The circumstances around receiving this interview were somewhat convoluted (as is common when one is on the road with no set schedule). I received emails from Lisa over the course of 4-5 weeks indicating the interview had been lost due to a broken laptop that occurred somewhere in rural India. She resurfaced recently in the tech savvy capital of Malaysia and was able to pull the “missing” interview off of her battle tested computer. Here it is, in its entirety (updated in June 2017).
Q. Tell us a bit about your website, wesaidgotravel.com, your goals for the site and how long it has been around?
I started www.wesaidgotravel.com in June 2010. We have now hosted 13 Travel Writing Competitions and published nearly 2000 writers. In June 2017, I was honored to be a finalist in two categories for the Southern California Journalism Awards.
Q. You have been on several Round the World Trips (RTW) and are currently in the middle of one now! Tell us about the challenges you face when planning trips of this magnitude (especially considering you do have a home base, apartment etc).
Traveling is my life. When I first started to rend my condo for a long trip, it involved a lot of planning. But now it is fairly simple to get out of town. I actually have a second set of toiletries so I am always packed to go!
Q. How do friends and family react to your long travel plans?
I am working on a project of 50 new things before I am 50 in October 2017. Everyone has been very supportive of my travels and interested in my new experiences. I was able to write for Sierra Club Magazine about skiing with the blind. www.sierraclub.org/sierra/green-life/adaptive-strategies
Q. What is one of your favorite 50 Things before you are 50?
In Park City, Utah, I was able to go on the Olympic Bobsled. I was totally terrified but I did it! I reported about it as my first segment for The Jet Set TV. I am their new adventure correspondent!
Q. I know you are getting close to visiting that coveted country #100! Which country is that going to be for you?
That is a great question! For the Traveler’s Century Club I have about 150 countries but on the standard UN count—I am at 99. My newest countries are 95: Bonaire, 96: Solomon Islands, 97: Monaco, 98: Scotland and 99: San Marino! I am decided where to go for 100—perhaps Brazil, Iceland, Antarctica, Papua New Guinea.
Q. Lisa – tell us about your time working on a cruise ships – that is certainly one way to see the world, versus how you are traveling now – independently.
Traveling as a backpacker with no plans of where to stay was a huge adjustment for me after living in a five star moving hotel. I have to say working for Princess Cruises, I always had a room to sleep in and I always knew where we were going.
Q. How did the writing competition get started?
In 2012, in Konark, India, I went to the UNESCO Sun Temple and they were having a Sand Art Festival. I was inspired to create the first Travel Writing Contest. There were over sixty writers from USA to Uzbekistan and from UK to Uganda participate. The current Summer Travel Writing Award is now #13! The theme will is Freedom and you can enter until Independence Day July 4th, 2017. Participate by sharing your story here http://wesaidgotravel.com/travel-writing-award/
Q. You have written for Luxury Magazine, Delta Sky Magazine, Sierra Club, Jewish Journal, National Geographic. How did you get started and who did you get featured in the Myanmar Times?
During a 27 day trip in Myanmar in October 2012, I read “The Myanmar Times” which is the only English language paper in the country. Figuring “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” I emailed TMT and offered a story about an American perspective on the Inle Lake Pagoda Festival. It turned out my story was in print during President Obama’s historic visit. Read the article here. www.mmtimes.com/index.php/lifestyle/travel/3170-at-inle-the-best-seats-in-the-house.html
Q. I know video has long been an important component of your website. How many videos do you have now?
I love making videos about my travels. I started with a Cisco Flip in 2011 and now have nearly 700 videos with 1.2 million views. I have channels on YouTube, Roku and Amazon and I film on my LG V20. You can view more her: www.youtube.com/user/WeSaidGoTravel
Q. Since you call Los Angeles “home” when you’re not traveling around the world what are some of your favorite experiences to enjoy in or around the City of Angels”?
I love to be in Los Angeles especially by the beach! I am excited about my art studio’s summer sale. One of my 50 things projects was to have my very first solo art show and I exhibited 50 new pieces. You can see them on my instagram “SimplyCeramics2”
Lisa Niver is a travel expert, writer, artist, entrepreneur, and on-camera host who has explored 99 countries. Niver has established a following through her written and video content, garnering over one million video views on YouTube, Amazon Fire Tv and Roku. She is the Adventure Correspondent for The Jet Set, the first travel based TV Talk show.
Niver is the founder of a top 100 travel blog, We Said Go Travel, that reaches more than 200,000 annually and is in the top 1/8 of the top 1% of all sites in the United States. In her tri-annual international travel writing competitions, she has published nearly 2000 writers from 75 countries.
She was invited to the United Nations as a Champions of Humanity ambassador, to the red carpet at the Oscars with United Airlines and to New Orleans for a project with American Express and Starwood Hotels.
Her recent stories include Dutch designer villas for Luxury Magazine, interviewing Fabien Cousteau for Delta Sky, skiing with the blind for Sierra, Ubud cremation ceremony for National Geographic and scuba diving in the Solomon Islands for Smithsonian.
She also contributes to USA Today, Wharton Business Magazine, the Jewish Journal and is verified on Twitter and Facebook. Niver was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, a 2014 nominee for the Charles Bronfman Prize and a finalist in two categories for the 59th annual 2016 Southern California Journalism Awards.
Visit her travel website, www.wesaidgotravel.com for more stories from the road.