We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
We see and do
What sets us apart is our creative approach.
We are a diverse team of varied talents: from securing properties that are otherwise unavailable, to gaining private access to world-heritage sites to host fabulous events, to casting elves, or directing pirate battles.
Some of us are highly creative, others technical, planning the intricate detail. Some excel in managing spectacular events, whilst others carefully handle our guests’ needs on the ground. They do so with flair and charm, taking stunning photography on location in the process.
Born in England, with a direct maternal bloodline to the last king of Burma and a history of nomadic predecessors, Niel has a rich and varied background and has spent most of his life exploring remote and exotic places.
Driven by the thrill of the unknown and pursuing new challenges, Niel’s earliest adventures include travelling completely by natural power from England to Antarctica – cycling, sailing, kayaking and climbing the entire way, whilst raising funds for orphaned children – circumnavigations of Australia by 4×4, hitchhiking across Asia and the Americas, island hopping throughout the South Pacific and sailing across all the world’s oceans.
With an almost fanatical passion for experiencing life at its most extraordinary, he’s as comfortable in inhospitable far-flung jungles as he is sailing luxurious super-yachts.
It is Niel’s ambition, determination and boundless enthusiasm which led to the founding of ‘Based On A True Story’. Always striving to share the beauty of the world and the wisdom of its cultures he has forged new frontiers in travel, and, with the help of our guests, has supported environmental issues and the preservation of indigenous cultures around the world.
Oliver von Holzing
With a systematic approach to strategy and organisation, and a penchant for Lederhosen and Bayern Munich, our MD can’t hide his Teutonic origins. His life story is rather more eclectic, having spent most of it living in various diverse corners of the world, including Mexico, Switzerland, Wales, Scotland and Canada, before settling in London.
Oliver honed his professional skills in Ad-Land at Ogilvy, thus bringing creative agency expertise to our business. His transition into the travel industry over a decade ago has never ceased to fill him with joy, and he particularly relishes working with our team and diverse partners around the world to develop extraordinary solutions for our clients.
Having tired of moving boxes, Oliver finally put down roots in London and now likes nothing more than a brisk romp on Hampstead Heath with our faithful company mascot Romulus. He still regularly escapes his settled bliss, often in search of a once-in-a-lifetime dive, which recently included trips to Socorro and Raja Ampat.
Back on dry land, Oliver has travelled widely and particularly enjoyed his journeys to Japan and Mongolia. However, his true love is Africa with its red soil, green savannahs, dusty Land Rovers, and magnificent wildlife.
Originally hailing from Lincolnshire’s rolling countryside in the UK, Nik’s wanderlust finally got the better of him in 2006 after the best part of 10 years working in creative advertising agencies in London.
Travels through the US, Europe and Africa followed, knowing he wanted to do something away from the confines of a ‘normal’ office, but with no real idea quite what form that would take…
A 6-month stint in the French Alps single-handedly running a VIP chalet led to a chance meeting with Based On A True Story founder Niel… and the discovery of a shared passion for authentic adventurous travel, the fine art of dinner parties, and loud rock music…
Nik joined forces with Niel soon after that in 2007, during the early days of the company, and continues to have an endless desire to explore and engage in all that the world has to offer… often with guitar in hand.
Personal highlights include playing on the banks of the Irrawaddy, and serenading reindeer (and guests) in a Sami tepee in Northern Lapland underneath the shimmering Aurora Borealis…
The daughter of a Zimbabwean-born airline pilot, a qualified ski instructor, devoted scuba diver, and a direct descendant of Charles Darwin, Sophie Wedgwood is naturally primed as an expert travel designer with pedigree.
Sophie fell in love with Africa at an early age and formed her inquisitive and devoted affection for travel during her childhood. Equally happy in the bush on safari as she is on the slopes in Switzerland, acclimatisation to new places and fresh challenges comes easily to Sophie. And she has not only managed some of our most high budget and large-scale productions but is also highly skilled in forming partnerships and building essential business relationships.
