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Meet the Team

Home Icon Discover the individuals bringing your dream holiday to life

Get to know our team of travel experts, all working tirelessly behind the scenes to help you plan the holiday of a lifetime. From our knowledgeable directors and managers to our passionate consultants and assistants, each member plays a unique role in helping you experience the trip of a lifetime.

Established in 2014, we’re a small and close-knit team with big ambitions, our knowledge and passion set us apart. Get to know each member of our team below and the important roles that they play in organising your dream holiday.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members should you have any questions.


The Team

  • Simon Whittle

    Simon Whittle

    Managing Director

    Simon is our Managing Director here at Distant Journeys and has over 21 years of experience in the industry. He founded the company with our other directors, Andrew and Richard, in 2014.

    Having first visited nearly 20 years ago, Simon’s favourite destination to travel to is Australia, thanks to its fantastic outdoor lifestyle, quality food and drink, and friendly people. On his days off, Simon enjoys long walks with his family and when not watching his children play sports, he enjoys playing a round of golf.

    What Simon says about working for Distant Journeys –

    I take great pride in reading through customer questionnaires and realising we’ve played a part in creating a holiday of a lifetime”.

  • Lee Patterson

    Lee Patterson

    Head of Operations

    Lee is our Head of Operations, and has worked for Distant Journeys since 2014 and has over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry under his belt. While working as an overseas representative, Lee lived in Egypt, and has since been back multiple times. The culture, people, and food are what entices Lee back year after year, and of course the scuba diving too! When at home, Lee loves to watch movies, spend time with his wife and daughter, watching the football, and pumping iron at the gym. Scuba diving is close to Lee’s heart, but he won’t go anywhere in the UK, it’s too cold!

    What Lee says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “Working at Distant Journeys truly feels like a family. Everyone is close with each other, meaning lots of laughs are shared, and the team offer support to each other to ensure that everyone gives their best”.

  • Kayley Fernandes

    Kayley Fernandes

    Head of Marketing

    Kayley joined the Distant Journeys team recently as Head of Marketing, bringing with her over 15 years of experience. Kayley’s love for travel was kick-started whilst backpacking across Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, and after this she was fortunate enough to see more of the world during her professional life too, working for tour operators and hoteliers.

    Favourite trip? Flying Business Class with Emirates and staying with Four Seasons in Johannesburg and then Dubai was a particular highlight. Kayley says: “I loved Jo’Burg, especially Neighbourgoods market, packed full of incredible local food stalls. Their outdoor terrace also offers a great view of the city, and the locals were just kicking back, drinking wine and eating their favourite foods in the South African sunshine, heaven”. Kayley’s husband is of Portuguese descent and they regularly holiday there with their two boys. Kayley is most happy building sandcastles on Burgau beach (Burgau is a little fishing village on the Algarve) before enjoying some grilled sardines and chilled Vinho Verde.

    What Kayley says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “The team here have been so welcoming. Their knowledge of the destinations we sell is remarkable and I’m really enjoying getting to know my colleagues and our customers and what drives them. I can’t wait to help develop things even further”.


  • Liz Reddy

    Liz Reddy

    Head of Product

    Liz has worked at Distant Journeys since July of 2018, with over 30 years of experience working in the travel industry, with the past 20 years working in product development. Travelling is a big part of Liz’s job, travelling  to new destinations to find the right itinerary fit to allow the best experience for our customers. Liz says picking her favourite place to travel is too hard! Her favourite city is Rome whilst loving Asia for the culture and food. New Zealand & Australia are also very special places.  At home, Liz enjoys walking her dog Hector with her partner Wayne,  weekends away in her new campervan, spending time at her allotment and making a homemade curry.

    What Liz says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “It’s a small friendly team that feels like family, and is made up of people who are not only passionate and knowledgeable about the countries we sell, but they also have a great ethos and commitment to delivering an outstanding customer experience.

  • Julia Kidd

    Julia Kidd

    Head of Sales & Organisational Development

    Julia joined the team in May 2023 as Head of Sales & Product Development, focusing on employee development, recruitment and onboarding.

    Her favourite places to visit are South Africa, having lived there for two years, and Yunnan Province in China after spending 4 years as an expat in the country. Julia is also a big fan of Lapland: “Visiting Santa Claus at home, deep in the forest after searching for 3 days on huskies, reindeer sleighs and skidoos. It was quite possibly the most magical moment as a parent seeing my kids’ faces and I’ll admit, even I believed!”

    In her spare time Julia loves to travel, spend time with her family, walk her Double Doodle Marnie, and even enjoy a game or two of Badminton!

    What Julia says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “In the past eight working days I’ve experienced a company that has a positive working culture and ethos. The team is professional, happy and committed and that’s a fantastic starting point for any business!”

