Artist Living

Transformation and a Trip to Africa, Part III from Tina

Tina Erdman

My story takes a new, exciting turn with continued transformation and a trip to Africa.  It’s Tina here with one more Wednesday post before the holidays!

By the time you read this I’ll be standing on the red soil of Nairoi, Kenya headed to Kijabe, Kenya with 11 other photographers to attend the inaugural Workshops with Purpose. From there, I will fly to Entebbe, Uganda, where I will begin my photographic journey working with Caritas for Children in photographing their schools and orphanages so that they can better tell the story of all the good work that they do.

Trip to Africa with Tina LeAnn, Photography Workshop Teacher, Me Ra Koh's Team

But right now, I’m sitting at my computer writing this post the night before I am to leave on this amazing journey. I am filled with emotion. I’m excited. I am humbled that I was selected to attend this workshop. I’m in awe at myself for fulfilling a dream. For coming this far. And every time I push myself this far, I’m ready to back out the night before.

Yes, after months of planning and working with Caritas, I was ready to throw in the towel this morning. This making dreams come true stuff is HARD work! And I’m exhausted. I began questioning whether this was the right time to start the travel photography part of my business. I was asking myself, should I be spending money on this? Will I be able to keep up with these photographers? Should I wait one more year to launch this part of my business? It would be easier if I just stayed home. 

But I don’t want easy.

I want to make my dreams a reality.

So throughout the day as I sent out last minute emails, ran errands, and packed my bags.  I swallowed the lump in my throat and kept telling myself that when you feel a turbulence inside, great transformation is about to happen. And I kept pushing forward. And I kept thinking backward. I thought of all the times when I felt this tornado in my stomach, and smiled as I remembered the outcomes. All good. All directing me to this point. Reminding me that dreams don’t happen over night. Reminding me to be purposeful with all my decisions.

I felt like this the night before my first journalism class when I registered to go back to school at 36 years old. I almost didn’t walk through those classroom doors. I felt like this the night before Me Ra’s CONFIDENCE Workshop in Chicago. I almost didn’t get on that train.  I felt like this the first time I shot a family portrait session.  I almost called them to cancel. I felt like this the moment before I hit the submit button while applying to be a CONFIDENCE Teacher. I almost turned my computer off.

But I didn’t.

I faced my fears and walked through that classroom door, got on that train, shot that first family session, and hit that submit button. And look at where I am now. I’ve got a successful portrait business. I publish photography tips for Nielsen’s ShutterLoveOnline. I’m teaching others how to take beautiful photos of their children. I just launched our first ever workshop cruise to the Bahamas with Beth Wendland.  There are still spots if you want to join us!!  I’m writing as a guest on Me Ra Koh’s blog. And I’m headed to Africa with Benjamin Edwards, Kevin Kubota Marianne and Andrew Nicodem, and seven other amazing photographers to learn all about travel and documentary photography and video, continuing on my own to travel throughout Uganda and Kenya stopping at orphanages and schools along the way to capture images as a documentarian and a humanitarian. A dream come true. All because I stepped forward even though I wanted to run the other way.

And each step I take brings me closer to living the life I have dreamed of for years. For so long, I didn’t feel worthy. Until one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take being something I wasn’t meant to be. And the transformation began.

I’ve come a long way in the past twenty years. But I feel like the greatest transformation began to happen when I decided I wanted to be true to me—and when my husband stood by side and told me to go for it. It’s because of his love and support that I am able to push ahead through the tough times and keep moving toward my goals.

So here I go!  I’m believing in transformation and a trip to Africa.  I’m going to get on that airplane with my heart wide open to see how this next chapter unfolds. I’m going to go to Africa to meet new people, make new friends, learn, grow, and transform. I’m going to give to others, but they will unknowingly give so much more to me.  I will come back a different person than when I left. I’m quite certain of that.

Trip to Africa with Tina LeAnn

Benjamin Edwards posted this in our Workshops With Purpose Facebook group, and with his permission I’d like to share that post here, as it sums up exactly what I’ve been thinking and feeling. He writes, “One of my new favorite quotes is by Andre Gide. A paraphrased version. ‘One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.’ Maybe you’re in an unfulfilled place in life, wanting more. Or, perhaps you recognize that you’re simply too comfortable.  Our upcoming trip to Kenya is a perfect time to break out of the normal routine, see with new eyes and feel with an undistracted heart. Here’s to losing sight of the shore friends…”

I challenge you to take one step today out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Into something new. With growth comes great transformation.

Lovingly Living,


Women Photographer Self Portrait, Tina Erdman, Me Ra Koh Teacher

Read Tina’s beautiful story of how photography brought her heart healing.

Seven Principles to Inner Healing, Part II with Tina



  1. Makeda says:

    Loved this! Thank you for sharing. I’m on the verge of some major shore sight losing and it feels both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Your words have been an encouragement. Thank you

  2. Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for providing this information.