My World Odyssey

Discovering a Different World

Patagonian International Marathon & Winelands of Chile

Cuernos del Paine and Monte Almirante Nieto

Travel to the epic Patagonian International Marathon with 2Motivate and World Odyssey.  Although participation in the 63K, marathon, half marathon or 10K is not required, the adventurous athletic soul will be greatly rewarded.  Following the event, participants will have the option of adding on a few more days to tour the delicious Winelands of Chile.  Most cuisine, accommodations, and internal travel is included.  *Please view detailed itinerary below for specific details, locations and transfers. Space is limited and registration (not included in event cost) is now open.  Please email Elizabeth Peace & Drea with questions and interest. For every participant who runs through the striking terrain torn against a most southern sky, a tree will be planted in the Torres Del Paine in honor of conservation and commitment.  When the eyes tire of mountains rugged and the feet wear out trails spectacular, the body will rest in the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa.  This South American luxury sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Sarmiento.  Immersed in the landscape and emerging hillside, this award winning architecture complements the surrounding geology by highlighting the magnificent views of the Torres Del Paine National Park.  With fresh seafood from the Magellan Straits and a bar where one can savor the sensational views,  this hotel boasts some of the most exquisite pampering available. Earn your downtime.  2Motivate & World Odyssey are prepared to take you down. Detailed Itinerary as follows: 23 September (Wednesday)

