Calgary – It was almost exactly ten years ago that an ordinary Calgary woman set off to do some extraordinary things. And for freelance writer Maureen Magee, extraordinary events have now become part of everyday life.
In 1999 Magee was writing a series of travel articles for the Calgary Herald. Then adventure beckoned in the form of a film-making friend, Doug Spencer.
Spencer had been filming a series of documentaries about “ordinary women doing extraordinary things” (OFF THE MAP, Gorica Productions). He had previously filmed Magee in the Canadian Arctic – now he was off to Ethiopia…it was an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“Ethiopia was just supposed to be another quickie adventure, and then I would come back home to Calgary,” says Magee (now Demissie). But the ‘quickie adventure’ turned into a life-altering affair. “I fell in love with Ethiopia. I fell in love with my guide Mageru and within two months, I said good bye to Calgary and moved to Addis Ababa. I knew immediately that this amazing country was the world’s biggest travel secret and I wanted to share it with others. As Mageru had years of guiding experience, it seemed only natural we would work together to form our own company.”
It only took them 9 years.
“Ethiopia just blew me away” Magee continues. “It is such a huge and happy surprise. It has the ancient history of a land 4000 years old that was never colonized, and for many centuries was forgotten by time. Travelers experience fabulous endemic bird life, lush green jungles, sparkling rivers, lakes, waterfalls and pristine alpine mountains. Ethiopians are sincerely friendly folks who are thrilled to introduce you to their culture. The travelling is safe; and you will encounter very few tourists. If you want to add some ‘extraordinary’ to your life, I suggest you come on over.”
African Queen Tour Operations is based in Calgary and offers personalized, small-group tours throughout Ethiopia.