  • Alex Helsby-Glass

    Alex Helsby-Glass

    Senior Reservations Consultant

    Alex has been working in the travel industry for over 30 years, and has been with Distant Journeys since we began in 2015. Alex specialises in all of the destinations on offer, as well as all of our stopovers. India is her favourite place to visit due to the historical and spiritual experiences available throughout the country paired with an eclectic mix of sights, sounds, and smells. In her free time, you can find Alex at the cinema watching Sci-Fi movies, or walking round the local reservoirs with her friends.

    What Alex says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “Being part of a small team is really important as we are all friends, so it makes for a great working atmosphere. I also feel very privileged that I’m able to assist our clients with their holidays of a lifetime to our wonderful destinations”.

  • Sarah Rimmer

    Sarah Rimmer

    Senior Reservations Consultant

    Sarah has been working in the travel industry for over 16 years, and joined the Distant Journeys team in January of 2015. When travelling, wherever Sarah is in the world is always her favourite place, although a recent trip to Dubrovnik filled with warm sunshine, history, friendly people, and great food and wine was a memorable experience. Sarah is also a fan of travel documentaries, and credits Michael Palin’s Around the World in Eighty Days series for igniting her love of travel.  At home with her partner and cats, she loves solving cryptic crosswords and anything that exercises her mind, although we can’t say the same for her taste in TV…

    What Sarah says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “I love talking to our customers about our wonderful escorted tours. Helping them book what is often their holiday of a lifetime is an exciting experience, and I love to share that excitement with our customers”.

  • Leyla Erbay-Richards

    Leyla Erbay-Richards

    Reservations Consultant

    Leyla works as a Reservation Consultant at Distant Journeys, and has been with us since July of 2019. Having studied Travel and Tourism at college, International Tourism Management at University, and then travelling around the USA and Canada for a year, Leyla has an expansive range of knowledge on all things travel-related. Miami is close to Leyla’s heart, due to the golden beaches and hot weather of the Floridian coastline. In Leyla’s downtime, she enjoys exploring new places, as well as spending time with her puppy Beaney and going on long walks.

    What Leyla says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “I love being able to help our customers plan their dream holidays and being able to learn a little more everyday about all of the great destinations we sell”.

  • Vania Rajao

    Vania Rajao

    Reservations Consultant

    Vania is another of our Reservations Consultants and has worked for Distant Journeys since October 2022. Vania helps our customers with any enquiries relating to tours and destinations, while also assisting with bookings and always providing exceptional service!

    Vania has previous experience in the hospitality sector, having worked for a 4-star Deluxe hotel in Mayfair for over 3 years. She started her career as an Office Assistant, working her way up to become Assistant Manager. Vania knows hotel operations inside and out – and believes choosing the right hotel is an essential part of any holiday.

    One of Vania’s favourite destinations to visit is her beloved hometown Porto. She also loves to explore seaside towns, finding remote beaches to relax on and enjoy the calming sounds of the sea. She has recently visited Mallorca and was mesmerised by the beauty of the island. In her spare time, Vania enjoys reading, going for walks, watching the sunset and spending time with friends. She also enjoys finding nice restaurants with incredible food and rooftop views.

    What Vania says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “Distant Journeys has an incredibly supportive and experienced team. Everyday is an exciting journey in itself. I will also have the opportunity to help our customers with booking their dream holiday, which is very rewarding for me.”

  • Ellie McVann

    Ellie McVann

    Reservations Consultant

    Ellie joined Distant Journeys in April 2023 as a Reservations Consultant. Having previously worked at Disneyland, Ellie has always enjoyed planning holidays and travelling, which led to her pursuing a career in travel with us, she will be part of our knowledgeable team that assists our customers through each stage of the booking process. 

    Ellie’s favourite place to visit would be Paris. “After living and working there it feels like a home away from home – only more glamorous! One of my favourite things to do in the city is sit by the seine with a picnic, watching the world go by!”

    After a busy day at work, helping our customers plan for their next trip, Ellie enjoys spending time with her friends, taking part in yoga classes and going to the theatre.

    What Ellie says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the team, everyone has been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I also have enjoyed gaining an in-depth knowledge of the many locations we visit and look forward to learning more.”

  • Judith Goymer

    Judith Goymer

    Aviation Consultant

    Judith is our Aviation Consultant here at Distant Journeys she is responsible for reservations and ticketing on our airline system. Judith has 42 years of working in the travel industry. She began her career in London Business Travel where she was responsible for the Corporate Travel of many large companies. She relocated to the North with her husband and children 22 years ago and transferred her skills to the Tour Operating Industry.

    Judith loves to cruise in a warm climate and visit different places every day. In her spare time she loves listening to country music, reading, gardening, watching the football, walking and socialising with friends.

    What Judith says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “I enjoy working with a small friendly team who are committed to excellent customer service. Distant Journeys provide a good work-life balance for me.”

