Women’s Travel Wisdom: Meet Keynote Speaker Doni Belau

by | Feb 1, 2022

Last updated on February 3rd, 2022

Finding Joy in the Unexpected

By Carolyn Ray, Publisher, JourneyWoman

Women’s Travel Wisdom is a five-day travel and wellness retreat designed to empower women through travel, presented by women’s travel leaders JourneyWoman™ and Girls’ Guide to Paris and Beyond. Drawing on the wisdom of 13 best-selling authors, life coaches, activists, award-winning photographers, entrepreneurs and travel experts, speakers will share their wisdom and life experiences to help travelers see the world through a different lens.

Keynote Speaker: Doni Belau

Doni Belau launched Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond in September of 2009, which began as a travel website and guide about everything Paris related. In 2011, GG2P began conducting its first women-only tours, first to France and now working with 20 partners, they lead more than 40 trips women-only trips, retreats and adventures around the globe.  In 2015, Doni wrote the first book on the Paris Craft Cocktail movement, Paris Cocktails.

“I feel strongly that women can teach the whole of society by showing that sisterhood can literally save the world,” Doni says. “I do not believe in competition or anything short of solid sisterhood, empowerment, and bonding between females. In kindness, in hope, in respect and in love we can heal the planet and ourselves.”

What will women learn from you?

At our five-day retreat, Doni will share her wisdom about how we can find magic in the unexpected, a gift she has honed in her 25 years as a leader in women’s travel.

”What I hope to teach is something fairly simple, but to absorb it is more difficult. It doesn’t pay to worry,” she says. “If we can stay in the moment and breathe something that comes into focus when traveling, we can adjust, swerve or just simply deal with stuff as it comes up with little to no drama. Focusing on what we have versus an idealized scenario created in our mind of what “should be”. In this way I believe we can all enjoy calmer more fulfilling travel whether that’s a trip to the mall or a trek in Bhutan.”

Watch our January 15 Q&A by clicking on the image below:

How have you learned from the wisdom of others?

Doni has two mentors that have given her direction and purpose.

“The first is Thich Nhat Hahn, a well-known Vietnamese Buddhist Monk with whom I’ve been lucky enough to study with,” she says. “He and his fellow monks and nuns taught me how to meditate and how to truly LOVE and appreciate life in all its wonder. The most beautiful thing he taught me (along with 1000 other people from around the world who were there) was the miracle of the orange which is shorthand for appreciating life to the fullest. Read about it here. It brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of it and the many other incredible insights, he and his sangha taught me during my five visits to Plum Village in France where he had a monastery.

“The second person who influenced me greatly has been Debbie Phillips, my life coach. She helped me by empowering me to create a vision for my life, particularly around what work I wanted to do. It was thanks to her guidance that I have had the guts, the stamina, and the belief in myself to fulfill those goals. Everything that we set down on paper during her vision day program which I did over 15 years ago has come true. Her kind, sweet, loving nature has been a comfort to me and when I have a difficult decision to make, I imagine what Debbie would do. It’s always right.”

Women’s travel Wisdom keynote speakers include Lola Akinmade Åkerström, Doni Belau, Diana Eden, Brenda Holder, Caren Osten, Debbie Phillips, Carolyn Ray and Loung Ung.

Workshop leaders, including Amanda Burgess, Robyn Griggs-Lawrence, Nora Livingstone, Shawna Robins and Krista Stanley, will provide practical tools to help women travel with intention, incorporating mindfulness, wabi-sabi, animal conservation and Indigenous wisdom.

Attendance is limited to 80 women. Learn more at www.womenstravelwisdom.com.

February 9: Free Webinar on the Power of Positivity & Mindfulness


More than ever, right now we need some positive thinking and mindfulness to get ourselves through the day. Caren Osten is certified in positive psychology as well as a life and career coach who writes regularly for the NY Times among others. Caren will be speaking at our Women’s Travel Wisdom retreat in the fall. Join us for this mind-awakening webinar as we discuss how our thoughts affect our lives in big ways.  Sign up for this free webinar with Caren, Carolyn and Doni here.

A passionate traveller, Carolyn believes anything is possible when we follow our heart and trust our intuition. Raised in Florida, Carolyn loves all things Latin, margaritas, the ocean and music. She's a board member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).


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