Photographers bring far-off worlds, cultures, people, and stories right into our homes. Their lenses capture everything from the heartbreaking to the uplifting, sweeping landscapes to striking portraits.

We are moved by the stories they tell. So, how do these stories affect the person behind the camera?

Rick Smolan has been a photographer for TIME, LIFE, and National Geographic magazines. He has traveled the world and co-created the Day in the Life book series that captures life around the globe.

In this sea of stories, two have come to be defining moments in his life. He sat down with THNKR (an organization we love – go check them out!)and discussing these remarkable and trans-formative experiences…

Via: THNKR 1

Do we take enough time to appreciate the life-changing stories we all have?

All of us have met “teachers” in our lives. These are the people who have forced us to think differently, influenced us to be better, challenged us to shift our frame of reference. Our teachers often come along when we least expect them but are a critical part of our growth.

Our teachers need not be wise elders, and may not always be kind and comforting but they are a part of our journey on this planet.

How would it shift our frame of reference if we saw every person we interacted with as a future teacher? Would we be more open to a richer world of ideas and possibility?

I found Rick Smolan’s stories absolutely captivating and immediately wanted to know more. It turns out that Smolan has done two TED Talks, on these stories and the remarkable teachers he encountered in them.

These are both absolutely riveting stories. Get a favorite beverage and settle in for the first one. It ends abruptly, and then jump into the next video. We were amazed!

First, is his TEDx talk about Robyn Davidson and her walk across Australia…

And finally, the remarkable story of the young Natasha as told on the TED Stage

Via: TED 3

(Sidenote: We love TED! is one of the most interesting corners of the web and EWC features the best of their talks a couple times each month. If I do say so myself, EWC and TED are the only places I have found where smart people, curious and hopeful, can always come away transformed. Check out our list of Must-See TED Talks here!)

How can we come to ask better questions if we are not forced out of our comfort zones on occasion?

This planet is remarkable in its breadth and depth of stories, so why not take a moment to appreciate the importance of our own!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

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Love TED Talks but don’t know where to start? Never fear! EWC has a whole smorgasbord of TED based articles! Check it out!

EWC’s TED Talk Archive

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  1. “Two Stories Change Photographer’s Life.” YouTube. THNKR, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 05 June 2016. <>.
  2. Smolan, Rick. “Inside Tracks: Alone Across the Outback | Rick Smolan | TEDxBeaconStreet.” YouTube. TEDxTalks, 02 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 June 2016. <>.
  3. Smolan, Rick. “Rick Smolan: The Story of a Girl.” TED, 8 July 2008. Web. 07 June 2016. <>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV