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Meet the Team

Home Icon Meet the Team

Distant Journeys was founded in 2014 by our three directors; Andrew, Richard and Simon. Since then, Distant Journeys has steadily grown to a small but perfectly formed team with a wealth of experience in the travel industry, and a passion to ensure our travellers have their holiday of a lifetime. Find out more about our team’s experience, passions and interests below!

The Team

  • Simon Whittle

    Simon Whittle

    Managing Director

    Simon is our Managing Director here at Distant Journeys, and founded the company with our other directors, Andrew and Richard in 2014, having had 21 years of experience in the travel industry himself. 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 their dog Buddy, 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”.

  • Andrew Laycock

    Andrew Laycock


    Andrew is one of our Directors at Distant Journeys, and started the company in 2014 with our other Directors, Simon and Richard. Having over 26 years of travel industry experience, working for Journeys of Distinction and Go Touring, and being Managing Director for 20 years there, Andrew has brought a wealth of experience to Distant Journeys. New Zealand and South Africa feature as Andrew’s favourite touring destinations, as spectacular landscapes are close to his heart. Andrew is a big family man, and often enjoys taking long walks on the beach with his family and their dog Busta, but when the chance arises, he jumps at the chance to play a round of golf.

    What Andrew says about working for Distant Journeys – “I think we’re a great company to work for with exciting tours to some very special destinations. We have a small enthusiastic team, and the office has a great positive feel”.

  • Richard Hanson

    Richard Hanson


    Richard founded Distant Journeys in 2014 with other directors Simon and Andrew, having a wealth of experience spanning well over two decades, starting in the travel industry working as a resort representative in Ibiza. Today, Richard continues his travels overseas to long haul destinations researching and fine tuning the wonderful destinations Distant Journeys feature. Richard is a keen boater and enjoys many family holidays sailing around the stunning bays and beaches of Mallorca in the summer months with his wife Gill and children Sam and Amelia. When not travelling the world, Richard spends quality time with his family and friends in his home town of Southport enjoying walks with his beloved black Labrador Archie.

    What Richard says about working for Distant Journeys – “Whilst we all possess a wide variety of experiences and skill sets, we all share one huge passion and that is travel. When you love your job and get a buzz sharing your own travel experiences with others it never feels like work!”.

  • Lee Patterson

    Lee Patterson

    Operations Manager

    Lee is our Operations Manager, and has worked for Distant Journeys for five years, with a total of 10 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”.

  • Liz Reddy

    Liz Reddy

    Product Manager

    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 being spent as a Product Manager. Travelling is a big part of Liz’s job, travelling on our tours to find the right itinerary fit to allow the best experience for her passengers. Liz says that her favourite city is Rome thanks to the history and amazing food, and anywhere in Asia for the same reasons. Scenery-wise, New Zealand and the UK are her favourites (you can’t beat the lake district!). At home, Liz enjoys a well-earned drink in the pub after walking her dog Hector with her partner Wayne, weekends away in her new campervan, 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.

  • Alex Helsby

    Alex Helsby

    Reservations and Operations 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

    Reservations and Operations 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”.

  • Nicole Hinton

    Nicole Hinton

    Reservations and Operations Consultant

    Nicole is a Reservations and Operations Consultant with us, and has worked for Distant Journeys since August 2018, kicking off her exciting career in the travel industry with ourselves! Nicole’s favourite place to visit is Japan, owing her love to the fascinating culture and history, as well as the beautiful scenery (especially the cherry blossoms) of the spectacular country. In her free time, Nicole is often found enjoying reading, taking photos, swimming, or marvelling in the latest technology.

    What Nicole says about working for Distant Journeys – “Working with friendly colleagues is a fantastic atmosphere to be a part of while in the office, and helping people to achieve their dream holidays continues to be a rewarding experience for me”.

  • Milly Byczkowski

    Milly Byczkowski

    Reservations 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”.

  • 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”.


Award-Winning Holidays

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.

Guaranteed Price Promise

Know you are paying the best price for your holiday with our Price Promise. We never offer last minute discounts and we guarantee the earlier you book the better the offer you’ll receive.

100% Financial Protection

Book in the confidence your money is 100% safe. All Distant Journeys holidays are fully bonded by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 10913) or ABTOT (number 5427).


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