All posts by Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

Travel Inspiration: Thoughts from Agness Walewinder

Agness at the rice terraces in Banaue, the PhilippinesToday’s interview features Agness, a long-term traveler committed to showing travelers that sticking to a tight budget is possible in most regions of the world. She’s a unique voice in the space as a Polish travel blogger, and she shares her travels and the blog with her best friend Cez. I am pleased to have her here this week to answer our five questions!

1) What do you do?

We travel the world for less than $25 a day while sharing some budget tips on eTramping – our travel website. We wake up in different countries each month, try new things every day, teach English on the road and keep digging into local delicacies.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

The fear of not having enough money. We both always thought that travelling was a luxury only rich people could afford. As it turned out, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although we were never supported financially by none of our family members and we did not have possessions either, we decided to go travelling and started working on the road. During the past 3 years we were English teachers in China which allowed us to save up to $18.000 a year still travelling around China and Asia, web designers in Cambodia and Social Media advisors in Thailand.

3) What are you most excited about right now?

At this moment, we are excited about spending summer with our friends and family members in Europe. It’s been over one year since we saw them. We are also planning on visiting Portugal, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands and writing budget guides to some of the most interesting European cities.

Manila, Philippines

4) What’s next for you?

At the moment, we are thinking of writing our next e-Book in which we will share our knowledge and experience on how to be a successful blogger and travel the world for less than $25. We will start working on it next month and we hope it will be published at the end of this year (fingers crossed).

We have already published one e-Book titled Add Your Brick to the Great Wall: Experience-based Advice for China from Expats. It is addressed to anyone who is interested in teaching English and travelling across China and contains valuable tips and in-depth information on how to apply for a job and your working visa, how to adapt to a new environment after your arrival and where to travel.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

We are passionate about helping others discover China and follow our footsteps. There are many people out there who would love to teach English , travel and live like locals in the Land of Dragons, but they still face many obstacles they need to overcome before deciding to leave their comfort zone and start new (adventurous) life they always dreamed about. We love to give people first-hand and recent experiences and tips on Chinese education system, working conditions and  living standards, so they can see it’s much easier than they think.

A big thanks to Agness for sharing her successes and projects; if you’d like to connect or find out more about her recent travels, you can find her:

On Twitter
eTramping travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot Shannon an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Travel Inspiration: Thoughts from Anna Lysakowska

Today I have Anna Lysakowska here to talk about his travels, work and passions. Anna started traveling and blogging in 2010 and shares her journey on her site, Anna Everywhere, about traveling the world as well as living as an expat.

1) What do you do?

Good question. I’m working at a marketing company as a content manager and I’m also a freelance translator. In my free time, I do pole fitness, dance, and of course, I travel. I’d call myself a working traveler with a base because I always make time to travel. You can find out more about my way of traveling in this section: http://annaeverywhere.com/why-the-blog.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

I suppose my fear is that I’ll never be able to stop. A few years ago my old friends started buying houses, getting engaged, and having kids. I knew I couldn’t do it because I might want to live somewhere else. I somehow felt addicted to traveling and although my parents gave up on the idea of me ever settling down, at the moment I live with my boyfriend in the Netherlands.

3) What are you most excited about right now?

I’m going to revisit California in May, this time with my boyfriend. It’s been 3 years since the last time I visited the West Coast so it’ll definitely be nice to meet my old friends and eat awesome seafood again.

4) What’s next for you?

Since as mentioned before I’ve decided to work full-time at Flipit, I cannot plan my trips immediately. However, I’m already organizing the logistics for my big trip at the end of the year: certain parts of Asia and further exploration of the Middle East. I chose these destinations, because it’s not very touristic and I loved the places I’ve already visited – Israel, Qatar and Turkey.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

After my trip to Zimbabwe as a volunteer, I became passionate about volunteering in general, especially when it involves wildlife conservation. It’s a great way to meet interesting people and help support worthy causes you are interested in. I can see how the idea of volunteering often scares people, due to the fee they usually have to pay in order to participate. It seems ridiculous to them that apart from working they also need to pay. However, if you research and find honest and accredited volunteering agencies and programs, this fee goes a long way towards helping the cause you are interested in supporting.

A big thanks to Anna for sharing his successes and projects; if you’d like to connect or find out more about her recent travels, you can find her via her OHW profile.

Anna on Twitter
Anna Everywhere travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot Shannon an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Meet Krishna Teja from Think Places

This week I am talking with Krishna Teja, who founded Think Places, a site designed to put you right in touch with the travel experts from your community who can help you design the travel experience you want. He has some great thoughts on why he founded the company and what’s next. Enjoy!

