This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6.
Finding a mentor is an important step in any business. I remember when I was reading the book Lean In, there was an entire chapter on how important it is for women to find mentors. But honestly, the idea of finding and approaching a mentor is a bit daunting. Firstly, how do you even find a mentor, and secondly, how do you ask them for help without being annoying?
Well, today Natalie challenged me to name a few people I look up to in the travel blogging or location independence sphere. This was actually pretty difficult because there are a TON of people I admire for different reasons. To narrow it down, I decided to focus on the ladies (sorry guys).
These women are so incredibly awesome and I can’t wait to share them with you all!
Leah Davis- The Sweetest Way
I’ve been a huge fan of Leah’s blog, The Mochilera Diaries, for a while, but in the last year Leah did a complete re-brand and now writes about her life as a digital nomad and how to achieve location independence. I read so many location independence blogs, but for some reason, I find that most of them are written by men. I already related so much to Leah through her travel blog, it’s been great to read advice from someone I can really identify with.
Although Leah loves to travel, she decided she doesn’t want to make her sole income through being a professional travel blogger. She’s tired of rushed press trips, sponsored posts, and selling travel insurance affiliates, and wants to separate travel from her income. She still travels the world, it’s just not the way she makes all of her money.
Personally, if I could get any advice from Leah, it would be how to use my unique talents and strengths to create a business that works for me, rather than following the typical travel blogger mold so many others seem to be using.
Gloria Atanmo- The Blog Abroad
Hard-working, ambitious, and hilarious, Gloria’s personality packs a punch. She made a name for herself writing wildly successful articles on Huffington Post and Matador, and has now leveraged that popularity into speaking engagements and a book!
It was Gloria who taught me how to use Huffington Post to promote my article, How Travel is Ruining My Love Life. Without her advice, I might never have been featured on Huffington Post Women and Matador Network. I’ve had a lot of great offers come from the publicity I gained from that article, and it’s pretty much 100% thanks to her.
The reason why I view Gloria as a role model and mentor is because I also have a very “personality” based blog. While everyone else is writing about the “Top 10 Whatever You Need to Buy” packed full of affiliate links, I’m busy writing very impractical posts about my feelings on periods, or how I don’t stand up for myself enough.
If I could ask Gloria for advice, I would want to know how to better leverage my personality and knack for storytelling to create my own book or other forms of monetization. I also want to know how she got into public speaking engagements!
Kate McCulley- Adventurous Kate
In my humble opinion, I would say that Kate is the top female travel blogger out there, which of course puts her on my list. Her blog is one of the very first travel blogs I ever read, and is pretty much the only blog out of my original favorites that continues to impress me.
Kate is always ahead of the game. She was backpacking and blogging about SE Asia while everyone else was doing round-the-world trips. When the bloggers flocked to SE Asia, Kate moved on to Central America. She was one of the first people to hop on the Snapchat train. She also switched to a business model heavily dependent on affiliate links so that she could be free of press trips, sponsored content, and freelancing. Finally, she even led a few tours around Central America!
If I could ask Kate for any advice, it would be how to gain her almost psychic ability to stay ahead of the trend. I’m also extremely interested in starting my own backpacker tours in Western China, so I’d love to get some advice on how to create and manage occasional tours the way she has.
Lauren Juliff- Never Ending Footsteps
I can’t get enough of Lauren’s accident-prone misadventures and vibrant storytelling. How could you not love a girl who’s a self-described “traveler, writer, and walking disaster”?
The thing I really like about Lauren is how travel has completely changed her life. Lauren used to suffer from debilitating anxiety and an eating disorder. After a big breakup, she decided to throw caution to the wind and embark on an epic solo travel adventure, even though she’d never traveled long-term and definitely never by herself. While traveling she’s been attacked by monkeys, swallowed a cockroach, and even had to sit next to a dead woman on a boat for 24-hours?!
Lauren recently published a travel memoir titled How Not to Travel the World. Unlike most bloggers who write helpful e-books, Lauren actually wrote a novel and worked with a publisher. As someone who aspires to write a travel memoir herself, I would LOVE to pick Lauren’s brain about the process of writing her memoir and how she went about the publishing process.
