My Crazy-Sucessful Female Blogging Mentors

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.

Currently, Leah works as a Pinterest consultant for big brands. She also has an e-book about finding freedom through location independence.

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!

Secret Bloggers Business

Photo by Kate McKibben

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

Photo by Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo- Marie TV and

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!


Top Female Travel Bloggers

PIN ME! (Photo by Alex in Wanderland)

Do you have an idol or mentor? I’d love to hear more about who you look up to! 

Want to read more from the challenge? Check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5

(Feature Image by The Sweetest Way)



About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

15 comments on “My Crazy-Sucessful Female Blogging Mentors

  1. I love reading your blog and can’t wait to browse through the archives of these lovely ladies, I’m sure I’ll have restless feet my tomorrow!
    I’m wondering what you think of World of Wanderlust? Brooke is definitely the one who planted the ridiculous thought into my head that traveling the world could actually be possible, though her blog is much more commercial than it was 2 years ago when I found her.


    • Thank you so much Connie! Hopefully you enjoy all of the ladies on this list! As for World of Wanderlust, I love her Instagram but I haven’t gotten super into her blog, mainly because she tends to post shorter destination posts, whereas I’m a fan of longer storytelling posts. But that’s just my preference!

  2. Wait, whaaat am I doing on this list? Such a cool group of bloggers – I’m also a huge fan of Kate’s! As for your question, global traveler turns supermarket cashier is the kind of Cinderella story anyone would want to follow, right? No? Honestly, I have no idea why people are still reading, ha. I hope you do visit me in Norway someday! xx

    • Well I think your blog is super awesome! You’ve inspired me to want to travel to some really off the beaten path places like Iran in the future. I also love reading about your life in Norway! Even if you feel like you might not be where you want to be in a business sense, I just couldn’t leave your blog out!

  3. It’s such an honor to be included in this list alongside these badass ladies (and some of MY mentors!). Thanks so much for including me, Richelle! I can’t wait to see where your blog takes you! x

  4. Richelle, this was such a nice surprise to read! I know you’ve been a longtime reader, and I appreciate you always being there for me and promoting me to your audience. I don’t take it lightly. Thank you from deep within my heart.

    Now, as for your question — how am I psychic?! HA! I never really thought about it until you lined up everything like that!

    I will say this — I hopped on the Snapchat train very quickly because I wasn’t quick enough to jump on the Instagram train. I didn’t want to repeat that mistake.

    I think a lot of bloggers take their cues from WITHIN the travel blogging world — but a lot of my cues come from outside resources. From blogs in other genres. From trends in other industries.

    As for tours, I honestly don’t think I’ll do others unless I partner with a tour company in the future. I love the leading but I don’t love the organization and planning of it. Plus, when my first tour was in El Salvador and a lady who worked at the guesthouse collapsed from high blood pressure or hypertension (one of those), what did they do? Call a doctor? No. THEY CALLED THE NUNS TO PRAY OVER HER. I am so thankful that nobody got seriously ill or injured on my trips and I feel like I dodged a bullet. Only pro tours in the future from now on.

    • Wow that is a crazy story! Is that on your blog at all? I don’t think I read about that. I definitely agree about taking cues outside the industry. I feel like I have a lot of lifestyle aspects to my site, and an interesting niche within the “teach abroad” China sphere. I definitely don’t want to be doing the exact same thing everyone else is doing.

      As for tours, I actually have a few contacts that can help me arrange all the details which is great! But I know it will be a lot of effort to help everyone arrange visas, and actually promote the tours. My worry is actually promoting them, because I know you have a huge audience! Also, I’m not sure if the tours will end up being worth all the effort financially, but that won’t be my main reason behind leading them anyway.

      That’s so much for taking the time to write such an incredibly helpful comment. I really appreciate it!

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