Cutting her teeth in PR before migrating across to high end travel industry events planning, Sophie has been integral to the orchestration of magnificent and magical events in far flung locations, bringing her expertise, dynamism and strategic mastery to Based On A True Story to create itineraries with incredible accuracy and diligence.
Out of the office, Sophie explores the world beneath the waves and is currently planning a trip to the Galapagos, where she will visit her Darwinian ancestral island… and perhaps discover a new creature as rare and unique as herself!
Born in the remote Scottish Highlands, Ailsa grew up exploring craggy mountains, scouring the coastline for rock pools, camping in the wilds and thriving in the great outdoors…
After migrating south to warmer climes, Ailsa has since found an equal love for life below the sea. Learning to dive on a biological research mission in Indonesia, she became a qualified ecologist, avid conservationist and a keen thalassophile. A fighter and protector of the world’s oceans and their inhabitants, Ailsa is our in-house mermaid.
With a masters degree in environmental conservation, she remains on the pulse of the world’s most pressing eco-issues and oversees our sustainability initiatives.
Naturally possessing an aptitude for all things online, Ailsa also looks after all our digital needs, web development, marketing, social media and communications.
Ailsa is an academic and hungry for knowledge, scientific proof and plant-based food. She believes that planetary wellness begins with the self, and is an advocate for yoga, mindfulness and consciousness, both on land and under the sea.
Born in Mumbai, then raised in England, Diana is a seasoned world traveller, mother, grandmother and master baker. Equally adept at handling the weights and measures of our business as she is managing a mind-boggling spread sheet, Diana takes care of our finances, accounts and payment processes.
No stranger to exotic and far flung locations such as Bora Bora and Fiji, Diana has enjoyed South African safaris, explored Maharajas palaces in India, savoured the flavours of Italy, the gastronomy of France, the hospitality of Greece, and explored Thailand with such reverence that she’s even growing Kafir limes in her own garden.
Diana’s most frequently visited destination in recent years is New Zealand, where she visits her adorable and cherished grandchildren, her loving son Niel and his wife Emma.
The matriarch of our small family business, Diana raised Niel and his siblings in Yorkshire before he first set sail on his intrepid adventures that led to the founding of Based On A True Story. Now many years later, Diana resides amongst the Tramuntana mountain range of Mallorca, not just Niel’s mother but taking care of us all… and our finances!
Hailing from the city of Santa Fe in northeast Argentina, Emiliano travelled far and wide after studying tourism in his hometown, enjoying time spent in numerous locations throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe, reaching as far east as Thailand and China.
After a 2-year period living and working in Patagonia’s beautiful Glacier National Park, hosting and guiding guests at a spectacular rural estancia, he moved to Europe with his wife, finally establishing roots in Mallorca in 2006.
Emi continued to develop his passion for travel and tourism working with Balearic properties, gaining a degree in photography and embarking on a photography career, earning several awards along the way.
Emi oversees the editing of all photography that is created during Based On A True Story guest adventures, meticulously artworking the digital book layouts before personally hand printing them, ready for binding at our artisanal partner’s exceptional workshop in London.
Outside of work, Emi can often be found playing drums or cooking up a mouth-watering asado, gaucho-style!
Splitting her childhood between Milan, the French Riviera and Toulouse, Felicita grew up with a multicultural mindset, speaking a mix of Italian, French and English at home.
She embarked on her first transatlantic flight at the tender age of 2 months, and less than fifteen years later, exploring that same city that never sleeps, Felicita decided that she would spend the rest of her life travelling the world, one way or another.
After obtaining a B.A. in International Business, she flew to Australia with only a backpack and a one-way ticket. One year later, not yet ready to head back to Europe, she pursued her solo adventure across Southeast Asia, from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City, traversing Cambodia and finishing the journey island-hopping in the Gulf of Thailand.
An expiring passport led her back to Paris, where she fortuitously began her career in luxury travel, specialising in logistically challenging, multi-country journeys.
Having fallen in love with the local cultures and people, Felicita spent the next ten years going back to Asia, furthering east to Japan and west to India, with one of her most precious memories being watching a monks’ ceremony at the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan. Though her thirst for adventure also led her to explore North and South America, New Zealand and on many road trips across Europe.
