Friends from the Road


People always ask us,  “How do you know where to go?” And they want to know, “How can you find a place to stay?” When George and I left for our year trip, having booked only two nights of hotel accommodation and one additional flight, my major concern was that we would end up sleeping on the streets. My deal with George stipulated that we would always have a place to stay. In the end we did have a problem during our journey for a total of two nights (we were forced literally to sleep outside), but those circumstances were unique!

Mainly we figured out where to go next with advice from our traveling friends; I understood that fellow voyagers possessed a wealth of information.  During our trip, we learned from people on the bus, the train, the sidewalk, by the falafel stand.  But our best information by far came from other travelers in the hostels where we typically stayed.

For example, we knew that there must be a way to get from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia without taking the $300 train (which was sold out). George kept saying, “How do the locals do it?” One day at breakfast in the hostel, a guy named Randy sat across from us and said he had just arrived from Ulaanbaatar by local bus and train. I took out my pencil and worked out a new plan based on his information!

With the increase in Wi-Fi, netbooks and smartphones, finding local knowledge has become even easier. Now we just go to Hostelworld and find a great place to stay. We know that once we arrive we will have great accommodations and all I have to wonder is: “Who we will meet on our next adventure?”

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. 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-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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