The Experiment

Five years ago this month, I carried out an experiment. 

Per a broad invitation, 10 trusting, adventurous travelers joined me on an immersive, people-connected journey in Tanzania. 

Some people I knew going into the trip; others were complete strangers. We were men and women, across every age bracket 20’s through 70’s. Most had never been to Tanzania or even Africa. 

We quickly realized our limited understanding of African history; in U.S. schools, we learned of the African slave trade—because the focus was West Africa, we knew little about the one in East Africa.

On one day, we stepped into a Dar Es Salaam public school classroom buzzing with over 100 students. The next day, we were inspired by the scaled impact of a children’s edutainment start-up.

We learned how the global ride-sharing platform that’s now a verb in our day-to-day operates completely differently in Tanzania—and why.

We made a new Tanzanian friend—a modern Maasai warrior seeking to use his incredible talents in the modern music world—then helped him launch a GoFundMe campaign to produce his latest music video.

We felt joy dancing in a crowd of hundreds of students during a site visit at a rural school.

We felt awe watching the sun set during evening call to prayer from a rooftop restaurant in Stone Town.

We felt relief finishing our bike ride from a Zanzibar spice farm just before the pouring rain.

I planned the week-long experience. But I had no idea what would happen—during the trip, and in peoples’ lives afterwards.

What did I learn?

  • A powerful mix of out-of-comfort-zone experiences can push us to think differently.
  • Deep conversations that feel uncomfortable back home feel comfortable with new friends on the other side of the world.
  • Each of us has expertise to contribute, and we all have much to learn.
  • Life’s greatest gifts—inspiration, understanding and joy—come not from material things but through personal connection.
  • Travel can be transformational when we shift from being served as a tourist.

I realized I have unique gifts—a growing global network of friends and a superpower as a connector.

And I love sharing gifts.

So after the successful experiment, I launched Venture Travel.

Since 2018, more than 60 people have signed on to journey with me to five locales—Tanzania, Rwanda, Cambodia, Guatemala, and Santa Fe. That’s despite COVID, which threw a huge wrench in my plans, as it has for us all.

I’m still always nervous as we meet for our opening dinner. Looking around the table is the most humbling experience. That people would trust me with their time, money and safety to deliver a unique experience that they couldn’t otherwise have feels personal.

At the end of the week, I love hearing what strikes people most and what they are thinking about doing next.

Because we are forever connected, I get to watch what happens—the career changes, the moves across the country and the world, the educational pivots, and the simple changes made within a family as to how they live, give, invest and travel.

By the way, the trips propel pivots for me as well.

What’s next?

In a few weeks, we’ll be in Rwanda—my first time back after the canceled Venture in 2020. I’m excited to have three 20-somethings in our group. Because the people we meet—from entrepreneurs to students to artists—are always young. It makes it a richer experience for all of us.

In five years, the world has changed, Tanzania has changed, and my relationships have deepened. Because each group is a diverse combination of participants, each Venture Travel experience is unique.

Researchers and entrepreneurs conduct experiments to test an idea. My idea is that when you intentionally travel to connect to people and place, you think differently.

Five years in, I’d say the data is pretty conclusive.

Join me in upcoming Venture Travel in Guatemala, Tanzania & Rwanda. Space is limited (8 participants). Want to hear from more participants? Don’t miss this this video.

Discover more from Jodi Morris

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Jodi Morris Written by:

Venture Guide to High-Achieving Seekers. Success Coach. Venture Travel Curator. Impact Investor. Traveler. Writer. Global Connector. When we connect to others' stories it changes our own. Let's Venture!