When Mark Lakin and Marc Chafiian left their cushy corporate jobs to start Epic Road, a boutique travel company, their goal was to create life-changing journeys for a high-end clientele. Since the company launched in 2011, they’ve taken clients around the world—combining luxury and adventure with authentic local and cultural experiences. “It’s about giving people a taste of the unfamiliar,” says Lakin. “We plan five-star vacations with a soul.” Here, the founders of Epic Road showcase a few of their favorite escapes.
Experience conservation first-hand in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park by participating in a unique elephant adoption program. Sponsors get to meet and even bottle-feed their fostered calf, while learning about the rehabilitation process of rescued orphans.
Located in the Kalahari desert, South Africa’s Tswalu game reserve ranks among the continent’s most luxurious safari experiences (and with just nine suites, it’s also one of the most exclusive). Lodges come with a sundeck overlooking a watering hole, plus a private guide, tracker and Range Rover.
For a truly immersive experience in the Arctic Circle, head to Svalbard —a remote Norwegian archipelago—for a dogsledding safari. Thrill-seekers revel in the exquisite polar landscape of glaciers, mountain passes and virgin snow.
Descend upon a remote Canadian base camp via helicopter, where a luxury igloo awaits. The spacious tents have large picture windows, high ceilings, duvets and fireplaces, with stunning mountain backdrops.
Board a floating library boat and visit impoverished villages along the Mekong River in Laos to distribute books and solar lights. It’s an exercise that facilitates safety, education and empowerment among local residents.
Check in to Satri House, an elegant boutique hotel in Luang Prabang with aristocratic roots. The property was once the residence of the Prince of Laos. Today, it’s an urban oasis with exotic gardens and first-class hospitality.