Sharon Elder

Power of Bicycles

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Hello there!

I'm Sharon,

Optimistic student of life...friend, mom, traveler, engineer, inspired BY nature, human spirit and grace.....inspired TO love, laugh, and leave a lasting legacy.

Travel and Activism have always been passions of mine, so as I start the next phase of my life I will celebrate and honor this around the world. Challenging  myself with slow travel and fundraising while I explore communities, cultures, and connect with many people along the way.

What is Slow Travel?  Slow travel is an approach to travel that emphasizes connection: to local people, cultures, food and music. It relies on the idea that a trip is meant to educate and have an emotional impact, in the present moment and for the future, while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.

Use transportation methods available before 1920: the year that Women got the vote in the USA.

Align with SDG Goal 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”

Partner with  NGO’s aligned with my mission to fund raise during the journey.  

I’ve selected 3 partners: World Bicycle Relief for fundraising, International Volunteer HQ for in-person volunteering during the trip :, & All Hands and Hearts is a charity based close to my home which responds to disasters around the world :

I became aware of WBR last year when I participated in the J&J Pedal to Empower event. It was a way to reconnect with my J&J colleagues as we started coming back on campus post pandemic. I really liked how WBR aligned with my personal values of empowering women though sustainable ways of giving back. This year, as I started to plan my retirement project to slow travel around the world, WBR was a perfect match to my goals. As a bonus I will continue to get matching funds as a J&J retiree.

I still remember the freedom I felt as a girl the first time I rode my Schwinn bike beyond my immediate neighborhood. This project feels like I'm returning to my childhood enthusiasm with the benefit of some wisdom and the community I've built during my career. I'm so grateful to all my friends, family and colleagues who are supporting this cause, and following along on my journey.

If you feel the calling to join me for a portion of this journey please get in touch with your intentions and ideas. I’ll be providing more details as they come together. I’m allowing this experience to ebb and flow organically with some practical grounded work.

I’m also building a support team for the many practical things I’ll need to make this a reality. Get in touch if that interests you. Thanks to Christine and Lauren and Gena for being my incubator team! Join us!

RTW '23 Itinerary: 

•Travel for about a year, starting in the Fall 2023

•Transportation Methods:

•Cargo/Freighter Ship, Ferry

•Train, Prop. plane, Car

•Walk, Bike, Rickshaw, Horse

•Start in Portugal walking/biking the Camino from Porto to Bilbao, Spain.

•Sri Lanka – Rickshaw Run *TBD*

•Voyage on Picton-Castle  Trawler Ship *TBD*

•Tanzania:  visit CCBRT

More details as they unfold! 

My Updates

Happy New Year from RTW'23 in Amsterdam!

Tuesday 2nd Jan

I wanted to take a moment to wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy 2024! It's hard to believe that we've already entered a brand new year with endless possibilities ahead of us. If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the year that has passed and give yourself the opportunity to set intentions for the new year ahead.

As you can see from the photo, Mike came in for a holiday visit! It was wonderful to be able to spend some time with him during my journey! In one week, I will be boarding a cargo ship and making my way to South Africa! I am so excited to experience this type of travel, and I'm looking forward to sharing the experience with you.


I'd like to flip the script on my blog and give you the opportunity to lead the dialogue on an upcoming blog post. I'm so excited to hear from you, and I'd like to open up the floor for you to ask me any questions that you'd like answered!

Is there a certain city you want to learn more about? Do you have logistical questions about living out of a backpack? Are you curious about the people I've met? If any question has arisen during your time reading my blog, or if you have questions about the future, my daily routine, or anything and everything in between, please submit your question to the email address below! I look forward to interacting with you in a more personal way!

Submit questions to:

Thank you for your continued support, prayers and good intentions. Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and happy new year filled with all of the things that bring you joy!

World Bicycle Relief

My RTW '23 journey is happening in support of the World Bicycle Relief initiative. I am happy to announce that, because of all of your support, I have reached more than 70% of my $10,000 goal! Each bike through this initiative is $165, so that means 42 families lives have changed, all because of us. I am so excited that, together, we are making such a huge impact!

