Teaching Traveling: There are so many creative ways you can teach abroad, from teaching cooking, to teaching film, to teaching conflict resolution! Today we hear from the mighty Steve Juba, teacher of travel photography and the mastermind behind PhotoFly Travel Club and other thrilling ventures.
Steve, tell us about yourself.
Steve: I grew up in a small suburb in New England north of Boston, Massachusetts. As a child I was blessed to grow up on the coast of Maine in Old Orchard Beach during the summers. It’s probably there that I first fell in love with the ocean and travel. Being able to see the ocean fall off into infinity was the beginning of my curiosity and drive for wanderlust.
Before I started our travel clubs and Destination Earth, I worked in sales and account management for a number of technology companies in the Northeast and then in Silicon Valley. The whole 9-5 (which was really more like 7-7) was never for me, and I knew this since my young days exploring the coast of Maine.
My travel career began on a 6 month stint living in Sydney Australia. Here I was finishing my degree in communications but ended up skipping class almost every day and traveling this side of the world. It was all over from here on in– I was bitten with a chronic and lifelong case of the travel bug.
A couple years after the move back to the US, I started PhotoFly Travel Club and Singles by the Bay Travel Club. These travel groups are laid back and full of solo travelers who share a passion for travel, adventure, and culture. I also teach those interested in photography the basics to get the best travel photos on our trips!
I love being able to show people the world and help connect single and solo travelers who otherwise don’t have travel companions.
Teaching Traveling: Wonderful mission! Tell us more about your travels.
S: I already mentioned living in Australia. While there I brought groups and friends to The Outback, Bali, New Zealand, Fiji, and up and down the east coast of Oz. The other company I own, Destination Earth, specializes in off the path adventure travel with a twist: we give back to the communities we encounter along the way.
Our home base is in Cambodia and last January we brought a group there. It was an amazing trip throughout the country. We explored lush rainforests and stayed in eco lodges where no other tourists could be found.
We stayed in a poor village and donated supplies for their school, clothes for the children, and helped contribute and finish the building of a foot bridge that allowed the children to safely cross to school during the monsoon season! Our 15 day trip took us to the temples of Angkor Wat, the beaches of Sihanoukville, and multiple massages along the way!
TT: Phenomenal. How did you find this travel opportunity?
S: I created it! I started our travel clubs back in 2007 and Destination Earth after that. The most important realization I’ve had in life so far is to follow your passions no matter what and never fear failure. Happiness will always trump wealth and for me I feel blessed to take people all over the world and make a living at the same time.
TT: Love it. How do you find the money to fund your travel?
S: I still don’t make a lot of money doing what I do, but it’s not important to me. As long as I can pay my bills and do what I love that’s all that matters. Destination earth and our travel clubs are growing fast and provide the income I need to live and grow the organizations.
TT: Inspiring. Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.
S: In Cambodia our group got to hammer in the last nails of the bridge we helped pay for and seeing the final product of something that was going to add meaning and value to a community in need was priceless.
TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person and in your current career?
S: Every time I escort a group to a given destination I learn immense amounts about people, culture, and the country we visit. Every trip we plan and go on is an awesome learning experience and helps our club grow and plan better trips each year. I also get to constantly hone my photography skills and teach people the basics of photography where amazing photographs can be taken around every corner.
TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
S: Just do it. Don’t worry about failure, money, or other negative outcomes. Focus on your passion and go for it. The worst that can happen is you’ll learn a ton and be ready for your next endeavor. If any readers have questions, leave comments or contact me!
TT: Thanks so much, Steve! Readers, what comments do you have?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is National Board Certified Teacher from Boston who has been a full-time public school educator since 2003. She launched Teaching Traveling in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational cartoons. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following on social media with the links below!