Frui founder, James Lockett, gives us an insight into choosing destinations and his favourite Frui memories…
Have you always been interested in travel?
I guess you could say that when growing up family holidays were always a little bit eccentric. Whether it was trekking in Africa, sailing around the Galapagos Islands or staying in the Amazon rainforest, I was always made aware of the amazing places that existed in the world which made me want to explore more.
How did you get involved in the travel industry?
Kind of by accident really! While I was an art teacher I did a lot of travelling and on one particular Italian cooking trip I got talking with the tour organizer who told me that I should start running painting holidays in a little known region of Italy called Abruzzo. He said he would help me to sort it out and invited me back to look around Abruzzo. The rest as they say is history!
What do you look for in a new destination?
I’m always looking out for unusual destinations where people can really experience something quite different to what they’re used to. For example, our new trip to Ethiopia is a really amazing location full of epic Grand Canyon style landscapes and medieval castles. It’s been a real pleasure introducing this amazing country to people whose opinions up until now have been of a famine stricken country.
What’s the most fulfilling aspect of a first trip to a new destination?
I guess for me it’s all about the ‘buzz’ moments. On every trip there are certain points when you just think, ‘Wow! How did I end up here!’ It’s those special moments, whether it is dancing with Kurdish locals in a bar in Istanbul or staring over an amazing Italian landscape at sunset, these are the moments that make it really worthwhile.
Whats the weirdest situation you’ve ever been in on a Frui holiday?
We used to do trips to Syria, before the conflict broke out. It is an amazing country and we really miss it! On one particular trip, on a very quiet afternoon, shortly before the conflict broke out the guests went off to shoot their photo projects in the old square in Aleppo. A few minutes later a pro-Assad rally erupted in the square! After making sure that everyone was safe, we let the guests continue the project. Man did we come away with some amazing documentary style shots!
Where is your ideal next Frui destination?
Space! This April Fools Day we created a spoof photography course called ‘Frui’s Intergalactic Photography Holiday’ and advertised it on our Social Media channels. We got a lot of tongue in cheek interest, and it got me thinking! Maybe one day we’ll be approached by a gazillionaire who loves the idea and they’ll sponsor us. If not, I’ll just carry on taking pictures at home in my space suit…