Arrive Santiago TBA On arrival at Santiago International Airport please proceed to Customs & Immigration for the entry formalities. You will then be met and transferred to Le Reve Hotel in Santiago where you stay for 1 night. Beautifully located in the heart of the Providencia district close to restaurants, museums and shops, Le Reve is a delightful boutique property offering guests the perfect base from which to explore the beautiful city of Santiago. There are just 31 rooms, all of which have been individually decorated and styled and well-appointed with en suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, cable television, mini-safe and mini-bar. The hotel also has a dining room where delicious breakfasts are served daily. Guests can also enjoy midnight snacks and there is an honesty bar for guests to enjoy a drink at their leisure. Le Reve Hotel (5 x Deluxe Rooms) This morning you will be picked up from the hotel and driven back to Santiago airport for your Sky Airlines flight to Punta Arenas (with a stop at Puerto Montt en route) as follows:
H2 21 (ECONOMY CLASS) Check-in Santiago Depart Santiago Arrive Punta Arenas
07:10 hrs 08:10 hrs 12:45 hrs
24 September (Thursday)
On arrival in Punta Arenas you will be met and transferred to Puerto Natales (approx. 3 hours’ drive), where you stay at the Altiplanico Sur Hotel for 1 night. Enjoying a delightful seafront location overlooking the Ultima Esperanza Bay, the Hotel Altiplanico Sur is a lovely hotel offering clean and comfortable accommodation. The hotel has been built in an ecologically-friendly way using local materials and merging with its environment with grass and flowers on the roofs. There are just 22 rooms, all of which have been nicely decorated and well-appointed with en suite bathroom facilities, mini safe, phone, central heating and lovely views across the bay. There is a small and cosy restaurant that serves a wide variety of excellent international and local cuisine and there is also a bar. Other facilities include an outside jacuzzi. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore Puerto Natales or relax and enjoy the facilities of the hotel. Altiplanico Sur Hotel (5 x Standard Rooms) (B)
25 September (Friday)
Today you leave Puerto Natales and will be driven into the Torres del Paine National Park (approx. 2 hours’ drive) and to the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, where you stay for the next 3 nights. Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa sits on a bluff where the South American pampa meets Lake Sarmiento. The building is immersed in the landscape and emerges from the hillside. The award winning architecture complements the flow of the geology in this incredibly beautiful location and highlights the magnificent views of the Torres del Paine National Park. The hotel has 3 suites and 34 superior rooms (10 of which can be interconnected to make family apartments) and 3 standard rooms. The rooms are decorated with authentic Patagonian details and styled to capture the warmth and coziness of being indoors in this wild place and they all have beautiful views across Lake Sarmiento to the peaks of Torres del Paine beyond. The restaurant offers a delicious blend of indigenous and international cuisine including wonderful, fresh seafood from the Magellan Straits. There is also a bar where you can enjoy a Pisco sour and savour the sensational views. The hotel also boasts the Uma Spa where you can enjoy some pampering treatments after a long day in the National Park. Ever since the maritime exploits of Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th Century the area has become synonymous with exploration and legend. Drake, Humboldt, Darwin, Shackleton and Chatwin are just a few of the famous names that have become linked to the area over the centuries and have helped to create its mystique. From the early explorers seeking the westerly sea-route through to the riches of the East to the scientific voyages of The Beagle, the area has always proved compelling and now the region is becoming extremely popular for visitors looking for some remarkable scenery and great outdoor activities. Nestling at the southern tip of Chile is Patagonia; a world of vast open pampas, lush forests that explode into colour in Autumn, icy green lakes and waterfalls, glaciers tumbling into lakes, unique wildlife and dramatic mountain peaks…and at the very heart of this is the country’s most beautiful National Park, Torres del Paine. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and prepare for the race. Tierra Patagonia Hotel (5 x Superior Rooms) (B,L,D) Today is Race Day for the Patagonian Marathon and you will be taken to the start of the race. A delicious box lunch will be given to you after you finish the race. Tierra Patagonia Hotel (5 x Superior Rooms) (B,L,D) You now have one full day to explore the highlights of this stunning National Park with the lodge guides including walks or just enjoying the fabulous views of the lakes, glaciers and icebergs. During your stay you can see some of the parks greatest highlights including the Grand Falls (Salto Grande) where Lake Nordenskjold falls into Lake Pehoe; the views of the Cuernos del Paine; the Salto Chico where Lake Pehoe drains into the River Paine, the stunning lenga forest en route to Lake Grey and the lovely views across the Grey Glacier You can also visit Amarga Lagoon with its stunning views of the main Torres del Paine.
There is also a wide variety of wildlife in the area including including guanacos, Darwin’s rhea, condors, many waterfowl species, foxes etc. Tierra Patagonia Hotel (5 x Superior Rooms) (B,L,D) This morning you leave Torres del Paine National Park and will be driven back to Punta Arenas airport, where you check-in for your Sky Airlines flight to Santiago (with a stop at Puerto Montt en route) as follows:
H2 20 (ECONOMY CLASS) Check-in Punta Arenas Depart Punta Arenas Arrive Santiago
13:15 hrs 14:15 hrs 17:40 hrs
28 September (Sunday)
On arrival in Santiago Airport, those travelling back home proceed to check-in for their international flight. For those who wish to stay on then there is an optional extension to the winelands and on arrival in Santiago Airport you will be met and transferred into the winelands to the south of Santiago and you stay at the Vina Matetic and La Casona for the next 2 nights. Near the pesticide free, gravity-fed, biodynamic Matetic Vineyard is the intimate La Casona at Matetic Vineyards, a seven-room colonial retreat in the wilds of Chile. History and progressive architecture merge at La Casona in Chile’s San Antonio Valley. Here, a century-old guesthouse is your base for exploring not only the valley itself, but the stark Matetic Vineyard buildings, made even more striking by their untouched surroundings. Just seven rooms, a restaurant, a modern pool cutting a vertical swath through the grounds, and a lounge make up this destination. Rooms stay true to their heritage with period furnishings, but offer touches of today with goose-feather beds, and a lovely line of bathroom products. The cosy lounge is the ideal spot to kick back with a book and a drink, while the restaurant, Equilibro, has a fantastic reputation. Hop on a bike, and cycle around the vineyard. The looming concrete, timber, and glass buildings were designed by architect Lawrence Odfjell to fit in with the surroundings, while juxtaposing them at the same time. The winery produces many different varietals, all of which are governed by biodynamic principles, creating vivid flavour profiles found nowhere else in the world. La Casona at Vina Matetic (5 x Superior Rooms) (B,D)
29 September (Monday)
You now have a day to enjoy this beautiful estate not only looking at the vines and wine tasting, but also exploring the estate on foot and on horseback. The history of wine in Chile began around 1550 a little after its conquest, when Pedro de Valdivia took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. Vines were planted soon after this and so it became the first wine producer in the ‘New World’ some 200 years before California and 100 years before South Africa. The growth of wine making in Chile was quite slow and it was not until the late 19th Century that the introduction of quality French vine stocks finally happened, which improved the quality significantly. The whole industry then took another major leap forward in the late 20th Century when many vineyards realised that in order to compete on the global stage, they would need to invest heavily in the latest technology. The results are dramatic and now Chile produces some of the finest wines in the world. Interestingly the wines from the region just to the south of Santiago differ significantly from those produced in the Aconcagua Valley to the north of the city. La Casona at Vina Matetic (5 x Superior Rooms) (B,L,D) Today you leave La Casona and will be transferred back to Santiago airport in time for your international flight.
Depart Santiago TBA
30 September (Tuesday)
Optional extensions available upon request.
The price of this itinerary based on 10 adults travelling and sharing 5 rooms is as follows: 􏰀 US$ 3,940 per person (Santiago & Patagonia)** OPTIONAL 2 NIGHTS WINELANDS EXTENSION 􏰀 US$ 840 per person (La Casona at Vina Matetic)** **Please note that the prices will change if there are less than 10 people travelling.
The price of your holiday includes: -Meet & Greet on arrival in Santiago -All transfers as specified -Domestic flights in Chile as specified in Economy Class -All accommodation as specified -B&B at Le Reve Hotel & Altiplanico Sur Hotel -Full Board at Tierra Patagonia lodges including soft drinks, house beers & wines and daily activities -Full Board at Vina Matetic including some wine at meals and activities The price of your holiday excludes: -International flights and taxes -Additional meals -Optional sightseeing activities -Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls etc. -Gratuities -Travel Insurance The meal plans on each day are represented by the following symbols: B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner
Please note that World Odyssey strongly recommends that you have adequate Travel Insurance to ensure you are well covered for the period of your holiday.
 To inquire for further details and for participation in this epic adventure, please contact:

