Meet the Boss – Nick Pulley, Selective Asia

Nick Pulley, Selective AsiaKnai Bang Chatt, Kep, Cambodia

This week in Meet the Boss we talk to Nick Pulley, founder and managing director of Selective Asia. Nick has travelled from the frozen tundra of the Canadian Arctic to the deserts of Namibia but fell hopelessly in love with Southeast Asia, the ‘heartland’ of his company, whilst travelling there in the early 1990s. He founded Selective Asia in 2005, specialising in privately-guided, customised holidays throughout the region.

* Where did you go on holiday in 2012, and why? Any plans for 2013?

“Most of my trips take me to Asia, where the line between holiday and work often becomes more than a little blurred! But last year I did manage to drag myself away to a different continent, and travelled west to Argentina and Uruguay. It was complete bliss, although it got me thinking about a new Selective project… I also travelled in Malaysia, Cambodia and in Burma, where, yet again, I witnessed the extent of the progress there, even just a year after my previous trip.

“This year my main trip will be in Thailand, where there is no question that many previous visitors are having their heads turned by some of the superb new eco-style retreats and rural lodges – also ideal for young families looking to introduce their children to pastures new. In addition, we plan to launch Indonesia in 2013, so I dare say I’ll be revisiting there are some stage.”

* What is your favourite bolthole in the UK and why?

“My home town of Brighton – I moved here in 2008 and love it!”

* If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

“The Burmese city of Yangon – it may be a long way away but I think it’s fantastic. It’s all about submerging yourself amongst the narrow, overcrowded back streets, getting yourself carried along by the general hustle and bustle of city life. Things are changing so fast there and I can’t get enough of the place.”

* Please tell us three items that are always found in your luggage.

“Noise cancelling headphones, 100% Deet spray and, these days, my iPad… how did we ever travel without one?”

* What one thing would most improve people’s overall holiday experience?

“It varies from one person to another. For some, I’d say a better understanding of the cultures they are visiting, whilst for others I’d say a little less research. Some of our clients do far too much, researching things to the minutest detail – and taking away all the fun of discovering once they’re on the ground!”

* What has been your worst holiday experience?

“Caravanning at the age of 7 in Cornwall – in the rain. Dad forgot Mum’s birthday – that 5-berth weather-besieged caravan was not a fun place to be that week.”

* Tell us your favourite hotel

In the UK: “I don’t stay in hotels in the UK so can’t name even one.”

In Europe: “I don’t travel in Europe enough, however I had a wonderful few nights at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris a few years ago. What a treat.”

Rest of the world: “I only have one and it is unsurprisingly in Asia – Cambodia to be specific. It’s Knai Bang Chatt in Kep – everything a hotel should be and no more. It’s uncomplicated, relaxing, friendly, unpretentious and bang on the doorstep of some of SE Asia’s finest seafood.”

* What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

“We are expanding and venturing into new destinations – there is a wealth of talent within the sales team, with a wide variety of skill sets. I love being able to draw on these and give people the freedom to step away from sales from time to time, and get their teeth into projects that will enhance us as a company and our customers’ experiences.”

* Thanks, Nick.

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