When not travelling, Felicita now lives in London and spends most of her time exercising and piling up degrees in marketing, business, holistic well-being and graphic design.
Our go-to guy for North America, Gus brings an intimate knowledge of Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and the West Coast tech world, all wrapped up in cool, Texan charisma.
Hailing from Houston and having travelled extensively, Gus now roams the States, migrating between California, Texas, and beyond, connecting with and looking after our growing US clientele.
Fresh out of college, Gus’ working life began in tourism but was quickly side-lined to a successful career in Hollywood. Travelling the world on location, Gus experienced the planet through the whirlwind of motion picture production.
But after twenty years in Tinsel Town, he now returns to the world of travel, bringing his unique skill set and experiences to our team.
With an affection for yoga and ancient Tibetan practices, Gus brings a pearl of steady cool-headed wisdom to our US endeavours as we expand our hybrid philanthropic travel model across the globe.
Currently focusing on developing some critical conservation initiatives with our US partners, Gus brings a wealth of experience to our true travel stories and is helping us write meaningful and hopeful chapters for a brighter future on planet Earth.
With a life devoted to travel, John has journeyed to and photographed many of the most remarkable locations in the world, experiencing the exhilaration of living close to the land in the most inhospitable corners. He spent many months in Antarctica before heading towards the North Pole and sledging across the continental icecap of Greenland.
Since his outstanding audio-visual debut in 1984, John has been widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most exciting nature, travel and adventure photographers. For nine years he ran a niche adventure travel business specialising in travel to Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America, focusing on ‘last chances to encounter’ indigenous peoples, landscapes, and creatures on the verge of extinction. His personal work has appeared in all the major outdoor magazines, and he has written and produced six books on outdoor and adventure and four programs for public presentations.
He has been part of the Based On A True Story team since the very start, and continues to share his immense knowledge, passion, sense of humour and intuitive sense of wonder with our guests, managing and photographing the magic of their adventures.
John now lives with his family in England’s Peak District, and, when not travelling, enjoys exploring the beautiful dales and moors close to home.
Growing up in rural Worcestershire, most of Louise’s days were spent in the saddle. As summers were spent with her horse training Godfather in America, and winters in the alps, Louise’s three passions – riding, skiing and travel – were engrained from a young age.
Graduating from Edinburgh University, Louise spent the first 10 years of her career in London working for a selection of top luxury PR agencies, overseeing the communications for hotels and tourist boards across Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia America and Australasia.
Having already travelled extensively for work and for pleasure, Louise then embarked upon an extraordinary personal venture: living on the south coast of Sri Lanka in the role of General Manager to a collection of luxury villas and their management company.
Upon returning to the UK, she held marketing positions for two luxury tour operators, before turning her hand to Project Management with Based on a True Story.
Now living in Wiltshire with her husband and working cocker spaniel, Louise still enjoys riding and skiing, as well as cooking, walking and music, and loves the opportunity to combine any of these hobbies with her travels.
Luke Perry melds travel, food and cinematography into a melting pot of magical, moving imagery to bring our stories into the cinematic realm. Originally hailing from the Cotswolds, his life path took him southward toward the Balearic Islands, where he came to settle on the island of Mallorca.
Whether living with monks in Vietnam, nomadically exploring southeast Asia with his family or opening Thai restaurants to rapturous applause — Luke takes his life experiences and brings them to his audience in a uniquely creative way.
Travelling alongside our guests Luke captures our carefully crafted experiences in his discreet and unobtrusive style to deliver films that really capture the essence of our work.
Luke joins our team of creative minds and works masterfully to deliver a level of cinematic service that equals that of our outstanding pedigree in photography.
Luke is our in house cinematographer and understands the complex language between light and celluloid, a master of his craft and a proud member of our team.
Megan is a Louisiana native but grew up moving between New York, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, and her home state. Megan’s love for travel started at a young age, tagging along with her father on business trips. Inspired by what there was to see around the world she planned her first family holiday, to French Polynesia, at the tender age of seven.
