discusses different aspects of life with people who are involved in the travel industry or simply enjoy travel. I qualified on both counts!
Like many people, I had enjoyed foreign holidays in Europe for many years but it wasn't until my early 30's that I started travelling further afield. I started with South America, joining a couple of touring holidays to Peru, Mexico and Guatemala. I walked the Inca Trail, climbed up Aztec pyramids, hiked through jungles and across vast open plains, explored ancient sites and met the people who live in today's modern villages and towns. I went to Brazil with a friend, sailed down the Amazon, walked through jungle (again) and went to Carnival, though I never quite mastered the natural rhythms of the samba dancers. I loved the mix that South America offered of fantastic countryside, fascinating history and rich cultural heritage.
I also travelled a little in Africa, where the wide, open spaces provided ample opportunity for active holidays. I cycled along South Africa's Garden Route, riding through mountains and along the coast. I trekked across the Namib Desert, enjoying the rare beauty of seeing the desert 'in bloom' after a spate of very unusual rain turned the normally barren region into a mass of flowers and green meadows. I travelled around Kenya, including a fabulous journey in a rickety old train down to the coast and numerous bumpy truck journeys around the mountains and lakes. And I trekked in the Atlas mountains in Morocco.
I felt fortunate to have seen so much of the world.
Many moons before all this, as part of my German studies at University, I lived in Germany, in the lovely town of Bonn. I had always been interested in the travel industry and, particularly, in the idea of running a hotel or restaurant. I worked a summer season in a hotel in Rheinland-Pfalz and, years later, lived and worked again in Germany near Frankfurt. Back in the UK, after a first career in marketing, I worked in restaurants, managed a pub and then was Marketing Director at the Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford.
So maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that I have now combined so many of these different aspects of my life together - living abroad, working in tourism and using my marketing experience within our own mountain biking and cycling business in Spain. I never imagined this is how life would turn out but how lucky I am to be doing so many of the things I love every day.
Heather Cooper, Hike + Bike 1/5/2015