Please feel free to share this with family and friends, as every donation, small or large, helps immensely! To support this amazing group, please follow the link below to make a donation or read about their cause. For those of you who have already donated, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping this amazing cause!

IT'S OFFICIAL, I'm retired, graduated from work!

Saturday 15th Jul

June 30,2023 

IT’S OFFICIAL! I’m retired or as I’ve rebranded this milestone: Graduated from my professional career. 

I took my time today to walk the manufacturing floor, say goodbye, have breakfast in the cafe , and reflect on my time at J&J and my career in medical devices .  I felt bittersweet but with a heart full of gratitude and excitement for what lies ahead. 

I'll be enjoying the New England summer and in September be on my way to Portugal to kick off Sharon’s  “Round the World Adventure”

I'll be volunteering with 

 And fundraising for World Bicycle Relief

Thank you to all my friends and family; you’ve made the last few weeks and TODAY so special with cards, gifts, donations, well wishes, shared meals , messages. 💜💜🙏🏻🙏🏻. 

My first stop after leaving the office today was boot camp at the Wareham Y! 

Onwards, let the next life chapter begin !










June 10th Hiking meets Yoga

Monday 12th Jun
June 10th was the first "Hiking meets Yoga" event in Fairhaven, MA.   I was thrilled and grateful that 16 hiking yogis joined me on a cool glorious Saturday morning. We hiked a total of 4 miles along the New Boston Road Trail and practiced Sva Ha yoga in a beautiful clearing . Our practice  including earthing, sounding, and honoring the coming summer solstice.  Special thanks to Andrea DeVeau, Power and Grace Yoga co-founder, for hosting the event and bringing her musical talents and instruments. Heart hugs  to our youngest yogi, Harper, and her mom, Gena, for bringing joy and wonder to our time together. All proceeds from the event were donated to my World Bicycle Relief fundraiser and we raised $315 (plus matching funds of $200) for a total $515. I'm so happy to blend my love for hiking with yoga with the mission of World Bicycle Relief.  Be on the lookout for more events like this one!  Namaste 

International Women's Day

Wednesday 8th Mar

I first celebrated International Women’s Day in 2011 while living and working in China. All the female employees received a very nice set of towels. I appreciated the gift and it prompted me to better understand the history and impact of IWD. This year,  the day marks 6 months until I embark on my trip around the world to  raise awareness of Women’s issues and inspire empowerment. Join me in embracing equity. 


International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

#IWD2023 #EmbraceEquity


The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. Read more about this here

Tuesday 14th Feb

Why am i doing this RTW’23 trip   (’round the world in 2023) 

I Love traveling and connecting/exploring new areas of the world,  cultures and people, especially women who have struggles like I did

Finding how we have more in common that we first appear on the surface brings me joy

I Love having an impact to be able to lift and elevate someone or a community in need

Why ?

Because I have had struggles in my life and people were there for me. I have a deep sense of empathy. I can feel what’s it like to be in someone’s shoes. I can see multiple perspectives. I can hold space for different points of view and be ok , actually curious,  to better understand how each of our life experiences can bring us to different conclusions/beliefs/biases  and its by finding a common purpose that we can meet and discover that we’re part of the same human family: oneness.

Why is it personal for me at this time in my life?

I’m in a sweet spot not having to care for family members, no aging parents, my son is an adult before kids , so many of my friends have both of these commitments – but I don’t  at this time.

I had a lot of tragedy in my 20’s-30’s-40’s, a life time of the really big passages most people deal with these hardships over their entire lifetime but mine were compressed into 25 years and now at 62 I want to honor that; hold all of these experiences  in reverence, travel the world, give back how and where I can , be an inspiration to others.

Life is precious and not guaranteed – making a difference and feeling that impact – whether it’s  a small encounter, crowd fundraising for a charity that is aligned with my mission, having a deep connection with friends, people i meet along the way , people who can travel along the way with me — all this feels like the culmination of honoring and celebrating my life so far.  Why wait , the time is now…..time is now to plan it so that it’s a rich , meaningful experience that honors my life experience, pays it forward —- there is hope  and joy and love in this world.

