A Little Update … Travel Plans, Recent Press, and Otherness

Somehow two and half months have passed since I landed here in Mexico and moved into a studio apartment in the tiny town of San Pancho. Life is moving so fast. I was going to start this update noting that I still haven’t learned how to relax despite my decision to use my time here in Mexico for just that … and yet, it seems as though I have, in fact, begun to take things a little slower. I catch the sunset more days than not, and I read several books each week. It’s progress because I also spend hours and hours each day staring at my computer screen. Baby steps.

Sunset in San Pancho

Anyhow, I have come to the point where I have to finish off the contents of my fridge in the next three weeks, take the handful of daytrips I have long put off, and plan out some summer travel. I’m terrible at sharing my successes, updates on what I have done recently, and upcoming plans, so this post will be just that–upcoming travels plans, a couple successes, and where my other writing has been seen around the web. :)

Upcoming Travel Plans

Our plans firmed up just yesterday, and it’s official: I am meeting my dad in Panama in mid-June. My dad and I last traveled together internationally throughout Ireland in 2005, and when I left for Mexico in February he started planning a way for us to meet and travel together again. He grew up in Panama on the base, has visited Panama several times since then, and he is thinking of retiring there at some point … so with all that in mind he’s keen to show me around. My dad’s great so it’ll be good fun; I’m looking forward to exploring with him and seeing his childhood stomping grounds. :)


Hiking with my dad on the northwest coast of Ireland through sheep pastures, ruins, and graveyards (he was on the hunt for some ancestors).

More immediate plans are to leave my little town and go overland through Mexico for a month until I fly to Panama. The route is still undecided, but after nearly three months stationary I am eager to do some exploring next month.

Update on My Book, Writings, and More

times of india logo

Ah my book. I had this idea in my head that once the book was released into the wild I could rest. That was so far from the truth. I have spent these many months writing guest posts, interviews, radio shows, podcasts, and the like to get The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook (the book’s landing page here) into the hands of as many potential travelers as possible. Most notable have been these successes for the book and myself:

  • Booklist Magazine Review: This publication from the American Library Association doesn’t often feature self-published works, but the reviewer loved my book enough to post the review online as well as in their bi-monthly magazine.
  • Altruistic Adventures on the Times of India: The Times of India newspaper interviewed me for a piece on volunteer vacations.
  • Outside Magazine: The April 2013 issue of Outside Magazine bought and featured one of my photographs from Laos. This made me do a happy dance. :)
  • UCF Today: My alma mater interviewed me about the book, then the student newspaper interviewed me too. It’s nice to feel like I am doing my University proud.

Other Guest-posts, Interviews, etc:

  • The Power of Immersion on USA Today College: A piece I wrote for students studying abroad over the summer.
  • Radio Interview on Nomad Capitalist: This radio show airs on WVNJ New York and featured me in the second half of the show talking about geoarbitrage and how I work abroad. My internet sucked royally when we recorded … apologies.
  • ‘Hostelworld Hangout’ on Volunteer Travel: Colm invited me on as a featured guest on the Hostelworld Hangout series and we discuss international volunteer travel; the video may be worth it if only for the chance to listen to Colm’s lovely Irish accent for an hour. :)
  • How to Ethically Volunteer Anywhere in the World: A guestpost on Nomadic; likely the best overview you’ll find of my stance on the hows and whys of international volunteering.
  • Voluntourism: An in Depth Look with Shannon O’Donnell: An interview on Travel Culture Mag about the book and the voluntourism industry.
  • How Travel Changes You: A thanks to the Hipmunk blog for featuring an excerpt from my post on how travel changed me.
  • Interview about SEO Work and Travel: A very in-depth interview on Jet Set Citizen that gives a more granular look at the online work that pays my bills.
  • Interview on Talking travel and volunteering with this great company.
  • A Closer Look at Volunteerism: Guestpost and interview on GoGirlfriend.
  • Interview on Leigh posted this great interview about choosing the best place to volunteer
  • Five Small Ways to Travel Responsibly: Guestpost on the Mmmule blog.
  • Interview on Journeys 4 Good: Two part interview about my volunteer work.
  • The Art of Long-term Travel and Volunteering: Guestpost on the Frontier blog.
  • Podcast: Conscious Discussions: Talking about giving back and volunteering’s effect on your life.
  • Review on Directline: A post on the Directline blog about the book series.
  • Podcast: Atlas Sliced: About my book and volunteer travel.
  • Interviews on Positive World Travel and Our Oyster: Two great travel bloggers interviewed me about travel.
  • Guatemala on Amateur Traveler Podcast: I posted about this back in January, but it’s a great episode if I am allowed to say that, so if you haven’t listened, give it a go.

