We are proud to announce the official launch of Matador Ambassador Shannon Galpin’s first book, Mountain to Mountain: A Journey of Adventure and Activism for the Women of Afghanistan. Shannon continues to be an inspiration to everyone here at Matador, and her work in one of the most volatile areas of the world is nowhere near complete. We look forward to reading about her deeply personal connection to the women of Afghanistan, and to what future publications will come with it. Shannon writes:
“I am not a writer…I am an activist first, humanitarian second. National Geographic has called me an adventurer due to my work as both activist and humanitarian in conflict zones, and the fact that I was the first person to mountain bike in Afghanistan. I call myself curious. I’m curious about the world, about the people in it. About why things are the way they are, and what can we do to fix it. In the course of doing my work, many people wrote about me. Then I realized, this is my story, and I should be the one to tell it. And I became a writer, despite myself.
This book is the story about how I became an activist, the founder of a non profit, adventurer, mountain biker. How I decided to dedicate my life to working with women and girls, starting in Afghanistan, because its repeatedly ranked the worst country in the world to be a woman. How I became the first person to mountain bike in a country that doesn’t allow women to ride bikes. How an experience with violence shaped me, and led me down a path I never saw, but that now when I look back at the past two decades, I see the path as though someone had sprinkled it with breadcrumbs for me to follow. How becoming a mother, and visiting a women’s prison created the cracks that opened me up to the strength of vulnerability, and the power of voice.
That’s the beauty of letting life unfold and take you places; you don’t always know where you are going, but you realize it was an integral part of the journey. Step by step, I grew into myself, and this story tells the tale of how and why it began. I am no longer the woman in that book. But the book allowed me to find my voice, to own my story, and to embrace all that has made me who I know am.”