Krishna1) What do you do?

I am the founder of Think Places. Think Places is a marketplace where travelers can find, schedule and pay for calls with experts around the world to help them plan a great trip. Our expert community includes popular travel bloggers and travel writers who come from the world’s top travel publications like Lonely planet, BBC travel, New york times etc.

Thanks to the social web, you can now share anything with anyone anywhere in the world. It’s a very exciting time for the sharing economy and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

2) Why do you do what you do?

In 2011, I went on a lovely backpacking trip to Europe. While, the trip was quite enjoyable, the planning – not so much! On an average, I spent at least 2 to 3 hours every day for a month to plan this trip. It was a nightmare to come up with a practical itinerary.
There were 3 main problems with planning your trip online:

  1. Information overload – its hard to find information based on your interests.
  2. There was a ton of out dated information
  3. It’s difficult to get a locals perspective on the city.

So as a recent computer graduate from the University of Toronto, I decided to solve the problem!

3) What are you most excited about right now?

Its always exciting to talk to customers especially when they really like the service you offer. We are also implementing a bunch of cool features so I am excited to see them go live.

4) What’s next for you?

I am contacting several experts to expand our list. we would like to reach a stage where we have an expert for every place on earth including the remotest of places. Apart from that, I am also going to approach a few journalists who are interested in writing about our story.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

How far your food travels has serious consequences for your health and the climate. I strongly believe in, and support the local food movement. Eating local foods is better for you, for the environment, and for your taste buds.

If you’re keen to connect with Krishna further, you can find his current location on his OHW profileA big thanks to Krishna for sharing his motivations and current projects. If you’d like to connect on social media with Think Places:

Think Places on Facebook and Twitter

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Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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malacca malaysia

Travel Inspiration: Thoughts from Peter Parkorr

malacca malaysiaToday I have Peter Parkorr here to talk about his travels, work and passions. I first met Peter at a travel conference in Girona, Spain. I have to call him out here for his shenanigans using photoshop to gently poke fun at situations and life. He takes that same approach on his travel blog, Travel Unmasked. He’s a lot of fun on Twitter, and I now am happy to call him a friend.  

1) What do you do?

I’m a New Media Marketer, a Freelance Content Creator, and an Inventor of Obscure Impressive Titles. Sorry, I’m joking, but it’s tricky to give one name to the things I do, like many bloggers find. I think my answers below illustrate things better, but basically I blog, photograph, and make video for the web at Travel Unmasked while I travel too. And increasingly I also help people devise ways to use content and social media for their businesses.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

That was my own attitude and outlook. Specifically, not trusting what I really wanted. I’ve always traveled a lot since I was born, thanks to having family dotted across the globe, and so in my adult life I wasn’t interested in traveling as much as living in strange and wonderful places. Before I went to university I knew that I wanted to live abroad, learn languages, and experience other cultures. The obstacle was that I didn’t really know how to achieve that. I spent a long time trying to construct a career that would give me those things. But that never worked out, because it was too indirect an aim for me. If I knew then what I do now, I would advise myself to just go to the place I want to start first, and work out the details later. That might sound flippant, but I should have trusted that I could find work, a place to stay, people to be friends with, and all the other things it would entail. It’s entirely doable, but I was trying to engineer it remotely, and got stuck in the mindset that I needed to travel with my career or I might never achieve anything. It’s a problem I’ve recognized many people have; that because the end of the path I really wanted to take wasn’t visible from the outset, I couldn’t bring myself to take it. It’s normal to find your way along a path even if you can’t see the finish though. You have to trust yourself, and head in the right direction.

3) What are you most excited about right now?

Making progress down my current path! I started to really try and understand how I could find self-employment on the internet in mid-summer 2011. In the autumn of that year I started my first blog to document what I learn along the way, and to share other things I’ve learnt in my time. I wasn’t early to the social media or blogging parties, but I’m early enough and have devoted enough time to it (whilst also traveling a fair bit) that I’m able to use my knowledge and skills to earn my way now. My experimental lifestyle is becoming the business I always wanted to run, which is exciting. I best not dwell on it too much or I’m liable to flip out and celebrate before the finish line 🙂

4) What’s next for you?

