Faith Adiele is a Nigerian-Nordic-American travel memoirist and founder of VONA/Voices Travel, the nation’s first and only writing workshop for travelers of color. Meeting Faith, her account of becoming Thailand’s first Black Buddhist Nun, won the PEN Open Book Award. She is a Senior Editor for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel and co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology. Her essays have appeared in O Magazine, Flaunt, Essence, Transition and such travel anthologies as The Best Women’s Travel Writing, for which she penned the 2009 introduction. She lectures and teaches around the world. Faith will be hosting a writing workshop.
Lola Akinmade Åkerström
Award-winning author and photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström explores culture through food, tradition, and lifestyle for high profile publications such as National Geographic Traveler, BBC, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, amongst others. She has collaborated with many well-known brands – from Mercedes Benz and Dove to Intrepid Travel and National Geographic Channel. She is the author of two books – award-winning Due North & bestselling LAGOM: Swedish Secret of Living Well. LAGOM is available in 18 foreign language editions around the world. She is editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm and founder of NordicTB Collective which brings together the top professional travel bloggers and digital storytellers from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. She is the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year Bill Muster Award recipient and was honoured with a MIPAD 100 (Most Influential People of African Descent) Award within media and culture. Her photography is represented by National Geographic Image Collection.
Leyla Giray Alyanak
Leyla Giray Alyanak is a journalist and former foreign correspondent. At 43, she made a major decision to reinvent herself and travel the world solo for six months – she was gone nearly four years, before cellphones, apps and Google. She found time to get lost in a Mozambican minefield, paddle her way out of a flood in the Philippines, and get stampeded by an elephant cow in Nigeria. Always an activist, she has worked as spokesperson for the World Wildlife Fund, as head of advocacy for the UN agency dealing with HIV/AIDS and as an advocate for reproductive health and rights. Today, at 67, she consults for the UN on human rights, continues to publish widely, and travels the world solo as often as she can, documenting it all on Women on the Road, the website for solo travel over 50.
As one of the original travel bloggers, Alexandra Baackes has been sharing her life on the award-winning Alex in Wanderland since 2009. After eight years of growing a dedicated audience with her authentic and deeply personal travelogues, she launched her successful Wander Women Retreats in 2017. These female-only retreats encourage sisterhood and get women exploring new destinations through a combination of scuba diving, yoga, aerial arts, and adventure.
Dev Basu is the founder of Powered by Search, a performance media and digital marketing agency that helps b2b software technology companies such as Clio, Clickfunnels, and Shutterstock on how to create relevant user experiences that get them more attention, build connections, and drive conversion.
Marc and Julie Bennett
Marc and Julie Bennett have been living, working and traveling full-time in their RV since 2014 – visiting all 50 USA states, plus Canada, Mexico and Australia. They began sharing as RVLOVE on their blog, YouTube and social media. This evolved into a thriving business that now supports their life and travels. They launched RV Success School with a series of online courses for wannabe RVers. And in 2018, they co-authored and published “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” (Adams Media/Simon & Schuster) – now a bestseller in its third print run. Marc and Julie are known for their honesty, inspiration and positive attitudes about RVing, and building a digital media business – while sharing the realities of life on the road.
Kelsy Chauvin is a freelance writer and photographer based in Brooklyn. She specializes in LGBTQ travel and culture reporting, and she also covers a variety of destinations and subjects — from global gastronomy and nightlife; to seasonal events, cannabis tourism, and local arts and culture. Kelsy’s work has been read in Fodor’s Travel, Afar, Passport, CNN Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Budget Travel, and other publications. She’s also a co-author of the annual Fodor’s New York City and Brooklyn guide books.
Kelsy is president of the NY Travel Writers Association (NYTW.info), and is a longtime member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA.org). As a speaker, she has participated on panels at the New York Times Travel Show, the PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference, Philadelphia Travel & Adventure Show, and others. She’s also been quoted in several New York Times articles as an LGBTQ travel expert.
Jason Cochran’s books include Here Lies America: Buried Agendas and Family Secrets at the Tourist Sites Where Bad History Went Down. His voice has reached millions of travelers, from the mid-1990s, when he wrote one of the world’s first travel blogs, to his familiarity as a commentator on CBS and for AOL, to his work today as editor-in-chief of Frommers.com and co-host of the Frommer Travel Show on WABC. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Jason was twice awarded Guide Book of the Year by the Lowell Thomas Awards (Society of American Travel Writers) and once by the North American Travel Journalists Association.
