Wandering Educators Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jan 22, 2012 / 1 comments

Kids today face challenges that their parents and grandparents could never imagine.  There are no clear career paths for them, because the way we work and live is constantly changing and evolving.  This has also created opportunities, and a lifestyle, that didn't exist a decade ago.  Now, more than ever, kids can truly live their dreams.  They can create the life they want.  We want to help kids see these opportunities - and provide them with the skills, knowledge, and support to fully take advantage of them.


art courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators


Parasailing in Mexico

Parasailing in Mexico



Introducing the Wandering Educators Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.  I'ts for kids who have a natural curiosity about the world, and a passion for expressing themselves through words, photos, videos, and conversations.


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.


Sunset at temple, Cambodia

Sunset at temple, Cambodia



The Wandering Educators Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program is an on-going,  multi-term online class and mentoring program for students ages 14-18. Membership is conferred upon successful application and interview.


As a member of this program, you will build your travel blogging skills by writing and taking photos and videos on assignment. You will publish a minimum of four articles a month on your own blog within WanderingEducators.com. Worried about traveling? You can write about your own backyard - you will be honing your skills, no matter where you are in the world at the moment.


hiking the Franz Josef Glacier

hiking the Franz Josef Glacier



The first term started March 28, 2012. Right now, I am focused on working closely with students, so there is open enrollment. Classes will consist of a weekly recorded class webinar, followed by occasional G+ hangouts and participation on our private facebook page.



Objective - to help students: 

•    Explore the world (even right out the front door)
•    Learn the art of travel writing, photography, and videography
•    The basics of travel blogging &  monetization
•    Create change in the world
•    Build a loyal readership and grow their following
•    Participate in a community of like-minded young adults


Term One – Who you are in the world, and content creation:


  • Travel Blogging Basics
  • Travel Writing 101
  • Weird is Writeable - The Importance of observing the unusual and putting it on paper
  • Using Art, Literature, and History to Give Depth to Your Travel Writing
  • The Art of the Travel Review
  • Photography 101
  • The Business of Travel Photography: Ways to Make Your Work Sell
  • Videography 101
  • Social Media 101
  • SEO 101


Term Two – Editing, refining your craft:


  •  Travel Writing 201
  •  Photography 201
  •  Underwater photography
  •  Essential Blog Writing Skills
  •  SEO 201
  •  Social Media 201
  •  Monetization
  •  Building a Passion-Driven Life
  •  Podcasting
  •  Food For Thought: The intersection of food, culture, and what it  means to you
  • Understanding and Managing your Online Reputation


Term Three – Apply what you’ve learned to help others, dig more deeply into your own interests:


  • Members can serve as peer advisors for students in Term One
  • Travel Blog site creation and monetization
  • One–on-one deep mentoring in the students’ chosen niches


Terms Four+ -

Independent Study as needed, Peer Mentorship



Mish Sinclair, Pisa

Photo courtesy Peta Lowry



Students will:


  • Build a portfolio of online travel writing, photography, and video
  • Be part of a community of supportive, like-minded individuals – forming lifetime connections and friendships, sharing strengths and abilities
  • Awaken to their creative potential
  • Work together as a group to explore all aspects of travel blogging, hone their craft, support each other, and learn both reflective and critical thinking skills
  • Build strong writing, photography, and videography skills
  • Learn how to build a travel blog
  • Earn a certificate of completion after three terms, and access personal reference letters as needed
  • Inspire other young adult travel writers!


Explore questions such as:


  • What part of the greater world am I interested in exploring?
  • What is travel writing?
  • How can I participate in the ever-evolving content economy?
  • Why do I do what I do, and how can I learn to do it better?
  • What am I stoked about the most, and how can I pursue this passion?



Learning Arenas/schedule:


Each term will last 13+ weeks. This course will take place in several online and offline arenas, including:

  • Weekly recorded class webinars
  • Occasional G+ hangouts
  • Unlimited interaction with the director, on email and g+ hangouts
  • Participation in a private facebook and g+ groups





Faculty will teach the art and craft of travel writing, travel blogging, photography, social media, monetization, earning a living online in the content economy, and mentor students in achieving their full potential in these arenas. Faculty will be available online for questions and support.

Students will work together cooperatively together as a group, attend webinars and hangouts, explore all facets of travel blogging, write and take photos and video on assignment, publish four articles a month on their travel blog on WanderingEducators.com, and serve as peer advisors, starting in the third term, as needed.


