Faith Adiele is a travel memoirist and founder of VONA’s Traveling While BIOPC, the nation’s first workshop for travel writers of color. Her media credits include two episodes of A World of Calm (HBO Max), the documentary My Journey Home (PBS), Ethical Traveler podcast appearances, and Sleep Stories (Calm app). Meeting Faith, her account of becoming Thailand’s first Black Buddhist Nun, won the PEN Open Book Award and routinely appears on travel listicles. She is co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology, and her essays on travel, food and culture have appeared in O Magazine, Off/Assignment, Flaunt, Essence, The Rumpus, The Offing and Best Women’s Travel Writing.
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.
Derek Earl Baron has 21 years of non-stop global travel under his belt. He’s been featured by publications such as Time Magazine and The New York Times and is frequently invited to speak about his life of travel at industry events and on podcasts. Aside from his successful travel blog, WanderingEarl.com, Derek also founded a popular tour company that offers one-of-a-kind, locally-focused adventures around the world. In 2013 he ran his first small-group tour to India and now, in 2022, he will run over 20 trips to 15 different destinations.
Gabby Beckford is a full time digital nomad and influencer who helps young people “seek risk, seize opportunity, and see the world”. How? By sharing informative and inspirational content around fully funded study abroad programs, seeing the world as a young solo female traveler, and building communities like her Young Travelers Network. Where? Mostly TikTok! That’s where the cool kids hang, trust her. She grew her account to 225,000 followers in less than a year, and during her session she’ll teach you the fundamentals of establishing your brand on the platform, posting consistently and growing an engaged following, and what you all want to know—going viral.
Jason Cochran is the author of the history travelogue “Here Lies America” (2019). He 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 for his books on London and Orlando. His voice has reached millions of travelers, from the mid-’90s, when as a long-term backpacker he wrote one of the world’s first travel blogs, to his appearances as a commentator on CBS and for AOL, to his work at Frommers.com, which under his editorship won Silver for Travel Journalism Website in the 2021 Lowell Thomas Awards.
Annemarie has been building and engaging with communities for over 12 years, starting as a comment moderator and, most recently, launching products that create a sense of ownership in local news. Her writing and reporting on subcultures includes works in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Salon and a Wall Street Journal a-hed.
For over four decades, Cal Fussman has interviewed hundreds of the world’s most influential individuals: Muhammad Ali, Jack Welch, Mikhail Gorbachev, Serena Williams, Jeff Bezos, Jimmy Carter, Kobe Bryant, Richard Branson, and the list goes on.
Now, as a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, world-renowned interviewer, and host of the Big Questions podcast, Fussman travels the world teaching the world’s largest companies, universities, and associations about leadership, storytelling, innovation, teamwork, and more. When Cal speaks, you’re listening to everyone he’s ever interviewed. Lessons and stories from hundreds of world icons, all coming through one man.
Don George is the author of the award-winning anthology The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George, and of How to Be a Travel Writer, the best-selling travel writing guide in the world. His most recent book is an ebook entitled Wanderlust in the Time of Coronavirus: Dispatches from a Year of Traveling Close to Home. He is also the editor of ten acclaimed literary anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, and An Innocent Abroad. Don is currently Editor at Large for National Geographic Travel, and has been Travel Editor at the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, Salon, and Lonely Planet. He has visited more than 90 countries and has written more than a thousand articles for print and online publications. He has been honored 18 times in the Society of American Travel Writers’ annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism competition. In addition to his writing and editing, Don has taught travel writing at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and the San Jose State University MFA Program in Creative Writing, and has spoken about his writings and travels at corporations around the world, including the New York Times and Google. Don is the co-founder and chairman of the acclaimed annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, and currently teaches travel writing workshops online and at Book Passage. He has been interviewed as a travel expert on NBS, CBS, ABC, and NPR, as well as dozens of podcasts, and he leads tours around the world for National Geographic and for Geographic Expeditions.
Erica Virvo Hackman is a community enthusiast, connector and purposeful traveler. Erica has been an integral part of the Nomadic Matt team since 2013. In 2019, she helped create Nomadic Matt’s community, The Nomadic Network (otherwise known as TNN). Two years ago, TNN was born. Today, there are over 10,000 people in our community empowering one another, making friends with other travel lovers, and learning how to travel cheaper, better, longer, and more. She has experience planning in-person and virtual events, working with volunteers, and building a thriving community. What she’s most proud of, is seeing all of the friendships born out of this travel network. Erica will be speaking on how to connect your community so you can provide value and create life-long fans.
