On May 21, 2020 we announced the exciting news that Pangea Dreams is the official retreat partner of Wanderful!
Today we’ll be chatting with Wanderful CEO and Founder, Beth Santos, to learn more about the Wanderful community and what it’s all about.
So Beth, what is Wanderful all about?
Wanderful helps all women travel the world using a live network of other women who can guide them. We do this in three ways: with a global member community to create support, share resources, and build sisterhood; by encouraging the growth and success of women building businesses in travel, especially digital content creators; and by advocating for the travel industry to be more equitable, inclusive and thoughtful.
We have an online platform that women can use to connect with each other at home and abroad, as well as participate in virtual events everyday from cooking classes to language circles to travel workshops and webinars, as well as 50 chapters around the world where women can meet other locals, talk travel, and share stories. Plus, we run a number of global events, including the Women in Travel Summit (a 2x continental conference for travel creators and industry), and the Bessie Awards (to honor women of impact in travel).
Where did the idea for Wanderful start? How did it all begin?
I started Wanderful as a blog when I was living in a country called Sao Tome and Principe, a two-island nation of continental Africa’s west coast. It was one of my first times truly being abroad on my own, and where I realized that women’s experiences in the world are different — not only different from other genders, but different wherever you are.
At the time, there were really two narratives that surfaced when we talked about women who travel, and those narratives still persist today. The first is that when women travel we have this magical, beautiful, happy, safe adventure. The second is that travel for women is inherently dangerous and we shouldn’t do it alone.
I occupied a middle ground, seeing need for resources like where to find birth control, how to manage gender norms and social expectations, how to dress to respect local traditions. Not only was there a lack of information about those topics, but there was a lack of community or a support network for other women to guide each other.
So I built a blog — a collaborative space for women travelers to share those stories. Those stories eventually turned into in-person meetups, then conferences, then a full-fledged business.
Let’s break down each part of Wanderful in more detail. Can you explain each facet of the community?
Our membership community brings women together around the world to one online portal where they can find people near them, connect on shared interests, and participate in daily virtual activities from travel workshops to yoga classes. Members also get access to free events in 50 chapters around the world.
Members also can participate in our global hosting network. This is a development from our initial homesharing network, which was created as a solution to help women find inexpensive and safe accommodations when they travel. With our global hosting network, you can find, meet, and stay with women all around the world, of find a local resource to meet you for a cup of coffee when you arrive in a new place.
There are two tiers of membership: Travelers and Creators. Creators get additional benefits to help them build travel businesses, from access to free coaching, to mastermind circles, to webinars, to social media engagement pods and gig opportunities.
(Learn about their 2 memberships here: Traveler Membership | Creator Membership)
Beyond our online network, we also host a number of global gatherings. The first is WITS, or the Women in Travel Summit. WITS brings together travel creators and industry to build partnerships, and explore important topics in the changing landscape of travel from the perspective of people who are working to make the industry better. We host the summit on two continents every year, with hundreds of travel creators at each one, and last year incorporated the Bessie Awards to honor women of impact in travel. We also recently launched some online initiatives, including WITS Online and Virtual Meetings Day (a full day of speed meetings between creators and brands).
Our newest in-person event is called Wanderfest, which is a festival for all women who love to travel. We’ll be working to inspire, support, and connect travel-loving women by bringing them together all under one roof! Our first event will take place in New Orleans. (note to Lauren — we are actually most likely going to push the dates of our first event from 2021 to 2022, so let’s not publish dates quite yet).
Then of course we have a thriving Facebook group called Wanderful Women Who Travel, and our creators-only group, Women Travel Creators. We keep busy!
What do you think the biggest benefit to joining the Traveler Membership is?
We have two very strong focuses at Wanderful: sisterhood and self. Our traveler membership feeds those needs. It invites you to make yourself a better traveler, and explore the world (even if you can’t leave your home, with our online events and such). But it also helps you connect with a global sisterhood of women that can identify with that feeling of having travel be an essential part of yourself.
Time and again, our members talk about how the community itself is the most valuable — knowing that you have other women at your fingertips who can guide you, wherever you are, and having the support network you need, whether you’re traveling or not.
What do you think the biggest benefit to joining the Creator Membership is?
When I first started Wanderful as a blog, it was 2009. We didn’t have a ton of resources about how to grow, and we certainly hadn’t monetized yet. Now there’s a lot of that information, but it can be impossible to sift through.
By being part of our community not only do you have access to really customized, tailored resources, but a whole network of other people who have been through this before or are going through these same things now that you can get help from, share events and opportunities,
How has not only being the founder of Wanderful but also a member of the community impacted your life? What can other women get from being a part of this sisterhood?
I use this community a lot, and it’s not just because I started it. I have made so many friendships in the Wanderful community with other women who understand me and my values. We come from different places and have had different experiences but in many ways they feel shared, and it’s great to have a sisterhood of women who can resonate with those things.
You will find a kind, inclusive community of women who don’t travel shame, who understand that travel is personal, and who want to make our world better for women everywhere. I can’t think of a better group of people to get to know.
By teaming up, we’ll be offering exclusive access to Wanderful’s TWO exciting memberships their Traveler Membership and their Creator Membership. Enrollment is currently closed to the general public, but through Pangea Dreams you can enroll at ANY TIME!!!