Save the Rhino: Big 5 Not Big 4

These majestic creatures will soon be extinct without our help.


Due to increased demand in Asian countries for the believed medicinal properties of the rhino horn, rhino poaching has skyrocketed in the last decade. In 2013, over one thousand rhino in South Africa were killed for their horns. And in 2014, almost 800 more have already been slaughtered.  At this rate, all species of rhino could be extinct by 2026.


World Odyssey is partnering with Save The Rhino in their “Big Five Not Big Four” campaign, in an effort to bring every awareness possible to help save this beautiful species.

Please join us in this campaign and give in any way you can:

World Odyssey is a luxury tour operator, which designs exquisite tailor-made travel for individuals and groups to the most beautiful places on Earth.  

Let us show you how to discover a whole new world.

Peru 2014: Begin Again

Amazingly, the two most pivotal moments and changes in my life have come after a journey to Peru.  The first was 18 years ago. This last one, in May 2013, I traveled with some of the most inspirational people I have ever known. And I grew more than I ever knew I could.

I can’t wait to go back to Africa.  I have yet to go to New Zealand.  Bali, India, and one day Madagascar with my children… very high on my bucket list. So many amazing places, all of them incredibly worthy of discovery.

But Peru, you hold the deep life lessons.

Last May, Shaman Jon guided us through Peru on a life’s journey.  This is the kind of journey that one looks back on for years to come, and realizes that it was not just important. But necessary.

World Odyssey is going again… Shaman Jon is guiding a group in June.

This journey begins in the jungle.  The source of life.

Peru for blog-16

Nothing can prepare you for the orchestra of sounds that rise with the sun in the Amazonian jungle.  Monkeys, birds, insects, rain upon the leaves… nature in its most pure and electrical form.  This is where the earth begins.  The birth place of the air that we breathe.

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Here, we will stay for 3 nights, explore the jungle and Madre de Dios River, discover Monkey Island, have the opportunity to expand with Ayahuasca, and begin our Peruvian Shamanic journey led by Jon Rasmussen.


The Sacred Valley outside of Cusco is the next stop on this adventure, where Jon leads us through sacred ruins. The ancient Q’ero comedown from the heights of the Andes to greet us, and we explore the extraordinary areas of Ollyantambo and the Sacred Valley, whilst staying in the incredible Rio Sagrado property by Orient Express.

