“After quitting her job as a teacher, this woman traveled to 95 countries and turned traveling into a career“
• Lisa Niver was a teacher before quitting her job to work on a cruise ship.
• She’s since been to 95 countries, founded We Said Go Travel, and wrote a travel memoir.
• She believes a traveler’s attitude and outlook shape their experiences, and that staying positive is key.
Traveling hasn’t always been easy for Lisa Niver. You wouldn’t know it from watching her 600+ videos and reading her insights on We Said Go Travel, but she’s had to overcome vision problems and her biggest fear in order to have some of her best adventures.
Through her work as a teacher, she found that a positive outlook and a can-do attitude could take her more places than she imagined — 95 countries, to be exact.
Lisa Niver’s love of travel began at an early age.
Her parents took her on a cruise to the Mediterranean, and she spent her junior year of high school abroad in Israel.
After dropping out of medical school, she taught preschool, then worked as a ski instructor at Club Med, where she met cruise ship employees on their vacation.
She decided to become one of them, and ended up working on cruise ships for almost seven years.
“I loved being on a cruise ship,” she said. “I explained to people it’s like living in a college dorm but no one has any homework.”
When Renaissance Cruises went bankrupt, she opted for low-budget travel, backpacking through Southeast Asia for 11 months.
Niver then returned to teaching, traveling when she could and sharing her experiences with her students.
“There’s so much about traveling that people want to share,” she said. “They enjoy having the experience, but they want other people to know about it. One of the best things I started to do when I was in the classroom was share my travels with my students.”
She told her students about gers she saw in Mongolia, and months later they recalled the round structures in a unit about architecture.
“I definitely found that the students were enthralled,” she said.
When one of her fifth graders taught her how to use iMovie during recess, she began making travel videos, too.
She now has over 610 videos on her YouTube channel, as well as channels on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
“For me, the connection between teaching and traveling has been mostly about the sharing,” she said.
“That’s been a huge thing to overcome,” she said. “Getting lost and being a traveler is not that great a combination, but I kept going.”
A year of vision therapy also helped improve her vision.
And though she is terrified of drowning, she conquered her fear and learned to scuba dive.
“It’s one of my most favorite things, but I had a very hard time getting certified to scuba dive because there was a lot of getting certified that reminded me of drowning,” she said.
She’s seen how a mindset can shape one’s experience both in and out of the classroom and continues to propel herself forward into new adventures.
“If I was having a bad day or if I was really tired, the energy in the room would be different because they feed off of the way the teacher sets the environment,” she said. “That’s something I’ve noticed with travelers and for myself traveling.”