Two Travelers on Tracing Their Roots Through Africa, Episode 19 of Travel + Leisure’s New Podcast

Mario Rigby and Rondel Holder join host Kellee Edwards on Let’s Go Together.

Travel + Leisure's Let's Go Together Episode 19 guests - Mario Rigby and Rondel Holder
Photo: Courtesy of Mario Rigby and Rondel Holder

Every week on Let's Go Together, the first podcast from Travel + Leisure, we bring you incredible stories of people breaking boundaries and redefining what it means to be a traveler. Last week we introduced you to a lesbian couple traveling the world together and documenting their journeys to help other LGBTQIA+ travelers explore. This year we've also heard firsthand accounts from Black roadtrippers, plus-sized folks reshaping travel, and even travelers with physical disabilities who refuse to be stopped by their physical limitations.

This week, our incredible host Kellee Edwards introduces listeners to Mario Rigby and Rondel Holder, to discuss their journeys tracing their ancestries and exploring countries across the African continent to get closer to their roots.

Rondel Holder — “a fly brother,” according to Edwards, and CEO of Soul Society 101, a company that produces travel content for Black travelers — has visited 14 countries in Africa. Using DNA tests, Holder produced a video series tracing his ancestral lineage around the continent. He also leads group trips and personalized experiences to Africa through his company Global Royalty.

“The more that I traveled and experienced [Africa], the more I became passionate about it and really wanted to make sure that… everyone knew how much Africa [has] to offer,” Hold told Edwards. “There’s sort of this one-sided image that has been out there perpetuated about Africa — and it’s so much more than that.”

Like Edwards, this episode's other guest, Mario Rigby, is an explorer in the truest sense of the word. In fact, Rigby walked over 12,000 kilometers and through nine countries to cover the length of Africa by foot over the course of two-and-half years. A member of the Explorers Club and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Rigby has visited over 135 African tribes and given Ted Talks on the subject.

“Essentially what I do is expeditions that really push the boundaries of human physiological and psychological limits,” Rigby said on the podcast. “And in order to do that I also have to go into the cultures, into the places that I go to… and really try to understand the roots and the cultures and the people that live there.”

Over the course of the episode, the trio discuss the complexities of the African diaspora, the challenges faced and the lessons learned on their individual journeys around the continent, how the each connected with their roots, and how people can take their own trips to the vast and diverse continent.

Hear it all for yourself on this week’s episode of Let’s Go Together, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Tanner Saunders is the Associate Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure.

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