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Helen Bateman

Operations Manager for the Americas

Helen joined Dragoman in 2011 as an overland leader and driver - after a very successful career on the road she then joined the office in 2016 to head up our Operations and Product in the Americas.

- What's your favourite destination? 

Our Patagonia trip is awesome. The scenery is spectacular, rugged and remote, with opportunities for hiking, ice climbing and horse riding - its impossible to take a bad photo here. I love the camp site on the edge of Lago Pehoe, with its incredible views of the lake and the mountains - we had a family of foxes playing on the edge of the site when we were there last. One of my groups graced the front of our 2012 brochure, in the Torres Del Paine National Park.

- What has been your favourite or most memorable occasion whilst travelling?

In 2015 we were travelling across the Tibetan plateau, and an unexpected blizzard blew in through our wild-camp spot, blasting our tents with snow! With these icy conditions, we decided to abandon the idea of camping and caught a ride with some locals to stay in a nearby teahouse - some of the group went ahead to find the place and see if we could stay, while others stayed with us to help pack the tents away. The Tibetans were quick to offer their hospitaility, and got all our group fed, watered, and warm! For me this was a great example of our passengers working together, supporting each other and making the most of the situation, even when it wasn't going to plan - one of passengers later told me that this was one of his favourite experiences on the road. I think this is why many of us love overlanding so much - you never know what is around the corner!

- What's the most essential item in your backpack? 

Though it may be predictable, I couldn't leave without my iPod - it contains everything i need from the GPS to music for the campfire. I do have a habit of dropping it though, so its in a very rugged case now!

- What is your one piece of advice to future overlanders? 

Someone once told me to take the time to enjoy the little moments. For me, travel isn't meant to be a series of designed experiences or tick lists - instead, enjoy the unexpected, the interactions, the things that go wrong are sometimes your best stories!