Peru; Machu Picchu,

We then journey with Jon to the extraordinary Machu Picchu, where we witness the wonders of the ancient Incan civilization. Jon and a guide lead us through the ruins of Machu Picchu, and we stay at the beautiful Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.


The ancient and historic city of Cusco is filled with markets, wonderful restaurants, and sacred sights to visit. Here, we stay in a former Monastery which was converted into the most luxurious hotel is Cusco: The Hotel Monasterio


Our final destination includes a journey to the Colca Canyon.  Twice the depth of the Grand Canyon, The Colca Canyon is an extraordinary sight to behold.  Here, we take a drive to find the very place where the condors take flight.  It is the the perfect conclusion to the perfect Shamanic journey.

Peru 2-168

Finally, we stay at the stunniung Colca Lodge, where we can indulge in natural hot springs from Mother Earth.


Jon Rasmussen will lead this journey of a lifetime through Peru from June 1st-12th this year.  If you would like to join, please contact at:

A full detailed itinerary can be found here: TourInfo-2014

Ayahuasca: Opening Up and Diving Deep

Almost every time I mention to someone that I recently visited the Peruvian Amazon, I’m asked the same question:

“Did you take Ayahuasca?”

It’s actually quite a personal question.  Mostly because the question is almost always followed by: “What was it like?”  One might not know that this is as intimate as asking for details of a psycho-therapy session.  It’s so personal. And so individual.

When I arrived in the jungle, I honestly knew little about Ayahuasca.  I thought it was just a strong hallucinogen, and given that  I’m somewhat of a control freak, the thought of sitting with a group of people and seeing a lot of colorful light flashes really did NOT interest me.

However on the first night of our trip, our Shaman, Jon gave our group a little talk about Ayahuasca:  the process, the timeline, and the different possible experiences we’d each have.  He explained that it is a medicine- not a drug. That the purpose of Ayahuasca is to open our brain to the dimension beyond our dream state and experience our lives void of all time: reach back to the past; move forward to the present; work on pain buried deep within; open our hearts to pure joy.  That this medicine is smart: it knows where to go, what parts of our body need to be healed, and what areas of our soul need inspiration and healing.  That it continues its work within our bodies for months, even up to a year afterward.  How incredible.


Jon then explained that in order to reach this state, we’d have to allow our bodies to purge and vomit– on and off for 3 to 4 hours. Honestly, that’s all I heard from thereon.

I couldn’t get over this hurdle- not that first night, anyway.  Sitting with a group of people for four hours, throwing up and tripping just did not sound like my idea of a fun night out.

But I did it.  Reluctantly, I tried it.  I boarded a boat with our intimate group, along with about 8 other strangers, our Shaman Jon, and Ponduro, our Ayahuascero.  We rowed out to Monkey Island and created a large circle on the beach, beneath the incredible stars of the Amazon Rainforest.

Placed between my 2 close friends, I sat on the beach for 4 hours, trying NOT to throw up.  I resisted it in every way.  Ponduro walked around the circle, singing in Spanish and apparently guiding the medicine through our bodies.  I felt sick, but I wouldn’t let it out.  I witnessed the friend to my left find extreme inspiration and awe in the stars, and then crash to her knees as she released the pure grief for the loss of a loved one.  The friend to my right mostly sang quietly, and then rested while gazing up at the night sky.

And I just sat there, fighting it.  I was angry and disgusted by the stranger who was violently ill to my right:  Really? Do I really have to hear this guy vomit so loudly for 3 hours?!  I was worried about a girl in our group who had wandered off into the darkness to purge by herself.  I ignored that Jon had said we must concentrate only on ourselves… and pay no attention to the journey of those around us.

I just couldn’t let go.

But I did see the glowing net in the sky.  It was truly mesmerizing: the most beautiful net woven in between all of the stars and all around the Milky Way.  Jon told me later that this was the boundary that he an Ponduro had created to keep us all safe during our journey.  I believe it.  I saw it.


I learned a lot about myself that night:  I need to take baby steps before I leap. I wasn’t scared of digging deep- I was scared of being uncomfortable, and I wasn’t ready to let that go.

