My name is Richard Perry. I have lived in Wales my whole life, excluding the 18 months following my birth and the 4 years whilst at Uni, I therefore identify myself as Welsh. I studied Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management at the University of the West of England in Bristol, and landed a job with BAM Construction (formerly HBG Construction) half way through. I continued studying after Uni and gained professional status with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in 2009. In late 2011 I left BAM to work in the family business.


I joined Scouting in 1992 when I was 8 years old and continued through the sections all the way up to Venture Scouts. Then as Explorer Scouts and Network where being introduced, I somehow managed to get myself roped into helping set up the first Explorer Scout Unit in our District. Almost a year later FreeSpirit ESU was born under the leadership of Simon Fairless with me helping out whilst I was at Uni. Well I’m still there and we’ve grown to be quite a large Unit with almost 40 members and 6 leaders at the moment.

Scouting has been a big part of my life, giving me some amazing experiences and memories:

  • In 2001 I was able to take part in an Explorer Belt Expedition in The Gambia, which kick started a love of travelling, languages and culture;
  • In 2005, at Eurojam (European Jamboree) in Essex, I met my wife, Rosie :-);
  • In 2006 we took FreeSpirit ESU to the Serbian National Jamboree as part of the Welsh Contingent. Whilst we were there we visited Budapest (Hungary), Belgrade and Niš;
  • In 2006/7 I took part in the Mafikeng Centenary Moot in Mafikeng, South Africa where we celebrated the start of the Centenary Year of Scouting at its birthplace, before travelling Cape Town for some extended celebrations;
  • In 2007 I joined the Faith & Beliefs team at the 21st World Scout Jamboree teaching Scouts from all over the World about Buddhism, and learning much from all of them;
  • In 2009 I participated in the Three Nations Expedition to Russia, China and Mongolia, following this, Rosie and I toured around China for a further 5 weeks.


I was bitten by the travelling bug in 2001, and ever since then I have wanted to travel the world. Unfortunately this was not really a viable option until I got a proper job. So I only really started travelling properly in 2006 when we took the Unit to Serbia. We took the decision to add 5 days to the start and finish of the Jamboree so we could visit Budapest and Belgrade, and since then we haven’t really stopped…

Until now! We are now taking a short sabbatical from the travelling we love so much to have a baby. I am really looking forward to having a third person around the house, but even more than that, I am looking forward to showing our little one the world. Initially from home, but eventually in person.

Since our tour of China in 2009, I have had a keen interest in Chinese language, food and culture and since we found out that Rosie was pregnant, I doubled my efforts to improve my Mandarin in the (vain) hope that we could raise George bilingually. However, I have not really reached a level that could be considered even close to fluent (actually I’m more of a beginner still) so although I am still learning, I am not teaching George in the manner I had hoped. I am, however, having a lot of fun with it so I won’t be giving up any time soon.


Travelling has also introduced me to photography. I bought my first digital camera before going to Serbia and thoroughly enjoyed trying to get the best picture and capture the moment, and so as my hobby grew I started saving and bought my first SLR before going to China. Since then I have been desperately trying to improve my photography to get the kind of photos you see on postcards. I have also come to the conclusion that this is going to take some time, but I’m please to say that I have captured a few images that I am incredibly proud of. All my travel photos and some of my other photos are showcased on our photosite.


I am also a bit of a geek! There I said it. I spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering with (and often breaking) computers. This includes hardware and software. I have a server running at home that has been rebuilt 3 or 4 times for various, not very good, reasons. It handles all sorts of services that we probably don’t need, and until recently, it also served our travel blog to the world. Due to the number of problems I was having with reliability, this has now been outsourced. My main systems have always been custom-made since my Uncle donated his computer to me as a teenager and I find it difficult to find what I want in systems that I can buy off the shelf (like I said, GEEK!!)

I have built a number of websites over the years including this one. I started by writing website in pure HTML, then I discovered PHP and coded things in PHP from scratch for a while. For my own site I chose to use WordPress as I wanted to create a travel blog. This opened my eyes to the wonders of CMS’s (although granted WordPress is not truly a CMS) and since then I have started to make better use of systems that other people have built with tweaks to suit myself. I am now in the process of rebuilding the FreeSpirit ESU site in its entirety using WordPress 3.0 with custom post types and custom plugins to suit our Unit’s specific needs.


When I was in school taking my options for GCSE I chose to take 2 optional languages through to GCSE (French and German). This was due to an interest in languages, but unfortunately I didn’t carry either of them on to A Level due to a number of factors. This led to me losing touch with Foreign Languages completely. However, in 2009 when we were in China, I made the decision to make a concerted effort to learn as much Mandarin as I could to help us whilst we were there. This was very helpful and even helped  us convince a restaurant (in Mandarin) that one of their cold dishes should be heated up for a vegetarian friend of ours. I really enjoyed learning the language, but didn’t keep it up as I planned, so now I have taken it upon myself to teach myself Mandarin so that I can teach George Mandarin to give him a second language.