Who is David Skillan?

Everyone has heard of Phileas (some call him Phineas) Fogg, Jules Verne’s famous nineteenth-century fictional character, who circumnavigated the globe in 80 days. David Skillan took rather longer—80 months (six and a half years)—while making a 1960s journey of personal discovery. (Actually, his travels started years before that, but that’s another long story!)


A youthful David with young friends on board Amazon steam. Circa 1967.
A youthful David with young friends on board Amazon steamer. Circa 1967.

Following his marathon backpacking trip, David spent five years with a Swiss-owned travel organization, based mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia. He helped grow that business into one of the world’s largest tour operators.

In 1976, he established David Skillan’s Travel Enterprises in Vancouver, Canada. He worked mostly as a freelance travel writer, tour manager, and tourism instructor, developing the course Tour Managing, Escorting, and Guiding for the British Columbia Institute of Technology. In 1985, David established a tour company, Skillan’s Tours and Safaris, which he ran for nearly 20 years. He spent the rest of his career as a freelance tour leader, representing other well-established tour companies, doing what he does best and enjoys most—leading and hosting tours.


“Skillan never regrets
the challenge and adventure
of his early years of travel.
Not only have these shaped him
and made of him
the quintessential tour manager,
they have provided him with memories
that most people cannot even imagine.”

                  ~British Columbia's Business Examiner


He travelled on a shoestring throughout the 1960s, and then spent many years escorting first-class tours that often included the world’s finest hotels. David feels fortunate to have seen the world both the hard way and the easy way.

As well as the Australian Outback and African Wilderness he has lived in the great cities of London, Berlin, Cape Town, Bangkok, Tokyo and New York.


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