I pondered this for the rest of our journey through Peru:  The concept that growth is painful- uncomfortable- frightening.  But it’s awe-inspiring, empowering and beautiful all at the same time- just like birth.

How perfectly beautiful is that?

The next day, it took me 12 hours to think it through, all the while resisting… but I decided to try Ayahuasca again.  This time we stayed within an enclosed space with just our intimate group.  And this time, I let go… just a little. But it was enough for me, and enough to open up and let the medicine do its work.

To be uncomfortable.  Inspired.  Healed.  Scared.

and GROW


Thank you Jon for quietly, gently and respectfully showing me the way.

To learn more about Jon Rasmussen and his Shamanic Healing, visit his website at  Or contact Jon directly at

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Ayahuasca can have serious side effects and should only be taken under the guidance of an experienced Shamanic Healer and with an authentic Ayahuascero.  This blog is not intended to promote the use of Ayahuasca, but is solely an account of one person’s experiences. 

World Odyssey is a luxury tour operator, which designs exquisite tailor-made travel for individuals and groups to the most beautiful places on Earth.  

Let us show you how to discover a whole new world.

Where It All Begins: The Amazon

Our first morning in Peru, we wake to the sounds of the Amazon as it comes alive.  It stirs just before dawn.  Howler monkeys grumble in the distance. And just as light breaks, mother earth breaks into song.  Birds sound like water droplets, monkeys echo each other. Crickets start to sizzle.

Peru for blog-16

This is where life is born, where the earth breathes and creates. Even the air has texture as it lays gently on your skin.  This is the first stop on our Shamanic World Odyssey through Peru- brought down the basics- grounded- to feel where it all begins.

 The Amazon.


The Inkaterra Amazonica, divine luxury immersed in the Amazon jungle.


Days are filled with discovery of the vast, lush jungle.

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A boat ride up the Madre de Dios River.

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Greeting the locals on Monkey Island

Hammocks in jungle

And enticed into a siesta by an afternoon tropical rain shower

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There’s a reason why our journey began here. In Shamanism, this is the garden of Eden- where one can find her original self, disconnect from the distractions of life, find grounding in Mother Earth’s core, and learn how to begin again.

Next stop: Ayahuasca

Explore Peru with World Odyssey, and for a limited time, receive 10% off per person per night with Inkaterra Collection Peru, with a stay in each of their 3 stunning and luxurious properties. Contact us here for further details.

World Odyssey is a luxury tour operator, which designs exquisite tailor-made travel for individuals and groups to the most beautiful places on Earth.  

Let us show you how to discover a whole new world.


Peru: A Shamanic Journey

About 17 years ago, I traveled to Peru for the first time.  It was a dark time in my life, and as I searched for guidance and inspiration, one of my dearest friends suggested that a life-altering journey through Peru and Bolivia might just be what the doctor ordered.

“Ok.” I said. “Let’s go”.

Three weeks later, we landed in Lima.  And we set off on a 4 week adventure that did, indeed, change my life.  For three weeks, we traveled from Lima to the stunning city of Arequipa; we witnessed Condors soar above the depths of The Colca Canyon, and swam in the sapphire waters of Lake Titicaca.  We climbed the Andes Mountains to 15,000 feet, and for four days, followed an Incan trail which descended down to the depths of the Amazonian Rainforest.  I still remember every taste, scent, touch.

Travel.  That’s what it does- it stays with you.  It changes you.

Week four, Machu Picchu was the final stop on our journey, and here began my life’s next chapter. We all have that one moment in our lives which we can point to as “the one”.  That split second when it all becomes clear, and we see ourselves.  We finally get it.  I had my moment there- overlooking Machu Picchu.


Coming full circle all these years later, my mother company, World Odyssey has designed an incredible journey through Peru this May 12-23rd, to be led by the world-renowned Shaman, Jon Rasmussen.   Here is the chance to experience the majesty of Peru, guided by an extraordinary spiritual healer and leader.  And this time it’s luxury, hand held at every turn, whilst diving deep into this mystical culture.

I’m ready to “get it” again.  I’m going back. And I’m bringing some of my best girlfriends with me.

