Hilary Bradt trained as an occupational therapist, working in the USA in the 1960s to fund her first trip to South America. In 1969 she travelled alone from Colombia to Peru, and then down the Amazon to Brazil. She returned to South America in 1973 for an 18-month ‘honeymoon’, during which she and George Bradt travelled the length of the continent, discovering en route that the Andes rivalled the Himalayas for trekking but no-one knew where to go. Their Little Yellow Book, Backpacking along ancient ways in Peru and Bolivia, was written on a river barge moving slowly down one of the more obscure Bolivian tributaries of the Amazon, typed up in the small town of Trinidad, printed in Boston, and sold for $1.95.
Since founding Bradt Travel Guides in 1973 Hilary has combined writing and publishing with tour-leading to South America, Africa and, more recently, Madagascar, getting to know tourists’ interests, values and foibles first hand – invaluable experience for a travel publisher.
She has written or co-written a total of 14 books, as well as numerous articles and now has her own website at www.hilarybradt.com.