Linda's travels

Camel Derby, Samburu National Park

Linda inherited a love of other countries and a sense of adventure from her parents who, from their home on the Isle of Lewis, would take their two young daughters off school after Christmas on a bi-annual trip to experience other cultures in developing countries, including Egypt, Thailand (twice) and Malaysia. Subsequently, she and her parents holidayed together in America, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Ethiopia, Uganda, Peru, Sri Lanka, Laos, Bhutan, India, and Thailand.

Linda continued to travel after leaving school and through her university years. While studying Tropical Environmental Science at Aberdeen, she spent her second year at the University of Oregon, and her time in the US was a formative influence. In particular, she was impressed by the American 'can-do' attitude and the lack of stuffiness that meant she could do salsa dancing and scuba diving as part of her curriculum.

Day one of Trans-America cycling trip - Eugene, Oregon

She celebrated the end of that year in a typical adventure, cycling with a friend the 4,100 miles from Eugene, Oregon, to Washington DC. A year later she cycled for three and a half months, firstly through China on her own, then with the same friend from Lhasa in Tibet across the Himalayas to Katmandu in Nepal.

Linda graduated from Aberdeen with a first class honours degree and after gaining a MSc with Distinction in Rural Resources and Environmental Policy, she studied further at the University of Chiapas in Mexico. She followed this up by taking a PhD, during which she spent 22 months doing field research in Uganda, looking at how different types of park management regimes affect the attitudes of native peoples. Linda had recently passed her exams for an MBA from Warwick Business School with only her thesis to complete.

Mexican Indian family San Cristobel

Linda's academic studies had concentrated mainly on environmental issues but her focus began to move while working for the World Wildlife Fund in Lima, Peru, from 2002 to 2005. As a Forest Programme Leader, she prepared schemes for nature conservation and poverty reduction, and her focus shifted from conservation to the protection of indigenous communities and their rights, as she experienced at first hand the interdependence of the two. This was a significant development in Linda’s thinking.

In every country that Linda visited and lived in, she wanted to get to know and spend time with local people, and each country and its people had a particular impact on her. She once said what a great feeling it was to get your bag on top of a central American bus and head off into the sunset with happy music blaring out at top volume in a bus crammed with the local people and their animals.

Linda in Afganistan