My previous life as the guy who founded Audley happened by accident really. I was heading for a job in IT or finance when my itch to travel got in the way.
I caught the bug for it when I went around the world just after finishing Uni. I’d only saved enough to live off £5 a day, so it was the proper skint backpacking experience. I got to India, SE Asia, Nepal, Australia, and New Zealand on that. It was all wonderful, but the pivotal bit was when I got into Vietnam (which was pretty unheard of – it wasn’t a tourist destination at the time) and stayed for a month.
Once home, and saving to travel again, I was stuffing envelopes at the Association of Anaesthetists one day for £3.50 per hour, and I thought, ‘I have all that Vietnamese knowledge – people must want to go there.’
I put a £45 ad in the back of the Sunday times saying, ‘Guided trip to Vietnam’ and four people signed up. I didn’t lie – I told them I hadn’t done the guide thing before, but they were up for an adventure, and we had a riot of a time.
It was a while before Audley became Audley, but that was its beginnings. Even when we upgraded the accommodation to a more luxurious level, it was always about culture over gold taps.
For me, travel is about getting under the skin of a place. That might mean homestays, tent stays, or hotel stays. It’s whatever is characterful, unique, and real – the opposite of the templates that big hotel brands use to roll out across the world. So, when we found the location for Three Mile Beach, it felt the same. It’s tucked away. It’s a hidden gem. But it’s within reach of everything too.