Last updated on December 19th, 2023
Trusted advice from women
The JourneyWoman Women’s Travel Advisory Council
A Dedicated Group of Experts in Service to Women
Since its founding in 1994, JourneyWoman has inspired women to experience the world through travel. Our purpose has been an unwavering commitment to support our community with encouragement and advice to help women travel safely and well.
In August 2020, we announced the JourneyWoman Women’s Travel Advisory Council. Our intention was to elevate the depth and quality of our travel advice, be representative of our readers, and respond to their pressing questions about travel, safety and well-being. Chaired by JourneyWoman CEO and Editor Carolyn Ray, we provide you with our best advice in a world where we navigate shifting – and at times conflicting – information on women’s travel.
These inspiring women are leaders, entrepreneurs, travel experts, philanthropists, change agents and women with decades of travel experience, in service to other women.
Wanderlust Globe-Trotter +
Solo Travel Expert
Marillee’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Listen and act upon your Intuitions and gut feelings!”
Marillee Offers Expert Advice On:
Semester at Sea, (SAS), Cambodia, Bhutan, Rwanda, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, plus the Arctic and Antarctica, Solo travel, Safety
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I attended college in Missouri, Colorado, and Arizona, with a Masters as a Reading Specialist and educator. The travel bug set in while travelling with my parents. I took my first solo journey in the summer of 1984, backpacking across Europe with a Europass in hand, to celebrate my independence following a divorce at age 35. My 10-country trip kicked off in England and along the way, I gained courage, empowerment, many friends and saw spectacular scenery. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled the world and hope to continue in the near future. It’s challenging to pinpoint my best travel memory – they were all memorable in their own way. Certainly, I’d suggest my Semester at Sea voyages, my Antarctica and Arctic voyages, and those to Bhutan and Rwanda were momentous. Since then, I’ve taken more than 20 trips, visiting more than 120 countries.
Watch Marillee in our April 28 Webinar: Solo Travel Secrets (April 2020)
Citizen of the world +
Budget Travel Expert
Mary’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Trust your instincts, use common sense and do your research before you leave home.”
Mary Offers Expert Advice On:
Travelling comfortably on a budget using points and miles; Travel as self-care
I’m an administrator at Wayne State University. My 30+ year career as a transformational leader is enhanced by my family history, painting, and travelling. As a former caregiver, I promote caregiver self-care, financial resilience and opportunities for individuals age 50+ that disrupt the ageing myth. I’m working on a documentary and serve as a member of a national AARP appointed Volunteer Facilitation and Training team. I have a Bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising from Bowling Green State University, a Masters in Counseling from Wayne State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Toledo. I’m currently the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. I’m also a Licensed Professional Counselor.
CONNECT WITH MARY
Adventurous Senior +
Solo Travel Expert
Joy’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“If you want to go, but feel nervous about going alone, do your research about the place you want to go to, and go. You meet a lot of people while alone. You have nobody else to please except yourself. Once you overcome your initial nervousness, you will appreciate the advantages.”
Joy Offers Expert Advice On:
Reinventing yourself, Travelling alone, Aging Issues: Taking care of You, Gardening, Etiquette and Protocol; Canada, as I live here and have travelled coast to coast. Cities in Canada: Victoria and Vancouver, Parksville/Qualicum Beach.
I’m an adventurous senior and live on Vancouver Island, which is the most beautiful part of Canada (biased!) The weather is great. We have a micro-climate here, sheltered by Mount Arrowsmith, so many beautiful gardens. We have wildlife galore, wonderful beaches, trails and a caring community. Living on the Island is wonderful. There is so much to do, one can never be bored. My childhood was during WW11, so pretty grim, but I made myself a promise that I would never be hungry or dirty again, I would wear decent clothes and do what I could to make life better. I made goals regularly, upgraded education when I could, had good jobs, a business, a long marriage, 3 good kids and now widowed for 5 years, moved 4 years ago to get to know and reinvent myself.
Feature article: Solo Travel Memoirs: Healing After Heartbreak
JourneyWoman, Solo Traveler, Artist
Brenda’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Explore your own city first!”
