With the return of The Running Mermaid, comes the return of my favorite segment, Mermaid of the Month.
Whether they are dedicating their lives to protecting our environment, or encouraging others to make health and fitness a main priority. I love sharing the stories of ambitious women living life on their own terms, because I truly believes it inspires us all to get out there and do the damn thing!
Case in point, my girl Shayla from Living on a One Way.
Now this girl is a trailblazer if I’ve ever seen one. Shayla’s mission is to travel the world and truly experience life for all it has to offer— the uncertainty, the freedom, the opportunity and the growth that comes along with fully embracing the moment.
But she isn’t really your typical traveler that packs a bag, does some epic sightseeing, and eventually catches a flight back home after a handful of weeks.
No, no, no — Shayla is the kind of roamer that buys one way ticket and challenges herself to build a new life. She finds a home, gets a job, makes new friends, hustles hard and moves forward to her next destination with confidence.
If that’s not the definition of a true badass, I don’t know what is.
I’m pretty sure it’s the kind of lifestyle our inner gypsy dreams of, but deep down we are scared out of our minds to live it true. Don’t sweat it, because this interview with Shayla is sure to get you moving in the direction of your dreams and inspire you to embrace the uncertainty of life.
So without further ado, allow me to introduce to you March’s Mermaid of the Month.
+ Tell us about yourself.
My name is Shayla and I’m a nomad. You know that old question “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” Well not a damn thing would change for me, and that’s exactly the way I want it. I’ve very consciously created my life to be exactly as it is.
I travel full-time working and living wherever I go making videos along the way to tell stories about what I experience. I don’t have a bucket list that I’m racing though life to complete but instead I want to get to know a place, feel it’s heart beat and that always starts with the people. You don’t get a feel for the people and the place when you just pass through and check IG photo ops off your list. You get a feel for the people and place when you work with them, go out with them, meet their families.
+ When did you first get bit by the travel bug?
I get this question a lot, and I truly don’t know. I think in college after changing my major for the 50th time, I realized I don’t like committing to things, except travel. Because travel means I learn new things, and to listen to my gut, if it doesn’t feel right I move on, if it does I stay. The only commitment there is to listen to myself and to do what it says.
+ What inspired you to start living on a one way?
My job wouldn’t take me back.
I mean obviously I always thought it would be SO COOL but how does anyone actually do it? I didn’t know and I still don’t know. All I know is when you dive in and truly cut the rope, you have no option but to sink or swim and I’ve realized from sinking that it’s never really as bad as it seems.
Anyways, I was serving at a restaurant an told them, I’m going to be teaching yoga at a surf camp in Costa Rica, and leading a yoga retreat there, then going to a wedding in Tahoe and then working at a hostel on the Appalachian trail in New Hampshire and I’d be back in 3 months. They’d let me take 2 weeks off here and there for Peru and Thailand before so I figured why not 3 months. They figured not— so Living on a One Way was born.
+ How do you find balance while traveling?
I think I’m the most balanced while traveling.
I have less things “to do” I have less connections to the rest of the world. I’m able to be more in the moment with my new friends, learning new things, sharing new things and that is where I feel the most at peace. Every time I get on an airplane I am truly sad for everything I am missing at home but the freedom I feel while traveling is euphoric.
Every day I’m traveling I feel like I’m living like I’m dying. You want to maximize all the days, do all the things with all the people, and keep a good attitude about it, because, why not?
When I’m home I over commit to everything, people are anxious to see me because I’m back, I hustle trying to make money in 50 different ways. It’s truly overwhelming, all I want to do is snuggle my nephew and laugh with my sister.
+ What is the hardest part about living on a one way?
The instability! I have to make things happen for myself! I don’t get to wake up everyday and have a steady job where all I have to do to get paid is wake up and go work. Everyday I have to hustle and figure out how I’m going to organize my next retreat, or reach out to companies for work, or whatever.
There are always a MILLION moving parts! Right now I’m planning a yoga retreat, planning a trip to Cuba and then applying to volunteer at a refuge camp in Greece. While that all may sound very simple, each one requires a ton of communication, planning and organization. On top of that I work a remote job, and try to maintain so many relationships. But I love it. There is always a give and take. This nomadic life sometimes gets glorified, and rightfully so, it is unique but it does come with a trade. You just have to decide what you’re willing to give up to have it.
+How do you know when it’s time to pack up and move on to the next destination?
Usually I have a plan for how long I stay in a place, but I have left places early when things don’t feel like a good fit. But typically moving on is usually a positive thing, you move on because friends you’ve made are going to the next country and you’re going to go with, or you have a job for you somewhere else.
+ What is the most rewarding part about hosting your own yoga retreats?
Sharing the world with people! It’s truly a magical thing for me to bring someone to a new place with new people. When people are on vacation I think they are a more open, and truer version of themselves. I try to get people to tap into that truer self, become it and bring it back home with them into their daily lives.
I also do so many little things on the retreat that have such a huge impact. Every night when we sit down for dinner -family style- we talk about our favorite part of the day. Sometimes it’s people facing their fears of heights when they did trapeze for the first time, or how everyone worked as a team to climb a waterfall, or how I got sea sick doing stand up paddle boarding yoga!
+ What’s your Mermaid Mantra?
Create a beautiful life and consciously, create the life of your dreams. With every decision that you make have it bring you closer to that dream. You do not have to live conventionally and when you take a step into the unknown you will be met with things to reinforce your decision. When you dive into the stream of your purpose things become easier not harder.
At the same time, I fully support living that conventional life, but only after you have given it some thought and are not just blindly moving through the motions. Any decisions made consciously to make you happy is the right one for you.
+ Any advice for Mermaids looking to travel the world?
Just do it, the worst thing that happens is it doesn’t work out and you buy a flight back to find a job. But if that happens you should buy a flight to Hawaii or Puerto Rico instead and try to find a job there… that’s what I did.
IN FACT, that’s how I met Gennah! I’d just broken up with my fiancé down in Hawaii, the car was his and lived 45 min from my brand new job. So I packed a “weekend bag” got dropped off at work by my roommate and told her I’d find a place to stay. I awkwardly asked Gennah if she lived near by and if I could sleep on her couch. Although it probably seemed like I was homeless, or hitting on her she said of course! We went out that night to “industry night” and destroyed nachos that the boys hitting on us ordered.… See?
THAT was “worst case scenario” which I’ll consider a win any day.
It doesn’t mater if Shayla is leading yoga retreats in Costa Rica, playing bingo back home in Minnesota, or eating nachos off of a strangers plate with me in Hawaii. She makes it a point to find adventure within everyday, and because of it she is able to live the dreamy life of a traveler.
This girl has been living her nomadic lifestyle for almost 2 years now and is currently in route to Nicaragua for a yoga retreat, then headed to Cuba to go back in time, Greece to volunteer in a Refugee Camp, Van life in California and Burning Man for a second year!
Do your wanderlusting heart the favor and follow her on Social Media @livingonaoneway. And while you’re at it, be sure to subscribe to her YouTube Channel here and check out her vlogs on everything from traveling the world to drinking her sisters breast milk.
If that doesn’t inspire you to say yes to life, I don’t know what will.
xx Fins & Kisses,