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Our history...

So where did it all begin?

Way back in 1974, in the heyday of the hippie trail across Asia, two friends took an overland truck to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush.

High with the excitement of reaching one of the world’s most inaccessible monuments and with growing demands from Aussies and Kiwis wanting to travel west; John Gillies and David Burlinson built three more trucks and began taking groups from London to Kathmandu. Cloudy Calais to the fabled city of Kathmandu soon became a well-trodden path for The Trans Asia Overland.

Founders of Exodus John Gillies and David Burlinson

Exodus Expansion

The Exodus global expansion continued with overland trips to Africa which brought a brand new challenge. If the trip was completed in 16 weeks it was regarded as an achievement. As well as pioneering new Overland routes to destinations such as South America, through the Amazon basin.

As Overland tours departed in the autumn and returned in the Spring, Exodus began using underemployed overland drivers as trek leaders for Annapurna and Everest Base Camp. 

From this our Walking and Trekking programme grew rapidly, launching the opportunity for shorter two and three-week trips. By the end of the decade our trekking routes covered most of the world’s main mountain ranges and we had become leaders in the field.

The break-up of the Soviet Union opened up new adventures and Exodus began taking overland trucks into China, something which no other UK company managed for well over 10 years.

The 1990s were also the decade when our Discovery programme really took off and our Cycling programme was born.

By the 2000s Exodus’ range of adventurous and active holidays reached almost every corner of the globe and in 2004 the first dedicated “alternative snow holidays” and Family Adventures brochures were launched and trips to the Polar regions finally saw us achieve the dream of having trips across all seven continents.


Our Ethos 

Today we continue to evolve to suit changing travel tastes and we are always striving to bring our travellers new destinations and new ways of enjoying existing destinations. From the beginning, we have had a passion for adventures and a burning desire to share this fascination with the world with our clients. A key part of the Exodus ethos is ensuring that we support the communities we visit and protect the environments we travel to.

From humble beginnings, the company has gone from strength to strength and we are now looking forward to the next decade of active exploration of our wonderful planet.


BBC Documents Our History...