Southern Explorations Founder Embarks on Another Life-Changing Trip to Peru

Justin Laycob and Lisa Robinson get engaged at Machu Picchu

Some trips are just bigger than others. For our Founder & CEO Justin Laycob, despite having spent more than two decades exploring South and Central America, his most recent trip to Peru was one of the most important of his life.
The story of Southern Explorations is well-known to many adventure travelers at this point. Having spent a semester studying in Ecuador, a young and ambitious Justin Laycob was simply too enamored with his first real taste of South America to leave. Instead, he opted to stay and explore the wilds of the continent, chasing adventure at every opportunity.
“In 1996, I first did the Inca Trail. No porters, no guides. Just my brother and me. That trip to Peru changed my life,” Justin recounts. “It seemed like a place where you could accomplish anything you wanted. Ever since that moment I first saw Machu Picchu, I knew I was going to do something significant in South America, I just didn’t know what yet.”
For nearly 18 years now the what has been his focus on his adventure travel company, however, this year, Justin used the magic of Peru to make another major life move. While once again overlooking Machu Picchu, he took the plunge and asked his girlfriend, Lisa Richardson, to marry him. She said yes.
“Within five minutes of first meeting Lisa she told me that the Inca Trail/Machu Picchu was the number one spot on her travel bucket list,” recalls Justin. “I said, ‘I might be able to help you with that!’ After a few years together, we finally set-up a trip to the Inca Trail and brought a big group of great friends along. However, my plan hit a snag. Lisa broke her toe while we were traveling in Cambodia. She was heartbroken thinking she might not be able to live her dream of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. But she trained tirelessly to get herself to a place where she could do the trail to Machu Picchu. At times, it was a struggle out there on the Inca Trail, but she was determined and she did it! When we got to Machu Picchu I got to propose at this place that meant so much to both of us.”
Crafting complex group trips or setting up grand romantic gestures are not the kind of options restricted to the company’s founder either. Thoughtfully considered moments and life-changing experiences are central to our approach to creating trips, whether you’re the CEO or simply a guest looking for your own major moments in South America and Central America. Give us a call at 1-877-784-5400 or shoot us an email and we’ll get crafting your own momentous South and Central America trip today.
And be sure to check out our Instagram stories to see more pictures from Justin’s trip and proposal!