Serial adventurer Niel Fox set up Based on a True Story to cater to clients seeking truly extraordinary holidays. Involving months of production planning sometimes with thousands of actors and specially built sets, each holiday is beautifully photographed and documented for clients in a book, Based on a True Story. Founder Niel Fox spoke to The Superyacht Owner about why dropping anchor in a beautiful destination is not always enough.
Describe what you do in a nutshell.
We’re in the business of fun. We create extraordinary experiences all over the world. We don’t market or sell any locations, we focus on the individual client and the great potential in life to step into new experiences. Cruising and dropping anchor in a nice place is one thing. Relying on the recommendations of a local yacht agent are all well-and-good for the normal, every day. But you are not going to experience an arrival like Cook did, as clients recently experienced in French Polynesia, where hundreds of bare-breasted Tahitians came to their yacht to greet them. You’re not going to be the first to take your yacht up a remote river and when dropping anchor, hear the distant sound of drums as a wild celebration deep in the jungle shakes the night air. We believe if you don’t have incredible stories, well, what was the point?
What led you to create such a company?
I’ve always travelled. In 2000 I set off on a mountain bike from my home in the north of the UK, and travelled natural power to Antarctica over three years, raising funds for orphan kids. I covered 37,000kms on the bike, climbed many of the big mountains en route, including first ascents in Antarctica and I wild-camped virtually every night. On the way, I encountered several very wealthy business men looking for adventure whilst in South America. I got involved and afterwards, developed an idea to provide a service business that could cater for these sorts of people, taking them anywhere in the world. I would photograph their experiences and at the end collate them into a beautiful book, Based On A True Story.
What has been your favourite trip so far?
This will sound cliched, but virtually all of them. There are so many wonderful places on earth and I love to share, or see and experience peoples’ joy. We recently brought mythology alive in Scandinavia in an extraordinary quest, where an encounter with a mermaid led the clients, a family, to seek help from trolls, elves, giants, dwarfs, witches and vikings, to help save magic and mythology forever. We’re talking a production with over a thousand actors, actresses and extras over the course of a 10-day cruise.
With all of your travel experience - where would you tell our owners they must put on their bucket list?
I honestly can’t be specific, there’s a whole wonderful world out there. Different places for different times. We change, our needs change – sometimes the emphasis is on a family adventure, or time with friends, or the need to utterly relax. Life takes us in all directions, you know (or you should do) when it is time to do something new, exciting or different – something you’ll remember for the rest of your life and never stop talking about.
What sort of owner uses your services?
Most of our enquiries relating to cruising tend to materialise from the owner, charterer, or broker when they are seeking something beyond the norm. I’m continually surprised at just how much time and investment is usually only channelled into the yacht, toys and upgrades, with much less focus on the magical journeys and extraordinary experiences that can be enjoyed around the strategic use of the yacht. We see our service almost as an insurance policy, a small expense in the grand scheme of things that guarantees their precious time on board and onshore is full of magical experiences.