Loadsa stuff thankfully! My diary is filling up, and my head is swimming, in the best way possible. I’m seeing some of the bloggers I call friends at the TBEX and WTM London events in the next month, and working on two different blogging projects; one close to home and the other quite literally on the other side of the world. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to go to a tropical island to make a promotional video for an online film festival. None of the last three items is finalized, but fingers-crossed and nose to the grindstone at Parkorr HQ! I also have lots of travel videos to catch up on and publish to my Youtube channel which will be a focus for my future trips.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

I like to support various charities when I can afford to, and particularly large well-established charities that work across borders. In the past I’ve donated to appeals from the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK which they tend to open with a target sum in mind to achieve specific humanitarian goals. Recently, I’ve been following the work of Avaaz who are more of a political organisation, working to highlight issues and defend human rights in many different situations. The best thing about Avaaz is that often all their campaign wants from me is to add my support to a petition and they’re very smart about giving their supporters tools to spread the message and increase impact. For instance, they have a campaign to support women and girls in Afghanistan from domestic abuse, by raising awareness of a controversial changing of the law there – and I used information from their campaign to send an email to Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, asking him to reconsider. Well worth having a look at.

A big thanks to Peter for sharing his successes and projects; if you’d like to connect or find out more about Peter’s recent travels, you can find him on his OHW profile.

Peter on Twitter
Travel Unmasked travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot Shannon an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

 

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Jonny Blair

Jonny Blair at Whalers Bay - AntarcticaJonny has mastered a travel feat that even experienced travelers cannot always boast, he has stepped foot on all seven continents. His story begins in Northern Ireland but he has spent the past several years traveling around the world, blogging, and sharing ways others can travel more. 

1) What do you do?

I travel the world! I class myself as a perpetual traveller these days. By leaving my hometown (Bangor, Northern Ireland) 10 years ago I ended up on a journey round the globe. I have now visited almost 500 towns and cities, within 75 countries, across all seven continents, you can see my “Where I’ve Been” page for more information. Along the way I have worked in about 50 different jobs, mostly related to bars, hotels and farms, my working career page gives a good insight into the jobs I’ve had down the years. However these days I’m doing a lot of online work. As well as my own travel blog, I also write for about 5 or 6 other sites and work as an itinerary provider and travel expert. However when asked “what do you do?” I normally just say “I travel the world!”

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

I haven’t really had any obstacles or hurdles, we are in control of our own lives so if we want something enough, we will get it. I believe in that. The hardest part was making the first step – my decision to move away from my hometown. After that, travelling has become routine and rather easy to organise. It’s a case of getting a job, earning money and then choosing where to go next.

3) What are you most excited about right now?

Going backpacking properly with my girlfriend around the Middle East. I’ve covered all 7 continents but the Middle East is a big gap on my travel map. I’ve only ever had a day in Doha so far so I’m off to put things right. Aside from that I’ve started on a lot of new online projects all through the strength of my travel blog. So work-wise, I’m pretty excited about all that and I’m not getting a moment’s rest at all trying to fit it in!

4) What’s next for you?

I’m heading to North Korea for a short trip then straight to the Middle East. I’ve started writing for a UK travel site (Essential Travel) and also for Asia Rooms so work-wise it’s been pretty cool. It’s the first time I’ll be relying on the internet when I travel as well as my blog has built momentum in the last year and I get daily e-mails from other bloggers, advertisers, travel companies and backpackers so I need to be constantly on the ball. I’ve started compiling itineraries for an online travel site (soon to be Smart Phone App) so that’s pretty fun. My second travel site, Crossing World Borders is up and running now and I will be running that along with some fellow travel buddies.

Aside from this I was recently in Africa visiting an orphanage and a primary school and have been invited back next year to work and help out, so I’ve a lot of projects in mind, just a case of organising my travel and work lifestyle around them!

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

To be honest, away from travel it’s football. I grew up playing and watching football. It’s all I did. As a kid I wanted to be a professional footballer. That was never going to happen though. These days I love going to football stadiums on my travels. Back in my home country of Northern Ireland we have had some sectarian problems in football down the years and for a few years I ran a supporters club and a football fanzine in attempts to eradicate the hatred. If I ever find time away from my travels, I’d love to get back into helping out with football in the community. More passionately I support three football teams and I’d love to see them get success. Northern Ireland in a World Cup would be nice to see as would either of my club teams, Glentoran or Bournemouth doing well on the bigger stage. Be it European football for Glentoran or an FA Cup scalp/flirt with the Premier League for AFC Bournemouth. I still write for the matchday magazine in Belfast for Glentoran. However most of my passion these days goes into Don’t Stop Living.

