Learn and Grow Together: A Look Back at the EO Tanzania Exploration

You know what I love the most about EO? Well, very many things, but one of them is this:

You can be a member for years and years but still learn about and experience new programs. This year, I will celebrate my 10-year EO member anniversary, and I must confess: I simply cannot understand members who say that they’ve done it all, seen it all in EO, or have outgrown their experience. Even as a member-leader from the year I first joined, I am still experiencing new things again and again.

Case in point: EO Explorations. Yes, I’d heard of them, and yes, they seemed interesting, but the busy schedule never allowed me to experience an Exploration myself. That changed when I was asked whether I would be interested in being Member Host of the EO Tanzania Exploration. With a 20-second schedule check to make sure the dates did not overlap with my kids’ schedules, I excitedly accepted the honor.

And let me tell you — the journey was absolutely magical. EO has a great many learning products at the local, regional, and global levels. But what makes Explorations unique is that they are the embodiment of what we as EOers love oh-so-much: the once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Explorations are curated in a way that takes every single activity and elevates it with unique touches and moments. During planning calls, EO’s amazing planning committee would ask time and time again: “But how can we make it even more special and even more unique?” When my own imagination failed, they continued to generate ideas and immediately incorporate them into the agenda. Our EO staff deserve accolades and gratitude in a category of their own — they truly are remarkable.

Back to the Tanzania Exploration.

If you’ve never done an Exploration, let me paint a picture for you. Imagine embarking on a week-long journey to experience a country in a uniquely curated way. Imagine every single detail being taken care of for you. Imagine delicious meals, once-in-a-lifetime activities, deep conversations, and photos you take every single day in quantities you’d never had before. And now, imagine experiencing all of that not with a random group of people but with fellow EOers and their guests. As members said often throughout the trip: There is simply no better way to do group travel.

Tanzania itself is magical, so everything that EO curated for us elevated an already incredible experience. We visited two parts of Tanzania: the Serengeti (safari!) and Zanzibar (stunning Indian Ocean beaches!). It felt like two trips in one because the two could not possibly be more different. The only commonality was the heart-moving hospitality of Tanzanians. I felt safe, taken care of, and welcomed in ways that are rare to find in the world — and I say this as an avid traveler.

Certainly, visiting local villages, including one of the Maasai tribe, gave us all a lot of perspective and led to many deep discussions at dinner: What is happiness? What do we need as humans to live a good life, and what is simple frivolity? We saw people sleeping on floors, children not having much, polygamy, and the most jarring simplicity of life. When juxtaposed with the impeccable comfort of our own experiences, profound reflection came naturally.

In Serengeti, we indulged in daily safari drives, comparing our magazine-worthy shots of zebras, giraffes, lions, buffalos, and elephants, taken at a range closer than I could have ever possibly dreamt. We stayed at an unfenced resort where guards had to accompany us to our rooms at nighttime. Our WhatsApp chat lit up with exchanges about baboons on our balconies, elephants passing by, and bats flying in one of the rooms. I kept saving screenshots of text messages because of their sheer epicness.

“Marina!! The hotel is letting me know your room service is at your door knocking! They can’t leave your meal outside or the baboons will take it!”

This message from EO staff member Carolina King (a big shoutout to this superstar!) had me in stitches and went viral when I shared it online.

From the Serengeti, we took private charter flights to Zanzibar.

In Zanzibar, we struggled to process the heaviness of the Slave Trade Museum as we walked the streets of Stone Town. We meditated in 30,000-year-old caves (yes, that number is correct) that only locals can access. We visited a local seaweed business and harvested with them to make cosmetics. We spent time with a local fashion designer who had designed for Princess Diana.

And we closed the remarkable week with a panel discussion with three EO Tanzania members: Each a true entrepreneurial superstar who led not only with passion but also with deep purpose. With the Indian Ocean as our backdrop, all dressed in white, we partied the night away and reveled in deep connections formed, experiences shared, and memories made to last.

A country with a deep and complex history, whose people embrace you with their warmth and openness, all against a backdrop of beauty only nature is capable of creating, Tanzania is unforgettable. And yet, experiencing it with my EO brothers and sisters is what made this experience a true once-in-a-lifetime.

Our adventure was not simply about immersive sightseeing. Explorations offer a truly unique kind of learning — learning by experiencing. We met inspiring local business owners and experienced their way of living. We learned what life in this beautiful country is actually like — behind the scenes of a typical tourist veil. And we learned from fellow EOers, not only during the final night’s panel but also during all of the deep dives we had reflecting on our experiences throughout the week. My heart was full leaving this Exploration, but so was my mind.

Contributed to EO by Marina Byezhanova, an active member-leader within EO and a member of EO Canada Bridge chapter. An entrepreneur, global speaker and university instructor, she is on a mission to inspire entrepreneurs to stand out, speak up and be radically authentic. She is the co-founder of Brand of a Leader, the personal branding agency for entrepreneurs.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey Inspirational members


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