Why I do what I do

I am passionate about animals (both domestic and wild) and have used my photography and stories to share my passion. Every day I learn more about the plight of animals as well as about their victories. I am on a mission to share what I learn with others through various artistic channels so that together we can preserve the wild world for generations to come.

For as long as I can remember, I've been enchanted by animals. Watching movies and documentaries about them to learn as much as possible.

I can't remember a time in my life where I wasn't drawn to animals (well...complete transparency, I didn't and still don't like bugs or spiders very much and slimy fishes... but even though I was scared of them, I still cried whenever any of the older kids pulled the legs off the daddy long legs).

I took my first trip to Africa in 1992.  I spent 6 weeks exploring Kenya, Tanzania, and Zaire (which no longer exists).   A few years later, I went back for another 6 weeks to Kenya and Botswana.  I fell in love with Africa...but then life got in the way...

In pursuit of my love for wildlife, I started to volunteer at a wild animal sanctuary close to my home. During my years of volunteer work, I discovered the real tragedies of wild animals that are held in captivity. The more I learned about the plight of captive exotic animals, the more distressed I became.

A lot of the animals at the sanctuary came from tourist destinations, and I learned that life in captivity for most wildlife is not appealing; in many cases, it is just cruel and inhumane.

Roadside zoos, petting areas at tourist destinations, elephants painting or playing basketball, pictures with a python or a parrot, the list goes on and on. I, too, had thought such practices were cute. I have even participated in petting tiger cubs and sitting with wildlife for pictures until I learned the abuse and living conditions these captive animals had to endure.

I no longer participate in any such events and will tirelessly research any place calling itself a “sanctuary” to make sure the staff truly have the animal’s best interest at heart. I've learned through many conversations with other animal lover's that they also participate and still do because they didn't KNOW the truth behind the practices. As soon as I explained, they were horrified, and so now, it is my mission to share as much information as I can so others, like me, can only participate in things that ENHANCE the lives of animals and nature instead of hurt it.

I truly believe that ethical and sustainable tourism is required for wild places to exist in the world and that in order for wildlife to exist and thrive, these wild places need to be protected.

My mission is to use my stories, photographs, videos, and experiences to share these wildlife-rich destinations and the animals that live there as well as travel information so that others can also enjoy these magnificent experiences.

You can follow me on this website and on my social media to learn more about these locations and the wildlife.

Through everything I learned about exotic animals in captivity and what I was learning about the plight of animals in the wild, I became more determined to see animals in their natural habitat - where they belong, while they still had land to roam.

I made traveling to wildlife-rich areas a priority in my life and since 2015, I've been blessed to spend 3-6 months each year witnessing the lives of these magnificent animals.   I am happiest and truly living a rich life when in nature surrounded by animals.

Through my journeys, I've collected over 225,000 images/videos on my computer. (I am trying hard to cull through them and get them organized.)  I have vivid memories of almost every photograph on my computer – of the experience of being with that animal and have done my best to learn the stories of each individual as well as the species.   

Wildlife Travel remains a big priority in my life today.   You will often find me with my camera in hand, just watching the animals, enjoying  the moment with all my 5 senses.  

Many times I’ve cried tears of laughter and other times tears of sadness while I watched the lives of these magical creatures unfold before me.

photo of the back of Lisa photographing gorillas in Rwanda

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Baggenstos

When I am not traveling, I live in Northeast Illinois and work on my "real" job. (My most recent dogs, pictured to the right, have all passed to the rainbow bridge)

To follow me on my travels or to learn as I learn: