At Women’s Travel Fest, we’re always in awe of the inspiring travel leaders who offer their experience, wisdom, and vast knowledge on how to create the life you want. This is why we’re honored to feature an amazing interview series on past and current speakers.
We were excited to speak to Lisa Niver of WeSaidGoTravel and the author of Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.
She is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for 7 years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia.
Enjoy this installment of 10 Questions with Lisa Niver!
Lisa traveled to more than 95 countries and turned traveling into a career.
What inspired you to start traveling?
My family has a bit of wanderlust! I was born in Boston, my sister was born in Georgia on a military base, and then we moved to Los Angeles. I remember going on Royal Cruise Line as a teenager in the Mediterranean with my family, and it was like my history books came to life.
After seeing the pyramids in Egypt, The Western Wall in Jerusalem, and the Library of Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey, I was hooked. I wanted to see more, know more, and travel more.
What’s your favorite destination and why?
I have so many favorites! I love Bonaire for scuba diving, Mongolia for the vast expanse of nothingness on the way to the Gobi Desert, Thailand for the food, and cannot wait to go back to Israel. I love anywhere underwater and I have so many places still on my list to go.
How has travel impacted your life?
Travel has made me kinder, more grateful, and more patient. I remember staying in Nepal when there was only 12 hours of electricity a day. When I was teaching school in Los Angeles, one day, the power went out suddenly.
I told my students we could just open the blinds, and we talked about studying by candlelight and life in other places. The next day, they asked if we could leave the lights off and just use the light from the windows.
What motivated you to pursue a career in travel?
My love of travel and scuba diving is the reason I first started working full-time in travel at Club Med and then on cruise ships. I started a travel website, We Said Go Travel, in 2010. I have worked as a travel journalist and written for digital and print publications from AARP and AAA to Wharton Magazine and WIRED.
What current project are you excited about sharing with the world right now?
I’m honored to have published my memoir, Brave-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty. When I did 50 challenges before 50 to reinvent myself after my divorce, I did not know what would happen next.
During COVID, I found an agent and a publisher, and now I have a book, and it has won several awards! I also started a podcast, Make Your Own Map, which won an award for Diversity in TV/Streaming!
She is passionate about travel, education, and social media.
What advice would you give to others who want to travel the world?
Traveling the world changed my life. I want other women to have that opportunity. My advice is to start small. Have an adventure in your own city and then go an hour or two away by car or bus or train and then set out on bigger and bigger journeys.
Figure out what makes you happy. I started to travel to pursue my passion for scuba diving. When I went into the dive shop, I knew I would meet people and, from there, make friends, get local knowledge, and figure out what to do next to see the area.
What drew you to the Women’s Travel Fest community?
I met Alex from Travel Fashion Girl because of Twitter. In 2012, she invited me to Koh Samui, Thailand, for an interview. I changed my travel plans to meet her.
We have met up over the years in different countries, and having a supportive community of friends in travel like Women’s Travel Fest makes all the difference.
What’s your favorite memory of a past Women’s Travel Fest event?
At the 10th Women’s Travel Fest in NYC in 2023, I loved that Samantha Brown was back as the keynote speaker. I have always looked up to her and seen her speak many times over the years.
It was a great honor to speak at the 2023 Travel Adventure Show in four cities where Samantha Brown, Pauline Frommer, and Patricia Schultz always share their travel stories.
What’s your all-time must-have travel essential? Something you can’t travel without?
I have had a Kindle since 2008 and never leave home without it. I love having an entire library with me.
And the last question – are you team carry-on or checked luggage?
I travel with a hula-hoop, which makes me team checked luggage. Hula-hooping has led to some amazing experiences and funny stories. I hooped in jail in the Philippines, with the Maasai warriors in Kenya, and with children in Vanuatu.
Want to know more about Women’s Travel Fest? Read About Us here. We look forward to welcoming you to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, February 16-19, 2024! And watch out for news on the 2025 conference destination!