Shannon Aitken was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, where she first worked as a speech pathologist for several years before returning to school to study journalism. After graduating, she went on to write for many of Australia's top food magazines, including Master Chef, delicious. and Vogue Entertaining + Travel. Despite thriving in her career, Shannon longed for a wilder adventure, so she set off on a cycling trip through Yunnan province in southern China and later backpacked through Guilin, Shanghai, and Beijing. Things really clicked into place for her in Beijing, a city that felt both foreign and familiar at the same time. At once she decided this was where she wanted to live and work, so she returned to Australia to pack up her life, moved to Beijing in 2007, and has been there ever since.
In Beijing, Shannon took over the Managing Editor position of what was then the city's oldest English-language magazine, Beijing Talk. She's written travel and lifestyle stories for the China Daily as well as international publications, edited for various publications, including travel companies and charities, and even dabbled in teaching English. Her work has connected her with people from diverse industries and backgrounds and given her rich insights into the city she loves so much. Shannon has studied spoken and written Chinese since her arrival in the country, and though she fears it will be a lifelong battle to truly master the language, she can hold a decent conversation with (patient) locals.
Food and travel continue to be Shannon's true passions, and she frequently sets off on trips around Beijing and into the surrounding countryside to hike, rock climb, or just relax. She loves to explore Beijing's multitude of food markets and restaurants, and she blogs about her favorite food findings at mychineseappetite.com. When she has free time, you can find her lazing around at outdoor cafes, on rooftop bars, or on a chair outside her hutong home with one of her many wonderful Beijing friends.