World Challenge Expedition Leader Profile


World Challenge Expedition Leaders Come from all over the globe and have so many amazing travel and leadership experiences to share! Each month we’ll be profiling a Leader and asking them about their favourite parts of the world!

Name: Howie Barnes

Hometown: Ashburton, Canterbury NZ


What is your favourite travel destination and why?

I have been lucky to spend a total of over twelve months in Norway over several winters.  It is a beautiful and rugged country with fantastic mountains, deep fjords, abundant wildlife, great food and wonderfully friendly people.  The Station Café in Voss serves the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted!

What destination is top of your list?

For some unknown reason, probably a TV nature documentary, I have had a strong desire to visit Alaska since I was about four years old.  I have still to make it there, but it is for certain right at the top of my bucket list.

Why do you choose to work for World Challenge?

I thrive on the responsibility of mentoring and leading young people on what is often a life changing and life affirming experience for them.  I get a real buzz from watching and positively impacting on their personal development.  It is also great fun.

What is your most memorable World Challenge Expedition experience?

On my second expedition one of the Challengers celebrated her birthday on Boxing Day during our main trek.  After the team sang Happy Birthday over breakfast our local trekking guides secretly got to work.  After finishing another day’s trek and a delicious meal we settled down to conduct our end of the day debrief and reflection.  To everyone’s utter amazement our guide appeared with a huge birthday cake.  The look on everyone’s faces and especially the birthday girl was priceless.

What piece of advice do you always offer challengers?

Do not forget where you are from.  Respect and appreciate your family and culture back home.  Leave it all until you return, grab hold of every opportunity and most of all have heaps of fun.

What do you do when not leading for World Challenge?

I have a “normal” day job for a company called South Pacific Seeds who produce vegetable seed.  Thankfully I have a great boss who allows me time off to lead for World Challenge.  I am involved in several voluntary organisations which take up a fair amount of my spare time; Land Search & Rescue, Outward Bound NZ Member’s Council, the Cadet Corps Association of New Zealand and my local high school PTA.  I am part way through writing a book and also nearing completion of my studies towards a Diploma in Ecotourism.  If there is any time left at the weekend I love to escape into the mountains.

What words do you live by?

Go with the flow.