We Simplify The Technical!

Peggy Farren talks with travel enthusiast and photographer Betty Dent.  Betty fills us in on some of the amazing opportunities to travel cheaply and experience the world as a volunteer.  Thanks for tuning into episode #89 of The Understand Photography Show!

Please scroll down for the show notes.

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Understand Photography General Notes


Upcoming Trips:

New Book!  Peggy Farren and Joe Fitzpatrick have published a book highlighting Florida’s best photo spots!
Find it here on Amazon!

Volunteer Abroad For Cheap! Traveling, Volunteering and Adventure with Betty Dent


          “Travel is hard work, but it’s rewarding, especially as a photographer.”

About Betty

  • Retired from 42 year career in the Air Force, Army, and Department of Defense.
  • Traveled extensively and lived abroad for nearly 15 years.
  • Continued to yearn for travel and adventure after retirement.
  • Uses a Canon 5D Mark II.
  • Took classes at Understand Photography.
  • Joined camera clubs in Ft. Myers area.

       “I prefer to travel by myself.  I get to interact more with new people.”


Finding Volunteer Projects (and Travel Links)

       “Google it.”


First Volunteer Experience 2013

Thanda – private game reserve in South Africa (Elephant Coast)

Two groups:  photography and research

  • 4-5 days photography instruction by Emil Von Maltitz from www.natureslight.co.za
  • Learned to photograph animals and load images into a database to be used by NGOs, charitable organizations, and for sale to support eco projects.
  • Worked with research group who studied animal habits.
  • Went out on two safari drives per day taking photos.
  • Worked with local schools – taught English, took school photos.
  • Cleared brush with a machete.
  • Worked in the gardens.

AfricanImapct.com – wildlife photography – training

GlobalVolunteers.org – opportunities from West Virginia to Tanzania

Sar-El.org – Israeli military – work side by side with military, eat together, live in military quarters, share bunks with 4-8 women, basic labor – repair tools, pack rucksacks, clean warehouses, paint, (as well as nursing and other specialties).

Vegan Bakery in Jerusalem – baking bread for local school (new upstart business)

Eritrea refugees in Tel Aviv – helping women refugees fill out citizenship papers.




TravelZoo.com – inexpensive group travel, great trips


TailorMadeSafaris.co.za – not volunteer, but very reasonable


The Experience

  • You are charged a fee for housing and food (which varies with each project).
  • You are also responsible for your airfare.
  • Requires medical insurance, shots, passport, visa, and sometimes interviews.
  • May be some age restrictions depending on the project.
  • You need to be fit.
  • You are met at the airport and transported to the volunteer site where you’re given assignments and roommates.
  • Facilities are normally bare bones – an Army sleeping bag and a cot.

       “If you can do photography, AND you can travel, AND you can do some good for someone – how do you get better than that?”

  • You usually get weekends free – there are sometimes organized trips for volunteers for sightseeing.
  • Always ask permission before taking a photo of a person.
  • A smile goes a long way – it transcends the language barriers.
  • Language hasn’t been a problem. Most of the guides speak English, and the native people speak well with hand gestures.


          “The things you get to participate in and learn are wonderful – better than the money you save.”

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