Anonymous asked: How did you get to travel to Haiti and Romania as a volunteer? I've been meaning to try and get out there, but don't know what to do/where to look
For me, finding a way abroad has been all about realizing that it’s not primarily about the photography. It’s way easier to get involved abroad if you have some other cause/interest as your primary focus, with photography being something you do when you have downtime. I would recommend finding a cause you’re passionate about and looking for NGO’s or volunteer groups that are working on it. Many of these organizations have volunteer programs, and signing up for something like that would be a great idea. I have extremely limited experience with this (I was originally planning to work in Nepal with an education-focused NGO, but the trip fell through), but from what I’ve seen it’s much more affordable than your average tourist package. Such programs are typically well-connected in the community, and you can get some extremely unique photo opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise.
One big way to go abroad through decently-established programs is through a religious organization. I went to Romania and Haiti, for example, on mission trips through my parents’ church. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to travel that I’ve found yet. It’s obviously dependent on whether you’re religious or not, but I would argue that, in many cases, it’s not as relevant as you’d think. I’m not personally religious, and while working in Haiti I didn’t have much of a problem at all. Very little of the work I was doing had anything to do with religion; rather, we were feeding people, working on a school and putting on a summer camp for kids who had never had such an opportunity. Sure, there were Bible lessons and other religious activities, and that may be a deal breaker for some people. But I would argue that, if you’re doing good and getting a chance to take some great photos at the same time, it’s well worth it. This will be highly dependent on the program you can find, but if you are religious/connected to a church with any missions abroad, it can be a comparatively easy way to go.