Alexandra Baackes- Alex in Wanderland
Alex in Wanderland is one of my all-time favorite blogs, and Alexandra never disappoints. I love reading about her experiences diving around the world and backpacking through Southeast Asia and Central America. She writes in such detail, I don’t know how she keeps up with all of it! I definitely need to learn more about underwater photography from Alexandra, and she really makes me want to go to Burning Man!
I actually met Alexandra at TBEX Asia last year, and at first, I was super intimidated by her. I mean she’s basically a celebrity to me. But I put my nerves aside and said ‘hi’, and she ended up being one of the nicest, most down to earth people ever. She even invited me to sit with her at lunch the next day!
Alexandra has a very impressive resume when it comes to partnering with incredible brands. I would love to pick her brain someday and get suggestions on what types of brands might work well for me. I’d also love to hear more about her experience working as a dive photographer and getting her divemaster certification!
Pro Tip: I had a rule last year at TBEX to say hello to everyone that intimidated me. It was probably the best challenge I could’ve made for myself!
Silvia Lawrence- Heart My Backpack
I know I keep saying this, but Silvia is just so cool. How many girls do you know that have backpacked solo through Iran? Silvia has traveled to so many incredible off-the-beaten-path locations, I don’t even know where to start. The best part is that she does it all while remaining completely relatable. Not only do I aspire to be as awesome as Silvia, I also really want to hang out with her in Norway!
Silvia has an incredible Instagram, and a fantastic Pinterest course, for those who are interested. She also does a great job talking about her highs and lows as an expat in Norway, while still remaining a “travel blogger” by exploring her semi-permanent home.
If I could ask Silvia anything, I would want to know how she grew her brand and developed a strong readership that stayed with her, even though she’s now living as an expat in Norway. I’d also love to get some Instagram tips from her!
Kate McKibben- Secret Bloggers Business
Originally a popular fashion blogger at Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily, Kate has been blogging for over seven years! Now she’s discovered her real passion, helping other people make a mark with their own blogs. She started a blogging course called Bloggers MBA, which I promptly signed up for when it was on sale a few months ago. I haven’t made it through all of the material, but the course has been extremely helpful for me.
Most people in the travel blogging industry are convinced that travel blogging is extremely separate from other blogging niches, and traditional methods that work for fashion, food, and mommy bloggers won’t work for us. Well, I’m calling BS on that. Even though Kate’s course is mostly geared towards lifestyle blogs, I’ve still found it extremely helpful!
Earlier this year Kate offered a free mini-course. Most of the information she provided contained things I’d already read before. However, for some reason with Kate, it just clicked! Her helpful worksheets and conversational approach resonated with me in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. Things that used to be overwhelming, like SEO, creating an “avatar” and designing email lists, suddenly became much clearer.
If I could ask Kate anything, I’d love to best utilize my skills to create my own course or coaching business. While I already do Skype consulting for those who are interested in China, I’d love to do more with it!
Marie Forleo- Marie TV and MarieForleo.com
Marie Forleo is my idol. Seriously, this woman is so successful, she’s even been on Oprah! Founder of B-School, the best online business school for entrepreneurs, literally every video that Marie makes is gold. If you don’t subscribe to Marie TV, drop everything you’re doing and get on her email list.
“She’s the thought leader for the next generation”- Oprah
I haven’t been able to fork over the money for her B-School yet, (maybe next year?) but I have participated in her free blogging course and I watch all of her Q&A Tuesday videos. I especially love how it took her a while to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. She’s tried fashion, working as a dance choreographer, magazine publishing, and more. Sometimes it takes a little while to decipher your purpose in life, and that’s okay!
I mean in reality, I would be super excited to just meet her in person, let alone ask her for any advice! But, If I could ask Marie Forleo one thing, it would be her personalized advice on how to best make use of my strengths to create a business that’s unique and makes a positive impact.
Want to check out some other amazing bloggers? Here’s my Top Female Travel Bloggers of 2015!
Do you have an idol or mentor? I’d love to hear more about who you look up to!
(Feature Image by The Sweetest Way)