Rin is one of The Travel Women Ambassadors and a San Diego based writer, director and cinematographer. READ MORE ABOUT OUR AMBASSADORS HERE. 

1. Why do you travel??
My work as a director and cinematographer has taken me from Australia to Mongolia–the Netherlands to Ecuador. I grew up in a family who had a wealth of adventurous spirit, but lacked the means to travel. I used to look around my small hometown, and wonder how many other little towns had other little girls who had never seen the ocean. (The Atlantic was my first at age 20.) Now, I travel all over this great wide world seeking out common themes in diverse landscapes, capturing the stories of people in bustling cities and and quiet communities.

2. What do you think of when you think of a woman traveler?
A woman who travels sees the relationships, notices the details. She can multi-task. She can change currency with one hand and grab a jeepny with the other. On the practical side of this question, a woman who travels has some means, and there are so many women around this world who don’t. It’s important for women who are able to travel to take in the experiences of women in other cultures, to tap into what unifies us, to expand from embracing what makes us different, and to seek out opportunities to empower women worldwide.

3. What was your favorite travel experience?
Easy. I was scouting a shot in Nomad country of Mongolia. I had broken away from the rest of the crew. Mongolia is one of the few places left with totally unadulterated landscape, and I just couldn’t help this ache to stand alone on top of a mountain at the intersection of Nowhere and Everything. After about 30 minutes hiking upward, a wild horse appeared at the crest of this small mountain: sun behind him, wind blowing through mane–an eyegasm I couldn’t have ever even dreamed. I stood, wonder-stunned and in love with Mongolia, when the stallion started to walk down the slope toward me- and behind him? A herd of over a hundred wild horses. They followed him calmly. They walked right past me. I’m sure I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. At one point the alpha stopped, discerning their direction, and the entire herd froze. I held my camera steady on its gimbal, as the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen moved down the mountain and toward the horizon.

4. Which place(s) do you want to go next, why?
Next on the list is back to Dublin. It’s where I recharge my creative batteries.

5. When did you start traveling?
I was part of a theatre company that traveled when I was a child, so I saw a bit of the United States when I was young, but I didn’t really start traveling until college.  

6. Who do you prefer traveling with?
It really depends on where I’m going. When I travel for work, my husband is usually with me, which really allows me to feel at home during long shoot days on the road. When I travel without him, I’m always aching to show him everything I’m experiencing firsthand. Yet, there are times when I need to go on an adventure by myself to be truly observant. I went to Sundance this year by myself and had to drive through a blizzard in a car without 4 wheel drive. I think those sort of solo experiences are important, so that we can draw upon triumphs claimed in independence to support ourselves and each other.  

7. Why do you enjoy photographing/writing about travel?
What I see through my lens in Ulaanbaatar may be the only glimpse of Mongolia someone else (like my parents) will ever see. My passion for travel influences which gigs I choose, because I am happy to have that responsibility. I love venturing off the well-worn road and shooting footage that says, “Here’s this place, and here’s how I see it!” Then when people respond to what they see or they’re inspired to learn more about a given place, it gives me pride in my perspective.

8. What is your favorite souvenir?
I really love this white shirt I bought in Seoul. It’s fairly simple, but at the same time it’s very indicative of fashion in South Korea. When I wear it, I feel like i’m tapping into the energy of Hongdae. I’m all about picking up functional items that can remind you of where you’ve been and make you smile.  

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2 thoughts on “Interview with Rin Ehlers Sheldon”

  1. So happy to see you doing this. Excited for you. I’ve always wanted to be that. Even now I wonder how I can share my few travel experiences with women my age to get them out and about. I’ll be following you and living my dreams through you. Best wishes, Robyn Dowd

  2. The world is an amazing place to explore and to enjoy. It is God’s gift to all of us. Thank you for sharing your experiences with those of us do not wander much further than our own hometown.

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