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Geordie at Wolf Lodge

Pelorus in the Press

Elite Traveler

Read the interview in Elite Traveler with our co-founder Geordie Mackay-Lewis, discussing his passion for travel, how Pelorus came to be, and what’s behind our mission statement of creating travel experiences with purpose.

June 2022

Irenie Forshaw spoke to Geordie from Elite Traveler to hear all about his passion for travel and adventure and how he and Jimmy Carroll founded Pelorus together. 

“From chasing the elusive Northern Lights in Norway to trekking through Costa Rica’s lush mangrove forests, these are no ordinary package holidays. Rather, the duo set out to create once-in-a-lifetime adventures that could, in Mackay-Lewis’s words, literally “take people’s breath away.”

“I’ve always had this weird affinity for wide open spaces, wilderness and remote places,” he says.

Five years since setting up their business, the entrepreneurs have cultivated an invaluable network of experts from around the globe that help turn their ambitious travel itineraries into reality.

Rangers in Africa

“The stars of the show,” says Mackay-Lewis, “are the yacht experts, anthropologists, marine biologists and all these wonderful people who really bring these trips to life, take people safely into these environments, and help us create things that no one else has been creating before.””

“Perhaps most important of all, however, is the support Pelorus offers to the scientific community.” On a recent heli-skiing expedition led by Geordie in Antarctica, Pelorus worked closely with the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) to figure out how Pelorus could make a difference.

The Argentinian Antarctic Survey connected Pelorus with Dr. Mercedes Santos, who accompanied the team and clients on their yacht expedition to Antarctica. “The trip became far more than just a yacht experience.””

When asked about leading the way in responsible travel to the seventh continent, Geordie is enthusiastic and hopeful. 

“”I relish the challenge, to basically set the example, move the needle. If this is what we’re doing, then everyone else should be doing the same.” In working alongside IAATO, “you can make a lot of positive change from within” – this is travelling with purpose. 

TRAVELLING WITH PURPOSE – THE PELORUS FOUNDATION

“Eager to make a greater impact, [the Pelorus Foundation] hired a team of charitable experts to work with partners on the ground that is on the front line of critical conservation efforts. During the pandemic, for example, the foundation trained over 100 rangers to help tackle the poaching crisis in South Africa’s trans frontier region.

“We’re literally buying the boots for the rangers and making sure every single penny we spend is being deployed on the ground,” says Mackay-Lewis.

Other projects the Pelorus Foundation is working on include carrying out vital marine research in the Red Sea, establishing a healthy coral reef ecosystem in Honduras and helping to put in place practices to protect the endangered Black Rhino in Namibia’s Onguma Game Reserve.

In his typically adventurous fashion, Pelorus co-founder Jimmy Carroll kicked off fundraising efforts by rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from La Gomera to Antigua.”

In the interview, Geordie also touched on the Climate Investment Fund launched by the Foundation – “The money is funneled into a wide range of carbon removal projects and technological solutions to reverse the damaging impact of climate change.”

“In the last couple of years, he has witnessed priorities shift with people traveling for longer and with greater purpose. This is something he is only too happy to facilitate.

During their time away, the Pelorus team encourages clients to actively get involved with giving back, whether it be going on an anti-poaching patrol with a field ranger in Africa or spending time with a marine biologist in Antarctica to support crucial research on the region’s whale population.

“The clients love it,” says Mackay-Lewis. “They get to meet extraordinary people that they would never have met on a normal travel experience. Everyone wants to get fully involved with the conservation projects which I think is a huge silver lining to the pandemic.””

Geordie diving

“Going forward, he hopes to weave this type of purposeful travel into every Pelorus trip. His eyes light up as he launches into a list of experiences he is currently crafting in Papua New Guinea, Patagonia and Brazil and it’s clear that for Mackay-Lewis this is far more than just a job – it’s his passion.”

Irenie Forshaw
Elite Traveler