Expedition Leaders


One of the key differences in joining an expedition with Arcadia is the quality of the experts who lead our trips. Each expedition is based around a theme, a story that is told throughout the trip. Our Expedition Leaders are the narrators of this story. Many are recognised world leaders in their fields – all of them are subject-matter experts whose passion, enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of the subject is an integral part of their lives.

Each of our specialist Expedition Leaders is handpicked by the owners of Arcadia Expeditions. They are chosen with great care, not only for their academic credentials, but also, just as importantly, for their ability to communicate their area of expertise to our travellers in an entertaining and enriching way.

Their job is not to pass on their wealth of knowledge through formal lectures. Rather, they will enlighten and expand the understanding of our travellers in a more informal way – through fireside chats, leading a discussion over a meal, or one-on-one over a cocktail. Our small group size allows our travellers intimate access to our Expedition Leaders, providing them the perfect environment to share their passion and bring genuine insight and depth to our stories.

Our team of charismatic academics, historians, archaeologists, journalists and authors are quite simply, the best in the business. Click on their profile to find out more about them.

David Adams FRGS

Historian, filmmaker & photojournalist – over the past 30 years he has researched, written and produced numerous documentary films in some of the most remote and difficult places on earth.

Professor Pierre Asselin

A leading authority on Vietnam’s modern history, with over 20 years visiting the country, Pierre is Dwight E. Stanford Chair in the History of US Foreign Relations at San Diego State University.


Professor Jo McDonald

One of Australia’s most distinguished Aboriginal rock art experts, Jo specialises in Indigenous archaeology and is the Director of the Centre for Rock Art Research & Management at UWA.

Seemi Ghazi

A Sufi scholar with specialisations in the history of religion, comparative mysticism, and Islamic literature, Seemi has a special interest in the life and poetry of Rumi.

Charlie McConnell

Charlie McConnell

One of the most experienced Expedition Leaders in East Africa, leading safaris for over 40 years. He has an unmatched knowledge and affinity with the tribal peoples of Ethiopia and Kenya.


John Wurdeman

A resident of Georgia for more than 20 years, John is an American-born winemaker who has played a major role in the renaissance of the country’s culinary and organic wine scene.


Dr Ben Shaw

An archaeologist with a passion for Pacific cultures and exploration, Ben has undertaken research throughout Papua New Guinea for 14 years and is a lecturer of archaeology at ANU.

Professor Harry Ricketts

Poet, academic and literary scholar with a lifelong interest in Kipling and his work, Harry’s compelling biography of Kipling is considered a definitive work on this master storyteller.

David Coulson

Writer, photographer, adventurer, David is the world’s foremost chronicler of African rock art. He has rediscovered and documented more rock art sites across Africa than any other.

Dr Iain Shearer FRAS

Iain is an archaeologist and lecturer who has worked on sites across the Middle East, North Africa and Sudan, Central Asia, Caucasus, China, India, Pakistan and the Balkans.


Michael Bustamante

Michael is an Assistant Professor of Latin American history at Florida International University, Miami. He is a sought-after commentator on contemporary Cuban and Cuban-American affairs.

Dr John Tidmarsh MBBS, FRACP

An accomplished archaeologist who has conducted excavations in Syria, Jordan, Greece, and Cyprus, John is the Co-Director of Sydney University excavations at Pella in Jordan.


Greg Nelson

Greg is an internationally renowned cameraman specialising in African wildlife. He is a Wildlife Director of Photography for some of the world’s leading international wildlife outlets.


Dr Margaret Jacobsohn

Margaret is a specialist local guide, anthropologist, environmentalist, writer and award-winning community conservation pioneer for our Namibia expedition.

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