Shannon O’Donnell is living a life most of us only dream of.

For the past seven years, she has been traveling the world and sharing the stories of people and places that you wouldn’t otherwise hear.

Venturing off the beaten track and focusing on longer, deeper relationships with her destinations has allowed Shannon access to incredible experiences that she shares with tens of thousands of devotees on her popular blog, A Little Adrift.

In 2013, National Geographic rewarded Shannon for her terrific storytelling ability by naming her as a ‘Traveler of the Year’. This honor has opened many doors and allowed her to reach an even greater audience, but has not moved her from her firmly-held principles.

In this interview, we delve into some of those, as we try to get to the heart of what motivates Shannon to keep exploring and uncovering new, inspirational, stories.


– How Shannon has been traveling the world for seven years.

– Why travel continues to be special to her.

– How she became National Geographic ‘Traveler of the Year’.

– Why she is passionate about uncovering local businesses, entrepreneurs and social enterprises.

– What stories she feels are important to amplify.

– The story behind her ‘Grassroots Volunteering’ database and how she provides this service for free.

– What Shannon would like her legacy to be.

– The sense of responsibility she feels as a result of her ‘good fortune of circumstance’.

– How she transitions to travel.

– The principled approach she takes to advertising on her blog.

– What’s next.


National Geographic Traveler of the Year

A Little Adrift (Shannon’s Blog)

Grassroots Volunteering

Akha Ama

Grassroots Volunteering Ambassador’s Program

Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week

Shannon’s Book


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