Desert rat: Slang, a person who has spent a long time in the desert.
Shannon Swanson-Briggs came to the desert at the age of 10, spending a great deal of time in what was then known as Joshua Tree National Monument. Shannon graduated from 29Palms High School and only left the desert once for a brief period. Shannon returned to the desert, loves the weather and hiking, particularly local spots not yet discovered by the burgeoning tourist population. She and Destany are like two peas in a pod.
DJ, as she is also known, is a born and raised desert rat and was a Joshua Tree 'poster child', appearing in the local newspaper as a helper and participant in many local community events like Coyote Fest, Turtle Days (Joshua Tree is famous for it's desert tortoise population) and the Joshua Tree Music Festival. Her love of theatre began at the age of eight, as part of a local community youth acting class. DJ then became involved with the Hi-Desert Cultural Center, taking on many behind-the-scenes jobs. That love now propels her to Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts in the fall. To supplement her college expenses, DJ is selling some of her art, which can be found on her Facebook page.
In this episode they reveal that though growing up in the desert was fun for both of them, it has also brought tragedy. Shannon's brother, DJ's uncle, Rick, was struck down by cancer two years ago at the age of 46 and they also lost a dear family friend in a desert natural disaster, demonstrating that while the desert can be beautiful and magical, it can also be dangerous and devastating.