Recently 2h took a minute to catch up with our very own ambassador, Phil Hoffmann from Phil Hoffmann Travel. It’s been our best kept secret but Phil and Alison Hoffmann have been terrific supporters of the 2h Project for several years. We figured after that length of time we were well overdue for a formal introduction.
So Phil, why 2h?
We get a lot of things hitting our desk but it was friends that first highlighted the work of 2h and the poverty in Cambodia, Alison met Kate, we talked it through and we decided – we can do something, we should do something, let’s get people behind it.
Ex-Physics and Chemistry teacher, not Geography? What’s the travel connection?
I owe it to an auntie. She wanted a Hoffmann to get up and travel the world. No-one in the family had traveled, she hadn’t done a lot of travelling herself. She helped me buy my first airfare. I’ve always loved going to new places, new destinations, the thrill for me is how do you get others excited about places they’ve never been to or heard of.
How much overseas travel do you do each year?
12-14 weeks. Either taking groups away, attending travel conferences or supporting professional travel associations.
What do you love most about travel?
I love getting people going who’ve never travelled. Seeing them develop their own travel legs. Life is a continuous learning curve, so when you’re with people travelling to new destinations, new things, new friends, new cultures, it helps keep your world evolving, it takes you out of your comfort zone and out of suburbia.
What’s the essential travel item?
You’ve got to have your health. Too many people leave it too late to travel. Also, you’ve got to roll with the curves, plane delay, train delay, you’ve got to be flexible. If that plane ain’t going, it doesn’t matter whether it’s you or the Prime Minister, that plane ain’t going!
How many people now work with Phil Hoffmann Travel?
160. I started off with two staff and myself in 1990. My ambition was to have one office, five staff and play golf on Wednesday afternoon – something went wrong!
What’s one thing you love about people?
Watching them grow.
The greatest challenge working with people?
To try and teach people that what you put in to life you’ll get back tenfold. My father use to say, if you have some spare coins in your pocket you can give, if you don’t you can’t. Learn to give back and put in.
Most memorable travel moment?
Most memorable for me was my first trip into China. When I walked across the divide of the railway line between non-communist Hong Kong and mainland China, in 1975-76. We walked across the communist side, walked toward the Chinese guards with their red star hats, looked back at Hong Kong and the thought came to me, ‘I wonder if they’re going to let me back?’
Bucket List. Don’t leave it too late to do the things you want to do.
I love Greek and Turkish food. Salads, fresh fish, Number one Turkish.
Swimming. I find it tremendously relaxing, in the morning with a group of friends or during the summer months at the end of the day. To be able to get in the water, like a dog that loves water, I find it therapeutic, I feel so healthy.
Finally, why should someone join a 2h team travelling to Cambodia?
Its so worthy, it’s a must for everyone to get up there and be a part of it, and know your helping a nation that needs a lot, a lot of help. The things 2h are doing is so valuable, people got to get behind it!