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.
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.”
Jeff Jenkins is an award-winning content creator, travel journalist, consultant and entrepreneur. Founder of Chubby Diaries and co-founder of Black Travel Alliance, Jeff was recently named one of Travel + Leisure’s 50 Notable People in Travel and has been featured by Forbes, The New York Times, Washington Post, Travel Noire, Essence and Lonely Planet. An experienced motivational speaker, Jeff is 100% authentic, transparent and a ton of fun.
Richard Kerr is the Director of Travel Rewards at Bilt Rewards – the first loyalty program to offer points on rent for no fee. A veteran naval officer and founder of the Award Travel 101 Facebook community, he’s one of the foremost experts in points and miles strategy featured in Forbes, US News, Money Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance and presented at #SXSW 2017. Previously Richard worked as an editor and business development director at The Points Guy. 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.
Travis Levius is a luxury travel journalist and content creator loosely based between London and Atlanta. His writing has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, TIME, CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, AFAR, Forbes Travel Guide, The Telegraph and others. Travis regularly teaches freelance travel writing via workshops and coaching programs, and served as a panelist for National Geographic Traveller’s The Masterclasses 2021. He currently serves as an advisory board member of The Points Guy.
Travis shares his ongoing adventures and takes on life, travel & the pursuit of happiness as a content creator on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Avagail is a travel content creator and copywriter. After teaching English in South Korea and traveling around Asia for four years, she pivoted into the digital nomad life to combine her passions for writing and travel by blogging, creating content, and managing social media for her own blog, Avagail Adventures, as well as multiple clients in and out of the travel industry. As a Filipina-American, she is an advocate for amplifying BIPOC stories and voices in the travel sphere and empowering them to follow their travel and live abroad dreams even under the pressure of cultural norms.
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 Video globally. A professional dancer and trained musician, Mickela decided to start a journey around the world, taking her camera with her to follow dance in the lives of everyday people wherever she went. 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, O Magazine, The Washington Post, AFAR Media, Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, Forbes, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, and more, and she has performed on various television shows including Sesame Street and The Doctor Oz Show. Stay tuned for Season 5 of the Bare Feet TV series coming to PBS stations nationwide starting April 2022!
Chris is the Community Manager for Nomadic Matt and the author of The Dogs of Nam, a collection of outrageous and insightful tales from over a decade of backpacking the world. Responsible for the interconnected communities under the Nomadic Matt flag (Superstar Blogging, the Community Forums, and The Nomadic Network), Chris knows what it takes to manage and engage communities of all sizes. With an ever-expanding To-Do list, he has learned what it takes to conquer checklists and overcome procrastination. He will be speaking on self-publishing.
Carmela is the Executive Director of Nomadic Matt’s non-profit FLYTE (Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education) and has helped to send over 100 students and their teachers overseas on transformative educational experiences. Through FLYTE, she combines her love for travel with over a decade of experience working in education, child welfare, and youth development.
Patricia Serrano has been featured on the Travel Channel Special Best of the Road where she roadtripped across America visiting small towns to find America’s most fun small town. She learned so many things on that trip – like outstanding maple syrup is produced in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio and that Denton, Texas has such a sick music scene. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path places and is passionate about supporting independently-owned businesses. She has her own travel business (FreshTraveler.com) where she designs vacations and honeymoons to off-the-beaten-path sustainable properties around the world. She is also the Chief Sustainability Officer at Myght Travel Network, the first travel agency focused exclusively on sustainable travel.
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.
Amanda Williams is the former-journalist-turned-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 by major publications and websites like AFAR, The Huffington Post, and USA Today Travel. She will be speaking on partnerships and affiliate marketing.
Benét J. Wilson is a Senior Editor and a travel/aviation writer for The Points Guy. She has worked for myriad aviation trade publications and managed communications for two airlines, an aircraft engine manufacturer and two aviation nonprofit organizations. She is a strong advocate for media diversity, mentoring and career navigation. She has moderated workshops and webinars on topics including commercial aviation, credit cards, digital journalism, branding and social media. She graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.