Andrew Selinka, Managing Director, visits Ethiopia, an ancient land that provides insight on our modern cultural conflicts.
My recent Professional Development Tour to Ethiopia (sponsored by the National Tour Association and Ethiopian Ministry of Tourism) was everything and nothing I expected.
Each moment brought new insights into the magic that the people, the culture and the rich history and traditions offer to the traveler. Ethiopia is immediately and decisively foreign and unique yet also familiar and welcoming.
My expectations were guarded and my goals unsure even though I loved being there from the start.
I knew I wanted to create a unique educational travel program that we could offer and was looking for that special moment that would become my inspirational genesis.
Our company, Academic Expeditions, specializes in high quality custom educational student tours so I had an idea of what I was looking for but not sure what specific demographic I would focus on. All of the other tour operators on the tour specialized in adult and family travel programs so my perspective was quite different as I imagined student groups traveling in our tour footsteps.
That inspirational moment for me came in beautiful and fascinating Lalibela, a town in Northern Ethiopia that is famous for its 11 monolithic rock cut churches and is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities.
I immediately knew that I wanted to bring University students or adults here to study the rich history of religious tolerance that this country offers. We offer several University Chaplaincy departments around the country unique in depth tours that show a glimpse into multi faith coexistence.
Our partnering branch Discovery Expeditions, was birthed out of our Academic Expeditions team for this very vision, to offer immersive group travel opportunities off the beaten path to adults, families, and non-traditional students who may not fall into the same network or community that generates our successful domestic student tours.
Ethiopia was an amazing example of this and we look forward to creating and offering these insightful tours soon.