Writing for big name publications like The Huffington Post, National Geographic and The Guardian is nothing new for these experienced travel writers. Please meet the wonderful travel bloggers George and Lisa of We Said Go Travel!
What are your names?
Lisa Niver Rajna
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
George: I started as a backpacker but now live and work abroad running We Said Go Travel which we founded in 2010.
Lisa: After working on cruise ships for seven years, I started to backpack with George and it was a big adjustment for me. It took awhile to get used to not knowing where we would sleep each night after traveling with my home (cruise ship).
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
George & Lisa: It is a mixture. We saved before we left, and now we are consulting on social media and running our website, We Said Go Travel.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
George: I went to Mexico with my family when I was four years old.
Lisa: I went skiing with my family when I was seven years old. My dad would rather ski than breathe and we went several times a year to the mountains.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
George: When we went to Mongolia at the end of our first sabbatical, I was surprised to see so many animals.
Lisa: In 2013, we trekked in Nepal. It was my first time to Nepal and first time trekking. I loved finding rhinos on safari in Chitwan and seeing the biggest stupa in Boudhanath near Kathmandu. We were invited to do our first reading from our memoir, Traveling in Sin. I cannot wait to go back to Nepal!
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
George: When I was traveling in Mexico, I got really sick and had to return home.
Lisa: When we were snorkeling in Koh Phi Phi, I freaked out in the water. I thought I was going to be run over by a boat. Nothing bad actually happened, I was just being a bit dramatic!
George, please tell us about your time with the Peace Corps?
George: I was a volunteer in rural Paraguay helping implement the government education reform.
What did the city of Los Angeles recognize you for in relation to travel?
City Council member, Bill Rosendahl and the City of Los Angeles commended us for our leadership and efforts to create events that connected community. We hosted the national event, Meet Plan Go, in Los Angeles October 2011 with over one hundred people in attendance.
City of Los Angeles Certificate of Appreciation:
On Behalf of the Citizens of Council District Eleven this certificate is presented to you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to provide community and leadership in Los Angeles. Your efforts help to build connections in our city and to other countries as well as with our neighbors. Through your ongoing programs, you have enhanced and changed the lives of many and I join with other members of our community to applaud your involvement to building a brighter future for everyone. Bill Rosendahl, October 18, 2011
Do you have any funny travel stories?
George loves this story from when I worked on cruise ships. While we were sailing in the Mediterranean Sea near Greece, an American woman came to the front desk and asked, “Is this the same moon I can see at home?” We told her yes, but I really wanted to ask if she arrived by airplane or space ship!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
George: Plain of Jar in Ponsavan, Laos. I was completely unimpressed by the Jars and the town was non-descript with nothing to do. A British man whose job it was to remove mines that were blowing limbs off the children yelled at me. He believed that since I am American; it was personally my fault.
Lisa: Recently we were in Santa Fe, Panama and while I liked the area and the people, I was attacked by chitras (sand fleas but we were in the mountains.) We made a quick get-away after sustaining hundreds of bites.
Lisa, you used to be a Senior Assistant Cruise Director. It sounds very exciting, can you please tell us a little bit about the role and what it involved doing?
Lisa: I worked for Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Renaissance Cruises for seven years. I loved my time sailing the seven seas and working onboard. I grew up watching the Love Boat and it was great to travel for a living. As Senior Assistant Cruise Director, I hosted talks, shows and events as well as participated in activities with passengers like quizzes, pool games and cocktail parties.
You say that you’ve been to over 100 countries, how do you keep track of them all?
Lisa & George: On the Traveler’s Century Club website, we counted up our countries for the application. We keep meaning to add a list to our site!
You had a very romantic wedding proposal whilst travelling, please tell us what happened and where?
Lisa: In January 2014 we visited Koh Lipe where we got engaged five years ago on January 18, 2009! During our one year sabbatical (2008-9), George asked me to marry him underwater while snorkeling in Thailand. That day was two years exactly from our first date in Los Angeles! We got married December 19, 2009 and I am so happy I said YES to our first date after meeting online, to going on the one-year trip and to marrying my soul mate and travel partner! You can read all about it in our memoir, Traveling in Sin!
Where is your favorite place in the world?
