Tom StapletonJoint Managing Director & Co-Founder
Tom is originally from Kent, in England and loves real ale and trains. In hindsight, TravelLocal wouldn’t have worked without this unique combination – he and Huw talked strategy on long train journeys and got creative at the local pub, all in the service of this travel revolution.
Tom does many things for TravelLocal, but spends much of his day choosing and communicating with the amazing local travel companies with whom we work. He has worked in the travel industry since 2005 so knows where to look and what questions to ask.
Tom’s favourite travel memory took place on the Trans-Asia express between Istanbul and Tehran where he shared a compartment and a bottle of wine with an Iranian couple. The scenery in Eastern Turkey was spectacular, and the train crossed Lake Van by ferry(!), but it was the mix of people on board that really made this journey special.
Huw OwenJoint Managing Director & Co-Founder
Huw is originally from Wales, as his name gives away, and is a failed musician, which has had no effect whatsoever on TravelLocal. However, he has lived and worked in some far-flung places - as a teacher in Japan, managing a local travel company in Cambodia and latterly working with the UN to mentor local travel entrepreneurs in Uganda and Egypt. He has worked in the travel industry since 2003, and spends most of his time extolling the benefits of buying local to just about anyone who will listen, whilst ensuring that our customers are well looked after.
Huw has travelled all over the globe, but seeing a mountain gorilla at close quarters is like no other travel experience he’s ever had. He was in thick forest in Bwindi, Uganda, where he came across not one, but three silverbacks. Their sheer size and strength simply took his breath away.
Mark HudsonExecutive Chairman
Mark was born and raised in East Africa. He has two homes - one is where he lives, near Zurich, and the other is anywhere he can get to on a pair of skis. He helps us with the bigger picture strategy and is on our Board, drawing on years of experience from working with growth companies in different sectors across Europe, the USA and in Africa. He experienced the late 1990s dotcom rush first-hand, leading a startup in the film industry, and later was a Partner in an investment fund.
Mark knows East and Southern Africa particularly well and goes back to visit whenever he can. That said, his favourite travel memory is of watching tigers at dawn, as the sun rose to warm the jungle’s chattering wild residents in Bandhavgarh National Park, India.
Penny EdwardsHead of Digital Marketing
Penny’s roots are in the countryside, surrounded by dogs, cats and other miscellaneous pets. She likes “making stuff” and spends many an evening folding origami, sewing or working on some carpentry. Penny also - crucially - loves spreadsheets, and has a mug saying “I love spreadsheets” that proves this.
At TravelLocal she is the marketing guru, making sure our website is beautiful and easy to use and that there’s useful and inspiring content for our customers.
Her favourite travel memory is of standing on a picnic table in South Africa, watching her father being chased by a mother warthog while the rest of the family ate lunch.
Jon EvansHead of Engineering
Jon grew up in Holland and sometimes masquerades as a Dutchman. He joined TravelLocal on returning to Bristol after a stint working in Washington D.C., and loves cycling, being outside and enjoying Bristol's eclectic food and drink. Jon's role is making sure the web platform is always working and improving, whilst simultaneously looking after our brilliant engineering team.
His favourite travel memory takes him back to the shore of Lake Mývatn in Iceland, where he and his family spent an evening on an ice ridge, very cold but awestruck, watching the rippling colours of the Aurora Borealis.
Richard GodfreySenior Technical Advisor
Richard is the TravelLocal techy guy, complete with a full beard and comfy shoes. He is in charge of a whole development team of young whiz-kids which keeps him on top of the latest technology. The grey hairs were earned at Deloitte and Microsoft - where he led some major projects including the UK’s first DNA database - and subsequently in running Rocketmakers in Bath, all of which has prepared him to ensure Travellocal is built on the latest and greatest technology and in a secure and reliable way.
His favourite travel memory is camping on Anglesey in high winds with the future Mrs Godfrey, when their tent was blown clean off a cliff – he has never camped again.
Tom Clifford ("Cliff")Product
Cliff joined TravelLocal when Tom and Huw realised they could only get eight hours of sleep a night by bringing more people on board to help out. His main responsibilities involve working closely with our local experts to ensure they can provide the best possible booking experience to clients and scouring the globe for new travel opportunities.
His favourite travel memory is of hitch-hiking the Carretera Austral in southern Chile after completing the famous “W” trek in the stunning Torres del Paine National Park. He fished, kayaked, got strapped onto open trailers and hauled over gravel roads, passing fjords, glaciers, rainforests, marble caves and even a ghost town inundated by volcanic ash.