Brenda Offers Expert Advice On:
Paris, Florence, Venice, Varadero (Cuba), Oaxaca, Singapore, Toronto, Ottawa
If I could live in Paris, I would. I also love Italy. At 21, I realized I’d moved 22 times. Since then, I’ve been torn between trying to stay put whilst scratching these itchy feet. Travel has allowed me to remain in the one place I love 2nd best – downtown Toronto! I’m a grad of Sheridan College, Ontario College of Art (Off-Campus Program in Florence, Italy) and Ottawa University where I studied Fine Arts. I studied writing with Graeme Gibson and Margaret Atwood at Humber College and am currently enrolled in Margaret’s Writing Masterclasses online. I recently retired from the job of my dreams, teaching foundation art to Art Fundamentals students. Surprisingly I’ve not missed one minute of it: gardening, jewelry-making, writing, drawing and painting take up my time, now. I also love cooking/preserving/baking all the foods and puttering in my downtown Toronto condo on projects, like my roof deck, where I’m putting in a greenhouse.
Webinar: Solo Travel Secrets (April 2020)
Travel writer, Solo Traveler, Tour Operator
Mariellen’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Research before you go – research your destination and do some inner research too, to make sure you are ready. When you are confident, you not only look great and feel great, but confidence protects you. Confident people are not targets for scammers or criminals.“
Mariellen Offers Expert Advice On:
India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan, Bhutan, USA, Ireland, Canada
Mariellen Ward is a professional writer, travel blogger, and tour operator. She runs the award-winning travel site Breathedreamgo.com, inspired by her extensive travels in India and South Asia. Mariellen has been published in leading media outlets worldwide, can be found just about everywhere online as Breathedreamgo, and offers custom tours to India through her company India for Beginners. In 2019, Mariellen received a National Tourism Award for Best Foreign Travel Journalist & Blogger from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Though Canadian by birth, Mariellen lives in Rishikesh and considers India to be her soul culture.
Passionate networker, Founder of womentravel.info
Christchurch, New Zealand
Rosemary’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Travel lightly on the planet.”
Rosemary Offers Expert Advice On:
New Zealand /Cycling in New Zealand, East coast of Australia, LGBTQ+ travel
CONNECT WITH Rosemary
Tonya Fitzpatrick, Esq.
Award-winning travel journalist and transformational travel expert
Tonya Offers Expert Advice On:
Transformational travel, Discovering Your Truth
Tonya’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Travel with an open heart and open mind.”
I am a 3x TEDx and international speaker, lawyer, author and member of The Explorers Club. I was appointed as a Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and is a former White House political appointee. She is a North American Travel Journalist Association board member and she serves on several committees on the Society of American Travel Journalists (SATW).
Tonya graduated from the London School of Economics, Wayne State University Law School and she attended East China University of Politics and Law. She has been featured in AAA World, MSNBC, U.S. News and World Reports, Black Enterprise, NBC, CBS and in several books
Head Babe/President, Babes in Bali + Erawan Travel
Cathy’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Listen and act upon your intuition and gut feelings!”
Cathy’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Don’t put off travelling. There may never be a perfect time. Seeing the world can be life-changing and so good for us physically, mentally and spiritually. I believe travel can be life changing and encourage women to pack their bags and get going! “
Cathy Offers Expert Advice On:
International travel tips, Travel to Bali, Tips for Group Travel, Travel Insurance, SE Asia with the emphasis on Bali and surrounding islands.
With a lifetime of wanderlust and 34 years in the travel business, I love creating unique individual travel arrangements to SE Asia. My passions since 2002 are my Babes in Bali Tours, which I personally escort (lucky me!) and our small group tours to my favourite place in the world. I’ve pampered and delighted over 350 women with my commitment and attention to detail on 23 Babes in Bali tours (and more to come). With my extensive local knowledge, depth and energy I can deliver exceptional experiences to each guest, embracing the sights, sounds, cuisine and unique cultural offerings most casual tourists would never encounter on their own, nor realize they have missed. As a Travel Agency owner and experienced Tour Manager/Leader, my goal is to create travel opportunities for women who might not otherwise feel confident about travelling internationally. I am very grateful to combine my love for Bali with making women’s dreams come true.
Safety for LGBTQ+, Women and Marginalized Groups
Tracey #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Follow your intuition.”
Tracey Offers Expert Advice On:
Women’s, LGBTQ+ and marginalized group safety, gender-based violence, human trafficking
Tracey Breeden is a queer activist, entrepreneur, coach, speaker and podcast host. She is the CEO and co-founder of Disrupt the Landing, LLC and former law enforcement professional, Head of Women’s Safety at Uber and VP, Head of Safety and Social Advocacy at Match Group. She is a sought after speaker on women and LGBTQ+ safety and human rights with over two decades of leadership experience in technology and public safety sectors.
CONNECT WITH Tracey
LinkedIn Tracey Breeden
Animal Ethics Expert + CEO, Animal Experience International
Nora’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Always trust your gut and your backbone. You don’t owe anyone your safety or your comfort.”
