I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d see a real lion kill with my own eyes. And yet here I was, in the heart of Tanzania, watching as two lionesses pounced on two unlucky wildebeests. It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime moment and, best of all, I was getting paid to be here.
Just three months earlier, I had been working a 9-5 desk job in London, dreaming of going on safari, visiting the great Pyramids, and swimming with a great white shark. Since then, I’ve done all those things—and much more—and it hasn’t cost me a single red cent. In fact, I’ve been able to earn a lucrative income from my adventures shooting simple travel videos as I go.
The safari in Tanzania was just a small part of a larger tour, beginning in the sunny south of Europe. I’ve learned that by taking my time to plan longer trips, I’m able to maximize my income from each tour. My first gig was on Portugal’s southern coast—a rural escape in the picturesque, beach-filled Algarve region. I shot some video at a luxury retreat on Ithaca Island in Greece, a mountain villa on the coast of Spain, and put my fitness to the test on a 10-day walking tour in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
By the time I made it to Africa, I had already earned $5,000 from travel videos I shot in Europe, and enjoyed about $15,000 in travel expenses. My first night in Tanzania, I took a well-deserved break and enjoyed a night at a luxury colonial-style hotel, with a four-course dinner followed by an ice-cold gin and tonic. It was a far cry from the wild landscape we’d be exploring in the following day.
The next morning, I took a small aircraft into the heartland of Tanzania. Within moments of arriving at our camp, only a short drive from the small airport, I saw my first giraffe in the wild. We began our safari experience with a trip along the river. Crocodiles and hippos slinked in and out of the water—keeping cool in the hot midday sun—colorful birds flitted to and fro, and monkeys ran wild on the plains. It wasn’t long before I saw my first lion kill. The guide explained that the lions will often kill two wildebeests, leaving one for the vultures and hyenas, allowing the lions to eat in peace. We too, were able to enjoy this incredible experience in peace, as we weren’t traveling with a huge pack of tourists.
I try to pick up work from the smaller companies in lesser known areas. These places are always looking for travel videos to increase their footfall and they offer a more low-key and individual experience. I earned about $1,000 for the videos I took in Africa and the trip itself was worth about $6,000.
But my adventure wasn’t over yet. To finish off the trip I had signed up to shoot some video of the hike to the top of Kilimanjaro. I had not been particularly looking forward to this experience—I knew it would involve some intense hiking, as well as sleeping in tents at below freezing temperatures—however, the challenge of making it up this 19,000-foot mountain was so exhilarating and beautiful that it is now truly one of my most treasured experiences.
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