Meet Elizabeth Halliday Gordon, Co-Founder and CEO of Extraordinary Journeys, a luxury safari and travel planning company specializing in custom trips to Africa, India, Australia, South America, and Beyond
Finding herself filled with big ideas, Elizabeth jettisoned the corporate world and set off on a path of entrepreneurship to make her ideas a reality. In 2008, Elizabeth and her mother, Marcia, launched Extraordinary Journeys in a quest to connect travelers with the wonderful and unexpected in Africa.
Elizabeth was born in Kenya, raised in Paris, and grew up traveling the world. She is fluent in six languages and is always looking for stories in the places she visits.
She returned to Kenya after graduating from Stanford University to manage a luxury safari camp in Namibia. She then worked as a consultant in Buenos Aires, where she founded a rental and management company.
Finally, she co-founded Extraordinary Journeys realizing that having an understanding partner to help provide a foundation for her vision was key. And no one was better suited for that than her mother.
Working together allowed Elizabeth and Marcia an opportunity to share and put to use their decades of experience living, traveling, and working internationally with clients.
Extraordinary Journeys approach to trip planning is about deeply understanding the client’s personality, dreams, travel style, goals, and preferences. We’re most successful when we suggest activities, like gorilla trekking or fly camping, that clients had never considered or knew existed. She knows that to truly connect with a destination means being on the ground level rather than viewing through the glass of a tourist bus.
“We help people discover new places and have unique experiences, tapping into that authentic curiosity about who they are and what will be best for them,” Elizabeth said. “Our clients feel that they are being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Africa isn’t typically someone’s first experience with international travel, but our clients always come back and say an EJ safari will be their most memorable because it was so uniquely ‘them.’ Creating human connections is an important part of that journey.”
Elizabeth notes that during the pandemic, travel came to a halt. But now, as people are getting vaccinated, the confidence to travel again is coming back.
When it comes to business, Gordon trusts her intuition and experience to show her the path to success. She likes to maintain her authenticity in all her ventures.
The Extraordinary Journeys team strives to provide an authentic travel experience for their guests by designing a unique itinerary that allows them to find their voice. They focus on the flow of the trip, how the travelers feel at each destination, and what can be done to enhance and elevate their experience. Extraordinary Journeys has won several awards from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, and many other leading industry organizations.
Gordon found it difficult to find her voice initially. There was constant pressure to work for prestigious corporate firms, and it was tough leaving behind her friends working in Silicon Valley to pursue a travel business.
There was also pressure to focus on financial success, but instead, she wanted to follow her dreams and establish her own leadership style and definition of success.
Elizabeth and her team are constantly working to create a one-of-a-kind travel experience for their clients. Travel runs through her veins, and she is doing her best to share her passion with others.