We’ve pulled back the curtain so you can peek at how things work behind the scenes here at Macs HQ. Get to know some of our experts, specialists, fellow walking enthusiasts and small business owners who meticulously plan your trips, do all the logistical legwork and provide 24/7 support, so you can have a memorable, stress-free trip.
Spotlight on Rachel, our freelance photographer
Today, we're behind the lens, chatting with Rachel, our freelance photographer who we work incredibly closely with to capture the most incredibly inspiring location shots right from the routes and trails we go to.
Rachel tells us about her photography journey, her favourite photoshoot and her latest Macs trip which also happened to be her honeymoon!
Why do you love working with Macs?
One of the main reasons I love working with Macs is the crazy amount of variety I get to have with my job. For example, we went and shot the Tour Du Mont Blanc which was super hardcore with amazing hikes, climbs and views. We slept in mountain huts and really pushed it to the limit to capture the amazing experience. Then on the complete other end of the scale, we went to Provence to shoot one of the amazing In Style trips which means 5-star hotels and Michelin-star meals - a real treat. So, for me as a photographer, it just feels like I've won the lottery.
Another reason I love working for Macs is that they really align with my passions in life. I love travel, exploring the world, seeing new cultures and staying in quirky and cool places. I also really appreciate the self-guided aspect where you can be your own boss. I love long-distance hiking holidays and I don’t want to go on a big group tour or a hop-on-and-off bus experience. Macs gives me the freedom to explore the world, have fun and chase my passions.
You’ve joined Macs as a freelancer, tell us about your photography background and what sort of work you specialise in outside of Macs.
I’ve been a photographer for over ten years now, specialising in outdoor adventure and travel. I love documenting human-powered stories, from long-distance hikes, kayak paddle tours, bike packing or trail runs through the mountains. I love endurance adventures and the challenge of getting an exciting shot in wild weather and environments. You’re likely to find me dragging my photography kit up a blustery mountain, hiking across a glacier, camping under the stars, or doing a chilly dip in my local loch!
Aside from my adventures with Macs Adventure, I work with a lot of outdoor clothing brands, adventure journals and magazines. I’ve also been developing my underwater photography in the last few years which has opened up a whole new world of exploration. I love floating through kelp forests or touring the seabed with my camera.
How did you start working with Macs?
This is a lovely story for me, I had booked a Macs Adventure trip as a customer after discovering the concept of self-guided travel. I had the BEST time on our trip and also couldn't believe the level of assistance we received from Macs when my friend had a medical issue on the trail - above and beyond! I tagged Macs on Instagram in a few of my pics, thinking nothing of it, just wanting to promote the great experience I’d had. Unbeknownst to me at that point, Macs Adventure’s very own founder Neil Lapping started following me on Instagram! After following my various adventures for a while, he must have decided my work was a good fit because the next thing I know I was asked to come aboard and start working with them to create content.
Getting that email from a company I admired so much was very much a 'do a little dance at your laptop' moment. Shout about your passions, you never know who might be listening!
Which Macs trip would you like to do?
This is a hard question as I have a list as long as my arm of Macs Adventures I’ve earmarked but I think the one that has to be the winner would be -The Nakasendo Trail through Japan. The allure of a totally unfamiliar culture is strong with this one, bathing in onsen, visiting sacred temples and staying in traditional ryokans, plus the food! There are just so many exciting facets to the Macs hikes through this beautiful country, these trips feel singularly unique!
Where's your favourite place you've visited?
Hiking and travel adventures are definitely my favourite thing to spend my money on so it's hard to narrow down but hiking through the Dolomites with my best friend looms large on the list of memories. We did the Alta Via 1 South trip which takes in some of the quieter sections of the route, staying in mountain huts along the way. It felt like a tough, true adventure. The feeling of making it to your destination for the evening under your steam is so special. There's an amazing camaraderie between hikers in the refugios, you eat together, share stories from the trails and pour over your maps for the next day. Usually, the refugios are tucked high in remote alpine corners so your morning coffee views are spectacular!
Do you have a favourite shot from the shoots you've done with Macs?
Tricky thing about this question is the insane variety of the various Macs Adventures I've been on! Chianti In Style was, as the name suggests, quite opulent, waking up in a stunning Tuscan villa surrounded by cypress trees and rolling hills was pretty special. Or floating in the natural geothermal hot springs in the middle of nowhere in Iceland, how to narrow it down?! However, I’ve chosen this pic, taken at sunrise as we hiked along the Tour Du Mont Blanc, which for me is the essence of everything I love about self-guided travel and Macs Adventure. Pushing your limits, with a few lovely companions, in stunning mountain environments. To me, there is just nothing better.
You’ve just honeymooned with us – congratulations! Tell us about that! Where’d you go?
You know you’re a true convert when even your honeymoon has to be a Macs Adventure! We chose Malta as we love exploring new countries together and it was somewhere that neither of us had been to. The thing for me that made this really special was the variety of the terrain we travelled through. I loved being in an ancient citadel one afternoon then walking along the isolated coastline the next. It was really amazing being able to jump into the sea whenever we felt like it and have a private stretch of coastline to ourselves to cool down, then simply carry on for a few more kilometres. Total magic!