Elizabeth Gordon on Growing Up in Africa, The new mom-to-be recently reminisced with Lonely Planet about what it was like to spend her childhood traveling throughout Africa with her family, including her mom and EJ co-founder, Marcia Gordon. Below are some of our favorite excerpts of Elizabeth’s interview that capture how travel has really impacted and shaped her life.

What is your first travel-related memory?

Since my family owned a tour operating company in Kenya, I’ve travelled my whole life. As a child, I remember shuttling back and forth between Nairobi and Paris with my mum.

However, one of my first real travel-related memories was from the summer my family spent in Taiwan when I was six years old. It was exotic for me. I knew Kenya, but Taiwan was a very different experience. It was the first time I wondered, ‘What is this going to be like?’ I remember that thought so clearly in the cab on the way to the airport.

Elizabeth Gordon on Growing Up in Africa
The mother-daughter duo back on safari.

Can you tell us about your most memorable wildlife encounter?

For me, my most memorable wildlife encounter was the first time I saw an elephant on foot. I was 12 years old and I was surprised by how close we were to them. Elephants are quiet and my heart was pounding so fast to be that close to such a big animal.

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Of the many experiences offered by Extraordinary Journeys, do you have a personal favorite?

I love the helicopter safaris… Microlights (an aeroplane, capable of flight in the same way as any other) is an exhilarating experience. I obviously love the walking safaris. A really good walking safari is so much fun. I always feel more connected to nature when I’m walking; you just look at things differently. Biking is also a really fun experience.

Elizabeth Gordon on Growing Up in Africa, Helicopter
Lake Turkana pit stop during a full day helicopter excursion in northern Kenya.

What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve received?

When things go wrong, it’s your decision how to react to it. You can’t control things; the only thing you can control is your reaction.

What advice would you give a first-time traveler?

Say ‘Yes!’ and be open to things. Don’t try to control everything; just let things happen. Trust me, travel (and life) is more fun that way.

Elizabeth Gordon on Growing Up in Africa, Sunset
Local warriors at Elephant Watch Camp on a recent return trip.

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