From Tragedy In Thailand To A Moving Memoir: Shannon's Story

"In 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler was a blissful 28-year old marine biologist, spending the summer backpacking through Asia with the love of her life - her fiance, Sean. He was holding her in the ocean's shallow waters when a box jellyfish - the most venomous animal in the world - wrapped around his leg, stinging and killing him in a matter of minutes, irreparably changing Shannon's life."

This horrible, terrifying, life-shattering moment one warm August evening on a beautiful beach at Haad Rin Nok, Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand killed Australian Sean and left grief-stricken Shannon alone immediately searching for solace and meaning in some of the world's most war-ravaged, weary and traumatised places including Israel, Auschwitz and Sarajevo. This powerfully moving journey of love, loss and healing is chronicled with courage, honesty and depth in Shannon's new book, 'Traveling With Ghosts: A Memoir'.

Published in 2017 by Simon & Shuster, 'Traveling With Ghosts: A Memoir' is in many ways not an easy read nor should it be. However, it is beautifully written and composed, it is an essential read. We remember the events and we absorb the statistics but too often we ignore the survivors. This story, Shannon's heartfelt story, is one of survival in the face of anguish and adversity. It's about coping and it's about trying to come to terms with devastating circumstances and a damaged self in places and faces forced by their own fate to understand.

Here is some of what others had to say on Amazon:

"This book is moving and deeply personal, but also bears witness to the suffering of others around the world. In beautiful detail, we travel with the author to places few of us have been, and experience the heartbreak and resilience of so many who have suffered loss. As a world traveler myself, I reveled in the immersion of place and the interactions with people in countries I have not visited. Now more than ever, a book like this is important to read, not just to identify with loss, but to identify with the humanity of people everywhere. Read it!"- KAS

"Traveling with Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler is an incredibly powerful and haunting memoir, a deeply personal story of love and loss that I found hard to put down and couldn’t wait to go back to – something that may sound a little strange to say about someone else’s harrowing experiences (the tragic death of her fiancé, her struggle with the way friends and family dealt with her loss, and her physical and emotional journey through countries and cultures that approach grief differently), but this is a book with an immediate, universal appeal. This book made me cry, it made me laugh at times, but mainly, it made me think. A lot. Read it." - A. C.

"I can't recommend this book enough. The author takes you through a winding journey through time, illustrating how memories can allow one to be on a hot Thai beach and hiking through snowy mountains in Eastern Europe all at once. She breaks open herself to the audience with a raw, unflinching, honesty that doesn't that doesn't spare the reader from pain or the author from criticism. She manages to capture the complexity of human feelings and emotions when life isn't fair and there may not be a meaning to be found. She doesn't hide the brutal thoughts that come with grief or the heartbreaking missteps that friends, family, and random strangers can make. The author takes you with her on her travels around the world to meet people and places that will cause you to fall in love and be broken into a million pieces, all at the same time." - Kenna Lehmann

"Normally, the best compliment you can give to any author is something along the lines of “I couldn’t put it down.” I can’t say that about Traveling with Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler. Instead, I say this book is so powerful, I had to put it down every 15 or 20 minutes. I needed to take time to catch my breath, slow my heartbeat, and reflect on what I’d just read." - Keith Raffel

'Traveling With Ghosts: A Memoir' by Shannon Leone Fowler is available at selected bookstores and through Amazon:


  1. Dear,
    what is your opinion on "stinger suit" produced by Stinger suit ltd company, Queensland, Australia

    1. These stinger suits are different to the standard Lycra or spandex suits as they're made from some sort of micro-fibre mesh. While some say they look better and keep the wearer cooler, I'm not sure if they are any more effective than Lycra suits in preventing stings. In fact, a study done some years ago (Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin & Karen Dabinett - 'Penetration & Adherence Of Carukia Barnesi Tentacles To Various Clothing Fabrics' - James Cook University) concluded that the box jellyfish/irukandji tentacles were not able to penetrate standard Lycra or even basic pantyhose, however they 'easily and readily penetrated' the Stinger Suit Company's suits' mesh plus also adhered or stuck to the mesh possibly increasing the chance of a sting. For more, check this link to previous blog posts on the subject:


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