Julia Cosgrove is the Vice President and Editor in Chief of AFAR, the critically-acclaimed travel media brand that inspires, guides, and enables travelers to have deeper, richer, and more fulfilling experiences. AFAR launched in San Francisco in 2009 with AFAR magazine and Learning AFAR, a nonprofit foundation that has funded trips abroad and in the U.S. for more than 1,000 underserved high-school students. Under Julia’s leadership, AFAR is the only brand to win a Lowell Thomas Award every year since launch and the only travel brand to be a National Magazine Award finalist for General Excellence across both print and digital. Last year she made the Folio: 100 list of the most influential people in magazine and digital media. Prior to launching AFAR in 2009, Julia was a writer and editor at media companies big and small, including Time Out, BusinessWeek, and ReadyMade. A graduate of Barnard College, Julia has taught magazine writing and design at the d.school at Stanford University. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and two young daughters.
Annemarie works in product management at the Wall Street Journal, and previously a community strategist at Vox Media and The Huffington Post. In all her free time, she writes about Italian American heritage and mid-century culture, and eats a lot of pasta.
John E. DiScala
John E. DiScala, aka Johnny Jet, has traveled over 100,000 miles a year since starting his newsletter in 1995 and has visited close to 100 countries. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been mentioned thousands of times in major publications, including USA Today and The Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, PBS and the Travel Channel. He was named one of Forbes’ Top 10 Travel Influencers and writes about everything travel, from finding the best deals and innovative new products to family travel and traveling on a budget. Johnny travels the world with his wife @NatalieDiScala, their son Jack and daughter Olivia.
Nora Dunn (aka The Professional Hobo) is considered a pioneer in the travel blog and online freelance writing industries. After selling everything she owned in 2006, she traveled full-time for 12 years, and while she now has a home base in Toronto, she continues to travel for half of each year. Specializing in slow travel, she has lived in and traveled through 60+ countries. She combines her expertise as a former Certified Financial Planner with her lifestyle travel experience, to teach people how to travel full-time in a financially sustainable way – with broader applications in the arenas of long-term travel, personal finance, and lifestyle design.
Nora’s travel experiences range from sublime to absurd to downright terrifying. She survived natural disasters, tropical diseases, a near fatal accident, and more breakups than she’d care to admit to. She also apprenticed with a shaman in Peru for two years and has an unhealthy love of train travel. Her travel experiences have fuelled narratives, features, and interviews in Forbes, Lonely Planet, Travel/Business Insider, and a huge range of financial and travel publications, radio shows, and television programs.
NYC-based travel and arts journalist Lawrence Ferber is a contributor to Tripsavvy, TravelAge West, NewNowNext, NY Post, Passport Magazine, CondeNastTraveler.com and Fodors.com, and has also written for National Geographic Traveler, Entertainment Weekly, and dozens of other outlets. A member of LGBTQ entertainment critics circle GALECA, he also co-wrote the 2010 gay romcom BearCity and authored its 2013 novelization.
Pauline Frommer is the Co-President of Frommer Media LLC with her father Arthur Frommer. The company publishes the popular Frommer guidebooks and Frommers.com, as well as producing a nationally syndicated radio show on travel (which Pauline co-hosts). Pauline is the author of the best-selling Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City, a syndicated column on travel for King Features, and countless magazine, newspaper, and web articles. You may recognize her face, as Pauline has appeared on numerous TV shows (The Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News and more) and presented travel segments on CNN’s Headline News for five years. She is married to Columbia University professor Mahlon Stewart, and the mother to two very well-traveled daughters.
National Geographic has called Don George “a legendary travel writer and editor.” Don has been Travel Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, founder and editor of Salon.com’s Wanderlust travel site, and Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet. He is currently Editor at Large for National Geographic Travel and Special Features Editor for BBC Travel. He has visited more than ninety countries on six continents, has published hundreds of articles, and regularly speaks and teaches at conferences, campuses, and companies from San Francisco to Singapore to London. Don is the author of the bestselling travel writing guide in the world, How to Be a Travel Writer, published by Lonely Planet. His best essays and articles have been collected in the award-winning anthology The Way of Wanderlust. Don has also edited ten acclaimed literary travel anthologies, including An Innocent Abroad, Better Than Fiction, and The Kindness of Strangers. He is co-founder and chairman of the acclaimed Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, and co-founder and co-host of the San Francisco travel literature reading series, Weekday Wanderlust.
