Latin Odyssey’s founder, Mark Rolfe, travelled solo for five years hitch-hiking and pitching his tent across four continents. He then became an Expedition leader for the next six years throughout Europe, Africa and South and Central America. This experience gave him unrivalled product knowledge of South and Central America and a true appreciation of the local culture, people and wildlife.
Following this Mark established ‘Latin Odyssey’ in 2003, knowing that this intimate knowledge of the continent would enable him to create extraordinary travel experiences for other spirited adventurers. Latin Odyssey has now been creating luxury, tailor made holidays to South and Central America for over a decade.
Here we find out more about Mark's life and travels.
What's your favourite holiday destination and why?
Belize in Central America. The people are so laid back and the reef is super.
Where in the world would you like to go that you haven’t been already?
Anywhere in Japan and the Far East. It is the one part of the world I haven’t been and it has always fascinated me.
What’s your preferred mode of transport?
Any off road vehicle, it’s the best way to travel.
Do you have a favourite hotel?
Ponta dos Ganchos in Brazil with their huge villas and private plunge pools overlooking the ocean.
What do you always travel with?
My Akubra hat from Australia, perfect for sun or rain.
What's your top tip to beat jet lag?
Stay hydrated and if you arrive in the morning, don’t sleep during the day.
If you had to give one piece of advice when setting off on a trip, what would it be?
Try and behave like a local, so don’t stand on the corner of a street with your guide book and map. It’s good to get lost sometimes.
What is your proudest moment?
Anything that involves watching my daughter grow up. I love it how kids run (or skip) everywhere!
Who has been your greatest influencer?
Some of the people I first travelled with showed me how to get off the beaten path and discover the places other people never find. I learned that by taking only the items I really needed I could take more food and supplies, allowing me to explore the most remote national parks in the world for weeks and sometimes months at a time without seeing anyone else.
It’s often said that life’s a journey – all be it a one-way ticket. If you could return as one thing or one person, what or whom would that be and why?
I would have loved to have lived during the times of early exploration, so perhaps someone like David Livingston. The excitement they must have felt discovering new places must have been incredible.
Who is the most interesting person that you have sat next to on a plane?
No-one of any significance, i generally keep to myself on a flight.
What do you do on your time off?
Spend as much time with my family as I can.
Who (living or not) would make the most interesting dinner table guests?
What is the most memorable gift that you have ever been given?
A zippo lighter from a person I met briefly in Australia with an engraving on the back which read "to a man who is never lost".
What is your advice for balancing work and family life?
You only live once, so make sure the balance is towards family as much as possible.
Quick Fire Questions…
Fry up or cereal?
Coffee of tea?
Coffee - cortado
Champagne or beer?
Sand or snow?
Sea or swimming pool?
Football or rugby ball?
Smart or casual?
Shoes or trainers?
Newspaper or tablet?
Novel or movie?
Thanks for that insight Mark!
Mark travels with his Dom Reilly travel wallet and wash bag.