Where it all began
In 2002, James and Karina Moreton took the first steps on a journey that would take them to some of the most spectacular and challenging places on earth. Inveterate travellers both, they had visited over 80 countries between them, but it was to Mongolia that they lost their hearts. This is their story.
Karina, an anthropologist and film maker, found herself trapped in the rat race, making commercial films which did not satisfy her desire to "make a difference". James had been working on the family farm in Warwickshire, but was ready for a new adventure. Visiting a country where horsemanship is central to the national identity appealed to him, not least the promise of galloping through wide open spaces with no boundaries. For Karina, the chance to study an ancient nomadic culture and record it on film, was irresistible.
Arriving in the city of Ulaanbaatar with their backpacks and not a word of Mongolian, they boarded the first bus they saw. As it drove out across the vast plains, they saw little groups of gers dotted among the landscape, Mongolians gathering for the annual festival of Naadam. With her film maker's eye and the camera rolling, Karina chose the most scenic spot to disembark, a tiny settlement set against majestic mountains. Within moments they were welcomed in, offered milk tea and a lifelong love affair with Mongolia began.
Karina and James gained a whole new perspective. In the richness of the culture, landscape, wildlife, and hospitality of the nomads, they discovered time and space and freedom. Their letters and emails home were full of this extraordinary land and friends and family were urging them to share what they had found. And so Panoramic Journeys was born.
Over two decades, the company has gone from strength to strength and is now recognised as a leading authority on Mongolia. It has the rare and unique advantage of being able to use its own team of experts on the ground, thanks to the close and abiding relationships it has formed with its Mongolian staff. Panoramic Journeys offers a unique experience to see the real Mongolia – close up and under the surface.
Returning guests, thrilled by what they saw in Mongolia, urged Karina and James to extend the 'Panoramic' approach to other places. The quest for comparable destinations led in 2008 to another colourful and warm Buddhist culture, the lost monasteries and flowing rivers of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Then Burma (Myanmar) emerged after decades of oppression and international isolation, and in 2011 Panoramic Journeys was delighted to add this beautiful and welcoming country to the select portfolio.
It is not too much to say that our trips change lives. Not only for our guests who tell us that they gain a new perspective – like Karina and James did on that first journey to Mongolia all those years ago – but also for the communities they visit. To read more about our Sustainable Project Fund and the positive difference we can make together, see our Responsible Travel page.
Panoramic Journeys remains a family-run business, but now the family includes their two young sons, the small Cotswolds office team and all their guides and drivers abroad. There is no doubt that guests too feel part of the special Panoramic Journeys family with over ⅔ of bookings coming from repeat and referred business.
And so to distant lands we will take you. Places that get under your skin and into your heart. Places that will challenge and inform, astound and beguile. Places of myth and adventure, of dragons and holy men, mountains and deserts. These are our journeys.
"If you want stunning scenery that goes on forever, peace, quiet and fresh air in abundance set in a place with a great sense of history that you can share with some of the most hospitable people that there are, then Mongolia is for you.The knowledge, experience and closeness of relationship with Mongolia enabled Panoramic Journeys to get us right to the heart of all these things."