Welcome to World Winder!


World Winder was founded as a travel blog highlighting the journeys shared by a married couple and their educational workshops designed to help “Build Your Future“.

World winder bikesMelissa Ruttanai and Neil Friedman are two teachers/presenters who grew up in the suburbs of New York City.  Within weeks of meeting at SUNY Albany, they embarked on their first road trip.  At 22 they were teaching EFL in Japan, learning how to teach ages two to eighty, and experiencing the life of expats.  After returning to New York they both obtained Master Degrees in Education and embarked on careers as K-12 classroom teachers.  Melissa and Neil have also held positions as professional speakers, technology instructors, event marketers, and tour guides.  Neil is a Wheel of Fortune game show winner who lives to make music videos.  Melissa is a reluctant hiker and social media coordinator at Nyack College.

Who we are

We are Melissa Ruttanai and Neil Friedman two teachers from New York who have explored over 30 countries, 30 US States, and 30 cities in Japan together.  We’ve also worked in seven states and seven countries as EFL teachers, professional speakers, and software instructors.

aldea yanapayWhy we built our blog

After developing our travel blog in May of 2011 we took a 14 month journey though South America and Europe.  We somehow managed to develop a thriving website despite the chaos and demands of nomadic travel.  Building our blog has helped us to appreciate the places we have been and experiment as artists and self-publishers.

More crucial to our personal mission is to use blogging and social media as a way to encourage communication across cultures and geographical boundaries.  We want to motivate people to travel by providing free travel advice, photographs, and videos.  In addition, we want to provide a free avenue for musicians and artists to promote their work.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Playlists, and Pinterest.  If you’d like travel updates and news, please sign up for our newsletter too!

Melissa on a panga in the galapagos

hike galapagos






About the Author

A Wheel of Fortune winner and former motivational speaker, Neil Friedman is a freelance writer, videographer and certified teacher of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). He has journeyed to over 35 countries and 30 U.S. States and lived in various parts of New York, Japan, and South America. He is currently on a two-year trip to parts of South America, Asia, and Europe. Connect with Neil on  Google+ . Twitter: @WorldWinder and Facebook.com/WorldWinder