A big thanks to Jonny for sharing his successes and projects; if you’d like to connect or find out more about Jonny’s recent travels, you can find him on his OHW profile.

Jonny on Twitter and Facebook
Don’t Stop Living travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot Shannon an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Kristin Henning

Kristin Henning in the Warsaw CavesKristin Henning is with us this week, and she is an enthusiastic supporter of OHW’s beta platform and I have loved watching her check in all over the world these past few months.

Kristin set off three years ago with her husband to show that travel after 50 is possible, and she and her husband are on a long-term journey to interesting places with a focus on outdoors adventures and nature. Let’s take a look at what she has been up to and what has helped her travel these past years.

1) What do you do?

These days I’m a full-time traveler and writer. Before this, I was involved in publishing in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including a weekly alternative newspaper, a monthly parenting magazine, a monthly arts and culture magazine, and several web sites. My job was mostly marketing and advertising sales to support the publications.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

Agreeing with my husband, Tom Bartel, when the time was right was the biggest hurdle. He wanted to take off in the ‘90s when we sold the weekly paper, but I was reluctant to go freewheeling with two kids in middle school. We finally got on the same page three years ago when we sold our house.

3) What are you most excited about right now?

I’m continually amazed at how much more I want to travel and how much more I want to see. We’re not tired of this. And I love that it brings physical activity into our lives.

4) What’s next for you?

We are working on a couple of ‘firsts.’ This fall we will visit Hawaii and Japan, both for the first time. And we are putting together ideas with G Adventures for our first Travel Past 50 led trip.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

The Nature Conservancy and reforestation programs. We’re just not making a lot of new undeveloped land these days, so I love to see land of any kind protected or restored to its natural state. My favorite apps help me identify birds and plants.

A thank you to Kristin for taking the time to share her current projects and causes. If you’d like to connect or find out more about Kristin’s recent travels, you can find her on her OHW profile.

Kristin on Twitter and Facebook
Travel Past 50
HMS Henning travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot me an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Dave Dean interview

Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Dave Dean

Dave Dean interview

Dave Dean is an inspiration on multiple levels because he overcame some obstacles to travel over the years, he juggled his travels with co-founding a successful travel technology site, and he’s a generally a good guy keen to give back in interesting ways. Dave is a friend and one of my earliest memories from one of my first meetings with Dave was the huge grin on his face as he stepped into the room decked out in a checkered girl’s school dress.

I’ll leave you hanging there about why exactly Dave walked around in a school dress and you’ll have to read on to find out the cause he supports and what he’s working on right now.

1) What do you do?

After trying to juggle a travel addiction and a corporate IT career for over a decade, a couple of years ago I decided that one of those things had to permanently give. Since then, I’ve been living out of a backpack and travelling full-time, building online businesses and slowly making my way around the world.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

The first time I left to travel, back in 1998, the hardest part was money – I was straight out of university and didn’t have much of it, and the exchange rate to almost any other currency was terrible! I took various part-time jobs, sold everything I had and left for the UK with a backpack and a suitcase, hoping to stay with relatives, get a job and start earning in pounds rather than New Zealand dollars as soon as possible. I achieved that goal with under a hundred pounds left in my bank account …

3) What are you most excited about right now?

Business-wise, it’s my travel technology site,  Too Many Adapters. After 18 months of slow growth it has finally started to gain some real attention recently, resulting in more readers, involvement with some large global travel and tech brands, and even a little more money. Long may that last!

4) What’s next for you?

After finishing up three months in the US with a southern road trip, I’ll be heading to Mexico and Central America for the first time in September with the intention of staying for six months or more. Great weather, food and people … and hopefully even learning some passable Spanish. What’s not to like?

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

Do it in a Dress is a wonderful cause that I became involved with a couple of years ago. The basic idea is to raise money by doing something – the more outlandish the better – in a girl’s school uniform, with the aim of putting girls through school in Sierra Leone. So far I’ve run a half marathon, jumped off a bridge and sailed a yacht for two weeks in that sexy blue number. A quarter of a million dollars was raised last year, and the campaign has just started again for 2013. Here’s hoping for another highly successful year, and more girls back in school in west Africa.

Dave, thank you so much for sharing a bit about your current projects and you have me curious about what shenanigans you’ll come up with for fundraising this year! If you’d like to connect or find out more about Dave’s recent travels, you can find him on his OHW profile.

