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Sam McManus – Bath Spa University

 Alumni profile 

Course studied: BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English Literature
Graduating year: 2007

Sam grew up in the Kent countryside. He walked out one midsummer morning into a lifetime of travel and adventure. Travel and books: these two passions have fuelled journeys to over 60 countries whilst living on four continents, and led to the founding of YellowWood Adventures.

He has always favoured the road less travelled. Whilst living in Japan he took his tent and surfboard and spent three months island-hopping down the 1100km of Ryukyu archipelago, camping on deserted beaches and talking to crabs. In the Amazon rainforest Sam spent two weeks with an Indian guide carrying only a machete, fishhooks, salt, sugar and cocoa leaves, learning to live off the land. He got bitten quite a lot.

It's in mountainous regions that Sam has most enjoyed following his feet; be it the Himalayas, Alps, Andes, the highest plateau in Africa, ice-climbing in the Tian Shan mountains or exploring the lost assassins’ castles in the Alborz of Iran. A veritable mountain of banana sandwiches, history books, novels, travel writings and biographies always accompany these adventures, as does (wherever possible) a horse or two.

As strong as this spirit of adventure and inquisitiveness is, there's also an equally strong desire to share these unique experiences with others. Together with the team at YellowWood, Sam put together original itineraries in Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Mongolia and Kashmir, and has plans for many more in Lebanon, Oman and the wild islands of Japan, to name but a few. All these places offer culture, nature, adventure and that off-the-beaten-track wildness that means when you get home, you know that you've really been somewhere.

More recently, Sam has authored his own book, Wax & Gold: Journeys in Ethiopia & other roads less travelledwhich includes 15 years' worth of adventures from his many journey's around the globe, with a specific focus on his time in the Ethiopian Mountains. Sam's time in Ethiopia was instrumental in the foundation of YellowWood Adventures.

Sam has also occasionally taken on the role of guest lecturer to students undertaking BA Tourism Management at Bath Spa University.

Why did you choose the course you studied at Bath Spa?

I simply loved and love reading.

What were the highlights of your time here?

Reading poetry in the Folly by the lake.

How did the course support your steps into industry?

I was able to live in Japan for a year studying in a Japanese university as part of Bath Spa's exchange programme – my course also taught me a huge amount about the world and gave me the confidence to learn and achieve the goals I set my mind to.

"The best thing about the course was..."

The excellent range of quality literature in the library and like-minded people to discuss it with.

"I am most proud of..."

Creating a business.

"My advice for current students is..."


"I recommend Bath Spa because..."

It can open all the doors you want – you just have to knock.

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