After night one at Hotel Indigo, the Women Travel Fest celebrated its 10th anniversary at the beautiful Angel Orseanz Center where it began! Guests were welcomed with incredible gift bags founder, Kelly Lewis addressed travelers in attendance to mark the special milestone.
The first speak on Saturday was traveler and content creator Alyne Tamir of Dear Alyne. She shared deeply personal stories her travel journey, he religious upbringing and shattering expectations of societal pressures. Dear Alyne has over 3 million followers and the retreats range from co-working in Turkey to a Digital Detox in Scotland and more.
One of the most inspiring talks of the weekend came from Alice Min Soo Chun who is changing the world through her travels. She has invented a portable solar light that folds up and expands when needed called Solight Design. The light lanterns are non-toxic, environmental friendly and biodegradable. The entrepreneur has been going to “red zones” all over the world such as her 49-hour trip to Ukraine when the war with Russia broke out. Anyone can donate a light to anyone in a country who needs one by visiting Solight’s official site.
Professional hobo, Nora Dunn was up next on the main stage and talked all about how she saved over $100,000 and gained free accommodation around the world. Dunn’s variety of tips and tricks included housesitting and petsitting, volunteering, even staying at an animal sanctuary and helping out daily. Her ways of acquiring free accommodation gave a different perspective on travel and having a purpose for traveling while not breaking the bank.
“Sometimes you have to quit your way to the top” said world traveler and business owner Deidre Mathis. She is a hotelier and founder of Wanderstay Hospitality Group. Mathis became the first Black woman to own and operate a hostel in the United States. After the success of her Wanderstay Hostel, her talk was nothing short of powerful. She turned her passion into profit and inspired others to do the same!
Incredible vendors were also at the festival to chat with between panels! Latin America focused Heart of Travel, Trafalgar, Alexandra Jimenez’s Travel Fashion Girl has a booth and many other fun travel focused companies were there.
One of the coolest chats of the weekend came from the “Kickass Solo Women Over 50” panel. Speakers included Melissa DaSilva, Diana Eden, and Dawn Booker and moderated and Carolyn Ray. Each of the speakers were motivating to their fellow travelers. Eden, in particular, is 82-years-old and still has a bigger sense of adventure that travelers a third her age.
Samantha Brown, host of several Travel Channel shows was the keynote speaker on Saturday. Relatable and sincere, Brown talked all about the emotional value that travel brings to us. Brown speaking at this year’s travel fest is a full circle moment for the event. She was keynote speaker at the very first Women’s Travel Festival 10 years ago!