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 is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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