travel influencer feature
By Lauren Wong

There’s nothing like a beautiful picture that can motivate me to get up and start planning my next adventure. Instagram is full of amazing creators sharing their content, trip ideas, etc. It gives us a chance to look into these individuals’ lives, see how they do what they do, all while giving us more inspiration on what to add to our bucket lists. 

I’ve picked out a handful of accounts I follow to share with you. Each of them have taken the time to answer some questions, giving an insight on the name behind the account.

Charu Goyal


As a travel blogger and photographer from Jaipur, India, you can find her travel guides on her website. Growing up in Jaipur, she didn’t travel much as a child, but she remembers reading about different places, and watching documentaries, shows, and movies related to travel, showing that something in her wanted to see more. 

“It may sound like a cliche, but traveling has made me realize that it is okay to have different dreams and aspirations from those around you,” Goyal says. “Growing up before the social media era, I did not know many people who loved to travel the way I did and often felt left out or misunderstood… The experiences that I had because of travel taught me that there is nothing wrong with being your own person and creating a life that makes you happy. Everybody has their own path in life and you will eventually come across like-minded people and find your tribe.”

At 17 years old she jumped at the opportunity to study abroad in Europe. Living there for five years really opened her eyes to her passion for travel. It has now been six years since she started her account. She’s always doing her best to get back to all her readers, helping them plan their trips, etc. 

Because of Covid, she’s been spending a lot of time writing about underrated cities in India. Here’s her post about Bikaner. She urges people to always be open to new experiences. “Whether it is solo travel, living abroad, going to a lesser-known country, or being friends with strangers, do try what interests you every once in a while,” Goyal says. “You never know what you may end up finding.”

Eric Stoen


Traveling with his kids, Eric shares that he believes every trip should be organized around them. After studying abroad in Europe, he continued traveling after graduation, at first with friends, then with his wife, and now as a family with their three kids. 

“I always documented our travels on Facebook for friends and family, and then I started a blog after I took my 8-year-old to Antarctica, simply because it was a better format for telling the story of our trip,” Stoen says. He used his blog as a hobby until he won Conde Nast Traveler’s Photo of the Year award, getting a $25,000 trip back to Florence and allowing him to meet the writers who’ve inspired his travels over the years.

“I realized my passion really wasn’t in healthcare, where I had spent 18 years; it was in travel, writing, family and photography,” Stoen says. “I’m passionate about travel because of literally everything – the conversations with taxi drivers and front desk staff, the thrill of attending World Cup games, the Taj Mahal at sunrise, the friends i’ve made around the world, doing cooking classes everywhere with my kids, staying in amazing overwater villas, but also staying at farmhouses in rural China. It’s all magical.” 

He’s been to 98 countries, bringing his kids to 62. “I’d love to encourage people to seek out culture, and start conversations wherever they travel. There are so many people on Instagram who are constantly traveling to amazing destinations, but they only ever show the blue water and beaches and they never talk about the people,” Stoen says… “Travel isn’t monotonous! I want to see it all, and I want to be inspired by it all. There’s a place for cruises, and for all-inclusive resorts, and for relaxing, but in the end, travel is all about the people.”

Gabrielle Stone


Best-selling author of Eat, Pray, #FML and The Ridiculous Misadventures of a Single Girl, Gabrielle Stone has shared her travels not only on Instagram, but through her books and podcast. Her books take you through her journey, going through a brutal divorce, falling for a man who invited her on a month long trip to Italy with him (only to tell her he needed to go alone 48 hours before getting on the plane). 

Devastated, she decided to take the trip alone instead of staying at home heartbroken. “I’d cure my freshly broken heart with travel and take the trip by myself. It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Stone says. “I learned more about myself on that trip than I had in my first 28 years. I think everyone should travel solo at least once in their life. It has a way of completely opening you up and healing your soul.” 

Her trip took her through London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Mykonos, Rome, and Sicily. Her second solo trip (this time by choice) was to Southeast Asia. Her journey has taught her how capable she is, and that you’re never truly alone. “The very first day of my solo trip to Europe I knew I was going to write a book about my experience. And while the book is about heartbreak, grief, and learning to love yourself and really find your way back to yourself, travel was a huge part of that,” Stone says. “Travel allows you to be whoever you want to be. And there’s a lot of magic in that.” 

Looking forward, Stone is planning to continue producing content for her readers and followers. She’s created this whole community of empowered women who are all on their own healing journeys. Her advice to you is to not over plan and “let yourself lean into the adventure of life.” 

