My name is Ross Goddard and I am the founder and Managing Director of Goddard and Howse. I have been a career traveller, tour guide, writer and raconteur for 40 years.
In 1996 I created our first small world journey to Vietnam taking the opportunity to explore emerging destinations and search for a point of difference in touring.
The key ingredients were small groups, local knowledge, personal experience, timing, and a better than average understanding of the history and geography of our destinations. Food was important as was the social interaction between our guests and guides. From the beginning we used the culinary delights of all our destinations as a pathway to understand their culture – a day’s touring is always best celebrated around the table.
My career in travel began in the 1980`s at American Express.
Business travel was booming, credit cards were available and customers were demanding more services. They were inspiring days when everything seemed possible.
I recall my manager had a framed poster on his office wall that read `Think Eighties ‘ which seems quite incongruous these days. That same manager bought me my first suit and introduced me to the wonderful world of travel.
Benjamin Disraeli once said `like all great travelers I have seen more than I remember and remember more than I have seen’. During my years at American Express then later owning a travel agency I circumnavigated the globe three times and I saw the great tourist destinations…..the rest had to be lived.
I flew on the Concorde twice and sat in the cockpit for landing at Heathrow Airport; I had breakfast at Tiffany’s in New York and flew over Manhattan in a helicopter. I had dinner in the Piccadilly room of the Ritz Hotel in London then adjourned to the Palm Court to listen to the big band – we danced and drank champagne all night. In Mauritius I remember an exotic evening at the exclusive Touessrok Hotel and a night out in Tokyo at Shinjuku that emptied my pockets. In Egypt, in the tomb of Ramesses, the gods had their revenge delivering an excruciating bout of food poisoning and in Myanmar on Inle Lake I had a few beers with Mick (Jagger that is).
My time at American Express then later as a travel agent prepared me well. In 1996 I went to Saigon and another adventure began which continues to this day. Soon after Vietnam I visited Cambodia then Lao, and in 2001 Goddard & Howse were amongst the first travel companies to step into Myanmar. China was a natural extension for me, vast and mysterious in every way.
Over the last 25 years I have developed a portfolio of seven small group journeys in Southeast Asia and China. I have crossed mountains and borders, walked through endless rice fields, been lost in local markets and learnt to always be ready for the unexpected. Most importantly I have met the people, tried to understand their language and learn their culture.
Each Goddard & Howse small world journey is unique, thoroughly researched and designed to take our guests beyond the everyday. We realized after many years that big is not always better so now all of our departures will be escorted by me – it is my passion and my privilege to show you China and Southeast Asia.
I hope you can join me.