Hey, I’m Dana

Much better known as Wandering Donut; A full-time travel photographer with a knack for stumbling into some crazy mishaps, the queen of camera confidence and on a mission to find the world’s best donut!

fun fact: ‘Donut’ is also my childhood nickname

You might be wondering what makes me qualified for this…

Countries visited
Creator partnerships
Years of Wandering Donuting
Followers, subscribers, fans, friends

From home in Australia to weird and wonderful places around the world, I am passionate about showcasing underrated, unique and realistic travel to inspire YOU!

Hunting hidden gems even in the most popular destinations and making all the mistakes along the way so you don’t have to.

Bringing a fresh, honest and relatable perspective to life through fun, vibrant images and storytelling.

Why a travel life?

Ever since my first international trip to Indonesia, I’ve been travel-obsessed and itching to explore more of the world.

Although, I did spend that entire trip in the hotel-womb since Mum went when she was pregnant with me… that further proves my point that travel is in my blood!

Dad had influenced this even more so as I grew up seeing him take on all kinds of roles within the travel industry that gave me in glimpse into a world of possibility.

From travel agent to tour guide, and itinerary organiser to now running a successful travel blog of their own.
Not to mention he was the mastermind behind most of our family vacations where my wanderlust was solidified.

During my senior years of high school the pressure was put on thick by teachers, who expected you to have your entire university studies and life planned out.

While I still think this is utter bollocks and we should all have the freedom to take our time, experiment and make a few mistakes along the way, I was one of the lucky ones that did in fact know what career I wanted for the rest of my life.

Well, close enough. I knew I was passionate about travel So passionate that I was determined to find a job that would either pay me to travel or at the very least give me enough flexibility to do it as much as I wanted.

It’s why I started those ‘further studies’ early to get my qualifications in Tourism, Travel and Event Management alongside my High School Certificate.

What was set to be another regular day in class turned into one of the most pivotal days of my life as a guest speaker came in. It was someone from the marketing team at Unleashed Gradtrips (the top end of school tour company) who very briefly noted they had started working with TRAVEL BLOGGERS

From the moment I heard this dream job existed, it was all I could think about and I had to know more. While I still had no idea what it really entailed or if it was too good to be true like it seemed, Wandering Donut was born.

Funnily enough, I’d put my deposit down for my own schoolies trip with Unleashed (the Australian school leavers’ graduation tradition).

So not only did I have a whole new career path to explore, taking on my first ever solo trip across Europe, but it was made even better by the company that created both of those opportunities who were taking a chance on me to now be one of those travel bloggers they were working with… Despite only having 600 followers, about 10 blog posts.

This trip changed EVERYTHING for me.

Having proof this was a viable career path, passion to make it my own and the freedom to chase that crazy dream. This was only the beginning of my new travel life.

To be painfully candid with you, I graduated high school pretty damn confident I did not want to continue studying but I will admit, I WAS WRONG.

Sure I didn’t want to be stuck in another classroom again but in reality, the travel life (And travel in general) is the best education you can get.

Although I did take the time to get qualifications in travel-related fields, tourism and events.

It is all about learning new customs, making new connections, immersing yourself in new cultures, attempting new languages, trying new foods and biggest of all, you never stop learning things about yourself; good, bad and ugly.

Oh the places you’ll go. Or in this case, I’ve been..

Life as a Travel Creator

After launching as a humble travel and food blog back in 2015, and shortly after being named by Daily Mail as ”the realest travel blogger in Australia”, I have evolved into the award-winning Travel Photographer you know as @wanderingdonut today. Although you may also know me by the endless list of titles I go by as a Travel Creator but I’m getting a head of myself here.

While I firmly stand by travel being the best form of education, I owe so much to my Tourism and Event Management studies which have given me a better understanding of the ins and outs of the travel industry beyond just the social media perspective. Continuously creating a deeper connection with my community, self and clients.

Let’s just say my life as a Travel Creator is a rollercoaster, so buckle up!

From travel writer roles of being the first Experience Oz NSW expert to photographing and featuring on billboards for ATParramatta in Sydney and even the famous 3D billboard in Tokyo for Taiwan x GoPro first ever APAC Creator summit.
*oh trust me, I am still pinching myself about it

Working as creative talent on major campaigns for Tourism Phillippines and American Express to becoming the first-ever travel creator to partner with Visit Solomons. Winning awards and becoming a featured photographer earned me a permanent position within the GoPro Family.

