I met my girlfriend back in April of 2017. She is an avid travel bug and as I got to know her I thought it might be fun to give international travel a try. So in September of 2017 we packed our bags and took flight to Cambodia in Southeast Asia. Here are three ways it completely changed my outlook on life!
1. I Learned to Appreciate the Initial Shock of a New Country
After a long but restful flight from America to Cambodia we arrived late at night and hopped into a pre-ordered taxi to get to our hotel. I held myself together but later admitted to Shaylin that I was completely mortified! Where the heck are we right now!? As we drove through the streets of Phnom Penh my internal meltdown told me that this foreign place was not where I belonged. Every block further from the airport was another reason why I should turn the taxi around and fly home immediately. It was not until well after the trip that I realized that my reaction existed only because this was a drastically new experience for me. I had no knowledge of this side of the globe and it was very evident upon arrival. But I trusted my girlfriend and figured I could survive this experience if I just persisted through this initial shock.
2. I Learned that Culture Submersion Leads to Understanding
The next day we immediately went back to the airport to fly to Siem Reap and further into the unknown culture of Cambodia. We hired a tour guide for our first couple of days and he did an amazing job of immersing us in the local culture. At the end of our first day my mindset had completely transformed and my opinion of Cambodia could not have been more positive! The people who I lacked knowledge of proved to be some of the kindest humans I have ever met. The landscapes and ancient structures are sights that I will forever remember, and the local markets provided some of the most authentic experiences to memory.
I HIGHLY recommend hiring a local tour guide for the first day or two in a new country. They will help acclimate you to your new surroundings and once you are comfortable you can venture out and explore on your own.
3. I Learned to Admit that I was not as Open-Minded as I Thought
The country of Cambodia will always be special to me as it provided proof that my mind was not as open as I once thought. I had convinced myself that I could read about any place enough to travel there successfully and I’ve never been more wrong! There is no substitute for experiencing a country in person and pushing yourself to grow every step of the way. I now have the slightest idea of how different people live around the world and that helps me to appreciate all of the opportunities that I’ve been given. Needless to say I caught the travel bug and we visited Peru just a few months later, but that’s a story for another time. 😉
What was your first travel destination? What was your initial reaction and how did if effect your outlook on your life? Where’s the next place you hope to visit? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments! And thank you for reading my blog! If you want to see more content on travel, photography/videography, and adventure all while appreciating the effects of community and understanding then please follow along!
I noticed multiple people describing what their blog would be about on their first post. That definitely makes sense and I may have gotten a little too ambitious and didn’t even think to post this first!
But on this blog I hope to show the benefits of community throughout the lives of content creators. There are so many out there these days it’s important to have community amongst all of the one-person operations. So I will be sharing my thoughts on the effects of content creation on our lives and much much more! I am passionate about the outdoors and preserving the places we love to adventure through, so that will be a large part of my content. However I will be taking on jobs in multiple genres of content creation so you will see a vast range of subjects on this blog. I will be sharing my learnings throughout my journey in improving my crafts of photography, videography, and retouching! I think there is a lot to discuss within these fields, so I plan on creating a podcast and posting transcripts for those who like to read!
No matter the content I would love to develop a community around the blog where we can all learn from each other. As a beginning photographer I know I have so much to learn and I’d love for you to join me in this growing process!
I hope to see you all in the comments soon. Thanks!
It’s cold, windy, and snowing here in Wyoming. The last thing most people want to do with their Saturday morning is layer up and go outside. Tack on driving over ice-covered roads and unseen potholes and that is the perfect excuse to stay home and snuggle under a blanket. Over the past few months, however, I’ve found that the reason for these lazy weekends is not the cold. The true cause is not having a commitment or goal that requires you to break out the thick, wool socks and hit the road. My personal solution to this dilemma has been volunteer work. Particularly for the local animal shelter here in Green River, Wyoming.
The benefits of helping the local animal shelter have been far greater than I was expecting. My girlfriend and I initially went into the shelter to drop off some old puppy items and we talked ourselves into signing up for volunteer work. After a couple of weekends of walking dogs we offered our photography services as we noticed their pet finder photos were lacking. Since then we’ve walked and photographed one or two pups every Saturday, and it has drastically improved he community around our business and how we feel about our weekends!
How photographing shelter dogs has helped build community around our business:
I’ve engaged others through social media by posting photos of the dogs I walk every week
We’ve developed relationships with other dog owners walking on the trails
We’ve developed friendships with the animal shelter employees
Our company has also started a relationship with Wingo Outdoors who were kind enough to send us leashes and collars to help walk the dogs
So through the simple act of walking one or two dogs a week and taking their photos we are able to not only help these pups get adopted but I’ve also greatly developed my skills as a photographer. And along the way we’ve introduced many many people to our business! That’s not to say you should only do good things for others when it also benefits yourself. That was not the goal going into this volunteer opportunity. However, I do think if you can find something that you are passionate about and try to improve that ‘something’ you will immerse yourself in a new community and ultimately improve yourself as well.
Have you ever photographed shelter animals or used another source of volunteering to build your business? If so, leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear your experiences and discuss how it helped others and how it helped you build your skills and your community.
Thank you guys for ready my blog! I will continue to create content around cultivating community and improving your business as I go through this learning process.