Goodbye, Beaten Path

This expedition curator wants to help fellow travellers go off the beaten track.

By Edmund Wee      1 November 2019

From nomadic camping to outdoor sledding, Scott Tay’s expeditions are all about the transformative power of experiential adventure travel. Guiding travellers to less chartered territories such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Ladakh, he is determined to be a real-life Indiana Jones of sorts. NSMan chats with the founder of Beyond Expeditions about his journeys.

How Did You Get Started In This Business?

Since I was a teenager, I have always been fascinated by the exploration of places that are off the beaten path. So in the year after I left polytechnic, I went on my first backpacking trip to Europe. It changed my life. I caught the travel bug and, since then, I’ve explored – whether solo or with a buddy – far-off places such as Uzbekistan, Georgia, Papua and Kazakhstan, among others. And it dawned on me: If there are truly so many such far-flung places to see and experience beside the conventional tourist destinations, why not share this spirit of adventure and travelling with others?

Why The Focus On Destinations Such As Mongolia And Kazakhstan?

In all honesty, these places feel like “home”. For example, I love Mongolia for its vastness and the feeling of freedom it arouses in me, and Kazakhstan for its diversity of ethnicity.

Your Expeditions Are To Destinations That Are Off The Beaten Track. Why Are More Singaporeans Embarking On Such Trips?

I think Singaporeans are tired of going to conventional touristy destinations, and they now want a different cultural and travel experience. The other reason is that there’s a group who just enjoy being in remote places and crave first-hand interaction with the locals.

Name An Expedition You Led That Left The Greatest Impression On You.

That would certainly be the charity expedition in 2018 to the Gobi Desert that I helped organised to raise funds and cancer awareness for the Singapore Cancer Society. There, we experienced harsh, unpredictable weather and endured hundreds of kilometres of off-road bumpy rides; stuck vans that needed an entire village’s effort to rescue; uncomfortable outback conditions; crazy, pesky sand-flies bites; fatigue and painful blisters. There were 19 of us on that expedition, including four cancer survivors. In retrospect, the journey is a parallel of what cancer patients have to face in their daily battles – from the physical torment to the mental strain.


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