Local woman's travels caught the eye of the folks at a major travel magazine.
LARGO, Fla. - From this lushly landscaped Largo home, back behind all the flowers and curved walkways is the home base for one of National Geographic's Travelers of the Year.
A woman who -- by her own admission -- is rarely here, thanks to all the miles she's logged. "I have logged a lot," she said. "I have been just under 40 countries in the past 40 years." Shannon O'Donnell has been back and forth from her hometown so much over the past five years she can barely recall her time here at St. Pete High or college at UCF. Instead, she has scores of stories and memories of the world, and how she's managed to -- through her volunteering whilst on tour -- become a citizen of the world. "I wrote a book last year actually called the volunteer "Travelers Handbook" and launched a website called "Grassroots Volunteering," and those two are what National Geographic (noticed)," she said.
"It was the service element of my travels and this message of supporting communities at the local level when you travel." Her travel blog, "A little Adrift," also keeps her busy. But not too busy to realize that no matter how far she goes from St. Pete, she can't escape a sense of home. "There are people who want to feed their children," she said, pointing out the similarities she found in most people.
"They want a better education for their children and they're going about their lives and there's kindness everywhere I've gone and its these similarities that I find here in the Bay area." Shannon says she'll hang here at home for the next few months getting ready for her next big adventure, traveling from one end of Africa to the other.