After attending Bard College in rural upstate New York studying Human Rights and Middle Eastern Studies, Megan changed course and worked in fashion advertising and public relations, first at Ralph Lauren and later Black Frame, representing global luxury brands such as Elie Saab, Gabriela Hearst, and Vivienne Westwood.
Following her career in fashion, Megan returned to her childhood passion for travel, taking two years to travel the world – something she had always wanted to do. It was during this time, visiting many different places like Iceland, Sweden, Egypt, Morocco, and India, that she realised she was destined to work in the travel industry.
Megan’s favourite destinations include Laos, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Whilst not averse to a bit of camping, she is equally at home in a luxury spa and enjoys a bit of pampering whilst on the road. On her current travel bucket list: Namibia, Botswana, Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador.
She now lives in London with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Mavis. Megan is an avid photographer and art collector. True to her Southern roots she is deeply passionate about wine and food. From street food to fine dinning she always has the best recommendations.
Mick first travelled to Indonesia on surf trips and holidays, but quickly developed a strong connection with the people, rich culture and way of life. The original homeland of his wife and children, Bali is a second home for Mick, though for the past 10 years he and his family have been drawn back to the breaking waves of the Sunshine Coast.
A passionate and diverse photographer, Mick specialised in professional surf photography for many years and has a natural flair for creative landscapes, lifestyle images, culture and portraiture. He has worked on assignments for the likes of Vanity Fair, Versace, Patagonia, Canon, Discovery Chanel, Red Bull, Rip curl, Billabong, Oakley and Quicksilver, and his work is highly awarded and recognised worldwide.
With the camera as an extension of his warm and caring soul, Mick captures the true essence and mood of any moment, and has carved a vital role within Based On A True Story. Managing and photographing adventures and expeditions around the globe for an diverse array of our guests, his experience and expertise is exceptional.
Born, raised and educated in Australia, Paul has lived on six continents, and began guiding and managing journeys around the world in 1991.
Having been based in Mozambique, Turkey, the Colorado and Canadian Rockies, the French Alps, Oman, Venezuela, Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, the west coast of Ireland, Mallorca and Bali, he has a strong background in adventure and exploration.
Paul’s expedition credentials include a 5-month, 3000km kayak expedition down the full length of the Mozambique coast and more than two dozen trips – mostly by kayak – into the jungles of the Orinoco Delta with Warao People. He worked on a project to rehabilitate Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park after it was devastated by war, and supported a 14-month, 6300km expedition, circumnavigating the island of New Guinea in a traditional dugout sailing canoe. More recently, Paul escorted guests on a world-first descent into a previously unexplored lava lake deep inside an active volcano, in Vanuatu.
He is a Divemaster, advanced skier, and over the years has guided and/or instructed in diving, kayaking, white-water canoeing, climbing, wilderness skills and travel worldwide.
In addition to Based On A True Story, clients for Paul’s photography work have included National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Men’s Journal, Australian Geographic, Getaway, Wanderlust, Africa Geographic, The Observer Magazine, amongst many others.
Ross Matthews is a Zimbabwean-born adventurer, who currently calls the UK’s south west coast home, but can be regularly found creating and managing unique experiences across the world.
Motivated to explore from an early age, he had already made his way around Europe, Southern Africa and most of the USA by the time he finished his teens. In 2015, he completed the world’s first ever winter white-water raft of the Markarfljotsgljufur Canyon in Iceland, and in 2016 was one of the first two people to ride e-fat bikes up a live volcano… more recently he has dirt biked across South East Asia and lived with indigenous tribes in the Amazon Rainforest.
His zest for adventure is matched only by his passion for photography, allowing him to document these incredible expeditions as they occur. He is yet to find a scenario where he cannot get himself and a camera into the midst of – whether it be on land, sea, underwater caves or even high in the sky.
Ross brings reassuring confidence and calmness to any journey – he is a Remote Area Medic, an experienced PADI DiveMaster, Swift-Water Rescue Technician, a skilled climber, and has had experience working with various search and rescue teams around the world.