Nora Offers Expert Advice On:
Animal Conservation, Ethical volunteering. Ethical animal experiences, Citizen/community science
I’m the Co-founder of Animal Experience International, a B Corp that helps people volunteer on safe, ethical and authentic animal programs. Born in Canada, I spent my childhood travelling in Europe and North America as an army brat. I’ve visited more than 40 counties and participated in more than 20 animal programs. I believe that every single person as the power to change the world around them. Women don’t need anything more than themselves to be a force for good in the world. Travel and life are all about connection, if you allow yourself to connect with others you will be richer and so will your experiences around the world.
Webinar: Ethical Animal Travel (June 2020)
Expert on Mexico and the Caribbean
Nancy Offers Expert Advice On:
The travel business to the Caribbean from Canada, Most of the Caribbean
Nancy’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“A successful trip starts with research before you go. Then make connections.”
I’m a 30-year veteran of the travel industry and am a Director at Jesson & Company Communications in Toronto, a PR agency representing Antigua and Barbuda among other international destinations. Prior to joining Jesson, I was the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Canadian representative until the CTO closed their offices in December 2019. I’ve worked predominantly in Sales & Marketing for Tour Operators (Fiesta Holidays & Thomson Vacations), Hotel Chains (Sandals Resorts & Radisson Resorts of the Bahamas) and Cruise Lines (Holland America & Windstar Cruises). I’ve also worked as the Cruise Product Manager for Sears Travel, before moving into the role of Regional Travel Manager, where I managed up to 35 travel agencies.
Webinar/ Article: How will COVID-19 Change Travel (Aprll 2020)
CONNECT WITH NANCY
LinkedIn Nancy Drolet
Slow Travel Expert + Founder, European Experiences
Knoxville, TN and Bonnieux in Provence, France
Kathy’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Travel more slowly! Stay longer in fewer places… you’ll have a deeper, richer experience!”
Kathy Offers Expert Advice On:
Slow Travel, Walking Tours, European Travel
France, Italy, UK, Austria, southern Germany. Especially Provence, Dordogne, Alsace, Paris; Tuscany, Puglia, Florence; Cotswolds, Cornwall, London
Kathy Wood is the owner and co-founder of European Experiences, a company offering unique small-group tours in Europe. Kathy and husband Charley have hosted 120+ groups since 2006. Kathy has personally hosted over 150 Experience groups, including 60+ groups based in Provence. European Experiences offers experiential, cultural immersion trips in some of the most beautiful and culturally-rich areas of Europe. Their trips are based for one week in one place and are known for unique experiences, off-the-beaten-track discoveries, and interactions with local people.
Kathy spent 27 years as a Human Resources executive and 10 years on the faculty of the business school at a leading university. She found her true passion with European Experiences. Kathy is also the founder of Slow Travel Tours, an affiliation of small group tour operators and is a regular blogger on their website. She and Charley have a second home in Provence.
#1 Best-Selling Amazon Author, National (US) Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Shawna’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Focus on strengthening your gut health and immune system before, during and after travel.”
Shawna Offers Expert Advice On:
Preventing chronic diseases (like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and dementia), how to improve your overall health and longevity, how to optimize brain health
I’m a mom of three, adventure seeker, and a #1 Best-selling Amazon author of Powerful Sleep – Rest Deeply, Repair Your Brain, and Restore Your Life. As a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach and CEO of Kaia Health and Wellness, I teach accomplished women how to create their own roadmaps to better health so they can have more amazing adventures in their lives.
CONNECT WITH SHAWNA
Wealth & Insurance Expert / Founder of The Collective
Libby’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“If you want to make your travel dreams a reality, effective budgeting and financial management skills can get you there faster.”
Libby Offers Expert Advice On:
Financial Planning, Insurance, Intergenerational family asset allocation, supporting women entrepreneurs
I’m a wealth and insurance expert who works with women to understand their money language and look after and help build their wealth. I travelled the world solo at age 18 and again at age 21 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario. I took on a traditional role as a financial advisor with London life and learned to love the stories of people. I Founded Wildman & Associates with my father after he retired from London Life and grew my business around understanding clients’ fears and goals around money, and all the issues and complications that come with money language in our society today. I joined Davis Rea in 2018 as a senior Partner to complement their fiduciary Investment business with financial and succession planning. I am also the Founder of The Collective, a women’s entrepreneur community and Liminal Escapes, a curated getaway for families who are looking to make new memories and feel connected again.
CONNECT WITH LIBBY
LinkedIn Libby Wildman