While the highlight is cruising on the legendary Mekong River, this Laos and Thailand journey also immerses guests in ancient Buddhist temples and the World Heritage Site city of Luang Prabang.
Social Anthropologist and Expedition Leader
Dr. Shirley Campbell is a social anthropologist and Research Fellow at the Australian National University, with a special interest in the indigenous peoples of Australia, Melanesia, and the Pacific. More than three decades of academic research and university teaching have led to a sound knowledge and understanding of many cultures around the world and the theoretical foundations that human societies share. Growing up in California and exploring her suburban neighborhood, Shirley’s passion for understanding different cultures was sparked by discovering ancient artifacts from Native Americans long dispossessed of their lands. Now widely traveled, she has had firsthand experience of the ways in which communities form and develop distinct, yet interrelated cultures. Related to this has been research into the origins and dispersal of Austronesian-speaking peoples from Taiwan and their eventual colonization of the South Pacific, Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, and their only colonization of the southeast Asian mainland in Vietnam.
Living in England, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the United States, Shirley developed fluency in Italian and the Vakutan language. She has led groups of Italian tourists around England, as well as American tourists throughout Western Europe; sailed in ocean-going outrigger canoes while living for almost two years with the indigenous people in the Trobriand Islands, a tiny coral atoll in Papua New Guinea; and lectured at prestigious Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and the Australian National University in Canberra. Shirley has specialized in studying the anthropology of art, convinced that understanding the way people represent their ideas through art and architecture provides valuable insights into our perceptions and relationships with the world around us. Her studies have led to degrees from Stephens College Missouri and the Australian National University. She has contributed several academic papers to peer-reviewed journals and books, and has written a book recounting her research and experiences in the Trobriand Islands titled ‘The Art of Kula’.
Shirley is passionate about mental and physical wellness, and is a senior instructor in the Australian fitness industry and a master yoga teacher. For relaxation and pleasure she enjoys studying the origins of yoga and its place within Indian society, music, quilting, and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.
Shirley's Blog Posts
Shirley's Upcoming Expeditions
Along the Mekong: China, Thailand & LaosOctober 23 — November 9, 2020
Tracing the West Coast of AfricaFebruary 8 — February 24, 2021
We are thrilled to return to Western Africa on a new and improved itinerary that highlights the very best of this dynamic region. Visit an amazing nine countries and discover the intriguing cultural heritage, storied history, and numerous natural wonders of these lesser-visited African nations.
Spirit of India with the Kumbh FestivalMarch 14 — March 28, 2021
Discover the spirit of India on this sweeping cultural journey. You'll visit the royal city of Jaipur, make a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, photograph the Taj Mahal at sunrise, and mingle with worshipers during the Kumbh Festival, the world's largest religious gathering.
Mediterranean Mosaic: Italy, Corsica, Tunisia, Algeria & MoroccoApril 19 — May 3, 2021
Exquisite Greek and Roman cities once created a mosaic of flourishing cultural centers around the Mediterranean Sea. Today they stand in silent testimony to that epoch as magnificent ruins far better preserved, far more impressive, and far less crowed than most of the archaeological sites of mainland Europe.
Secret Valleys of New GuineaJuly 28 — August 13, 2021
From spectacular lowland rainforests on the coastal plains to 15,000-foot-high peaks, New Guinea is rightly called “the land of the unexpected.” Explore the fascinating villages along the Karawari River; the spectacular flora, fauna, and unique culture of the highlands in Rondon Ridge; and meet the colorful Dani people in Papua's Baliem Valley.