When my phone rang, I had no idea where the conversation would take me…
After I indulged myself with a hot cup of strong coffee and a quick currency exchange, my guide for the next 10 days grabbed my bags and we headed for the 4×4 SUV.
Our drive led us through small villages where locals were walking livestock as we would our pet dogs. In the background, Mount Kilimanjaro loomed over all as we continued for several hours until arriving at our quaint and friendly overnight lodge.
The next morning began with a large breakfast of delicious local food, more wonderful coffee and fresh juice. With a full belly and a short drive, I found myself crawling into a front-row seat of a small single engine bush plane. For the next hour or so, the pilot flew our crew across the vast, remote and wild landscape of Tanzania.
This is when it really hit me. I’m in Africa!
The pilot gracefully and gently landed our crew on the dirt runway and the guide team on the ground welcomed us with open arms, big smiles and a contagious joy that immediately began flowing through me.
As quickly as our pilot had dropped us off, his plane flew out of sight as elephants meandered across the end of the dusty runway. Pinching myself, I needed a minute. The Serengeti. As a child flipping through countless National Geographic magazines, I had dreamed of being in this spot. Now, not only was I there, but I was getting paid to be there.
Tears of gratitude and glee rolled down my cheeks and I asked myself, “How did I get here?”
Over the next several days, I was in absolute awe as I filmed wildlife that had previously only been in my dreams, ate delicious food, and met amazing people with the biggest smiles and hearts of anyone I’ve met in all the places I’ve ever traveled.
Non-stop filming filled hard drives with video footage of scenes I never thought to witness in person. Giraffes eating from treetops…crocodiles and hippos sharing the same river…flamingos at sunrise…a lone rhino grazing in a golden landscape……lions sunbathing on a rock outcropping. It really was a dream come true.
Others often ask, while I also often remind and motivate myself with the same question as that first day on the Serengeti, “How did I get here?”
That phone call lead to an assignment to create a promotional video with a documentary perspective. This is the work I love most and through a little hard graft, a quality portfolio, and clear communication, my client saw the value in what I do and the long-term benefit it would provide their business.
My process isn’t rocket science. Find a client you would like to collaborate with, create and share relevant videos, show and explain the value of your work, and ask them to pay you for future projects. It’s a win-win for everyone and it could send you on the trip of your lifetime.