When was the last time you did something for other people? Not work related but something from the goodness of your heart that you can truly say that you etched a mark on other people’s lives? For the past 3 months this year, I have met with amazing people whom I am so thankful for in giving me a greater calling. They are literally the greatest influencers in my life. And with that said, I’ve broken it down into 3 segments and how it started a spark within me.
I once was told by a judge at a photography contest that a lot of people do travel photography or travel blogging. That everybody does it these days. Yes, that might be true. But I believe that only a select few would advocate on responsible travel. I started travel photography for the tourism side of things, photographs that best represent promoting the beautiful sceneries, landscapes and indigenous people of our land. But as time passed by, my eyes were opened that travel, tourism and sustainability should be in mind in every photograph that I create. I began to question the story of each photograph and how it could affect the viewers. It wasn’t about the approval or the likes on social media, but rather the engagement and how each photograph can create positive change. Ever since then, I have tried to live intentionally, and the things that moved me, I’m going to throw myself at them. And I hope that with each photograph that I can create, it will help create a traveller with a responsible mindset.
Being selfless is no easy task. To simply put aside some of your earnings and time is a heavy sacrifice to some. To give out resources and not take care of ourselves however is rather irresponsible, and to not care about other people is just being plain selfish. Have I struck a chord? I mean all of you well and let me just say that we should at least once in 365 days be able to reach out and help other people around us. Travel photography was my tool to reach out and help locals. It was my passport or my visa into their lives. Hiking up to communities and witnessing their way of life opened my eyes to a much needed change I needed to enforce upon myself. Live Simply. Here are people with barely any so called modern day luxuries but were happy in each possession, weather, produce or eventuality that they may encounter. However, they still strive hard each day for basic needs such as potable water, electricity, or even a clean comfort room. By associating myself with people who has this purpose to reach out, provide and create ways for communities to have access to these needs, I am thrilled each time there are programs that will create a better living environment for our fellowmen.
A lot of people toss around the term these days, and they aren’t wrong. But what does it truly mean to be an influence in other people’s lives? It is easy to promote and create awareness that these beautiful areas exist in our midst, but it is quite hard to remind and explain that we should respect the environment. Promoting one place is a general step in creating jobs for the locals, but in turn (as so called influencers) we should remind both locals and tourists that we should be careful in each place that we visit. The primary goal is to create a world where our children can see the beauty of each destination the way we saw it. Wouldn’t you be sad if your favourite waterfall or beach got closed because of irresponsible tourists who’d loiter everywhere? Take it upon yourself to pick up trash, segregate it, and clean up the area if you’re there. We can always lead by example, not just posts on social media but by actions. By doing this, you not only earn the respect of the locals but also of the people that see your efforts.
With the whole world so caught up on what is trending or what is hot, oblige yourself to depart from the norms and seek out greater meaning. For me, influence is earned. It may not be as loud on the internet as the ones that create “challenges” or viral social media posts, but it triggers the right people. Are you one of them?