Meet your guide - Nia
Hi, I'm Nia - Founder and Chief Guide (I gave myself that title!) of Real Wales Tours. Born right here in South Wales 30-something years ago. A farming family, our holidays were taken between lambing season and haymaking; bundled into our brave little car with my parents, brother, sister and our dog, we made the 5 hour journey from South to North to the land of my (grand)fathers on the stunning North Wales coast. If it rained during those long summer holidays I don't remember. All I have are idyllic recollections of endless days spent playing on the sand, swimming in the sea and toasting marshmallows on a bonfire with skin glowing from the fire or maybe the sun.
I was an impatient and curious child, never sitting still for a moment. Not much changed as an adult; I spent a year overseas studying French and Spanish which sparked a lasting love for exploring other cultures and foreign lands so before my poor mother could say 'where?!', I packed my backpack and left to see as much of the world as I possibly could. I headed first to Central America, then South America, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and East Africa before Hiraeth pulled me home again.
They say there is nothing like foreign travel to make you know your own country, and never one to stand still, I began to rediscover my Wales with brand new eyes. Friends I'd made on my travels came to visit and I took them with me to my most loved spots and on adventures to explore new parts of Wales together. I can't count the times I have heard friends say 'I never knew Wales was so beautiful'. It made me so proud to see people's reactions when I took them to my favourite beach, waterfall, clifftop or country pub.
My pride and passion for showing off the beauty of Wales, and a hefty dose of travel planning experience led me to the idea of starting Real Wales Tours, which I began in 2016. With local insight, Wales offers a constant surprise for the visitor and I just love taking people beyond the tired clichés and preconceptions of Wales to a place of childlike magic and wonder. It transports me in some way back to those carefree summer days of my childhood.
I still love learning about other cultures, and languages. I speak Spanish, Welsh (not as well as perhaps I should...) and rusty French, as well as English. I enjoy nothing more than to go off for a long hike and am a qualified Lowland Leader. I spend all of my spare time exploring Wales and travelling further afield with my family and dog - I have 4 year-old twin daughters and a golden retriever called Sunny. You'll probably find me on the beach or walking the coast path or mountains of Wales - I want to see everything!
My favourite thing about being a guide is the people I get to meet, the conversations and culture I'm able to absorb without even leaving Wales! My main aim is to help people have a great experience, and to fall a little bit in love with Wales. Hope to see you on a trip soon!
Nia is a full member of the Mountain Training Association