Dr. Jessie Voigts – Intercultural Expert and Passionate Traveller
Through the Internet, I often come in contact with interesting people, and Jessie Voigts’ postings on Facebook revealed that she is an expert and a kindred soul who is passionate about travel and intercultural connections. I reached out to her and had a chance to find out about her interesting life story which includes a doctorate in international education and a successful travel website. Let me introduce you to Dr. Jessie Voigts, co-publisher of www.wanderingeductators.com.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I’m a person who believes strongly that the world is a wonderful place to learn and explore! I have a PhD in International Education, and publish a travel site for global educators, as well as a travel site about Scotland. I founded and teach the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program – it’s the best thing I’ve done. These teens are incredible – global travelers, excellent writers and photographers – it’s a joy.
I love slow travel, and our family loves exploring back roads and great food. I’m a nature photographer, and prefer nature and small towns to any metropolis. My daughter and I are mermaids – you’ll find us by a lake somewhere in the world!
2. In 2007 you founded your website, www.wanderingeducators.com. How did that come about and how did you get started? What is the website about? Is it specifically geared towards educators?
In 2007, my husband and I were brainstorming things we could do as a family business. I have a background in international education, study abroad, and international student affairs. Ed has an engineering background, is an author, and has 25+ years as a marketing coach. Our daughter loves to write and bring a kid’s perspective to travel. Together, we make a great team!
Wandering Educators is a travel library, to encourage people to explore the world. Our readers are people curious about the world – not just educators.
3. You went directly from finishing your Ph.D. in international education to running your own website. How did you manage to start your own business so quickly and successfully?
It helps when your husband is a successful businessman! He has all the marketing and business skills, while I excel at writing, social media, and interacting with our editors and readers. We work well together, each complementing the other’s skills.
4. Your husband, Ed Forteau, is the other half of your team at Wandering Educators. Please tell us about his background and expertise.
Ed has several engineering degrees, but that wasn’t his passion. He loves marketing – he’s written several books, taught, and is a mentor to many successful businesspeople.
5. What does travel mean to you and why do you love travel so much?
Travel opens your mind – and your world. When you travel, you learn that people live differently than you do – and it’s intriguing! From languages to customs, colors to foods, I love learning about different places and people. One of the best things we can do to encourage world peace is to learn about others. By knowing that difference exists – and accepting and celebrating that difference – we go a long way toward coexisting peacefully on this planet.
6. When you travel to foreign places, how do you connect with the local culture? What are the favourite places you have travelled to or are planning to travel to and why?
We love to do slow travel, so that we can spend longer periods of time in an area. We visit libraries, shop locally, and always rent homes so that we can live like locals. Ask around – it’s easy to ascertain what’s going on and what locals’ favorite things are to do, see, eat, experience!
7. One of your specialties is family travel. Please share with us the 3 most important insights of family travel as you have experienced them. How has travel affected your daughter?
Our daughter loves traveling – she says that it is one of the things that defines her! It’s important to take your kids with you when you travel – you teach them about the world, and they teach you what they are seeing. I guarantee you’ll have a much richer travel experience when your kids are along. You’ll learn more, people are friendlier, and you see the world through new eyes. We recently reviewed a wonderful book, Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids. It’s an excellent resource for family travelers – whether you are old hands at it or new parents
8. Your website features over 40 editors who specialize in different topics. What kind of interesting topics can one read about on your website?
Oh, we have such a wonderful travel library. An international community of traveling educators, WanderingEducators.com is a resource for discovering extraordinary travel destinations, fascinating people, and global artists and photographers, among our thousands of published articles. As well, WanderingEducators.com is the largest source of travel guide reviews on the internet.
WanderingEducators.com has over 40 editors, representing nations around the world and a plethora of intercultural and travel-related areas.
Lastly, WanderingEducators.com is the largest source of international jobs, internships, and academic conferences for educators around the world.
9. Please tell us about your Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
We love exploring and learning about the world and sharing travel experiences. We also love to teach – to plant and nurture seeds and help people discover and learn their passion.
The Wandering Educators Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program is an on-going, free, multi-term online class and mentoring program for students ages 12-18. The program is for teens with a natural curiosity about the world, and a passion for expressing themselves through words, photos, videos, and conversations.
We’ve partnered with highly successful faculty members – in travel writing, travel blogging, writing, social media, photography, videography, online reputation management, SEO, business, and more – to teach foundational skills that can help students get established in the online realm of social media and content creation. We aim to help students explore the world (even in their own backyard); learn the art of travel writing, photography, and videography; learn the basics of travel blogging and monetization; create change in the world; increase intercultural awareness; build a loyal readership and following; and participate in a community of like-minded international teen leaders.
We offer this program as a way to give back – and, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. We’ve seen the need for a sea-change in the way that people prepare themselves for their future and work lives. In this class, we teach students how to take their passion for writing, their curiosity about the world, and the foundational business tools of using the internet, to build an online portfolio and move forward in the direction of their dreams.
10. You also founded the Family Travelers Bloggers Association. Please tell us more about this organization.
The Family Travel Bloggers Association provides an organized voice for Family Travel Bloggers. We work with destinations and tourism organizations to provide a family travel viewpoint for readers and followers of our hundreds of Family Travel Bloggers. We’ve hosted twitter chats, g+ hangouts, and together are trying to ascertain the best way for family travel bloggers to work together to reach families all over the world.
11. You are very active on social media and different online forums. Please tell us where else we can find your content.
I’m also on digg, stumbleupon, and am a regular writer for technorati and many other websites.
12. In addition, you have ventured into book publishing. What kind of books have you published and where can we find them?
My daughter and I wrote a book together – it’s a great resource guide to global kids!
Bringing the World Home: A Resource Guide to Raising Intercultural Kids by Lillie Forteau and Jessie Voigts
I published a book together with a native Filipina, to encourage travelers to visit this beautiful, special place:
The Philippines: 100 Travel Tips: Dr. Jessie Voigts, Rissa Gatdula-Lumontad – it’s available on kindle, at Amazon: http://amzn.to/PhTravelTips
We’ve also got a series of books in the works, guides to moving to Southeast Asia. The first one, Cambodia, is authored by Gabrielle Yetter, and is an extraordinary guide that will make you pack your bags and head to Cambodia! If you’re interested in being on our list for book alerts, please sign up here: http://www.wanderingeducators.com/southeast-asia/moving-southeast-asia/definitive-guide-southeast-asia.html
13. Apart from Wandering Educators, Ed and you are involved in several other online endeavours and websites. What other online resources do you provide?
We recently launched Blog Content Media, which educates bloggers on how to make a full-time living with their blog. We do this through working with corporate sponsors and advertisers. We also teach the ins and outs of successful blogging.
14. What’s in store for Jessie and Ed in 2013?
We’re doing speaking engagements, and continuing teaching both teens and adults on how pursue blogging as a profession. It’s exciting!
Thank you, Jessie, for taking your time to tell us about your life and all your exciting initiatives. We wish you all the very best for all your future projects and lots of fun travelling.