VoyageLA: Niver is an Inspiring Story


Thank you VoyageLA for interviewing me for your Inspiring Stories from West LA!

Conversation with Lisa Niver: Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Niver.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My Los Angeles story started in 1971 when my family moved to California from the East Coast so there was no more snow to shovel in the winter. While I have traveled extensively and lived in many other states and countries, for me home will always be the city of Angels!

I went to Roscomare Road School, Curtis School and Westlake School for Girls! After the University of Pennsylvania, I returned to California for graduate school and started teaching at Curtis School, Stephen Wise Temple Religious School, Culver City Middle School and Brawerman Elementary School. Once I learned to scuba dive, I started to work at Club Med and then on cruise ships. I sailed the seven seas for seven years and loved every minute of exploring. I started a website, We Said Go Travel, and writing for many other online and print sites.

My YouTube channel now has over 1.7 million views of my adventure videos! I have shared my travel stories on KTLA TV too! During the COVID Coaster, I signed with an amazing literary agent, Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc., who sold my memoir to a publisher. I cannot wait for you to read my book next year!

Thank you for all of your support for my travels, social media and writing.

Enkereri school children in Maasai Mara. Photo by Matt Payne
Enkereri school children in Maasai Mara. Photo by Matt Payne

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road at all. I have often felt like a derailed train. When I dropped out of USCF Medical school, everyone told me I was making a huge mistake. I knew I had to make a change so I did leave but had no idea what would happen next.

I found a great path in teaching and then traveling while teaching and scuba diving. But my cruise line went bankrupt 7 days after 9/11. I was grateful to be alive but was not sure if I would ever travel again. I went back to teaching and fell in love.

My boyfriend and I traveled the world for a year and decided to get married. After several years and many more travels, our marriage imploded and I left Asia to return home alone. I felt like a failure but I realized it was a success for me to leave a situation that was not working.

Eventually, I found my footing again, rebuilt my travel site, found amazing places to write for and did 50 challenges before I turned 50. You can read about all 50 in my book next year!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Growing up, I loved the library and to read. I was always reading multiple books. I wrote a story where a little girl climbed into her book and played with the characters. I always wanted to know more about how the situation came together. I never thought I would be a writer or create videos but now I do! I cannot wait until my book is available at the library too!

One of my most favorite places in Los Angeles besides the library is Members Only LA Art Studio. Since seeing Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze play with clay in the movie Ghost, I wanted to learn to make ceramics. I absolutely love to make art. You can take a class at our sister studio, Good Dirt. I hope you find a way to be creative every week.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Finding a mentor is very important. I suggest going to conferences, taking classes and asking for help. I recommend that editors, reporters, writers and journalists join us at the Los Angeles Press Club: I have met incredible friends and been nominated for 20 awards—5 of which I have won for my broadcast, digital and print stories! I also highly recommend UPOD, my writing group which is run by David Hochman If you are over 50, you are eligible for Senior Scholars at UCLA. I took 10 classes during the COVID coaster which helped me stay sane. I took classes in screenwriting, producing, geography, history, psychology and meditation. The professors are AMAZING! For most university senior programs, you have to be over 65. This is a superb LA resource! Check it out:

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 16: BJ Korros and guest attend the Los Angeles Press Club’s 63rd Annual Journalism Awards Dinner at Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles on October 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)

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Thank you VoyageLA for interviewing me for your Inspiring Stories from West LA!

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 a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. 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 nearly 2 million views. 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. 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 (1.7 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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