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Who’s Out There Now: Shannon

Written By: jeff

Posted On: April 12th, 2011


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel, India

Shannon's got here eye on traveling the world. Copyright ALittleAdrift.com

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Shannon, who runs the site, A Little Adrift. On it, you literally will find ¨A Little¨ of this and a ¨A Little¨ of that.  She took her round the world (RTW) trip back in 2008-2009 getting through Australia, Asia and Europe. Since then, she’s stayed busy doing a little of this and that and now she’s back out on the road.  So, it was time to catch up with her.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

I’m living in the endless-hot-but-oh-so-lovely Chiang Mai, Thailand right now. I’ve been living in Chiang Mai for three months and have two more before I head back to travel through the US for the summer…I will miss the food here, and the people.

2.  So, given that you are still working on that travel bug after your RTW trip, can you really say that you’re ¨a little¨ adrift? Or are you really a lot adrift?

A lot adrift for sure! The name of my site is only more fitting the longer I travel – although my adventure was supposed to take the form of a formal one-year RTW, there are just so many places to see. Now I’m tackling them in a more haphazard fashion, but still on the road, looking around, taking notice of food and culture and getting a little lost along the way.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Border crossing in Laos. Copyright ALittleAdrift.com

3. How does the name of your site reflect your travel style and/or philosophy.

When I say the phrase a little adrift, it calls to mind a slowly bobbing bottle, out there at sea, drifting along, the pace set by the world around it, but right in the middle of the ocean nonetheless. I have always liked the whimsy of the name, and that it supports any type of travel I want – slow travel, foodie travel, a splash of adventure travel – I can drift through all of these experiences, taking notes until it’s time to move onward to a new culture and country.

4. How is your travel style different now than it was when you took your RTW journey?

I was in such a hurry on my RTW trip! The pace I planned out was way too fast – and I say that because I got burned out rather quickly. Now I tend toward a week or longer in each place, taking daytrips nearby, or just exploring each city more thoroughly. I like being in a place long enough to form a habit – an afternoon cup of coffee at the shop next door to your hostel, a favorite food stall a the market. My RTW was more about seeing places, and as time went on I became alternatively interested more in culture and experiences.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Hanging out with the goats while volunteering in Nepal. Copyright ALittleAdrift.com

5. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your travels?

Definitely not a career break – I actually need one of those, we should talk! I jest (though there’s a nugget of truth there), I continue to work from the road the whole way through my travels doing freelance writing and SEO. I like the term nomadic adventure – that’s fun! Perhaps a slice of all of the options. Now that I’ve stopped for several months in Thailand, it’s certainly changed my pace and rhythm. I’m leaning toward “world wanderer,” maybe?!

6. Let’s cut right to the chase, is the Butter Beer at the Harry Potter theme park really that good?

Better. I swear it’s even better than you’re thinking! Universal really outdid itself in developing Butter Beer; the flavors are all familiar, but combined in such a delicious, sweet, creamy, and cold new concoction. The drink is incredibly sweet – think cream soda sweet – and the perfect accompaniment to wandering the snowcapped streets of Harry Potter World.

travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Hanging OUt in Bosnia. Copyright ALittleAdrift.com

7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

There’s no right way to travel. That’s the secret. So, what if every other tourists goes to one particular museum or temple and you prefer to wander a nearby market? Or maybe you’re there for the food and want to hole up in a restaurant grilling the owner. It’s about finding those moments and experiences that pull at your interest, that poke you with a buzz of fresh excitement and follow those moments and to hell with any guidebook. There is validity in seeing the main sites – they’re popular for a reason, but ultimately you can travel in any style you please, and I’ve found approaching my trips in this fashion inevitably means I leave with better stories, stories that resonate with the things that interest me in life.

8. What was your first ¨I’m not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

My first stop in the developing world was Khao San Road in Thailand – the airport bus dropped me off at 11pm and “culture shock” would be a polite way of saying I was overwhelmed and near tears by the chaos (and ridiculousness). It was the rough beginning, but the stories ends well because Asia and I, we fell in love.

9. What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

I’ve had “local” experiences in the most random places. I did off-the-beaten path tourism in Laos and feel in love with the rural villages, but had some of my most insightful and memorable conversations with a local 20-something at a popular bar in the touristy-tastic Antigua, Guatemala.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

In the Outback in Australia. Copyright ALittleAdrift.com

10. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I vomited on a train in India and cleared the entire compartment. I was on the top bunk and couldn’t get down in time; once it happened everyone went running as fast as possible away from me – I literally cleared the train car in a matter of seconds. I was horrified.

11. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Taking my time – now that I’ve slowed down I feel like I notice more and enjoy the tiny and memorable moments that make a trip special. I also smile; wearing a smile every day is the most important thing you can bring with you because it works in most any language and cuts down barriers, eases tense situations and wearing your smile when things start to go wrong helps you remember to keep things in perspective.

travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Checking out the Holi festivities, the Festivel of Colors in India. Copyright ALittleAdrift.com

12. Finally, our lightening round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: Indian thali – several popular dishes on one plate!
  • Most exotic food eaten: A grasshopper in China
  • Most breathtaking moment: Sitting on Begnas Lake, Nepal with the Annapurna range towering nearby – heart-achingly pretty.
  • Biggest disappointment: Authentic Chinese food :(
  • Most memorable place: Laos
  • Most memorable person: A philosophical man I met on a bus; we talked for 7 hours straight.
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: Patience and earplugs
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: A huge bottle of water
  • Best thing you packed: My diva cup (this one’s just for the ladies)
  • Dumbest thing you packed: Too many clothes, not enough underwear.
  • Funniest travel habit you have: I have narcoleptic tendencies and sleep for 5-10 minutes on every type of public transportation, no exceptions.
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: Guatemala

You can follow Shannon online at ALittleAdrift, on Facebook and on Twitter @ShannonRTW

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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6 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now: Shannon”

  1. Thanks for having me here Jeff! Honored to be a part of CBSecrets :)

  2. Jillian says:

    I have to agree with your biggest disappointment- authentic chinese food!
    Jillian recently posted..Barefoot Running

  3. One of my favorite travelers and bloggers. Hope to get a chance to meet her in person in 2011
    Michael Hodson recently posted..My Favorite Spam Comments Part II

  4. Great interview. Nice getting to know Shannon a bit better – one of our fave writers :)
    jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..We Can Already Smell the Adventures

  5. Cailin says:

    Yay! I love Shannon! I need to get myself to Chiang Mai too! :)
    Cailin recently posted..Favorite Film Friday 012

  6. Alisha says:

    Great interview with Shannon! I love reading the travel experiences of others and i loved that Shannon pointed out that there is no right way to travel. You must figure it out on your own for your style and embrace it. This definitely made me look forward to seeing India as well!
    Alisha recently posted..Adelante- The Beginning of A Year Long Journey

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