  • Nicole Hinton

    Nicole Hinton

    Operations Consultant

    Nicole is a Reservations and Operations Consultant at Distant Journeys. She kick-started her career in the travel industry with us in August 2018. Nicole’s role is collating passenger’s information and requests to send to our Ground Agents at all destinations. She enjoys travelling around the UK to different campsites in the countryside, enjoying the peace and quiet – and the beautiful views!

    Nicole’s dream destination to visit is Japan due to its beauty and culture. In Nicole’s downtime she enjoys playing a variety of video games against her partner and friends. She also loves to read, do puzzles and crochet.

    What Nicole says about working for Distant Journeys –

    Even though we’re a small team, ever since I started here they have helped me to grow, both professionally and personally, and continue to do so. Everyone here is friendly, kind and fun, and we all work well together to ensure that our valued customers get the holiday of a lifetime.

  • Milly Byczkowski

    Milly Byczkowski

    Operations Consultant

    Milly spent 5 years living in Australia before joining Distant Journeys in November of 2019. Although Milly is new to the travel industry, living in Australia for five years has taught her a lot about the country, and she has a huge wealth of knowledge on all things Australia! Milly’s favourite places to visit on holiday are Fiji and the Pacific Islands, where she enjoys the hot weather, relaxed way of life, and friendliness of the locals. When not in work, Milly is very active and enjoys hiking and swimming, although loves to read when relaxing.

    What Milly says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “I enjoy working within a small team. Everyone is friendly and it is a joy to be a part of a great working environment. The job is very rewarding when helping people to plan their dream holidays”.

  • Jamie Connor

    Jamie Connor

    Documentation & Administration Assistant

    Jamie is our Documentation & Administration Assitant and has worked at Distant Journeys since May 2022. He is new to the industry but is learning something new every day. His job focus is preparing travel documents for our customers as well as providing necessary travel requirements. Jamie’s favourite place to visit is the Canary Islands due to the scenery and food as well as the vast number of different activities – with his favourite being water sports. In Jamie’s free time he likes to watch football (especially Everton) and occasionally plays football. He enjoys playing video games and spending quality time with his girlfriend, watching Netflix and going on days out.

    What Jamie says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “A small family like team who are hardworking and love having a good laugh. Everyone also has a great work ethic and are committed to providing customers with the holiday of a lifetime.”

  • Layla Smith

    Layla Smith

    Documentation & Administration Assistant

    Layla joined Distant Journeys in December 2022 as Administration and Documentation assistant. Her role requires preparing and producing customer holiday documents, managing the printing and mailing of daily brochure requests, and co-ordinating customer communications.

    In her spare time, Layla enjoys visiting places around the world to experience different cultures and spending time with her friends. Layla’s favourite holiday destination has to be New York City due to the surreal feeling of visiting world-famous attractions.

    What Layla says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “Everyone in the team is friendly and welcoming. Everyone is passionate and ensures they go above and beyond for every customer.”

  • Amelia Hanson

    Amelia Hanson

    Product Assistant

    Amelia originally joined as our Marketing and Administration Assistant in August 2022, she has since been travelling around Asia and Australia for 3 months and has returned to Distant Journeys as a Product Assistant. Her main job is researching new destinations and developing new itineraries. Amelia’s favourite holiday destination is New York after visiting at Christmas time, the best time of the year! She also enjoyed sightseeing and the restaurants. In her spare time, she likes to socialise with her friends over dinner and wine, binge watch Netflix series and shop till she drops.

    What Amelia says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “I am learning new skills every day, although Distant Journeys is a small team, together we are passionate at delivering our clients a once in a lifetime experience.”

  • Jasmine Bracewell

    Jasmine Bracewell

    Marketing Assistant

    Jasmine is a Marketing Assistant and joined Distant Journeys in December 2022. Jasmine loves to travel and spent her gap year working as a Chalet Host in Val D’Isere, France.

    Her role as Content & Social Lead in marketing involves looking after Distant Journeys social media platforms, blog posts, press advertisements and email marketing.

    Jasmine’s favourite destination in Europe has to be Ibiza. She loves the bohemian vibe, the bright blue Mediterranean Sea and the world-famous venues like Café Mambo and Pikes. Out of Europe, she loves the hustle and bustle of New York City. Jasmine spends her free time with family, friends and her dog Bleu. She also loves to hike in the Lake District, go to the gym, and go out for lunch with a spot of shopping!

    What Jasmine says about working for Distant Journeys –

    “Everyone at Distant Journeys has been so welcoming since I started, always keen to help and I get to learn about lots of different countries and cultures, which I really enjoy.”

How can we help?

If you're ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime, we're here to help! Learn more about us, how our tours work, or get in touch with a knowledgeable member of our team toady.

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    Distant Journeys has won 18 awards over the last seven years, at the British Travel Awards, and we have been awarded Feefo’s highest Platinum Trusted Rating for customer satisfaction.

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