When we launched Resource Travel, I talked about how my love for travel wasn’t instilled in me until the age of 27, when I finally obtained a passport and took my first international trip. I was hooked, but being a rookie photographer and an unexperienced traveler, I didn’t really know what to do next. I bounced around Europe for a while but partied more than I photographed or appreciated the local culture and history. I was missing something meaningful. I wasn’t getting the real experiences that I suddenly was longing for in my travels.
That all changed four years ago when I took a trip to Peru that would forever change my direction in life, my career, and my internal happiness. My friend Colby Brown had recently founded a company called The Giving Lens, whose mission was to bring aspiring and professional photographers alike to international locations. On the ground, the trips would hold two goals. One was a workshop angle, where the team leaders would help the team members improve their photography skills in a fast moving, real world experience. The second goal was what set The Giving Lens apart from traditional travel photography workshops. The team would work with a local organization helping to improve the communities from within. Today, the majority of our trips consist of bringing donated cameras and teaching local children how to express themselves through the art of photography. It goes far, far deeper than that and I wrote more about the experiences and the emotional impact it has had on me over the years.
Over the years as the Senior Trip Leader for The Giving Lens, I have travelled with teams to Nicaragua, Peru, Jordan, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Tanzania and just earlier this year, we led our first trip to Cuba. As people who know me can tell you, I am very passionate about travel, photography, and my role here at Resource Travel. But there is no aspect of my life and career that I am more passionate about or more proud of then my work with The Giving Lens. Nothing.
When returning over the years, I have seen first-hand the impact that our work has on the organizations that we work with, like Empowerment International in Nicaragua. I have seen countless TGL team members return time and time again to experience this rewarding work in a new location, or sometimes even the same location. We have four of our Nicaragua 2015 team members returning with us this July!
Anyway, it occurred to me, after years of seeing the incredible photographs taken by our team members during our adventures, I should help tell our story through the photographs, and hopefully, it will inspire others to live the experience that would change who I would become and help me discover my true passions.
I am starting with Tanzania, which truly is a perfect mix of adventure and giving back. While not working with the smiling children of Excel Education Foundation and visiting schools in Moshi, the TGL team can be found photographing Lions, Cheetahs, Elephants, Zebras, leopards and the countless other species of wildlife we find both in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.
Take a look at this impressive collection of photos from past TGL Tanzania team members and see why Tanzania should be on everyone’s bucket list, whether with The Giving Lens or not. It is an adventure not to be missed. I have included some of my photos in here as well as Kate Siobhan Mulligan’s, who is truly the backbone behind TGL. In addition to leading trips, Kate does almost all of the organizing and planning of the trips behind the scenes. There really would be no The Giving Lens without Kate. And I wouldn’t have found my passion in life, my career, and my love for travel and photography without The Giving Lens.
Thank you to The Giving Lens team members who contributed photos. Give them a follow. There are amazing photographers. Pat Corlin; Anita Bonnarens; Sébastien Beun; Joseph Epperson; Andreas Sigrist; Catherine Etherton; Donald Sudy; Jacqueline M. Koh; Patt Dickson; Swetha Ramachandran; Meagan Corlin Brogan.
If traveling to Tanzania, we can’t recommend local guide Godlove Urassa enough!