Our new Head of Travel Product’s Unmissable road adventure

Posted: September 2018

Iain Shiels joins NDL Group as our new Head of Travel Product. With a huge background in crafting and delivering exceptional travel experiences to consumers, Iain joins us to add this creativity to our prize, rewards and incentive packages. Iain joins us with experience on the ground as a tour guide in Asia and the Middle East, as well as extensive Operations, Product and Commercial management experience. Iain has a true passion for travel and has spent much of the last 20 years exploring over 100 countries, spanning all continents.

Iain is embarking on an Unmissable road trip at the end of July; driving a 1958 Morris Minor across Africa to raise money for cancer. Iain shares his reasons for undertaking the adventure:

The ‘C’ word is the elephant in the room these days and we are never so far removed that it doesn’t touch us directly or indirectly. Cancer is a horrible disease which doesn’t discriminate.

Like most, my family has been troubled by cancer many times, most recently my middle sister. This is one of the reasons I wanted to do this drive with my friend Laura, well, one of them at least. The first being that we’ve hit the African trails many times and its always loads of fun, the second being driving a 1958 Morris Minor across Africa is a great way to raise money for Cancer Research NZ (I’m originally from New Zealand).

The drive and nothing but the drive

Not to take the credit away from the chief architect, Laura Morrison set off in June to drive from Aberdeen in Scotland, to Cape Town in South Africa. She’s giving herself six months, is 100% self-funded, her theme song is Africa by Toto, and her goal is to raise NZ$30K for Cancer Research, with my donations merging into hers.

Laura and her Dad shared a love of the Morris Minor named Charlie, after her Grandad who had the same coloured Morris when her Dad was a child. It was always her Dad’s dream to drive from his birth city of Aberdeen, through Europe and Africa, ending in Cape Town. Unfortunately, he died from melanoma in 2016 and Laura couldn’t think of anything more significant than completing this journey in his name and in the car they both loved.

Where I fit into this

Morris Minor NDL Group TravelOn 28th July I fly into Cairo, a city I used to call home, for the three week drive down to Khartoum, Sudan. The temperature will be 43+ degrees so there will be lots of early mornings to avoid the midday heat, and heavy hand gesticulation to be understood as we clock up road miles.

To make my trip tougher I’ll be avoiding all single-use plastic. Too many times the countries I visit are littered with plastic so this time I’m putting my money where my mouth is and avoiding it. This means no plastic bags, I’ll filter my own water to avoid bottles, use a wooden tooth brush and buy food not wrapped in plastic.

I’m excited to get my feet back on African soil and explore Sudan, a country off the tourist trail but claimed by many as the friendliest country on the continent. I’m most looking forward to swimming in the Nile to cool down, eating deep-fried aubergines on the west bank in Luxor, meeting locals along the way and waking up to the melodic chanting of the-call-to-prayer.

It would be great to have you following along on our adventures – please give our Facebook page a like and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Should you want to donate, please click here.


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