Corinne was born and raised in sunny Cornwall, before moving to Robin Hood county (Nottingham) to study. In 2012, she relocated to Bristol, and the crazy people, delicious cider, and fantastic music scene have kept her here. After a five-month trip around Southeast Asia she joined TravelLocal, and is now responsible for creating sparkling copy by meticulously researching our destinations and getting to know our local experts.
Her favourite travel memory is snorkelling with surreally beautiful manta rays off the coast of Komodo Island, Indonesia. That same evening, she slept under the stars on the deck of a boat, and woke up being handed a cup of tea as the sun rose over the sea.
Kati grew up in Hampshire and spent most of her childhood writing stories and bossing her siblings around. She moved to Bristol as a student and, having fallen utterly in love with the city, has never looked back. She likes swimming, cooking and subjecting the office to endless eighties music. Kati keeps us connected to the outside world, making lots of digital noise about who we are and what we do.
Her favourite travel memory took place in Battambang with her best friend, where they took a ride on the bamboo train. As they were hurtling through the undergrowth, the heavens opened and they were soaked to the skin. This triggered hysterical giggles, very much bemusing the driver!
Jess grew up in rural Norfolk where she spent most of her childhood climbing trees, building dens and playing tennis. After 18 months of travelling and some time working in London, she answered the call from the West Country and came to work for TravelLocal. Here, she looks after the operations and commercial side of things, which involves a lot of numbers and extensive spreadsheets.
Her favourite travel memory takes her back to the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. After about 10 minutes of diving, a huge and curious green turtle came to swim alongside her, swooping around for a while before drifting off into the deep.
Rikki spent the first few years of his life in Chiang Mai, Thailand, before spending the rest of his childhood in a small village near Loughborough, UK. After studying at Bath university, he joined TravelLocal as a developer, and spends his days turning designs and plans into reality. Whenever we let him leave his desk, he enjoys bouldering, music, gardening, and (inevitably) cider.
Rikki’s favourite travel memory is from when he was hiking in Hokkaido, Japan, and found himself at the top of Mt. Hakodate. Seeing the incredible, volcanic scenery around him and knowing that the ground beneath his feet was younger than him, was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of his life.
Gemma is a Somerset girl born and bred who loves long walks in the countryside, the thriving Bristol music scene, and Somerset’s famous cider (especially cloudy, flat, room-temperature scrumpy, which she insists is delicious). She does a fantastic job looking after the technical side of our marketing.
Her favourite travel memory took place on the Great Wall of China, where she arrived to no view, thick cloud and heavy rain. All seemed doomed, then the clouds parted, the rain ceased, and a stunning view of the wall trailing away through the mountains unfolded, making the hike to get there completely worth it.
Sam was born and raised in the wilds of Scotland and spent much of her time as a child deep in the woods or traversing some moor or other. After travelling in New Zealand (the furthest away place she could find that largely resembled Scotland) she expanded her repertoire to South Africa, working as a travel writer post-university. On her return, she eventually settled in Bristol and now looks after and writes much of the content for our website.
Her favourite travel memory is waking up at 5am in South Africa to an antisocial noise. Pulling back the curtains, she saw six whales blowing, breaching and playing in the early morning light in the centre of Fish Hoek bay.
Bridie grew up in the gorgeous surrounds of North Devon, studied in Liverpool, then moved back to the South West where she feels utterly at home in Bristol. She loves the culture, the music, the art, and (like anyone born in the South West) the cider. When she’s not working with the rest of the Development Team on the web platform, she is very active, playing football for two teams, cycling, hiking, climbing, surfing and strumming a guitar.
Bridie’s favourite travel memory was the time when she went to India to work on a reforestation project. She spent her mornings planting and watering trees, and her afternoons exploring the local area by moped, dodging the inevitable sacred cows.
Half-Colombian, but born and raised in Oxford, Claudia has a degree in languages and has travelled extensively. She studied for half a year in Santiago, travelled through South America and finally worked for a stint in Paris, experiencing many awkward but amusing language confusions along the way. Her knowledge of South America makes her a crucial member of the TravelLocal Marketing Team.
Claudia’s favourite travel memory is trekking with her friends up to the three peaks of the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, armed with sleeping bags and chocolate, to see the sunrise. The view from the top was spectacular.