Credit may be earned through Conservatory Prep Senior High, a fully SACS accredited high school. Please inquire via email at [email protected] for further information.



The program costs $100 per term, per student. Students that need financial assistance can do a work/study option to work on social media and other internet tasks.



Sterling Falls

Sterling Falls




Here's what people are saying about this program:



The Wandering Educators class has been an inspiration to my teenage son. He now writes prolifically, sees story opportunity in every moment, and has meaningful connections with other like-minded teens around the world. Thank you, Jessie and Ed, for your vision and your dedication. You're making a difference in our next generation, in whose hands we entrust our future.

Powell Berger, parent of one of the teen travel bloggers


I want to thank you for your outstanding program.  What you are doing with your students is nothing short of phenomenal.  Even though (and perhaps because) the program is accelerated and challenging, it appears that your students are rising admirably to the challenges and producing some fantastic and enjoyable works of art.  I look forward to watching their measurable growth as writers.

Thank you, once again.  I really appreciate you and what you are doing.

Shane Duckworth, parent of one of the teen travel bloggers


The Youth Blogging Mentorship Program is one of the most unique programs out there-- not only is the program free but also it truly caters to students of all age groups and education levels. Diverse topics are discussed, such as the importance of international experiences, travel blogging basics, travel writing, information on social media, travel photography and videography, and many others. Faculty assign the students work where they have an early opportunity to start building a portfolio of published works for future career endeavors. The students earn a certificate of completion and reference letters and at such a young age, it’s a wonderful accomplishment for the students to already have done so much. I fully encourage and recommend this program for anyone. The students get so much out of it! As a faculty member for The Youth Blogging Mentorship Program, I was blown away by this incredible program. My experience has been invigorating and a definite learning opportunity. Seeing the changes in perspective, the growth in student development, and sharing stories—there is no better treasure!

Anastasia Diamantis-Lopez, Faculty Member


Wandering Educators Travel Blogging Mentorship Program has been a great experience for me. The program teaches so much both about having fun documenting travel experiences through writing, photography, and video as well as promoting and sharing them through the Internet and using social networking to connect with people who share your interests. I have learned a lot about creating quality pieces based off of my travel experiences through different mediums. Most of all, I learned so much about using the Internet to connect and share, to meet new people and exchange experiences. Everybody in the class - mentors, classmates, and speakers - was friendly, helpful, and fun to be around. I got a glimpse into the lives of some really interesting people and I’m excited to continue to learn and meet with them in the next term. I hope that more people who have a sense of adventure, enjoy travel and other unique and exciting experiences, and/or have an interest in writing, photography, or video making join the class in this term and contribute their knowledge, experience, and talents to the group. Taking part in this program is really one of the best and most interesting things that I have ever done.

Kathryn B., Member, Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


I've found that the Wandering Educators class has been extremely beneficial, due to its amazing lessons, concerning everything from video and photography to SEO and blogging. It's given me the opportunity to gain new contacts in the journalistic world and great tips from experienced bloggers. I've seen my journalism skills improve greatly during my time with the class, and I hope other students will find it as valuable as I have.

Hannah M., Member, Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


The Wandering Educators Teen Mentor Blog has been an amazing experience to be a part of. While only lasting thirteen weeks, I've seen the teens' writing skills develop and flourish, and if kept at it they'll go amazing places - although, maybe not always travel-wise. The classes explore different elements of travel writing, from reviews to how to guides to photography to top tens, each with their own style that will benefit the teens as they transcend into other genres of writing. Even as an editor for their assignments, I feel like having participated in the class sessions that I've become a better editor and writer because my comments to the students have helped them become better writers.

Brianna Lynn Krueger, Chief Editor, Wandering Educators


Few travel publishers understand the importance of basics: writing and marketing. As a Social Media Educator and avid traveler myself, I was ecstatic to share my wisdom with Wandering Educators' community, who I've been a long-time fan of. Working closely with an international team to teach, support, and encourage aspiring travel writers to navigate the world of social media and web culture was a wonderful experience to which I would happily participate again. My favorite part of being a faculty member was working with the students for one-on-one assignments; their engagement and curiosity fueled my passion even more. I'm excited to follow the students' travels and writing through social media and look forward to Wandering Ed's future in the travel space.

Alisha Miranda, Faculty member


And two more student comments:

I have to say it's one of my very favorite classes at this point! :) Actually, my favorite class ever, in the history of my education!