Jeff Goins is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur. He is the best-selling author of five books, including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve. His award-winning blog Goinswriter.com is visited by millions of people every year. Through his online courses, events, and coaching programs, he helps thousands of writers succeed every year. Jeff lives with his family just outside of Nashville, where he makes the world’s best guacamole.
Brice is a digital marketing and traffic generation specialist. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain where he spends his free time exploring Europe and working on his Spanish. He will be speaking on how you can use paid advertising to promote your brand and grow your business.
Monet Hambrick is the mom behind “The Traveling Child,” a family travel blog providing tips on how to make family travel easier and more affordable. Her motto is “if kids live there, kids can visit”. Along with her husband, they have taken their children, 3 and 5 year olds, to over 20 countries and 10 states. In addition to her blog Monet is the author of the children’s book series, “The Traveling Child Goes To” and a freelance family travel writer for The Points Guy and Essence.com. She has partnered with brands and tourism boards such as Visit California, Alamo Rent a Car, and Go RVing.
Anne & Mike Howard
Mike & Anne left on their honeymoon in January 2012 and never came home. They created HoneyTrek.com to chronicle their journey across all seven continents and to help people mobilize their travel dreams. Their story as the “World’s Longest Honeymooners,” savvy tips, and blog have been featured in over 100 media outlets, from USA Today to Lonely Planet. Firm believers that love and travel make the world a better place, they authored Ultimate Journeys for Two—National Geographic’s bestselling couples travel guide. To write their newest book, they bought a vintage camper to find the best glamping experiences in North America. Three years, nine countries, and 73,000 miles later, they’ve released the firs book on the topic: Comfortably Wild. As full-time nomads and travel journalists, the Howards are always on the hunt for off-the-track destinations, uncommon adventures, and the human stories that make each place special.
With his keen-eyed observations, bestselling writer Pico Iyer is a chronicler of the desire to seek new frontiers and view familiar terrain through fresh eyes. “Arguably the world’s greatest living travel writer,” according to Outside magazine, he is the author of two novels and ten works of nonfiction, including such enduring favorites as The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul. Iyer has been embraced by both spiritual seekers and startup entrepreneurs as a beacon of wisdom in a frenetic world. The Utne Reader included him alongside Noam Chomsky and Václav Havel as “one of 100 visionaries worldwide who could change your life.”
Rainer Jenss brings a wealth of experience and expertise as President and Founder of the Family Travel Association. Before putting his professional expertise and personal passion to the ultimate test by traveling around the world for a year with his wife and two young children in 2009, Rainer Jenss was a Vice President and thirteen-year veteran of the National Geographic Society. As Publisher of National Geographic Kids from 2002-2008, Jenss helped transform the publication into the most widely read consumer magazine for children throughout the world. Prior to National Geographic, Rainer worked for CNN International and Business Traveler International.
In 2008, Alexandra Jimenez quit her corporate job in the fashion industry then spent almost a decade traveling full-time. She’s the editor-in-chief at Travel Fashion Girl, one of the highest trafficked blogs for female travelers, where she teaches an audience of 1,000,000+ monthly visitors to pack in a light, stylish, and efficient way.
She’s appeared live on the Fox & Friends morning show and has been featured in national digital news outlets including Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Oprah, the New York Post, the Daily Mail, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, USA Today, and Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast.
She now has a new travel brand called Compass Rose Travel Accessories that is quickly making its way up the best-selling list on Amazon.
Ciara Johnson is the founder of Hey Ciara, a blog empowering women to seek out meaningful travel experiences using powerful storytelling, personal photography, and first-hand advice. She’s been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Huffington Post, Refinery 29, The Washington Post and countless other publications! When she’s not on the road, she’s laughing with friends in Houston, watching documentaries, and eating Chipotle.
Christine Kaaloa has inspired solo travel since 2008 through her blog and
YouTube channel, GRRRLTRAVELER, taking audiences inside the solo female adventures of food, culture and travel, one destination at a time. A 15+ year veteran camera operator and field producer spanning docu-reality to corporate video, past clients include MTV Networks, Nat Geo, CBS. Today, Christine enjoys the opportunities which online media offers solo travel creators in amplifying their brand and attracting audiences.
