Extraordinary Journeys was born in the back bedroom of a New York apartment by a passionate mother-daughter team with enduring deep roots in travel and decades of experience living, traveling, and working around the world. Created from a passion for a new perspective on travel and crafting bespoke journeys that take travelers into the heart of wherever they explore. We’ve since expanded globally, still with a long, storied history that began in East Africa over 50 years ago.
Few people know more about the safari world than Marcia and Elizabeth Gordon. If there were a Ph.D. in African Travel, we would refer to Marcia as ‘Dr. Gordon.’ During her eleven years in Kenya, she had three children, built a house, contributed to her family’s safari business, earned her pilot’s license, studied traditional medicine, and expanded her encyclopedic, first-hand knowledge of properties throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Her daughter, Elizabeth, was born in Kenya and grew up in and around the safari world—it’s no surprise she inherited the travel gene. She spent her childhood visiting properties across the African continent with her parents. She went to school in Paris, studied languages in Taiwan, China, Germany, Spain, Paraguay, and Israel, then graduated from Stanford University. She also worked for Wilderness Safaris, managing a camp in Namibia, earned her pilot’s license, and lived in Argentina, where she co-owned a short-term rental business.
After selling the family safari business and leading the travel division of F.M. Allen, Marcia and Elizabeth started Extraordinary Journeys. Their vision was for travelers to take authentic trips in Africa and to ensure we’d never end up in a world of travel that’s boring, commoditized, and void of human connection, meanwhile supporting healthy tourism enriched with culture. To this day, Marcia prides herself on ever-so-gently encouraging clients to venture just a step outside their comfort zone—she believes that is where the magic happens. Elizabeth lives and breathes travel—she’s never stopped exploring the world and has made it her life’s work to share authentic travel experiences with our clients.
Extraordinary Journeys was founded on the feminine values of nurturing and strength: Nurturing a mother-daughter relationship, a business, a team, and the wildlife and communities where we travel. The vision continued to include creating a team who shared Marcia and Elizabeth’s values. From day one, the women who work for Extraordinary Journeys have felt like family and share the love of travel with deep knowledge—just like our founders. We now have members in the U.S. and Canada, South Africa, Kenya, and Rwanda. They are passionate about travel, conservation, and nature and have years of experience traveling throughout Africa, South America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. (Meet the whole team here.)
A commitment to working with reputable camps and lodges that give back has always been steadfast for Extraordinary Journeys—we’ve been doing responsible tourism since day one. We genuinely care about the people we work with, the people in our company, our clients, the people on the ground, the people impacted by tourism, and those impacted by wildlife—they are all part of our world. When you book a trip with us, it’s sustainable—full stop. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to vacation in a way that conserves the natural world and positively impacts the people in the communities where you travel. Sustainably-operated luxury accommodation is available everywhere we explore, from Antarctica to Australia.
Our trips have always been about human connection—with the people and environment. We encourage exploration at a relaxed pace with an open heart. The Extraordinary Journeys’ ideal is slow, intentional travel that creates connection and nurtures your soul and mind. We plan ever-more-thoughtful journeys—the anti-fast fashion of travel if you will.
We’re in the business of transformative travel: authentic experiences for people willing to expand their horizons and go beyond what they’ve already experienced. We do not want our clients just to go and have a ‘nice’ time. We want them to return and say, ‘I got shaken up; this extraordinary journey made me look at the world differently.’ We want you to go deep, get in touch with your emotions, connect, and for your experiences to make you come back a richer person.
We’re proud of our work, and our team continues to be recognized for it, winning multiple awards. Some accolades include Elizabeth being selected Condé Nast Top Travel Specialist and a spot on the coveted Travel and Leisure A-List. The Extraordinary Journeys team has been voted among the top five Best Safari Operators by the readers of Travel and Leisure for the past seven years. We’ve also shown up in the press in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and National Geographic Travel, amongst others.
As a continuation of our original vision, we’ve recently partnered with the prestigious French travel brand Voyageurs du Monde to help us expand and offer the same bespoke, authentic experiences around the world.