Last updated on May 28th, 2021
Trusted advice from women
The JourneyWoman Travel Advisory Council
A Dedicated Group of Accomplished, Experienced 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 as we invite curiosity as our compass in search of wonder.
In today’s reality, our community’s requirement to explore our world safely and easily is now more pronounced and challenging in a COVID-19 environment. The maze of complexity we now face is, at times, daunting and inhibits the travel planning process for most women. JourneyWoman has been a trusted source for information for almost 30 years and now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
The charter of the JourneyWoman Advisory Circle is to elevate the depth and quality of our travel advice by inviting a dedicated group of experts to share their knowledge in answer to your pressing questions about travel, safety and well-being. Working alongside our editorial team, these generous, experienced women have stepped up to provide you with the best advice possible in a world where we must navigate shifting and at times conflicting information on insurance, immigration, W.H.O. guidelines, tour operators’ terms and conditions, airline ticketing policies, hotel safety measures, and many other factors.
On August 12, we hosted a webinar with the JourneyWoman Women’s Travel Advisory Council. Thank you to everyone who joined us! You can watch HERE.
This Council will help us elevate our editorial content and provide us with first-hand, honest and unbiased information on destinations, safety and solo travel. Fall webinar schedule coming soon!
Founder & President
Girls’ Guide to Paris
New York, Paris + Bordeaux
Doni’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“If you get the lodging and the meals right….the rest is easy!”
Doni Offers Expert Advice On:
Gourmet food, Natural wine & French wine, Women’s empowerment & bonding, Sailing, as well as Paris, New York City, France, Spain, Bali, the USA, and Caribbean
An inveterate traveller, I’ve been to nearly 70 countries (and counting). I come alive when I travel, when I’m exploring, and when I’m seeing, tasting and feeling something new. I love to help other women experience this sensation as I truly feel it helps us see a larger world of possibilities within ourselves. Before Girls’ Guide, I had a long career in television production, stayed at home when my kids were young (and am grateful for that), then tried to make a difference in the not-for-profit arena and politics. I started a not-for-profit in South Africa helping kids in a Cape Town township with HIV – one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I hail from Nebraska, but I’ve lived most of my adult life in New York. Twenty years ago, we bought our first home in France; I’ve been trying to live there full-time ever since. I’m lucky enough to divide my time between Paris, Bordeaux and New York.
CONNECT WITH DONI
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
Expert on the Caribbean + Mexico
Nancy’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“A successful trip starts with research before you go. Then make connections.”
Nancy Offers Expert Advice On:
The travel business to the Caribbean from Canada, Most of the Caribbean
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
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
Head Babe/President, Babes in Bali + Erawan Travel
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.
Founder of Global Heart Journeys
Linda’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Traveling to see sites and check-off a bucket-list is just the first step. Wherever you go, drop into the culture by engaging in conversation with the locals and watch the magic happen!”
Linda Offers Expert Advice On:
Africa, Kenya, Power of Women’s Global Friendships: Beyond Media and Government
I’m an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a global champion for women, and founder of Global Heart Journeys. I’ve combined my 16 years of experience in philanthropic activism into Women’s Trip to Kenya, a one-of-a-kind African luxury excursion into the hidden treasures of Kenya.
Author + Founder of Retreat on your Feet: Slow Walking Journeys
Quebec + Bali
Amit’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Whenever the opportunity presents itself, stop to greet the locals… even if you can’t speak their language: when you least expect it, the music, the moon(shine) or a flock of schoolchildren might come out to meet you too.
“If you’re a solo traveller trying to fend off a relentless ‘pursuer,’ it helps to play up the fact that you’re on your way to meet your husband – or better yet, wife!”
Amit Offers Expert Advice On:
Creativity. Walking & writing retreats. Walking the pilgrimage routes in Spain and Italy. Healing in nature. Slow travel. Solo travel. Expat Life.
A lawyer by training, and award-winning blogger by passion, Amit Janco is an author, editor, artist, yoga instructor, labyrinth designer and nature-lover. A native of Montreal, she is based in Bali, Indonesia. Amit’s writing and photography have appeared in Travel + Leisure, Craftsmanship Initiative, Journeywoman, Ubud Life and Inspired Bali. Her first book, a memoir of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain titled (Un)Bound, Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond), was published in 2019. When not researching her next book (or standing on her head), Amit leads walking retreats in Italy. During the pandemic, quite inadvertently, she became a dog-feeder and cow-whisperer.
Feature Articles: Camino de Santiago: Traditions Old & New
CONNECT WITH AMIT
CEO, Animal Experience International
Nora’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Always trust your guts and your backbone. You don’t owe anyone your safety or your comfort.”
Nora Offers Expert Advice On:
Ethical volunteering. Ethical animal experiences. Community conservation and citizen/community science, plus over 40 countries including: Canada, England, Wales, Ireland, Mongolia, Kenya, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Australia, Oman, Thailand, Nepal, Italy, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Mexico, Malawi, Spain, Hermanus South Africa, Pula Croatia, Athens Greece, Turku Finland,
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)
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)
Injury Prevention Expert
Nekessa’s #1 Travel Tip for Women:
“Learn what your essentials are and pack only those.”
Nekessa Offers Expert Advice On:
Posture, Ergonomics, Injury Prevention, Chronic pain, injury self-management, Mobility
I’m a health and wellness professional & expert with a passion for injury prevention and enabling others to be their own health champions. My philosophy stems from my belief that healthy living is a RIGHT and not a privilege. I’ve worked with athletes, Olympians, and large corporations like Nissan Canada and Scotiabank. Over the last few years, I’ve become a sought-after health and wellness expert for various media outlets including, CTV, Breakfast Television and Global Morning.
CONNECT WITH NEKESSA
#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
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. 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.