WITS Pic

Your eyes don’t deceive you, this former stutterer is going to be a keynote speaker at the first ever female travel blogging conference!

This is historic, epic, and I’m boiling over with excitement to be included in this.

What is the Women in Travel Summit?

WITS promo

The Women in Travel  Summit (WITS) is the brainchild of Beth Santos and her amazing team at Go Girl Travel Network – a community of 10,000 adventuring women that has grown from a website to meet ups scattered across Chicago, Boston, New York  and now, São Paulo, Brazil.

Since Chicago was where it all began for Go Girl Travel Network, they are taking over the historic Palmer House Hilton for 3 days from March 14 to 16, 2014. I’m particularly zoned in on the Hilton because of it’s close proximity to sites like the Art institute and Millennium Park.

WITS is about connecting and educating female travel bloggers under 3 tracks:

  • The Traveler – inspires women to travel abroad, provides tools for travelers, informs about great places to visit and things to do.
  • The Writer – teaches women how to maximize the impact of their writing, master content marketing and creation, and take great photos and video.
  • The Entrepreneur – helps connect bloggers to brands, explains and provides insight about the business of being a blogger (and working with bloggers).

Besides this full dance card, the conference wants to nurture that relationship between female bloggers and travel brands, to one day become dynamic partnerships.

This all sounds very heady, and I’m sure one question lingers in your mind.

Uh, Jeannie, Exactly Why Do We Need a Blogging Conference for Women??

WITS logoI could lob some statistics at you, such as the number of single American women (32 million) who have traveled at least once in the past year, or that women are spending money at an alarming rate (200 million in 2011) on trips with their girlfriends, right down to travel agents reporting that women travel solo more than men, but I’ll refrain from drilling you with data.

On a deeply personal level, I’ve been victim to this in my own life, but I’ve also witnessed it with my friends — wives, mothers, sisters, career women, women trying to etch out a blooming existence. And this is a malaise I saw at the Asian Women’s Empowerment Conference , hoping to eradicate it.

What I’m getting at is women are still scuttled into impossible roles or conventions, tossed upon with heaps of expectations that they cannot possibly live up to.

But if I were to nail the core of it, in my bones, I feel that women are still not encouraged to do what they really want, and if they do, are punished for it, either by flame baiting articles in the media or sadly, sometimes by each other.

I’ve never played in that sandbox. I don’t, have never been, a competitive animal with other women. In school, I always walked away stinging when someone commented on my bad hair or thick thighs, my cheeks burning with confusion as to why there was such a division. And so what if my thighs lack a gap? This is the way I’m built.

My mind has always been singular on this viewpoint and certainly, it’s served me well or not — depending on who is willing to receive my cheerleading techniques. Some don’t and dispense with the nasties.

I believe in community, education and sharing what I know. If you want to be a scrappy, ambitious lady lawyer, I say go for it.  If you’d rather be that hipster mom crocheting a hat for your newborn at a locally owned cafe, do that. There’s room for whoever we are, to authentically be ourselves.

To me, the Women in Travel Summit is that open field of ideas, sharing knowledge and wiggling pom-poms in each other’s faces.

I didn’t give up my cushy life to be a selfish jerk. I came to travel to be a better human being, to be a better woman.

But to return to hard core facts, as of 2014, nearly half of the US (let’s throw a bit of Canada in there too) population is single, which allows for a heck of a lot of disposable income, much of that purchasing power coming from women.  Out of that, women are arriving to travel and wanting to create something from this wellspring of freedom.

Blogging. Writing. Photography. Video. Entrepreneurship. Small business. Consultancy. It’s all there, within WITS.

How Can You Get Involved?

– Go to the badge on the sidebar of my site, click, and sign up to either be a speaker, sponsor or attendee!

– Come on over to watch my stutter suddenly reappear.

– If you can’t attend, that’s too bad, would have loved to meet you, but maybe you could share on social media:

Website: www.travelgogirl.com/witsummit.

Twitter: @WITSummit.

Facebookwww.facebook.com/witsummitcom.

Pinterest: Go Girl Travel Network.

Google Plus: For now tag the Go Girl Travel Network’s page.

Hashtag: #wits14.

That’s all the fantastic news that’s fit to print, I’ll reveal more details as they emerge.

For now, I hope globally minded women, the bloggers, the artists, and the business brains feel the oyster that is the world, opening up for them, just as I do.

* Thanks to the Gutsy Traveler for the statistics and to the Women in Travel Summit for much of the text and images.