Shannon with some young Thai friends.
Meet Shannon, our newest addition to the Half Sky Journeys team! Calling her an "intern" just won't do—she's an official Internista with mad skills and commitment to women's empowerment through travel.
A northern California native, she recently moved to Portland, Oregon after living the past few years in London and Thailand. Shannon holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a focus on Human Rights and has been involved with The SOLD Project, Hult Global Case Challenge, International Justice Mission UK, and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. She lives for adventure, coffee, running, good conversation, and has an unquenchable wanderlust.
What ignited your passion for empowering women worldwide?
Shannon: On my first trip to Southeast Asia, I was exploring the issues of human trafficking, volunteering, and meeting with organizations working with women and children exploited throughout Myanmar and Thailand. After seeing the issue firsthand, hearing stories, and putting faces to statistics, my heart completely broke for the issue. From that point, I knew I could not go on living my life pretending this issue did not exist. (Continued...)
The more I’ve researched and the more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve realized that issues such as sex trafficking are so multifaceted and not specific to any region. Poverty, the HIV epidemic, exploitation, and endless other issues we face today can be addressed through awareness, education, and empowering women in both developing and developed countries.
What's one of your favorite places you've traveled and why?
Shannon: Oh, such a tough question! I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to the most amazing places and each trip is so unique. I think I am going to have to say Norway, the country was absolutely beautiful and I was shown such incredible hospitality. It was also a trip with close friends during a break from grad school, so that may have unfairly influenced my answer.
Where would you like to visit next and why?
Shannon: I have yet to venture to South America, so Peru is at the top of my list - hiking the Inca Trail is a dream of mine.
As an agent for positive change, what is one of your dreams for the future?
Shannon: World Peace? Is that the right answer? Personally, empowering women globally is something I truly believe in. My dream in this regard is the awareness continues to grow, but that action follows. But for positive change in general, my hope is that people find an issue that they are passionate about. When I was working in Thailand, I often got asked “Why this issue? Why Thailand? There are people living in poverty in the United States, why don’t you go home and work there?” and my response was that not everyone is going to be drawn to Thailand, to this issue, and that’s okay. There are so many causes to support, find what and where your passion is, do your research, and then do whatever you can to help. Not everyone is going to care about the same issues, but if we all care about something and act, we can make a lot of positive progress.
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