...especially learning from someone as experienced as you. That's like if I was studying physics tutoring from Feynman.


And an article, about one of our students in her hometown newspaper, the Newtown Bee.



To apply:


Please send a letter of interest to [email protected]. In this letter of interest, please include your travel background and interests, examples of writing, photography, and video (if available), profiles on social media (facebook, g+, twitter, youtube, etc., if available), and why you feel you are a good fit for this mentorship program.



Snakes in Bangkok

Snake in Bangkok



From our presentation at the Global Education Conference:






Term One Faculty and Classes:

Term One – Who you are in the world, and content creation:


  • Travel Blogging Basics – What is a travel blog? How do YOU want to see and experience the world? Finding your niche. Dr. Jessie Voigts, Publisher, Wandering Educators
  • Travel Writing 101Dr. Gary Buslik, Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Weird is Writeable - The importance of observing the unusual and putting it on paper  - James Gough, author of the YA novel Cloak
  • Social Media 101: Jessie Voigts, publisher, Wandering Educators
  • Using Art, Literature, and History to Give Depth to Your Travel Writing - Melissa Banigan, Writer, Art Historian
  •  Advanced Social Media: How To Turn Tweets & Status Updates Into Paying Work & Collaboration - Leigh Shulman, writer, traveler and mom currently living in Salta, Argentina where she runs the Cloudhead Art organization
  • Travel Photography 101 – Travel photography is more than taking a picture when you're away from home.  Jordan Oram, Photography Editor, Wandering Educators
  • The Business of Travel Photography: Ways to Make Your Work SellAlison Cornford-Matheson, Canadian travel writer, photographer and founder of the Belgian travel resource CheesWeb.eu.
  • The importance of International experiencesAnastasia Lopez, Career Education Advisor, Western Michigan University
  • Videography 101  - Jeff Harper, Visual Journalist
  • SEO 101 – Having a successful website takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Learn about SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Ed Forteau, Publisher, Wandering Educators


Mish Sinclair - Sicily

Photo courtesy Peta Lowry




Term Two – Editing, refining your craft:


  • Travel Writing 201
  • Maintaining Inspiration & Creativity
  • Photography 201
  • Videography 201
  • SEO 201
  • Social Media 201
  • Understanding and Managing Your Online Reputation: Both Personal and Professional
  • Other ways to publish your work
  • Podcasting
  • Underwater Photography
  • Essential Blog Writing Skills
  • Building A Passion Driven Life
  • Narrative Travel Writing




Jumping, China

Jumping, China





Melissa Banigan, the founder and writer of Break Out of Bushwick (a travel and education blog based in New York City) and editor of the book, Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self (to be released in 2014), has worked in the arts, finance and education for nearly twenty years. Since receiving a degree in Art History from Columbia University in 2005, Melissa has put much of her energy into programming for children, teens and parents in inner-city New York, and she has taken on freelance projects for well-known artists, authors, universities and educational consulting firms along the East Coast. Also an artist and art historian who has had both solo and group shows in New York, Melissa is in the process of creating an art history curriculum for youth. Without a doubt, Melissa's biggest accomplishment has been in the raising of her daughter, Anevay, a passionate cellist and world traveler. The two of them have developed a skincare business called Paloma & Co. that is sold in stores throughout Brooklyn and has been featured, among other places, in New York Magazine.



Powell Berger has been traveling with her kids for five years now, spending part of the year in their Hawaii home, and the rest of the year "vagabonding" around the planet. Powell is a Program Fellow at the Paris American Academy's Creative Writing Program, the Editor-in-Chief for Travelati magazine, and has been published in InsideOut Hawaii, Travelati, various blogs and other online travel venues, and of course, her own blog, www.familyvagabonding.com. When not writing and traveling, Powell is an entrepreneur, communications consultant, and event goddess. And like every worthy writer, she's working on her epic novel, in her case a story of death, deception, and dysfunction in her native Mississippi.


Gary Buslik is an American novelist, short story writer, travel writer, and essayist. His work has appeared in many literary and commercial magazines and anthologies, including Travelers' Tales' Best Travel Writing collections for 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and (forthcoming) 2012.

His novel The Missionary's Position is a favorite of the Caribbean tourist crowd. In 2009 his book A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean won Benjamin Franklin and ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards for travel writing. His novel Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls is scheduled for publication in spring, 2012.

