Born in Scotland, Eilidh moved to Australia when she was 11. After finishing high school there, she was off straight away, buying a campervan and beginning a year-long trip around Europe before her final school results were even out. After a bit of time working in hotels in Melbourne, Port Douglas and Falls Creek, and a few more trips to various countries, Eilidh, together with Ben and two other friends, drove from Melbourne to Scotland, taking 331 days to do it. This was when both Eilidh and Ben’s interest for Central Asia was sparked, and their love affair with this little-known part of the world was begun.
Eilidh was 23 when she started organising and leading tours in Central Asia, and since then has run tours to 14 countries. Her specialities include schmoozing with Turkmen officials and discovering abandoned buildings (preferably Soviet), and we can thank her for such places as Yangiabad and the Solar Furnace in Parkent.
Eilidh and Ben lived in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 2015 until 2019. They're often asked how it all begun - how does one start running tours to Central Asia? Well basically, they just moved there and did it. They loved the region, and over their 10-year love affair with this bizarre corner of the world, have come to know it and understand it from a pretty unusual perspective.
When not on the road, Eilidh’s a pianist, drummer and percussionist, and loves playing jazz especially. She’s also been known to collect the worst postcards she can find from some of the most interesting places that exist.
You might have guessed from the name that Ben is Eilidh’s husband, but believe it or not, he has more to offer than just that! Although their adult travel has all been together, Ben began funding his own travel at the age of 12, missing school to take trips to Turkey, Greece, Fiji, and Norfolk Island, just to name a few.
Not wanting to be too practical, he wrote the thesis for his Masters on Central Asian integration, but with the limited job opportunities that such a qualification comes with, naturally he had to use a bit of creativity to come up with a job. So together with Eilidh, he took the plunge and moved to Almaty to begin running tours in Central Asia, beginning with Turkmenistan. They had no idea if it would work, and were prepared that it might end up with them running one tour and giving up, but dozens of tours and ten years later, here we are.
Ben is known for his extensive trivia knowledge, which comes in very handy for long bus rides! He loves a good road trip and has a passion for driving some of the most dangerous and exciting roads in the world. When not traveling he loves playing and watching sport, and is an excellent squash player.
Originally from Perth, Australia, Ben has had the travel bug from a young age, starting from a school trip to Beijing and Tokyo. Ben then went and completed a year of exchange in Taiwan, before doing university in Shanghai and ultimately traveling all over the world. After graduating with a Masters in Finance Ben got a corporate job, which lasted just under a year before the shackles were ripped off and he moved to Cambodia to escape what he calls “desk hell”.
Since then, he has ventured from the Galapagos to the Arctic and has worked as a guide in some of the world’s least visited regions, namely North Korea and Western China. He has also run bus tours all over Europe until recently when Covid put a stop to that.
Ben is known as a language nerd, having studied Mandarin, Japanese, French, Russian and now Arabic. In his downtime he loves to spend hours cooking and eating foods he’s discovered across the globe.
Duncan is SAIGA's resident tech geek, who's called on for all our IT related issues, including of course, but not limited to, website design, building and maintenance.
Duncan has a keen interest in exploring some of the weird and wonderful parts of the world. He's more about quality than quantity though, and although he hasn't been to a huge number of countries, he's been to some pretty cool ones. Turkmenistan, Lebanon and Kenya so far are his favourites.
When not traveling or building websites, Duncan can be found flying model aircraft, learning whatever language has taken his fancy, or finding out about some obscure facet of history.