Richard Kerr is a veteran naval officer and one of the foremost experts in points, miles and loyalty strategy. He’s been featured in Forbes, US News, Money Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance and presented at #SXSW 2017. Richard has visited over 45 countries, lived in England and Japan, and spends his spare time dissecting loyalty program award charts to maximize the value of points and miles. Richard holds a BBA in International Business and has his wife and two small children in tow for his travels as often as possible.
Kugel is a freelance journalist, author, and longtime contributor to The New York Times. He is best known in the United States for his “Frugal Traveler” column, which he wrote for the Times between 2010 and 2016, and his prior “Weekend in New York” column (2006-2008), and has written over 1,000 articles in total for the Times, on topics ranging from the Brazilian health care system to the Jewish arts scene in New York City.. He is the co-author of Nueva York: The Complete Guide to Latino Life in the Five Boroughs (2006) and the author of “Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious”, upcoming from W.W. Norton & Co. in October, 2018. In Brazil, he is known for his column “Viagens” (IG.com, 2011-2013) and his “Amigo Gringo” video series (2014-present), and was the Brazil correspondent for Global Post from 2008 to 2010, when he also contributed to The New York Times. He studied political science at Yale University and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Rachelle is a blogger, writer, speaker and television host. Her blog, The Travel Bite, has been featured in PEOPLE Magazine, Food & Wine, and Travel + Leisure. The Travel Bite is also listed by Trip Advisor as one of the Top 25 Culinary Travel Blogs to follow, named one of USA Today’s 10 Best Food & Travel Blogs, and listed as a Top 10 Travel Hacker by Kayak for 2019. She has done work for the Travel Channel as a video journalist and regularly appears on live television as a culinary brand ambassador on the Home Shopping Network.
Mickela Mallozzi is the four-time Emmy® Award-winning Host and Executive Producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a travel series highlighting the diversity of dance which airs on PBS stations nationwide and on Amazon Prime globally. From re-discovering her family’s heritage in Southern Italy to dancing tango on the main stage in Buenos Aires, the series covers Mickela’s adventures as she experiences the world, one dance at a time. She has been featured in The New York Times, Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, Forbes, and more, and she has performed on various television shows including Sesame Street and The Doctor Oz Show.
Chris “Mercer” Mercer, co-founder of MeasurementMarketing.io, is a sought after measurement marketing expert and has been helping marketers, marketing teams, and agencies, plan out what’s important to measure in their marketing, build measurement systems (using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics), create actionable dashboard reports, and finally use those reports to forecast and optimize their marketing results.
In short, Mercer helps marketers know, trust, and grow their numbers.
Laurence is a full time professional travel photographer & blogger, who has been traveling the world since 2009. His photos have appeared on the National Geographic homepage, the BBC, USA Today, Buzzfeed and CNN, amongst many others. He runs two travel blogs with his wife Jessica: the photography and adventure focused Finding the Universe, and the couples travel focused Independent Travel Cats, and has over a million followers on Facebook. He’s also the teacher of the Superstar Blogging Photography Course. He is leading two photo walks and speaking at the Time Management talk.
Sol Orwell is an entrepreneur who started his first business back in 1999, and is most known for his work as the co-founder of Examine.com. Sol has harnessed his wide network to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Toronto charities, and has a proclivity towards chocolate chip cookies.
Photographer, Philanthropist, and World Traveler, Erick Prince is blazing a new trail in travel and business. Combining his love for photography and travel, he created MinorityNomad.com. One of the premier travel blogs for African-American and Latino travelers. Inspiring low-income communities to explore the world and document their travels. Currently on a quest to become the first African-American to visit every country in the world, Erick has turned a hobby into a thriving business. Visiting 93 countries along the way. Through his blog and digital marketing company, Erick has worked with brands such as Facebook, Singha Corp, LAN Airlines, InterContinental Hotels, and Sony. He is leading a photo walk.
Award-winning journalist and television host Oneika Raymond is a lifestyle correspondent for NBC New York and the host of Travel Channel’s One Bag and You’re Out and Big City, Little Budget.
An accomplished writer, Oneika is also the voice behind the highly respected OneikaTheTraveller.com, which won Best Travel Blog in the Society of American Travel Writers’ 2018 Lowell Thomas Awards. Her writing can also be found in high profile publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Oprah Magazine, and Ebony Magazine.