He earned his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he now teaches literature, creative writing, and travel writing.  You can find him online at http://www.arottenperson.com/



Annabel Candy is a freelance writer and web designer. She has an MA in Design for Interactive Media from Middlesex University in London and has been writing and designing for the Internet since 1995.

Her travel blog Get In the Hot Spot attracts a engaged community of readers from all over the world and her writing and travel stories have been featured on some of the most popular blogs on the Internet and in print.

Annabel is the author of Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps and is passionate about helping other small business owners and writers tap into the power of blogging. 



Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian garden and travel lifestyle photographer, freelance travel writer and copy-editor, based in Brussels, Belgium. She is the founder of CheeseWeb.eu, an English language resource for living in Belgium. Alison has a combined honours degree in Journalism and International Development Studies from the University of King's College as well as honours in photography and digital imaging. Alison's writing and photography has appeared around the web on sites such as Islands Magazine, Jetsetter and Almost Fearless. Her photography has appeared in magazines, books, a postage stamp and in personal collections on 3 continents. You can find her online at http://cheeseweb.eu and http://www.acmphotography.com



David Croft lives next to an expanse of green in south east London, England. Although he is thankful for all that grass amongst so much concrete, he often dreams of all the other places he’s been, and the many more to which he one day hopes to travel. He writes fiction and travel literature, though his publication portfolio might currently be described as modest. He enjoys photographing the places that he visits and blogging about them. One day he will even know what all the buttons on his camera do.

David studied English literature at University in the UK and Canada. He loves to write, he loves talking about writing, and he loves to read other people’s writing. One day he might even be a writer himself. He’s taught English literature to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and participated in numerous mentoring programmes for young people. His favourite piece of feedback from a student at the end of term was: “sometimes he kinda mumbles, but I guess it could just be his accent.”

You can read his blog at http://elsewhereunderwritten.wordpress.com/



Ed Forteau, a former engineer and marketing consultant, has been making a living full time online since before 2000. He has written books and taught courses on traffic strategies, search engine optimization (SEO), and monetization methods of a successful website. He will focus on how to apply these strategies to the unique field of travel blogging, to build a sustainable business. Ed is the Publisher of http://www.WanderingEducators.com



James Gough creates. That's his passion and drive. Creativity is what inspired him to author the young adult novel, Cloak, and it's what helps him craft the advertising that has earned him numerous international awards.  His pursuit of the path less traveled has led him to live abroad and across the U.S.--from the Dakotas to the Big Apple. His belief that everyone can be creative is what he shares when he speaks to youth, and is the reason he loves to teach.  You can find him online at http://cloakthenovel.com/



Jeff Harper is an experienced photojournalist and videographer with over 10 years experience in the industry. He became enthralled with photography after a backpacking trip to Ireland, and has been hooked on visual journalism ever since. He formalized his skills at NSCC received honors in both photography and digital imaging. He dove right into commercial and wedding photography, but eventually settled as a photojournalist, and has worked for all the major daily papers in Nova Scotia, as well as a freelance photographer for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and Reuters.

Jeff now works mainly with video, using the medium to help businesses market themselves in the changing landscape of social media and Web 2.0. Aside from producing videos, Jeff also writes a twice monthly column entitled "Moving Pictures" for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and is a frequent guest on CBC's Maritime Noon answering questions on all things tech in the ever changing photography/video industry.



Beckie Knight is Director of Pathways at Bexleyheath Academy.  Her job is to help students improve their skills and experiences ready for the world of employment, training, and higher education.  She used to work with a range of schools helping them to improve their links with universities and encourage their students to aim higher.  She has also worked for different universities, encouraging them to consider students that had aimed higher.  Her career has been pretty circular.

But, more importantly, she is a reader, traveller, and collector of all things vintage.  When she gets to buy antique books in foreign places, she is pretty much in heaven.  She also loves to eat good food, talk current affairs with friends, and see new places through the lens of her camera.  

Beckie has a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Warwick, UK; an MA in English Literature from the University of Guelph, Canada; and an Educational Research qualification from Lancaster University, UK.  She also has a 10 metre-swimming badge.



Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel,  and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando.



Jennifer Miller was raised in log cabins on the shores of lakes and in the back of a van across continents. She's the lucky child of nomadic parents and has grown into a gypsy mama herself. She is a teacher by trade, homeschooling mother of four, and a freelance writer for the alternative education and travel markets, having spent over ten years as an educational consultant and curriculum designer. She does a lot of things, but her real passion is found in helping people live their dreams. She and her family are in their fifth year of full-time travel that has taken them across four continents by virtually every means possible, from bicycles to ocean ferries. They're currently exploring Southeast Asia with backpacks. Her one great desire for her children, and all people, is for them to develop vision and create lives built out of big dreams. She's a believer in hard work, hard play and giving back to the world through pursuing our passions.

