Talking Travel

Meet Julie Lovegrove, a professional photographer with a passion for travel and a mission to combine them both to help us improve our photographic skills. Here Julie shares how volunteering in Africa sparked her love of solo travel, her top tips for solo woman travellers starting out in mid-life and her own solo travel style. 

Tell us a little about yourself and what’s your mission?

I’m a 58-year-old professional photographer who specialises in photographing women and babies. That’s the day job. However, my passion is travelling abroad and recording those travels with my camera. My mission is to expand on this to do two or three trips a year and take others with me. The main emphasis of those trips would be to concentrate on improving their photographic skills as we go, with some dedicated ‘classroom’ sessions followed by plenty of practical practice.

Why are you passionate about this?

Whilst I seemed to be a natural at capturing great moments and scenes, it took me a LONG time to learn the technical aspects of how to get the best out of a camera. I had to be drip fed information from my very patient husband, but if I was in a situation with other photographers I lacked the confidence to ask questions for fear of appearing stupid or not knowing what I was doing. I want my clients to be able to enjoy a ‘judgement free’ trip where everyone is supportive and like-minded and feels l that they can ask for help over and over until they ‘get it’.

 

Namibia
Caught doing what I love – photographing something amazing

 

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Laid back and leaner – lessons from Rio

I came to Rio for six weeks as part of a volunteer programme to mentor young entrepreneurs, but as I get ready to leave, I am very aware of just how much I have learned during my stay here. It’s fair to say that when I arrived I was more than a little wound-up (as my lovely, straight-talking teammate pointed out to me, as only a South African with Dutch, German and Greek influences can).  I hadn’t thought it was that obvious but it was time to relax and go with the flow.

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Wrapping things up

It’s my final week in Rio as a Social Impact Consultant with _SocialStarters and time to wrap things up with my client, Horta Inteligente. Over the past six weeks we have worked together on a number of things – defining the product offerings, pricing, market research, website,  business presentation – and this week we need to get everything finished, or at least into a state where I can be sure that Elisa can complete any outstanding elements when I’m gone.

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And so to work……..

I’m finding it quite a challenge to walk the line between being a tourist in a new city and being in Rio to work. I am no longer eating all my meals out (although it’s fair to say the majority), paying for everything with large bills and drinking Caipirinhas at every opportunity. But at the same time I can’t help but marvel at the sights of the city and still have a long list of places yet to visit.  My days have more structure, with client meetings, personal development sessions and Portuguese lessons three afternoons a week, plus homework! Then there’s the morning workouts and the evening group workshops – I’m finding myself rushing through the metro station, raising my eyes at anyone who’s dawdling and blocking my way,  checking my watch and beginning to feel some of the stresses that I thought I’d left behind in London. This has to stop and I need to learn from the locals on how to take a more relaxed approach to life – especially when it comes to timekeeping –  although anyone who knows me will confirm that this is not going to be easy! Read more