During the six-day tour Ethiopian Airlines Canada Canadian FAM trip, we asked the group of travel industry professionals and media who embarked on this journey to share their most memorable experience and photo from the trip.

Heather Greenwood Davis- Travel Writer shares hers with us.

Heather: As a travel writer, it’s my job to visit all kinds of destinations. I’ve had the privilege of visiting countries across the globe and am no stranger to beautiful places with interesting histories to share. It’s one of the reasons why Ethiopia was so intriguing.

I’m old enough to remember the famine of the 80’s and the LiveAid event that tried to make a dent in it. But since then, I’m embarrassed to say, Ethiopia fell off my radar.

Until February.

That was when I embarked on a 6-day trip with a group of writers and travel agents with the explicit goal of discovering the country. Now, instead of looking at the landscapes through a TV screen, I would have the opportunity to see things from a new vantage point: Tourist.

It didn’t disappoint.

In Ethiopia I found the history of Egypt, the landscapes of Kenya and Namibia, and the welcome that I’ve come to know from across the African continent.

When I was tasked with choosing a photo to share that most encapsulates my time there, there was only one that I thought did justice to the entire experience.

This young man followed me as we walked to and from the beautiful Blue Nile waterfall in Bahir Dar. He said little but watched with interest as I interacted with the younger kids- first on the ground and then, through the window of our waiting van.

He asked for nothing. Just stared.

I asked if I could take his photo – motioning to the camera and asking one of the more vocal children to translate. He agreed.

The first shot was akin to a deer in headlights. He had clearly not known what to expect from me – a stranger wielding a camera.

But when I showed it to him. The hesitation melted away. He laughed, his eyes twinkling in the sun with recognition of his own face, and then he nodded as I motioned that I’d like to take another.

And this time, I captured his smile.

Connections like these can seem so trivial but they are so important to me whenever I travel. Those moments when some distant bridge of communication is crossed, when ethnicity, history, language, time and space are nothing more than by-products and everything that matters is in the moment you’re standing in.

His was the first of these, but Ethiopia offered many, many more.

My favourite memories aren’t of the ancient relics, they are of the Ethiopians themselves.

 

Photo above: Young man who Heather met in Bahir Dar Photo Credit: Heather Greenwood Davis

Photo below: Heather Greenwood Davis on Ethiopian Airlines Canada -Cloud Nine