Thank you to my supporters


Harriet Gottesman

Hi Sharon! You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your beautiful life!


Tahiti Flight Offset


Mary Jane Anderson-wiley

Hi Sharon, I feel so honored in this small way to assist in your journey and mission. You are awe-inspiring and are having such a great impact, I am sure, on each person you meet, and many that you don't even know. It's wonderful to know you and be able to support this beautiful endeavor! Best wishes! Hugs, MJ


Sharon Elder

781 kg CO2e offset for New Zealand flight


Sharon Elder

Sri Lanka Offset


Irene Gutmann

Sending love to you!


Dominick Vanore

What wonderful work you are doing. You are changing lives, Sharon.


Roberta Kane

My favorite quote.. ""I haven't been everywhere but it's on my list:. Way to go !!


Neil Duguid


Denise Branca


Nancy S Friddle

Such an amazing journey! You are certainly an inspiration.


Francesca Boone

Thank you for sharing your amazing journey! May weather be always on your side, may love permeate everything in your life and may your feet always find rest when they need it. I am truly enjoying being the fly on the wall watching and listening as you travel the world. You have always inspired me, thank you. Francesca


Christine Dimino

Thinking of you every day during your RTW challenge!


Adrienne Scivolette

With you in spirit!


In Memory Of Michael Collins


Ann Flood

Wishing you an amazing adventure!! Stay safe!


Linda Gibbs

Good luck my friend!




Barbara Brain

I’m so happy to celebrate your retirement and send love and support through your charity work. ❤️🗺️🚴‍♀️🥾🧘‍♀️❤️


Zackary Davis


Jill Robinson Harding




J&j Matching Funds


Andy And Joe

Go Sharon!


Karin Mcdonough

Dear Sharon, Reading your personal story on your website and hearing about your upcoming slow travel adventure to support women empowerment is truly inspiring! I wish you many wonderful and memorable experiences and encounters throughout your trip. It was a pleasure to be able to work with you these past years : ) Wishing you all the best! Warm regards, Karin


Jessica Gregory

To one of my most inspiring, loving, supportive, and passionate friends. I am so incredibly grateful that the world brought us together! Forever cheering you on! Xoxo


Corrine Kahl

Congratulations on retirement AND changing the world! I'm so proud of you, excited for you, and I love you so!


Tj Minogue

Thank you for your partnership, support and friendship.


Therese Kelley

Sharon- You are amazing!! Enjoy your gap year!! Thanks for all you do to advance Inclusion!!!!


Zachary Theoharidis

Congratulations on your retirement Sharon. It has been a pleasure working with you! Wishing you good luck and safe travels on your new adventure!


Lilly Schaefer

You are an inspiration Sharon! Thank you for all that you do especially to support equality for women and girls! Best of luck in your travels, we will be watching in awe!


Paddy Troy

Best of luck on your adventure Sharon! You are an inspiration to so many!


June 10 Hiking Meets Yoga


Gena Petrunyak

Thank you for inspiring me to be the best mom, volunteer, worker, and traveler possible. I am always blown away by your compassion toward others and it’s no secret I’m insanely jealous of this retirement adventure. You will be missed but Harper is looking forward to hearing all her New England grandma’s stories when you return. The transition to working mother was so much smoother because of you and we can’t wait to see how you combine your passions and continue to impact others’ lives around the world!


Nelly & Tim Majer

Good luck Sharon, we’ll be following along online to watch your journey!! Nelly & Tim Majer


Jaime (jim) Feeney

Thank you for your example!!!


Adriano Almeida

Congratulations on your retirement! Best of luck on your new journey!


Tayler Mannarino


Gail Corey

The world needs you and your kindness. Thank you for sharing your journey ahead and take care of you!


Bob Brosnahan


Angela Vasconcellos




Deb Mcmullen

Sharon, you continue to inspire me and I am so blessed to have shared some of our journey together...I look forward to what is yet to come!


Matching Funds




Allison S

All the best, Sharon!


Matching Funds


Matching Funds


Matching Funds