Want to come?

Limited to 16 people, travel must be booked by April 12, 2013.  Travel dates: May 12-23, 2013.

For information on this incredible trip to Peru with Jon, clink here:

And for further information on Jon Rasmussen and his Shamanic healing, have a look at his website:


I feel like I’m having an affair.  I do.  Like I’m cheating on the one that loves me most. Sticks by me day in, day out.  Loves me for who I am, and makes me a better person.  She’s beautiful.  (Yes, she…)

But seriously, I just cannot keep my mind off someone else. And frankly, I’m DAZZLED.

I live in, inarguably, one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  Santa Barbara gives me health and inspiration, and I am one of the very lucky few that hikes these mountains and walks these beaches every day. I love her and all that she’s given to me.

But now there’s some one new, and I can’t stop thinking about her.  I had the incredible fortune of visiting South Africa with World Odyssey this past May, and I fell deeply in love.

I’ve been a photographer for ages, and though I’d laid down my camera for the better part of 7 years (ok, dusted it off from time to time), South Africa gave me the perfect reason to dive in again, and shoot… and shoot… and shoot.  I’d rented my dream lens, the Canon EF 300 IS 2.8 (YUM!), a couple teleconverters, and I was ready to see life through the lens once again.  The trouble is, once my camera comes out of the bag, I’m done.  It’s over. Can’t stop shooting, can’t stop looking at everything as a photograph.  I become completely obsessed (yes, and then cross-eyed).

And so it began.

It was impossible for me to contain myself on safari.  The wonderment of seeing these amazing beasts up close through my lenses, and the massive shot of adrenaline when I KNEW I got the money shot made me feel like a love-struck teenager again.  Adding insult to injury, I hit the jackpot at Mateya Safari Lodge with General Manager, Philip Hattingh.  Philip is not only a very enthusiastic safari guide and host, but also an experienced wildlife photographer.  He had cleared the entire lodge for us, and giving us his individual attention, guided us onto safari as only an accomplished photographer can do.  Oh yes, my perfect world: Stunning five star lodge, Africa, talking shop, and sundowner cocktails at the watering hole surrounded by a dazzle of zebra.

I would have pinched myself, but I couldn’t stop shooting!

So back to my tried and true Santa Barbara, I can’t complain.  Life is beautiful here.  But the wonderment of Africa changed me.  She enveloped me.  And from time to time, if I’m in need of a broad smile (or the memory of the adrenaline), I’ll pull up my images…

And anticipate when I can immerse myself into South Africa again.

Living the Madikwe Dream

It’s exhilarating, the first time you drive into a Big Five Game Park in Africa.

Who will we see first?  How will they behave?  Will they notice us?  On assignment with World Odyssey, Liesl, Emily and I drove into Madikwe Big Five Game Reserve for the first time. It was like opening up a door in Alice and Wonderland.  Suddenly, we’re greeted by a curious giraffe peering into our window…

And come to a halt to let a herd of elephants cross the road. They don’t even notice us or particularly care that we’re there. This is their home, and we are just there to witness their existence.  It’s just simply magic.

Madikwe Game Reserve is on the border of Botswana and boasts one of the largest expanses of Big Five Game viewing in South Africa.  It has rolling plains, hills that frame the reserve, and hands down some of the most spectacular safari lodges… Period.  Lucky girls we were to sample some of the few.

First stop:  the stunning Madikwe Hills Safari Lodge.

Perched in the trees of Madikwe, this lodge is breathtaking at every turn.  One of the most striking elements of South Africa is its incredible style.  And walking into Madikwe Hills, it envelopes you.  Every detail has texture… from the vaulted wood ceilings, the dining lodge built to incorporate a huge boulder, every inch breathes the life of authentic Africa.

Pathways wind through the trees to connect the individual lodges and rooms…

And grand entrances entice your entry.

If only we had the full family with us to fill our very own grand dining table.

Nothing is missed here, including a personal plunge pool, overlooking a watering hole where elephants trumpet to announce dinner.

Our first night in Africa introduces us to the magical BOMA (traditional African buffet dinner), where we meet our next morning’s safari guide and discuss what we hope to see when we set out at sunrise.

