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Luxury Travel Blog | Travcoa

Pioneering a Life of Travel

Featured Travel Director: Hal Rice

Strangely, Travcoa Travel Director Hal Rice’s parents were not travelers. With more than a dozen passports issued in his name, he is, ironically, the only one in his very large family to ever “venture out to faraway places.”

“I created the mold of curiosity for the world outside my home surroundings,” Hal said. “I can’t recall any particular person who opened up the world to me. It was geography and a map and a real belief that I would someday visit as many countries as possible.”

Today, Hal shares his love for the planet with scores of travelers. Of his innumerable journeys across the globe, the one he most enjoys sharing is West Africa.

“My fondest memories are my first several visits to Timbuktu,” he says. “I can still feel the dry heat and the pressing in of the children who followed us as we walked through the dusty streets and laneways. There were sounds of the meuzzin’s call-to-prayer, camels braying in the camps, and the taste in my mouth of bread baked in an open-air oven and mechoui (pit-roasted goat) that I tugged at with my bare hands.”

In addition to those beloved journeys to Africa, Hal has made his way to see the gorillas of Congo, taken more than 17 treks to Uganda, and even visited the North Pole.

“The North Pole is the passport stamp I’m most proud of,” he said. “I spent ten hours on an ice floe in July of 2002 and had the opportunity to dunk in the icy-cold waters along with twenty-eight other foolhardy souls.”


Image: Travcoa Travel Director Hal Rice at the North Pole

In his home you’ll find collections that remind Hal of those journeys: more than three hundred elephants; mirrors from eighty different countries; and paintings, masks, and other forms of primitive tribal art. But what you won’t find on his well-decorated walls is perhaps the greatest gift of all: understanding.

“I’ve learned that people are the same everywhere,” he said. “I have been to many countries where our governments don’t get along, but I have always been treated with genuine hospitality and offers of friendship. Traveling the world has made me a better citizen. Whenever I hear the news of someplace I’ve been, I can still envision that friendliness.”

You can join Hal on Travcoa's upcoming Route of the Caravans Journey in September. Travcoa is known worldwide for its small-group Escorted JourneysPrivate Tours and Custom Travel in Asia and other exotic travel destinations. To learn more, call your travel agent or a Travcoa Journey Consultant at 1-800-992-2003, or email

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Topics: Congo, Mali, Uganda, North Pole