Dave on Twitter and Facebook
The Too Many Adapters blog
His personal blog, What’s Dave Doing


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot me an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Monica McCarthy

McCarthy_Monica_interviewI’m chatting with one of my favorite travelers this week and her story is one that really illustrates the different paths you can take in life and still find ways to make travel a reality for you. Monica runs a successful business but also finds the time to travel through places like Asia and most recently to the Dominican Republic.

1) What do you do?

Let’s see… I’m a NYC-based actor and Los Angeles transplant. I took a hiatus for a bit during which time I renewed my passport and sense of wanderlust. Upon returning the Great White Way I founded a boutique web video production company (Show & Tell Stories Productions) for start-ups, small businesses and anyone looking to share their stories on camera.

So these days I guess you could say I direct, produce, write and speak about the importance of creative expression, while traveling as much as possible.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle to traveling was that I was so scared of missing out on directing and acting work back home. I’m not interested in having a career built on online products and services, so this presents quite a challenge! Also, I felt I couldn’t “justify” spending the money on something that wasn’t related to furthering my career.

I guess I overcame my perceived obstacle to traveling by making it as much of a priority as my career and by putting other goals on the back-burner until I could find a way to do both. I’m working towards a travel-centric lifestyle and I have to accept that sometimes that means sacrificing availability for auditions and gigs, and sometimes that means sacrificing the ability to jump on a plane whenever I want. But the compromise is well worth it.

In terms of how I took steps towards increasing my frequency of travel, I started with quick, easy trips (like the train to Montreal or a long weekend in Madrid) before embarking on “bigger” trips like three months in Southeast Asia or spending time in one of my “bucket list” countries like India. Traveling, especially solo, can take some getting used to at first, but it quickly becomes addicting!

3) What are you most excited about right now?

Hmmm so much! I’m excited to explore the value of creative expression from a global perspective. I’m excited to marvel more and worry less. I’m excited about creating more original content. I’m excited about all the ways that technology is making it easier and easier to discover and share stories.

4) What’s next for you?

I’m in one of those intersections of life where the possibilities feel wide open! In addition to developing upcoming video projects for clients, I have some personal projects coming up like:

Writing a short film that would love to see come to life on the big screen. In some ways it’s a love letter to NYC and the wonderful melting pot of culture that it really is.

Having recently completed a daily iPhone video challenge, I’m looking forward to creating online video content of my own… just not every day!

Training for my first marathon. (Eek!)

Visiting my parents in their new home in Maui.

And of course, international travel! I’m currently looking into a shorter trip in the fall to either South America or Eastern Europe and then possibly Australia for the winter.

I’m also developing workshops for people interested in creating more video content and for those looking to ramp up their public speaking skills. If either of those topics are of interest, I invite you to join the Show & Tell community to be the first to do know when the details are announced.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

This is actually very timely for me as I’ve been pondering more and more what cause, philanthropic or otherwise, I’d like to become more involved with. In general terms I’d say I’m passionate about learning the stories of people with circumstances and perspectives that vary greatly from my own. Freedom of expression is also something I care deeply about and I’d like to explore the impact on people and societies where those freedoms have been taken away. If you know of any organizations that fit the bill, please send them my way at monicanyla {at} gmail {dot} com.

A big thanks to Monica for sharing her successes and projects; if you’d like to connect or find out more about Monica’s recent travels, you can find her on her OHW profile.

Monica on Twitter and Facebook
The Show & Tell Stories blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot me an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Matt Barby

Matthew BarbyThis week I welcome Matt who is one of the blogging team behind Melted Stories, a travel blog that offers up resources for backpackers – between the five authors they manage to cover a lot of the world with their quirky team. 

I asked Matt to give me just a couple of minutes of his time to tell me more about how he manages work and travel, as well as current projects and upcoming travels.

1) What do you do?

I manage online marketing for a digital marketing agency in the UK and also own the Melted Stories travel blog. I am a travel fanatic so will often work remotely and backpack across countries as I go. I love to write about all things related to backpacking and also have a big passion for marketing so I always have something to keep me busy!

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle has to be managing my career alongside travelling. I found it very hard at first and decided that it was either one or the other. Over time I realised that this really wasn’t the case and have since managed to enjoy a great balance between pursuing my career and enjoying the world!

3) What are you most excited about right now?

I’m really excited about my next trip that I’m planning to South America. I haven’t spent any time in the continent and it’s always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to go. Peru will definitely be the place that I’m most looking forward to – I get excited just thinking about it.

4) What’s next for you?

I’m always finding new projects to work on and new things to do – my focus at the moment is to build a good following to my travel blog and establish it as a top travel resources for backpackers over the world.