Will we see rhino? Leopard? Lion? Wild dog? Zebra and giraffe no doubt, and ellies of course.

As we slide into our divine linens, we can only dream of what tomorrow’s next World Odyssey will bring…


I’ve had a lot of “huh” moments in my life. Pause, head tilt, mouth agape… Huh!  You know, when something is just a little too extreme and confusing, that all you can say is  …  “huh”?

It’s fabulously universal. It can be positive or negative… You can say it quickly as a brief reaction, or really draw out the first “H” to express deep confusion. “HHHuh…”

There are just way too many uses, and frankly, my friend Emily and I took this little word to a whole new level on our excursion throughout South Africa.

Being asked to head up World Odyssey USA and travel the world in luxury? “Huh!”  One of my greatest friends gets to break away from her routine and join me on my first trip to Africa? Well, a big “huh” to that one too!

So off Emily and I set on our first grand adventure, pinching ourselves and ready to breathe in the world.  That’s the thing about travel. It’s all in the details… all the little things that make you go,”huh”, and all of the details that can make your journey life-altering.  So we were dialed in.  We met up in Johannesburg with my colleague Liesl, who heads our South African office, and off we went on our very own life-altering journey.

First stop?  Just off an easy red-eye from London, Emily and I are greeted in Johannesburg by World Odyssey’s ground handler, Dave.  Dressed in safari gear and a beaming smile, suddenly Dave handles all of our bags effortlessly, and guides us through a floral-lined pathway to an incredible breakfast room in the Intercontinental Hotel. Why was Dave there?  Oh, just to greet us, make us feel comfortable, answer any of our questions and walk us next door to breakfast.  (Hmmm… Ok, so this is what World Odyssey means by handling every detail.)

As Emily and I await Liesl’s arrival, we say a big “Thank you” to Dave and sit to have our first latte in Africa. We gaze at porcupine quills dangling from the ceiling, 6-inch grasshoppers decorating the massive cathedral windows, and golden African morning light illuminating a brunch to feed Henry VIII.  Jaw agape, anticipation building… How did we get here?  How more exciting and perfect could this moment be?  We look at each other… and, on cue, say it for the first time of many…    “HUH!”

A Tour Operator… Soup to Nuts

Ok, so here I am, in Santa Barbara, and my most fabulous new bosses fly in from England to meet me for the first time.  These guys have no idea how cool they are, which by the way makes them even that much cooler.

Phil Birley and Frank Kenyon-Slaney were safari guides in Tanzania when they met 13 years ago.

They had quite a lot in common, but the most important points were that they both love travel and needed in their hearts and souls to make luxury travel their profession. They knew Africa. They knew South America.  They knew India and the Middle East.  They knew all of the people on the ground that make an incredible holiday… incredible.  All that they needed was to form the company to deliver the goods, and so, more than a decade ago, Phil and Frank returned home to England and formed World Odyssey.

World Odyssey is a Tour Operator. What is a Tour Operator? It’s the soup to nuts, nuts and bolts, detail end of travel.  World Odyssey has all of the ground expertise to make a holiday perfect… from hand-picking each lodge or hotel, to designing individualized itineraries for each client.   World Odyssey‘s specialist team travels to each destination to distinguish, first-hand, whether a property deserves World Odyssey‘s golden seal of approval for its most discerning clientele.

Quite a few people have asked me: “Why use a Tour Operator, when I can book a trip online myself?”  Well… seamless travel for one.  If you are planning a trip to Hawaii or even parts of Europe, perhaps a self-designed itinerary makes sense.  But a trip to any one of World Odyssey‘s destinations deserves to be planned by “those who know.”  Upon arrival at each destination, every tiny detail is planned to perfection. The World Odyssey team has a direct relationship with every person and every lodge during your trip.  We know what time of year to go… What to pack… What sights to see and when… Who is the perfect guide for your interests… What hotel will or, more importantly will NOT, meet your standards and budget… All throughout the Southern Hemisphere.

In May, I sampled the goods for myself for the first time and traveled throughout South Africa, World Odyssey style. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  What an unbelievable trip…

Soup to Nuts.