When the borders shut in 2020, travel slowed down but it was truly only the beginning for me and things have continued to speed up ever since.

With experience as the youngest trip leader and mentor at one of the top women’s entrepreneurial retreats, creating, selling out and successfully hosting my own group tour to NZ back in 2018, guest speaking work for clients including Cebu Pacific Air, Kaikōura Tourism and GoPro led me into founding my very own online courses, coaching, community and consulting services with The Wander Workshops.

Ah but again, I am getting ahead of myself here because we are missing one major chapter.

You know how they say when one door closes, another opens, well they are not wrong. Because when those borders closed in 2020, it opened a full-blown identity crisis, health flare up and deep burnout for me.

I should note, the health stuff was not entirely new having grown up with eczema and being ‘allergic to life’. It’s always been part of me but I never wanted it to be my entire story you know.

I am what many of my friends and family would call a ‘mishap magnet’ so even during my travels I would find myself in some peculiar positions like when faceplanting on a beach in the Solomon Islands gave me coral poisoning or leaving my medication and electronics in checked luggage that after 2 cancellations, 1 almost missed flight and even getting personally escorted through the airport still managed to go missing for my entire New Zealand trip…

At this point, I should be the poster child for travel insurance!

Yet this mishap was different and forced me to confront the harsh reality that my creator career and travel life was not set up for sustainable success. I was not allowing myself to fully chase MY creator dreams and what success meant to me.

For so long I shaped my career around what I thought being a creator should look like with the misconception that you had to full-time travel to be a full-time travel creator. The problem from the start was that my body simply could not keep up.
I also hated hiking in flowy dresses, I’m much more of a wearable sleeping bag girl but that’s beside the point.

Where I am trying to go with this is that I was long overdue for a total reset of my body, business and the industry as a whole. Solidifying my mission to create more transparency, honesty and respect within the industry between creators, brands and communities.

Where my passions really lie

Even though I had a tight budget and attempted to travel with a backpacker, that first solo trip made it very clear to me that I was not cut out to be a typical budget backpacker and I certainly didn’t want to only be sharing budget backpacking tips. Although don’t take that as I am a luxury snob either…

Travel was so much more for me and from those family trips growing up to zipping off to Portland, USA for a student exchange when I was only 14 and first solo trip across Europe at 18, I always had a craving for connection, culture, and cuisines that are beyond the ordinary. Or at least my ordinary.

I was focused on VALUE in travel and understood the sacrifices needed to maximise it.

To me value travel was an often overlooked category that most of us would fall under. Unlike many of the popular travel categories like backpacker or luxury, where VALUE is different is the freedom and flexibility to make it your own. There is no one umbrella definition since we all define value differently.

For me, Value travel is:

  • Staying in a hostel to instead splurge on an unforgettable experience
  • Spending $200 more for a better airline that doesn’t have a 13hour stopover
  • Travelling in the wet season to avoid peak pricing
  • Having DIY breakfast and lunch from the convenience store to save for a special dinner

It’s through value travel that I want to create and share more value to you!
*take a sip everytime I say value lol

I am passionate about making travel exciting and accessible! Here to help you let go of the pressure we put on labels and trends within travel to make it your own.

This is not fluffy bullshit, we don’t want that! This is your real, brutally honest, embarrassing, messy, hilariously relatable guide to travel. Opening you up. to a whole world of opportunities and experiences like you’ve never seen before.

My Top Partnerships, Collaborations, and Experiences

Do you want to become a Travel Creator?

After years of podcast interviews, guest speaking at events and conferences, co-hosting retreats around the world and becoming a trusted industry expert, I finally created my own online school/community; The Wander Workshops.

What came to life as a lockdown project to teach people how to be successful travel creators, quickly became so much more as it ignited a spark within to not only make it a healthier and more inclusive industry from the creator side but build a stronger bridge with brands and agencies.

Now, alongside blogging superstar @findingalexx, we are offering services from courses, community and coaching to consulting and retreat hosting.

The Wander Workshops is built around BALANCE. With a focus on transparency, embracing uniqueness and the importance of mental health to create stronger partnerships and connections, endless opportunity and long-term success for the industry as a whole.