10 Questions from Contiki!


Thank you to Contiki Blog for a wonderful interview asking me TEN GREAT QUESTIONS including:

When and where did you first travel by yourself, and why did you choose that particular destination?

Will you be shocked to know it was ARIZONA!

Which destinations are you consistently drawn to, and why?  (Places you’ll always come back and visit more than once?). Did you know? THAILAND!!

What are 5 destinations that you recommend the 18-35 year old Contiki travelers MUST see?

When did you decide to become a travel writer and how did you decide to create We Said Go Travel

I have always loved books. Reading was my favorite thing as a child, I used to get lost in the stories. As I grew up, I have always written in a journal. After meandering from Indonesia to Mongolia and losing weight and getting engaged underwater, George suggested we write a book about our journey. After accomplishing that, we starting blogging  about our trips and after a year built We Said Go Travel. 

When and where did you first travel by yourself, and why did you choose that particular destination?

My first memory of traveling by myself was flying to Arizona for summer camp which is one of my best childhood memories. I have always loved to go somewhere. Loving summer camp led me to a teen tour to Israel which inspired a semester in Jerusalem and after that I was totally hooked!

Was there a particular trip or travel moment in your life that changed your life?

 During my time working on a cruise ship, I sailed from Athens to Bangkok on a fifty day itinerary with Renaissance Cruises. In Yangon, Myanmar, I went to the Schwedagon Pagoda. It is simply the most impressive place I have ever been. I was able to go there on two different trips once at sunset and I will never forget that day. George found me online but I charmed him by talking about the Schwedagon Pagoda so you could say my happy marriage is directly related to that day in Burma!

Do you prefer to travel alone or with a travel partner?  What would you say the benefits of either travel style would be?

 I prefer to travel with George, he is my best friend and an incredible travel partner. Having someone to share the highs and lows of travel is great for simple things like leaving your backpack while you go to the bathroom at the airport and for making you take medicine when you are sick in Jakarta for New Years Eve. Often to join a cruise ship, I traveled by myself and while I always enjoyed it and met people, I really enjoy being with George and would always choose to travel with him.

Which destinations are you consistently drawn to, and why?  (Places you’ll always come back and visit more than once) 

I love Thailand. I think I could live there. The people, sights, sounds, culture and food just draw me in. I find it colorful, spiritual and it fills all my senses. Koh Lipe has a special place in my heart since we got engaged underwater there! I also love Kao Yai (Big Park) where we saw our first wild elephant.

What are 5 destinations that you recommend the 18-35 year old Contiki travelers MUST see?

 Travel opens your mind and your heart. I would say learning about our place in the world is important and seeing great civilizations is one way to start: Great Wall of China, Pyramids of Egypt, Western Wall in Israel, Angkor Wat Cambodia, and of course Schwedagon Pagoda, Burma.

What are some of your top tips or travel advice for travelers who are looking to either travel alone, or to travel as part of an escorted tour like Contiki?

 The most important thing to do while traveling is to remember the “F” word – FLEXIBLE. You left your house to learn something, to see a new and different place and to experience. Please do not compare every food, location, site to home. Planes will be delayed, you will get sick, something will get lost or break but that is all part of the journey. Try to really ask questions of people you meet, connect with the place, do something new. Take a risk, you will be rewarded!

What are the must-have items that you pack with you every time you take a trip?

 I cannot leave home without a journal and a camera to record my thoughts and impressions about a place. My chacos are important so my feet are happy. A spare copy of my passport and an extra credit card in my backpack mean I do not have to worry if anything gets lost. But really as long as I am with George, I am good.

What are your favorite travel rituals?  

 Before we leave on a trip, George will read in the Lonely Planet and on line to think about where we might stay and what we might see. I usually find books to read about the culture and history of a place. I love to fill up my kindle with new books and get ready to enjoy them in a new spot!

Where are your travels taking you to next?

 We leave July 1st for two months in Indonesia. August 31 we land in Phuket and we will see where we roam this time. Our idea is to wander in South East Asia for at least a year. Follow us at www.wesaidgotravel.com to see where we end up! Enjoy your journeys!

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. She sailed the seven seas by cruise ship for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one and a quarter million views (1,250,000) on her YouTube channel. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries, named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and has over 160,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and also ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on her own site, We Said Go Travel. From 2017 to 2020 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won three times and been a finalist fourteen times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards. She was also a finalist for four other categories including online journalist of the year, digital story for activism journalism with Ms. Magazine, educational reporting for Wharton Magazine and a broadcast lifestyle feature for KTLA TV in Los Angeles.    Niver won a 2019 NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award for one of her KTLA TV segments and was a finalist for articles published in both Ms. Magazine and Wharton Magazine. In 2018,  she was a finalist for stories in Smithsonian, PopSugar Fitness and the Saturday Evening Post. Niver won a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal and was a finalist for travel reporting. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, TODAY, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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We Said Go Travel

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