We had the good fortune of connecting with Rose Groves and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rose, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’m certainly not one to jump out of an airplane or go cave spelunking anytime soon- so as for that definition of risk I’d say I’m on the ‘less is more’ side. However when it comes to how I approach my life and my career, I suppose risk and the certainty of change are something I pursue and believe in. Some people say you can’t have good without bad, or light without dark, and without drowning in the existential aspect of that, I’d have to say that I think it’s true.
If you don’t pursue some degree of risk, then you can easily float through life in the neutral. The transition from a Masters in Economics to pursue a lifelong passion of photography and adventure might fall under the category of risky. Frankly traveling solo to South Korea to teach English without knowing anyone at 24, or getting a tattoo, or agreeing to fly to Bulgaria for a 3rd date, after knowing him for about a month, might also fall under the category of risky. (Ended up marrying the man, so that risk was successful)
The vibrancy I am trying to cultivate for my life is the ultimate goal, and therefore worth the risk to me. Its hard work, taking on risk on your own – the potential for failure is huge, and Ive had my share of them too- but then again, so is the reward.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love stories, I always have. Since I was a kid I would flip through National Geographic magazines or Where the Wild Things Are and I would often skip the text entirely. Instead I would admire the images on their glossy pages and create stories on my own about what the characters were doing. In graduate school for Economics, I attended a summer program geared mostly for students of Psychology and Social work in Sarajevo, Bosnia. While the other Econ student worked for the State Department there, I spent the summer working as a photojournalist for a local tourism company whose mission was to show the world the beauty of Bosnia. I had to write the economics reports for my classes, demonstrating the impact of tourism on GDP and forecasting trends, but the storytelling aspect was where my heart soared. Fast forward 2 years and I had graduated, moved to DC thinking I would find some important job in policy, and found myself slightly miserable. I ended up being selected as a Storyteller with Photographers Without Borders. I packed my bags and went to South Africa to work with an NGO in Aids rehabilitation and community development. It became clear to me that my ‘why’ wasn’t in an office, but instead it was in the world. It was in the photos.
While adventure elopements and intimate weddings may not be a direct step from the world of international development, one things remains true- the stories. Without sounding too cliche, love stories- whether in Bosnia, South Africa, or Colorado- are the best kinds of stories. I love to be part of them, and I am lucky to live in a place where people from all over the world come here to celebrate that love and tell their story.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh I love being a tour guide in my own city! Hands down there would be breweries, several in fact, involved in this itinerary. New Terrain has the ultimate patio, and the furry friend watching is probably the best in town. Venture up to Frisco to check out Outer Range is a must also. We would have to eat at El Five or Safta in Denver, and from there take off to see more of the state. I think everyone comes to Colorado to experience the mountains, and for good reason. Breckenridge, Estes Park, Ouray and Telluride are some of the most magical mountain towns I’ve ever been to. However I would be remiss to not at least drive by the Great Sand Dunes. Especially at sunset- whoa. Also I’ve never stopped to actually see the Gator Farm outside the park, but it always makes me laugh to see it. Just what the heck? Gators?
There would be some kind of hike involved surely, as that really is the best way to experience the mountains. Plus life doesn’t get much better in my book than a mountain hike followed swiftly by a Colorado brewery. Throw in a hot spring and you’ve got yourself a slice of heaven.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To have people believe in you is one of the most fulfilling feelings I’ve ever had. Sometimes when you hesitate and doubt yourself you get stuck, but when someone launches you up with such conviction it’s impossible to ignore. My family has always been my biggest advocate. Growing up overseas in fairly remote places, we became very close. After-all when its the 90s in Kenya and theres no summer camps, movie theaters, cable TV or trick or treating and your option is the Lion King for the 800th time or invented games with your siblings, the choice feels obvious.
My husband is also one of the greatest mentors of happiness in my life. He reminds me that you have to live your life, not someone else’s version of it. Learning that lesson has been possibly the greatest gifts anyone could’ve shown me.