George: I don’t have a favorite place but my favorite sector of the world is Asia, particularly Thailand, Nepal and Indonesia. The reason is the value, the unique culture, the architecture and food.
Lisa: This summer we snorkeled with whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu, Philippines and went scuba diving at Blue Corner with sharks and rays in Palau. Those are two recent highlights that I can really recommend!
How did Kred recognize you and what is Kred?
Kred is a rating system for social media like Klout but it rates by industry. Kred recognized us as a top 1% elite influencer in travel.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
George & Lisa: Antarctica, African safari and Iceland
Why were you on national TV?
Lisa: I was invited to share a day in the life of a teacher for the show Career Day. Two television crews followed me around in my classroom for over three hours. My students were so excited to be on National Television! It was a really fun day for all of us! You can watch the three-minute segment on our We Said Go Travel YouTube channel.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Lisa & George: We cannot imagine life without travel. We have both stayed home but we have always left again!
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
In the United States, Lisa was a science teacher and George was a bilingual speech therapist.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
We Said Go Travel
When did you begin your website?
2010 after our sabbatical trip in 2008-2009 and before our summer trip in Sri Lanka and the Maldives in Summer 2010.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
We write to share our travel stories and to connect people and places. We have been honored to publish articles in the Huffington Post, Jewish Journal, National Geographic Intelligent Traveler, Gates Foundation Impatient Optimists as well as in print for the Myanmar Times, the Himalayan Times and the Guardian.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
During 2013, over five hundred writers from over fifty countries shared stories from 124 nations in our Travel Writing Contests. Our 2014 Inspiration Travel Writing Contest has started with a $1,000usd first prize. We have articles from every continent and are a global community. We hope all your readers will choose to tell a tale in our next contest.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
We have our book Traveling in Sin which you can buy from Amazon or via our website.
We are happy to chat with any of your readers about social media consulting. We have assisted individuals and businesses to grow their websites and companies.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Lisa: We met Iram from Islamabad, Pakistan during our travel-writing contest. My favorite article was when she wrote about Murree, Pakistan which is a hot holiday and honeymoon spot!
What has been your favorite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
George: I wrote about Keith Richards’ memoir, Life, for the Huffington Post. It was my favorite because I enjoyed being able to use my knowledge of guitar and mixing it with my love for writing about one of my favorite guitarists and bands. All together I was very happy with the end result.
Lisa: My favorite was writing about a cremation ceremony we saw in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. I was honored that National Geographic Intelligent Traveler was interested in our perspective of this event.
What is your favorite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
George: I like a slow train.
Lisa: I like a slow boat!
What was your first CouchSurfing experience?
George: We participated in a New Year’s Eve Event through CouchSurfing in Cartagena, Colombia. About sixty people met up at a CouchSurfing Ambassador’s home and we all went by open-air bus around the city. We had a live band on the bus and stopped to dance at a fort. The old city was packed with revelers and the fireworks were fantastic.
Lisa: In Guam this summer, we did our first couchsurfing stay. Jenny was a great host and we had our own bedroom and bathroom. We walked her dogs while she was at work and made dinner for when she got home. She took us hiking and to a Chamarro Village. We had a wonderful time!
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
George: Try not to see it all. Travel more slowly so you can take in what is actually there and learn more about the culture.
Lisa: Remember the “F” word: FLEXIBLE! While traveling, things do not always go according to my plans. Enjoy the bumps and delays as much as you can, sometimes they are the most memorable and you make the best new friend!
What has travel taught you?
George: There is a lot to see in this world. Even though you can never see it all, it is still fun to be out there seeing new things and meeting new people.
Lisa: Travel has taught me to be grateful for all that I have and enjoy every moment.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Air Asia
Favourite country? Thailand
Favourite city? Chiang Mai
Favourite beach? Lipah, Bali, Indonesia
Favourite food? Penang Gai (Red Curry from Thailand)
Favourite language? Thai
Please provide the following:-
Website url? We Said Go Travel http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/
Twitter handle? Twitter https://twitter.com/wesaidgotravel
Facebook page? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Said-Go-Travel/133588513359395
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/100874978323166560555
Travel Writing Contest: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/writing-contest
We Said Do Good: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/we-said-do-good
Lisa on National Tv: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqZqdq7Al24