For some of us, the chance to travel to as many of the 50 states as possible can be a great thrill. Harrogate resident Jan Shannon, however, sets the bar a bit higher. She’s been to more countries than America has states!
Jan’s passion for culture – how people live, what they eat, how they worship and how they view the world – is the main reason she travels, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“I’ve been to every continent but Antarctica, and I’ll probably miss that one,” she laughs. “I honestly want to spend more time in Southeast Asia. I want to see the ancient temples and begin to learn more about the culture there, which is so different from the U.S.”
She says she considers herself to be “broad-minded” and loves diversity, as well as change. She has her own views, she says, but travel has made her smarter and open to different ways of thinking and of living life. Each place in the world, she says, is different.
Jan says the happiest people she’s encountered are in Denmark and in Ghana, but for different reasons. Denmark, she says, is beautiful and quaint, and the people don’t seem to be very materialistic. Ghana, on the other hand, is extremely poor, but the people seem more concerned with inner happiness.
When she prepares to visit a new place, Jan says she does her research.
“I always read at least one book, if not more than one, on any country I’m about to visit,” she says. “I begin to immerse myself in the culture before I even arrive.”
Jan’s even written a travel memoir, Life’s Journey, which is available on Amazon.
She says Harrogate is a community and culture all its own, and that’s why she loves it!
“It’s almost like living in a small town or small country,” she says. “It’s so unique and so wonderful here.”
Jan also brings a part of her travels back to Harrogate, through her “armchair” travel presentations. Her friends and neighbors at the community love gathering around to hear about her latest journey.