Both of her books are available on Amazon (more info at

Jarryd Salem and Alesha


Learn the full evolution of NOMADasaurus from this blog post. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Jarryd moved to Canada in 2007 when he was 20 years old and working on a holiday visa. It was overseas when he realized the depth of his love for travel. In 2013, he and his wife started NOMADasaurus when they embarked on an adventure from Southeast Asia to South Africa without flying. 

In terms of business, their goal is to grow NOMADasaurus into one of the largest independent travel publications. In terms of travel, they just want to continue exploring, and, in terms of life, they’re currently building their first home on Magnetic Island in Australia. They hope to buy a few more properties around the area and create a large farm to rescue animals. 

Some favorite adventures, before their site, include their van life trip across Canada, doing a 5-day trek to El Mirador in Guatemala, and working on a sailboat in the Caribbean. “Once we started the website and social media, it was documenting our experiences riding motorbikes around Southeast Asia and having strangers meet us on the streets or message us thanking us for inspiring their own adventures,” Salem says. “We realized the power of blogging and sharing our travels.” 

Salem shares one of the biggest lessons he’s learned while traveling. “No matter where you go in the world, the vast majority of people are good, and you are probably just as safe, if not safer traveling abroad as you are at home.” They’re working on a lot of exciting projects, with new destinations on the horizon, so stay tuned to their socials!

Karissa Yu

@karissa travels2

With the sole goal of getting out of the states, Karissa Yu has finally been able to get back on track with her travel goals since Covid. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, she graduated college in Tampa, Florida, ready to pursue her goal of teaching abroad. “I have no specific places in mind of where I want to travel, but have the goals to see as much as I can,” Yu says. “I decided to start in Hawaii as a bridge to getting out of the states during the pandemic. My Instagram account became simply a way for me to be accountable for my traveling and have sets of my favorite pictures from all my adventures.” Next month she’ll be moving to Australia. 

Throughout her travels, she’s become familiar with the constant goodbyes. It’s something that’s the most difficult thing about traveling in short periods. “[while it is hard] Those people are also a strong reminder of why I want to travel so much. I have so many stories, skills, and cultures to learn about and each new friend brings all of those things,” Yu says. “Talking to locals and asking a lot of questions can provide so many opportunities and adventures within travel that aren’t out there for the general public. It also helps me gain a greater appreciation for the space that I occupy in a culture and country while visiting.” 

To live in a different country, teaching every year, would be the ultimate goal. She plans on keeping up her account as a way to look back on as she embarks on new travels. As for long term goals, “only time will tell.” 

“This adventure certainly has had its ups and downs and I think the rest of my life will. I haven’t designed a life that is always the easiest, but I am so proud of myself for following my dreams and for anyone else who has done the same,” Yu says. “I encourage travelers to always be mindful of the cultures they encounter, be kind to wildlife, and take each adventure one step at a time… Say yes more than you say no and don’t be afraid of looking silly.”

Melissa Lau


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Melissa Lau saved up and bought a one-way ticket abroad to live out her dream of throwing herself into foreign cultures. “From dodging the traffic in Los Angeles, to mastering the bikes in Amsterdam, I am now minding the gap in London,” Lau says. “My wanderlust comes from my parents (thanks Mom and Dad), who make it a goal to travel somewhere new once a year, even if it’s a road trip to the next city.” 

Her overall goal is to “build a life of freedom,” meaning she can spend her days how and where she wants. She’s taken steps towards that life through the creation of her online brand Luxury Lifestyle, being a Travel Content Creator, and working remotely as a Digital Marketing Consultant. 

During her first solo international experience, studying abroad in Brighton, England, Lau shares that she learned a lot about not only the world, but also herself. She’d send over travel tips and advice to her friends that would reach out as lengthy email guides. “As the digital world evolved, I began to publish these notes as I had spent so much time writing them for my friends and people found them helpful,” Lau says. “Since then I have traveled to 55+ countries across 6 continents and now share my experiences via Instagram, my blog, and other publications.”

Her posts focus on the best spots to hit at every location, whether that’s a local hidden gem, or a top tourist destination. “Traveling opens us to so many cultures, life lessons, and realizations – and the beauty of it is that it’s a different experience for everyone, even if they went to the same location,’ Lau says. “Personally for me, it’s made me a more open, understanding and grateful person.”