Welcome to A Little Adrift and thanks for stopping by. I’m Shannon O’Donnell, and this site has been my home since I left to travel around the world in 2008. I launched A Little Adrift as a way to share my journey, as well as share the hows and whys for others feeling adrift and looking for a change in their lives.
Over the years, A Little Adrift evolved from a pure travelogue into a resource point to motivate and encourage other travelers through stories, advice, and photography. Readers have joined at all stages of the journey, some from my first musings from Sydney, others along the way as numerous international news publications featured A Little Adrift. I am humbled the community now spans more than 100 countries and tens of thousands of readers. Many members of the community dream of taking a similar trip and they use A Little Adrift to find the courage and resources to make international travel a reality.
ALA focuses on these core themes:
- Slow, local level grassroots travel
- Connecting to cultures through food and service
- Practical advice for planning long-term travels
- How to travel as a vegetarian
- Tools and resources for living/working abroad
- Creating a supportive community motivating others to travel
Join the community — we’re 60,000+ strong and growing!
Count on receiving a regular dose of travel inspiration, a huge community of
like-minded travelers, and first access to monthly giveaways.
A Bit About A Little Adrift
With more than eight years of stories and advice, the site has become a resource spot for other round the world travelers—the travel planning page and destination guides are the most popular on the site. Those resources aggregate tips and advice from this site, as well as the entire travel community and even ALA readers who have shared tips and advice with me over the years. Each time readers email me with questions, I use that information to flesh out the planning and destination resource pages so the entire community can use the information. I’ve worked hard to build the site with extensive support and resources, and the folks at NPR, National Geographic, BBC, and others have pointed to ALA as a cornerstone resource for ethical tourism advice.
I have always supported my travels through SEO/online marketing consulting, writing, and photography and I am proud that A Little Adrift remains completely ad-free and does not accept sponsored content. Amazon and affiliate links on the site, in addition to my book, are the sole ways I directly monetize this site. I write to share stories and advice in the hopes of better fostering a community of kindred spirits here on A Little Adrift.
A quick start guide to navigating the site:
- An overview of my year-long round the world trip.
- Full travel planning resources.
- Visit the destination travel guides for specific advice for each county.
- Navigate by story themes.
- Recommended travel books.
- Resources for working remotely.
- My full travel photography archive.
- View this site’s full archives here.
- Here are my current projects, passions, and location.
About Shannon O’Donnell
I am a former actress, current speaker, writer, traveler, and storyteller (view all my projects and portfolio here). And though it seemed a distant possibility in the early days of travel, I have managed to make international travel the focus of my life and work.
When I left the US in 2008, I had many motivations for traveling solo around the world, but the short version is something like this: I grew up in a sleepy town in Florida, moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career after studying Advertising/Public Relations at the University of Central Florida. After two years in Los Angeles, I wanted to change my life to embrace my dream to travel long-term. In a spur of the moment decision, I packed up my life in California and traveled around the world for a year while volunteering and supporting communities along the way.
That focus on local-level service and support led to my first book; The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook (fall 2012) was met with many positive reviews, including Booklist Magazine, the Midwest Book Review, and Marilyn Terrell from National Geographic Traveler, as well as wonderful feedback from the ALA community.
As the A Little Adrift community spread to include travelers on every continent on earth, I have expanded deeper into travel community, looking for opportunities to use my experiences to motivate others to act on their dreams of international travel. National Geographic named me a 2013 Traveler of the Year, and my writing and photography have been featured on Canada’s Globe and Mail, BBC Travel, USA Today, Lonely Planet, and Cosmopolitan Italy magazine, among other places (the press/PR page holds those details, along with an author bio and media information on my book).
Public speaking is also a passion and I regularly speak with students about travel, international volunteering, and the importance cultivating an informed worldview. In addition, I speak about SEO and web marketing at travel industry conferences.
More details are on my contact page, or connect on social media below.
Where am I right now?
This page here is updated monthly with my travel and project plans!
That’s all I have for you on this page folks—why not start with the “Best Of” A Little Adrift page; it contains my favorite travel stories. :)