The PD Women In Business Series is an interview-style blog series on the Pangea Dreams blog that highlights female entrepreneurs who have joined us on Retreats over the past several years. In this series, we will get to know these Alumni better and learn about the incredible businesses that they are running.
Current Position: Author & Founder of Wally The Wandering Wallaby
Currently living: Bogotá, Colombia
Hometown: West Springfield, MA
Hey Lauren! We are so excited to have you featured on this series! Can you tell our community a little background about you and how you got into your current role/how you started your business?
When my nephew was born in November 2017, I went searching for a children’s picture book that would inspire him from a young age to become curious about the world and its many beautiful cultures. As a world traveler and having worked in the travel industry for the past several years, it was so important for me as “the travel auntie,” to give him something special that could inspire him to develop a connection with travel and the magic it can bring into your life. I imagined handing him a bright and beautifully illustrated picture book telling the story of an adventure around the world. A book that would ignite a curiosity and an eagerness to learn about people, places, and food that was different to what he was used to.
I couldn’t find the book I had imagined in my head – so, I decided to write one!
Soon Wally The Wandering Wallaby’s Around The World Adventure was born – a story about a curious creature who wanders the globe in search of new experiences and meeting new friends with a wide-open heart and mind. This 8-country around the world adventure takes children to Australia, Thailand, Japan, Italy, France, Tanzania, Mexico, and Peru where they can learn about the world’s many different cultures while experiencing the joy and magic of travel. There’s even a Wally The Wandering Wallaby stuffed animal to go with the book!
I now live in Bogotá, Colombia with my partner where I run a small marketing consulting business and run my blog Wanderluluu.com in addition to Wally The Wandering Wallaby.
Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to taking that first step and setting up your own business?
I haven’t always been entrepreneurial, but I’ve always been a hustler and a hard worker. When others were going out and spending money, I was working my second job and saving so I could travel whenever I wanted. This mindset of always having a goal in mind and keeping my eye on the prize prepared me to become a business owner and entrepreneur and has manifested into an ability to make whatever I dream up into a reality.
What led me to taking my first step and setting up my business was that I knew that if I didn’t try, I would never know. I’ve always been a perfectionist which has held me back in a lot of ways, but the pandemic taught me that life can be short and uncertain, so don’t wait for the right time. There will never be a right time, so just start, even if it’s not perfect!
If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in business during your overall career?
I think my biggest challenge as a young, female entrepreneur has been people not taking me or my ideas seriously. I have often let other people’s opinions on how I should be living my life affect me but some of the best advice I have ever received is “never take advice from people who aren’t where you want to be.” People are always going to have an opinion on your business and how you are running it but you just need to know in your heart that you are on the right path to following your passions and dreams.
Where would you say your business was at before the Pangea Dreams Retreat and where would you say your business was after?
Before Pangea, I simply didn’t have the confidence to take myself seriously as a business and so how could I expect anyone else to?
Pangea empowered me with the tools, resources, and confidence to build my travel blog which ultimately led me to create Wally The Wandering Wallaby.
For me, the experience and the connections I made while on the Pangea Dreams Bali Retreat in Feb 2017 (first Pangea Retreat EVER!) were life-changing. Three years later, I still have invaluable connections and access to this incredible community of women who are cheering me on and supporting me in everything I do. It’s a beautiful thing!
What is one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs just starting out in their journey?
Trust the journey. I live by this mantra and even wear it as a bracelet on my wrist to remind myself every day to trust the journey and to trust the process. I look back on things that have happened in the past and realize that everything that has happened in my journey has led me to this moment, to this opportunity.
From my corporate job in e-commerce fashion to quitting and moving to Australia in order to start my travel blog, to attending the Pangea Dreams Retreat to then working for Pangea as the COO, to the pandemic that halted my career in travel – it all led me to the creation of Wally The Wandering Wallaby. Don’t underestimate the challenges you face or the twists and turns of your journey, as they are building you into a stronger person and leading you towards your true destiny.
Anything else we should know?
My first book Wally The Wandering Wallaby’s Around The World Adventure as well as The Wandering Wallaby stuffed animal are both available on Amazon, and I have a second book and some exciting new items coming out this year! Stay tuned and thank you for being with me on this journey!
How can someone get in touch with you?
Personal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal IG: @Wanderluluu
Business Email: email@example.com
Business IG: @wallywanderingwallaby
Thank you, Lauren!
Lauren Pelkey is an Alumni of our Pangea Dreams Bali Retreat.