Should you attend Women’s Travel Fest? Short answer: YES! And don’t even think twice about it. No matter where you are in your life, even if you are the most advanced traveler in the world, come to be inspired, meet other amazing women, and to learn about a variety of topics.
The reason for the season: Kelly Lewis! Founder of GO! Girl Guides and Women’s Travel Fest – she had a dream that she would once have a women’s travel conference and has now had 3 successful conferences to date. Equally beautiful and inspiring, she aims to encourage other women to get out there and see the world.
The travel fest was broke up into 2 days plus an evening the night before the main event of drinks and networking. The main day had a variety of influential speakers and a delicious lunch all held in this architecturally stunning building, Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts (crossing my fingers it is held there next year as well).
The Keynote Speaker was Carol Cain. She told a story about a time she was hiking and the guide told her to stay back because she wouldn’t make it in time to the summit. She fought, she made it, and she cried tears of joy. I think we can all relate with Carol on this because at some point in our life, we are told we can’t do something. The beautiful thing about being told you can’t do something is that it makes you want it even more. Don’t ever stop fighting for what you want.
Beauty and Clothing: Kenecia Lashae and Stephanie Flor shared tips for make-up and clothing while traveling. Some of my biggest takeaways were not to over pack (which I always do), to minimize my beauty products to one smaller type bag – if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go, the power of versatile beauty products – one that stood out was a lip and cheek stain, dry shampoo and utilizing a high pony or bun for when you are in more remote places and can’t always get a shower – but want to look cute, and bringing 3 basic shoes: tennis, heel, and sandal.
Safety & Finding Your Tribe: Erika Helstrom, Shayla Martin, Paula Forelich, and Haley Woods. This panel of four women was a mix of extroverts and introverts covering topics on traveling solo, finding other like-minded women when you are out, and most importantly – being comfortable with being alone. You are the best company you will keep. I was turned on to Haley Woods and her group of Girls Love Travel. I hadn’t heard of it until then and I instantly added them on Facebook and have been enjoying it for the last few days. If you love travel and you are a woman, I highly suggest you add them!
The Most Remote Places in the World: Annie Griffiths. Annie is everything I inspire to be when I grow up. She is one of the first female photographers for National Geographic, has photographed around 150 countries, she is a true philanthropist and humanitarian, and takes incredible photos. Watching her slideshow of photos gave me serious wanderlust and a need to keep traveling.
Miki Agrawal: How do I even start with this woman? In my eyes, Miki is a modern day saint and someone to keep your eyes on. She is revolutionizing the world and breaking down taboo topics. The co-founder of Thinx – underwear for women with periods. For every pair purchased, funds are sent to Uganda to a team she partnered up with called AFRIpads which provides reusable pads to women in Africa. She talked a lot about how women are shamed for having their period and how they even miss school in areas of the world because they don’t have anything to protect themselves during this time of the month. In addition, she wrote a best selling book called “Do Cool Sh*t” and is the founder of a restaurant called WILD – that is farm to table. If you ever get the chance to meet this women or hear her speak – TAKE IT! Absorb it all in. She is a maker and a shaker.
Emotional Obstacles Abroad: Megan McDonough, Geraldine Deruiter, Kai Lani Kennedy. Inspiring and heartbreaking. I thought for sure I was going to ball my eyes out hearing Kai’s story of losing her father and grandmother in the same year – and then feeling lost and trying to find herself. But then I realized she survived all the bad and came out even better. Geraldine is this sassy, take no shit go-getter who I think I can relate with most. She had a brain tumor – she even named it – and still kept on. This 3 women spoke a lot about anxiety and depression – and anxiety hits home hard for me. It’s something I deal with everyday – but I never let it stop me from chasing my dreams and you shouldn’t either.
The Next Big Thing: Expedia Viewfinder and Girls Meet Globe: This panel was my most anticipated. 2 of my absolute favorite women in travel spoke here, Courtney Scott and Kiersten Rich – who together make Girls Meet Globe. I follow these two online like a fangirl – but just checkout their Instagram accounts and tell me you don’t feel the need to be somewhere else immediately! They are the kindest, sweetest women I have ever met and if you love travel, you will love them. Their videos, blogs and digital storytelling have it all.
Carol Cain, the keynote also spoke on this panel and Sandi McKenna. Essentially, all 4 of these women brought 4 different perspectives to the future of travel. Sandi is doing Mid Life Road Trip, Kiersten and Courtney are mostly beach goers, and Carol loves wine regions. All amazing women doing amazing things.
The second day was workshops from a variety of topics of traveling on a budget, digital storytelling, ditching the 9-5, video storytelling, overcoming fear, travel writing, and so much more. I did not stay for these sessions but if they were anything like day 1 – prepare to be hit with some good tips and inspiration!
Lets not forget about the swag bags! Lots of good stuff – can’t wait to read about Mexico!~
Expedia also did a giveaway for $1,000! As a traveler, I could stretch that into 3 or so trips!
I already cannot wait to go back next year! This was the single best thing I have done for myself lately – it encouraged me and inspired me in the ways I needed right now and I can’t wait to share the future of my travels with you.