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James Shannon from pursuitofexcitement.com

Our interview with James Shannon from pursuitofexcitement.com:

 Why did you start travelling?

I got inspired to do so from two main sources: first, from the Canadian travel show Departures (watch it internationally on the following channels), which featured three best friends gallivanting around the world to countries both well-known and obscure, thus removing much of the fear factor in taking the plunge, and second, from well traveled friends I met when I started living and working in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.  I started working there because the jobs I had taken to this point in my life had either not jived with or bored the crap out of me.  As such, I took a tour guide job in the Canadian Rockies for three years, having the time of my life and mixing with other hopeless travel addicts that fed me my first dose through their stories (the first one is always free, as they say!)

What is most important during your travels?

To know what it is that you live to do, and to seek out experiences that satisfy this part of your soul.  I love nature and the outdoors, so I always find a way to interact with natural environments on my travels.  This doesn’t mean that I ignore cultural landmarks for example, but if it isn’t an outstanding sight and there’s something that interests me more than that, and only time enough to do one thing, you’ll find me doing the more interesting thing, for sure!

What is most important experience that you had during your travels?

I would say sleeping on the floor in a modest home of a hilltribe family in Thailand after a fun Christmas Eve night (many tribes in Thailand have been converted to Christianity by missionaries).  They have done this every night on their lives without question, yet I was never as uncomfortable in my life that night.  I never really complained about beds or accommodations after that, and I realized that anyone can adapt and be perfectly happy with nothing but good friends and good food (and a little Sangsom 😛 )

What is most beautiful place you have ever been to?

I’m biased a bit when it comes to mountains, as my home country Canadian Rockies are bloody beautiful … but when it comes to the tropics, I have never encountered a tropical island as beautiful as Koh Rong.  Nearly deserted, crystal clear water, swaying palms, deep dark jungle in the interior.  It’s the Robinson Crusoe cliche in every respect, only it’s all real!  Which makes it actually quite surreal 🙂

What do you avoid when you travel?

I try not to avoid things merely because everybody says to avoid them, as every place deserves a first loom if you haven’t been to them.  One thing I do avoid are neighborhoods that locals say are dangerous … they live there, they know the place.  Listen to them!

What is your biggest travel dream?

To lay boots down on all seven continents by the time I’m 40 (I’m 34 now).  I’ll have three down this February when I arrive in Colombia, so that will leave Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Antarctica to be experienced.

Who are your favourite travelers? Which blogs do you read?

Rob from Stop Having A Boring Life got me traveling to Asia in the first place, Sam and Audrey from Nomadic Samuel and That Backpacker make some of the most informative and funny travel videos out there, and Brendan Van Son and Peter and Dalene Heck from Brendan’s Adventures and Hecktic Travels respectively produce some of the best photography I’ve seen in the travel blogosphere.