Jenn is the curator of Uncommon Childhood, a site dedicated to encouraging families who want to live differently (http://www.uncommonchildhood.com) You can follow her family adventures at http://www.edventureproject.com  



Jordan Oram grew up in the west coast rain and the moss and bark that dwells there. Washed up on the shores of many a land imagined and real. Taught and learned and lived in canoes and forests and tents and trees. Was shaped by what was, and chooses now where he heads. He taught children and was taught by children for a bit over a decade: Outdoor Education. Did some travelling and worked for various peoples. Odd jobs. Crazy jobs. Boring jobs. Not too many of the latter. More lessons easy and hard. Now he wanders and wonders with camera in hand and keyboard or pen close by. Looking and seeing what is around the next corner, up the next creek, over the next cliff, what each day has in store, who he’ll meet, as we grow into who we become.  You can find him online at http://www.maplemusketeer.com/



Leigh Shulman moves around a lot. Born in South Africa, she's lived on 4 continents and traveled more than 30 countries  with her husband Noah and daughter Lila. Now, Leigh lives in Salta, Argentina where she founded and runs Cloudhead Art, LLC  (http://cloudhead.org), an art and education NGO that uses social media meet people, share resources and create collaborative art projects.

Her work is what she most loves to do. Writing, photography, teaching and travel. Her experiences are as many as the places she's traveled. Leigh has designed websites for MTV. She taught high school and university creative writing and literature courses, ran her own internet consulting company and was editor of Matador Network's Life section. These days , when not working on Cloudhead, she bikes with her daughter whenever she can and love digital photography and design.



Robyn Shulman, M.Ed., is a certified elementary teacher and ESL teacher in Illinois, who has taught 4th-6th grade, middle school ESL, and ESL to adults.  She specializes in the fields of writing, ESL, academic/career advising, and higher education. She is a professional advisor for the state of Illinois, the Managing Editor of ED News Daily, and a blogger for Chicago Now. She has been published in Linkedin Today, Edudemic, Reading Horizons,
fhytimes.org, BG Patch, The Niles Bugle
and more.

Robyn was recently interviewed by Xavier University, discussing her life's dedication and work in the field of education, as part of their "American Dream Project," to be released on their website soon. Robyn was a featured educator and writer for Edutopia.org. In addition to her passion for writing, she also has a great love of higher education. She launched and managed the first graduate advising program for National Louis University, supporting over 2,500 teachers. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a concentration in ESL.  Robyn is an advocate for students and teachers alike.



Jessie Voigts is a mom who loves sharing the world with her daughter. She has a PhD in International Education, and is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, especially with kids (it’s never too young to start!). She has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. Jessie and her family live on a lake in Michigan, enjoying the summers swimming, kayaking, and sailing, and planning travel for the winter months! Her book, Bringing Home the World: A Resource Guide to Raising Intercultural Kids, is available at Amazon.com.  Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel site for global educators.


Talon S. Windwalker is an author, writer, photographer, scuba instructor, and former endurance runner and cyclist who is addicted to exploring and world travel.  He is currently living the life of a full-time nomad as he slowly travels the world with his young son.  Talon also loves to teach and has taught on a variety of topics including natural health, digital photography, scuba, multiculturalism, and English and foreign language.  As a public speaker he has presented at many conferences and workshops on the various issues of multiculturalism, death and dying, bioethics, and spirituality.  He is very passionate about scuba diving and loves to introduce people to the underwater world, whether that be by physically taking them on a dive or through his photography.   He regularly blogs about his family’s adventures on his site at http://1dad1kid.com and is also a featured writer and photographer at TravelGeneration.com. 




Bathing an Elephant, Laos

Bathing an Elephant, Laos





All photos courtesy and copyright FamilyVagabonding, except where noted









The one and only teen travel blogging program

Posted by:


Comments (1)

  • nonameharbor

    12 years 2 months ago

    Oh, Jessie, I want to be a youth again and sign up for this program.
    Smiling.  It sounds fabulous!  Kudos to you at Wandering Educators.


         "Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!"

           ...The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame<

Leave a comment