Oneika has worked as a spokesperson, ambassador, and on-camera talent for global brands such as Hyundai, American Express, Coca-Cola, Sony, Dove, and Dunkin Donuts. She has also been profiled in outlets including the BBC, Forbes, The Washington Post, and New York Magazine.
A fierce advocate for women who travel, Oneika is Wanderful’s 2019 Creator of the Year and was honored with a 2017 Voices of the Year (VOTY) award at BlogHer. She is also co-author of the upcoming book Unearth Women’s Guide to Travel, which will be published in Spring 2021 by Penguin Random House’s Clarkson Potter Imprint.
Kristen Sarah is the creator of Hopscotch the Globe, a popular YouTube channel, blog and lifestyle brand that features advice, hacks and inspiration for travel. Kristen and her husband Siya show you that the trip doesn’t stop when you come home and that culture can be part of your everyday life. Hopscotch the Globe on YouTube has become a leading travel video channel with over 226,000 subscribers and 37 million views. Today, the couple, along with their baby girl and adorable pup, are teaching their audience how to travel the world and have a family. She will be speaking at both the YouTube Monetization: How to Make Big Bucks With Your Videos the How to Grow Your YouTube Channel talks.
Sanjay is one half of travel couple The Travelling Gays. Along with his husband Doug they enjoy chronicling their travels around the world on their Instagram account @thetravellinggays.
They are based in London and started their blog in 2016 to keep track of their travels and love for life and to spread positive messages about LGBT people and relationships across the world. Sanjay is half Indian and they are keen to give visibility to a gay mixed-race relationship as there is very little representation of these in mainstream media. They have worked with brands including Disney Parks, Eurostar, Fairmont Hotels, Hilton, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel, and Kimpton Hotels.
They have recently launched their own sock brand – Socks of Soho – which captures the fun of The Travelling Gays and gives 25% of all profits to LGBT charities.
Charu Suri is a freelance journalist who contributes to many publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, Conde Nast Traveler, Hemispheres, Robb Report and more. Born in South India, Suri frequently writes about under-the-radar destinations and more recently, culinary travel. Her work has won many awards including those from the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). She is also a pianist and jazz composer, whose second album, The Book of Ragas, premiers at Carnegie Hall in December.
Nadine Sykora is one of the top travel videographers and travel video content creators in the world. Since 2008 she has made over 900 videos gaining over 40 million+ views, and has accumulated over 258,000 subscribers to her Youtube channel. She has been named one of US Today’s Top Travel Experts, TripAdvisors Tripkey’s Top 10 Travel Vloggers, and is listed as one of Hufﬁngton Post’s Top Travel Bloggers. She will be speaking on how to achieve success on YouTube.
Mary Ann Thomas
Mary Ann Thomas is the brown queer daughter of Indian immigrant parents, a travel nurse, bike tourist, and writer. She bicycled over 10,000 miles in the last five years. In 2017, she rode across India from the Himalayas to Kerala, the state where her family is from. Her work has been published in The Rumpus, Autostraddle, She Explores, and Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, among other journals. She is currently working on a travel memoir about her ride across India. She will be speaking at the Blogging about LGBTQ+ Travel talk.
Somto Ugwueze is a Nigerian-American travel writer and online
entrepreneur. She is the founder of Somto Seeks, a blog that empowers
women of color to travel solo with confidence. Somto is also passionate
about helping people pursue a location-independent lifestyle and
provides workshops, courses, and coaching for bloggers and digital
nomads. She has contributed to publications such as The Huffington Post,
Travel Noire, and Citizen Femme and partnered with brands like Allianz
Global Insurance, Walks of Italy, and Tep Wireless.
Nicole Walters is on a mission to inspire people to not only live better lives, but also leave a legacy. Known as the coach you need in your business and life, she is adept at identifying ways to turn influence into income and popularity into profits. Whether on her top-rated business podcast or when she’s dropping gems from the event stage, Walters champions the long-term payoff of intentionally pursuing purpose.
Amanda Williams is the award-winning blogger behind A Dangerous Business, a travel blog that aims to inspire people to fit more travel and adventure into the lifestyle they already have. Since starting her blog in 2010, Amanda has traveled to more than 50 countries on six continents from her home base in Ohio, and has been featured in major publications and websites like AFAR, The Huffington Post, and USA Today Travel. In 2018, A Dangerous Business won the Silver Award for Best Travel Blog in the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, hosted by SATW. Amanda has been teaching travel bloggers about affiliate marketing strategy since 2015.