Shelby Hartman

Shelby Hartman

My grandmother was a transportation-a-phobe. During her life she refused to get on a plane, train or boat and road trips more than a few days were out of the question. Consequently, my mother never left the Midwest growing up. She vowed when she had a child of her own she would take him or her around the world. Thus, the Backpacktress was born.

At age ten, I watched millions of wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti from a hot air balloon, danced with Masai tribesmen and hung out with kids in a black township who had never before seen a white child. My parents made sure to take me far away from tourist destinations so I could see how the majority of locals in each country live. In China, we visited with farmers in their dirt shacks. In Peru, we toured the house of a family with dozens of guinea pigs running freely through their living quarters.

It’s no surprise when I graduated college and joined the corporate world I felt stifled by my cubicle. I spent my free time imagining myself in the middle of travel photos. After two years of sitting at a desk, I decided to take off with a one-way ticket to Bali.

With my backpack, ukulele and some cojones I have been diving into cultures only to discover the beautiful differences and similarities that exist between all humans. I will record my observations as I attempt to be a fly on the wall in Buddhist monasteries, dog meat markets and Bangkok’s prostitution allies. I hope you’ll join me on this journey and that along the way I’ll be able to provide you with some insight into cultures you otherwise might not know that much about.

Safe travels,