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

Aside from the charities that I’m passionate about, helping small businesses and individuals achieve their goals and get their messages heard is a big passion of mine. I love working closely with young entrepreneurs to help and advise them on various aspects of business so that they can make the most of their potential.

A big thanks to Matt for sharing; if you’d like to connect or find out more about Matt’s recent travels, you can find him on his OHW profile.

Matt on Twitter and Facebook
Melted Stories travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot me an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Anna Zalazar

Anna in LondonA big welcome to Anna Zalazar this week, who has some really wonderful travel lessons to share on not only what she is doing now, but one of the bigger obstacles she faced in leaving to travel, one I shared as well, which was just buying the ticket and committing to travel.

I was fascinated to learn about some of the educational social work her family is doing in Philippines and the impact it has had on the rural communities there. Read on for a little slice of her travels and the lessons she has learned through travel (this links to one of my favorite posts on her site.

1) What do you do?

In 2011, I quit my job and went on a one woman adventure to South East Asia thinking I was going to travel only for 6 months. Somehow that 6 months turned to 1 year. On my way back to the US, I got a connecting flight to Europe and decided to stay. I spent about eight months traveling around the continent, volunteering, living and teaching English in Spain. Overall I’ve been traveling for 2+ years now.

2) What was your biggest obstacle to traveling and how did you overcome it?

I think the biggest obstacle with my decision to travel was in terms of my career. I left behind a very good and comfortable job with a company I was proud to work for in exchange of uncertainty and the unknown. But my dreams and curiosity were a lot stronger than me wanting to stay with the familiar. Though it scared me to death, I felt and knew that there was more to life than being on the ‘safe’ side.

How I overcame it was a bit funny. I stumbled upon a big seat sale with AirAsia and bought 16 flights all around the countries in South East Asia. I knew that if I didn’t do something drastic I would not pull the trigger. Making it irreversible meant that there was no turning back. So after almost half a year of delaying my travel plans, I set a date of departure and quit my job.

3) What are you most excited about right now?

Nothing is more exciting to me than seeing my dreams come to life. In the past I’ve had so many plans that didn’t work out. One example was that I’ve always planned to backpack around Europe but never realized it due to having few vacation leaves. Coming to Europe wasn’t exactly on my travel plans but after going down to Switzerland on a connecting flight and deciding to travel around Europe, I knew I would be back when the three-month visa period ended. I came back to live and freelance in Madrid. Before, I never thought that was even possible. I think that’s the magic of long-term travel. It helps you remove all your mental barriers to let you realize that anything is really possible.

Other than realizing my dreams, I am very excited about getting feedback from my family, friends, blog readers and solo adventurers that are inspired with what I’m doing and have started doing it themselves.  It makes me feel that I’m a part of something bigger. It has always been my belief that if everyone marches to the beat of his/her own drums, the world will be a happier place.

4) What’s next for you?

I’m already overdue for my yearly family visit in the Philippines. I’m off to Manila in a few days. 🙂

5) What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

I am passionate about learning and I’ve been fortunate when it comes to getting the best education both from traditional schooling and from the real world schooling with my travels. But it’s not that easy for everyone, especially in my home country.

Last year I went to visit my cousins’ rural province of Jagna Bohol. I found out why both of them had chosen to live the simple life in the province despite having doctorate degrees and amazing work opportunities even after receiving an Asian Nobel Prize award. I learned that their institution employs a dynamic learning program emphasizing independent learning over teacher lectures. The concept is simple and very much like traveling: learning by doing.

The students from my cousins’ school are people from humble backgrounds and so the school provides a low-cost quality education despite conditions of great scarcity and daunting poverty. The results of their program are amazing as a majority (if not all) of the students have passed national exams and university admissions test. Moreover, scientists and Nobel laureates visit them in their small town province in Jagna to learn more about their program. I’ve been lucky to include this small town in my adventures when I have been invited to talk and share with them what I’ve learned in my travels. I fully support and am very passionate about this cause not only because it’s a unique program that woke up the nation but also because of the generosity of my cousins’ hearts. They both serve an inspiration to me on how I want to live my life.

A big thanks to Anna for sharing ; if you’d like to connect or find out more about Anna’s recent travels, you can find her on her OHW profile.

Anna on Twitter and Facebook
Annzventures travel blog


We regularly feature inspiring travelers who have taken the leap into travel as a part of our travel inspiration interview series. If you’re a traveler keen on being profiled here, sign up for an OHW account and fill in your profile — then shoot me an email (shannon at ohheyworld dot com).

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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