Geoffrey Kent — founder, chairman, and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent
I’ve been traveling all my life. I was born in Zambia and grew up in Kenya. My father would take us on a safari every holiday. We’d go to Lake Baringo, to the northern frontier of Kenya, to Gambia, to – in those days – the Belgian Congo. At 16 I took my motorbike and drove from Nairobi to Cape Town, which was about 5,000 miles by the time I’d done my detours. I became the first person in the world to ever do that trip with no support. Then I started Abercrombie & Kent with my mom and dad in 1962.
I travel 250 days a year. I’ve been to 140 countries. I really don’t like to go back to too many places. If I go back to a place, that means I haven’t gained anything new. I like to think I’m a visionary. I’ve taken Abercrombie & Kent from one lonely Land Rover in 1962 and built it to what it is today. “I always go there first” – that’s the rule. I go there first, and then I can tell other people whether or not they should go there. If I’ve got a week free, I choose a new country if I can.
If I have to go back, where would I like to go back to? My wife, Otavia, is Brazilian. We have a lovely house in a place called Florianópolis in southern Brazil. All I do there is read books and relax. Everybody speaks Portuguese and I don’t, so it’s perfect.
I love Kenya. It’s my home. We have a place at Malindi on the beach. And also, we go on safari a lot. Animals are always different – they’re never the same. If you go to the pyramids, the pyramids are always the same. If you see them 100 times, they’re the same every time. But you must see them at least once in your life.
I don’t plan to go back to the North Pole. I went in this Russian atomic-powered icebreaker in 2000. Then, the ice was really thick, and it took like two weeks to get there. Every day: BA-boom-boom-boom-boom. We broke our way all the way to the North Pole, and it was agony.
We’re going to the South Pole in December. It’s one of my Inspiring Expeditions by Geoffrey Kent tours. I’ll take my wife and five other couples. Money is no object. We do everything by private plane, and we have caviar and beautiful Champagne, huge adventures by day and luxuries by night. They’re always sold out well in advance. I live all these different lives. One minute I’m with crocodiles in Gabon, and the next minute I’m sitting by Lake Como at the Villa d’Este.