Leora Rothschild is crazy busy.
I met her just over a year ago, right after she first asked me to start writing for Rothschild Safaris. She welcomed me into her beautiful home filled with a joyful, very busy family of humans and bundles of fur. Reminders of Africa were everywhere. We weren’t only talking about the continent constantly but I was right at home with all the African artifacts dotted around the house.
And I would learn pretty quickly that Leora Rothschild packs an incredible amount of living into every day.
She gets up very early to exercise (it keeps her sane and it is the only me-time she will have in her day), work starts right after the school run and then, for the rest of the day you will find her answering incessant calls, herding a company of opinionated women who work from all over the world, cooking incredibly delicious food (making everyone drink flaxseed oil) and when it is time for her to go to sleep Africa is waking up and she will have meetings and phone calls into the night.
It is practically impossible isn’t easy getting her to pause for a moment and you know immediately that she would be far happier talking about Africa than herself.
So, of course, I lied and told her I wanted to talk about Africa.
What do you miss most when you are not in Africa?
I miss the beautiful people, the amazing food and the smell of the bush.
After all these years, how come you haven’t fallen out of love with it yet?
It is never the same, each trip is completely different to the next – this might seem hard to believe but it’s so true. February is different to May which is different to October again. And the changes happen on every level. The animals are different, the bush looks different, it feels like everything is fresh and new every time. So, no, I can never fall out of love with Africa. It simply isn’t possible. When I talk about Africa or think about it I can always see what I am talking about with absolute clarity. It’s just awesome.
Is there a particular part of Africa you love more than all the others… and if you do have a favorite can you tell us why?
I have lots of favorites, but I have to say I have always had a soft spot for Victoria Falls. I could spend days there just enjoying how spectacular this natural marvel is. It is a great place to acclimatize on arrival in Africa but it is also such a stunning stop over in between safari activities. But you have to get away from the crowds and stay somewhere that is close by but completely isolated. Luckily I know exactly where to go. I won’t mention names but some of the hotels there are pretty terrible, I imagine if you stayed in the wrong hotel near Victoria Falls you would find yourself wanting to just see what you can and get out as fast as possible!
How do you manage to be so busy running an award-winning international business and still stay so healthy and always have more energy?
When I travel I try not to overeat on the flight. I hate airplane food, (although these days they are improving).
I pace myself, I never drink alcohol on flights but have plenty of water instead.
I always take nuts with me so if I don’t like the food they offer on planes I will not starve 😊
At the destination, I try to eat sensibly, they offer dessert with almost every meal so I will try to have just one a day or try a little of all but not overeat.
I also have to exercise, which can be hard sometimes in the bush. My key to getting onto the next timezone quickly is simple. I make sure I can exercise on arrival if at all possible. I’m not too fussy about what I do because I have found that almost anything is good. I will take a brisk walk, go for a run, hit a gym if one is available… really anything that can get the blood flowing and my body sweating. Exercise on arrival works like absolute magic for me. Then I will keep fitting in a few runs (or another activity) during my travels. It isn’t always possible every day on Safari, but I have to do something every few days or I will surely go insane.
When we think of how you manage to run a business that is spread out over all the continents, employing a herd of very opinionated and driven women and one man who all take their jobs very seriously our heads hurt quite frankly. That you have been doing this successfully for 20 years is incredible. You really have seen the industry from every angle and have grown with it over time and through all the changes. What are your top tips for women in business in 2019?
Be prepared to evolve constantly.
You have to be flexible and be able to listen to what other people really think of you.
It is only when you have all the information that you can take effective action.
Let the ego go.
And with that, she is off with a swirl of her signature curls and a dash of neverending legs. She has a staff review interview to do and won’t go to sleep before she knows exactly where every Rothschild Safaris client is sleeping and how their Safaris are going.
I imagine this is exactly what she will be doing in another two decades. It is clear that she simply loves her job that much.