And I have more guest posts queued up for the coming months, so I’ll work at sharing them more gradually rather than a huge list like this! In terms of promoting the book, these guestposts and podcast have proven a very successful way for me to connect with people on the individual level. It’s just me over here at A Little Adrift, so I am very, very grateful to the other bloggers, websites, and publications who have helped me share my message, ideas, and photography these past months.


All smiles after a mimosa brunch with fellow blogging friends also living in San Pancho, they include the faces behind: Planetary Collective, Bridges and Balloons, and Neverending Voyage. :)


I am terrible at asking for help, or pimping my own things in any way, but it’s been one of my 2013 resolutions to do better. To that end, if you’re keen on helping here are a few other things you could do, or other places we can connect online.

Volunteer Handbook on Goodreads

If you’ve bought the book online from the likes of Amazon or Barnes & Noble it would hugely help if you left a review. People like to know other people liked something  before they’ll buy it … so if you’ve read the book and liked it, your review really helps me out. As a bonus, if you leave a review and then email me your home address I’ll send you a postcard from Mexico as thanks! There’s no limit on this; shoot me an email when you review(ed) it and I’ll postcard you from wherever I happen to be traveling. :)

On Goodreads
I mentioned this to newsletter subscribers, but I am on Goodreads and would love to connect with you if you are as well! The book’s page is here, and if you’ve read it, want to read it, or hate it (please don’t hate it) I would love to interact with you there.

I’ve gotten into Instagram a lot lately and I post more whimsical photo updates there almost daily. Join me: @ShannonRTW and let’s bond over posting over-processed photos of our food. ;-)

Going Forward

This update is getting monstrous, but couple quick notes to finish things off.

I’m working with Microsoft right now to test out Windows 8; they sent me a super shiny new touch-screen computer back in December and I have been playing with the different features. I’m a die-hard PC user so having them sponsor my tech this year is so lovely, I’ll report back on what I think of it in the coming months. :)

Also! A Little Adrift is getting a makeover in the next few weeks—a face-lift of sorts with some spiffy new colors and a whole new design. It’s shiny. I have also finalized a project that was in the works for years. And I think I decided on my next big project … but I’m fine-tuning the idea for another month or so before I divulge it.

Okay, my guacamole is calling to me right now, so I must go eat lunch. I hope you have a wonderful week. :)


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  • Thanks for the link and for being our guest, Shannon. Safe travels.

    • ShannonOD

      You are most welcome! Was happy for the opportunity to be on the show :)

  • Erika

    Wow, sounds like such an exciting time for you!! :) Lots going on, but wonderful things!

    • ShannonOD

      Thanks Erica, it’s been busy for sure. Hope your week is going well :)

  • Tamara Munoz

    Yeah for you! Congratulations. We’ve been following you for some time now. (We did our first extended trip in 2008, around the same time you did.) It’s great to see hard work paying off. We look forward to reading the book and spreading the word!

    • ShannonOD

      Thank you so much for the support Tamara; it has been years of progressing, but I am happy that all of this has kept me on the road so far :)

  • acruisingcouple

    Sounds like you’ve been a bit busy to say the least! We look forward to reading your book-sounds like an amazing resource! Excited to hear about your next big project when you decide to spill the details :-)

    • ShannonOD

      Thanks so much for support! I think the book acts as a really good primer for anyone who wants to volunteer. As for the other project — it’s daunting so I want to make sure I can actually do it before I spill :)

  • Victoria

    Ha! We’ve used the same photo on our latest posts :) Missing you lots lovely x

    • ShannonOD

      We must have been channeling the same wavelength there. Safe travels homeward lady. xo

  • It’s incredible how difficult it is to force yourself to relax. Even in a place as beautiful as Mexico!

    • ShannonOD

      Right! Is this a sickness of the working on the internet because I always feel like there is something I should/could be doing — answering emails, tweeting, etc. :)

  • Paul

    I can’t help but reflect your sentiments on too much computer time! If only it was possible to completely let go of all formal responsibilities for weeks on end..

    • ShannonOD

      Agreed Paul! Sometimes I feel chained to the computer bc of the lifestyle I built, but I have taken forced breaks before and it is lovely (Myanmar was one bc there was no internet to be had!). Good luck navigating that as well :)