My name is Shannon- but most people call me Shaaylo. I got that nickname from a boy in middle school and it pretty much stuck since then.
I was born in a small town in the middle of California- also the middle of nowhere. I lived there until I was 18 years old; I moved out a week after my high school graduation.
I went to college at California State University- Fullerton. I honestly feel pretty cloudy about this point in my life. I started in 2014, and I started working at Disneyland in 2015. I only remember working at Disneyland. Three and a half years of college went by, and it was all a blur- and not from drinking too much.
I loved school- I hated college. I was never 100% sure what I wanted to do with my life, so college really didn’t make any sense for me. I went because I wanted to make my parents happy and because I felt like it was what I was supposed to be doing.
I started as a Communications- Journalism major; I thought for quite a few years that I wanted to be a sports reporter. I loved performing at Disneyland so much that I later thought about changing my major to theatre- and almost did. Then I realized how much I love working with kids, so I changed my major to child and adolescent development thinking I wanted to be a special education teacher.
I loved my classes when I was a CHAD major, but not enough to keep going. I knew in the back of my head that I would NEVER have a normal, Monday through Friday, 8-5 desk job. I just knew that. Most of the people I was close to also knew that and supported me a ton when I dropped out. Spoiler alert- I dropped out.
After that big decision, I kept working at Disneyland. I absolutely loved my job and my friends there. Every time people asked me about working for Disney they want me to “spill the tea”, but sadly, I have nothing bad to say. I had a lot going on in my personal life, so I can’t say it was a completely euphoric time period in my life, but the job definitely was.
Now that I wasn’t in school, I was really trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I tried out acting, music, modeling, pretty much anything I could in the entertainment industry. I loved modeling so much that I wanted to move from Orange County to Los Angeles to pursue it. It was a short distance, but a big move.
In LA I lived with two of my guy friends, and it was honestly like New Girl. I loved it but I was feeling so out of place in Los Angeles. Something still wasn’t right.
I decided about a week and a half before leaving that I was gonna move to New York City. I also decided I’m going to drive there from California. I went back to my hometown a few hours north of LA and started to get ready. I made sure my car was all oiled up, and I started packing up my car with whatever I could fit.
Driving was the best decision I ever made, and as odd as it sounds it changed my life. I had a general game plan of the route I was going to take, but every day I would wake up and just decide where I wanted to go. I didn’t have to ask anyone else- I just did whatever I wanted. My whole life I’ve felt like I’d been doing what everyone else wanted me to do, and now, on the road, I finally felt free. I have a ton of upcoming blog posts I have planned all about my road trip and tips.
Once I got to New York I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. I didn’t really know anyone. I made friends as I went along and stayed with them. It sounds sketchy when I say it out loud, but I survived it. I ended up getting an apartment and I absolutely loved the city. I nannied for two twin girls- I’ll definitely write an entire post about that experience as it would take hours to truly sum it up.
At this point I was going to work every single day, spending hours on the train; I had hardly any friends except for children, and it was the coldest weather I’d ever lived in. I quickly succumbed to my anxiety and started to have a super hard time by myself in New York. I thought I had made the right decision until I realized it was going to be just another stepping stone to lead me to what I needed to be doing.
I’m now back in my hometown- I’ve gotten rid of my larger Instagram and now I have a private one for just my friends. I’ve been living pretty low key and spending all my time with my little niece, Aria since I’ve been back.
My next plans may sound even crazier than my last- I want to live in a van. I hate to sound overly ~quirky~ but I truly just am not built to live a regular life. I looked back on where in my life I felt actual, complete happiness. The answer wasn’t hard to find. I wanted to be on the road.
When I drove the first time I slept in my car a ton, I ate for a few dollars a day, I stopped wherever I could to use the bathroom and brush my teeth in a sink. I knew the minimalism of van life wouldn’t be a problem for me, but better yet a benefit.
I kept telling myself I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it. That it wasn’t realistic or stable. Then I remembered another cliche- you only live once. I can settle down and get a career whenever I need to. I know for a fact I won’t be laying on my deathbed someday thinking, “wow I wish I’d started my career sooner.”
Now, I start this blog because I remembered one of my other favorite things I did- coincidentally also while I was on the road. Since I was doing something interesting and I was really excited about it I decided I was going to vlog it and put it up on YouTube. I stopped posting when I stopped driving because I just wasn’t in the mood to film- I wasn’t happy anymore.
I absolutely loved documenting my experience, and now that I feel like I’m finally on the right path, I am ready to start documenting again. I’m gonna fire up my YouTube channel again soon and vlog in real time about what I’m doing (as well as documenting my upcoming van conversion.)
I’ll use this blog also as a source for documenting and sharing photos. I also have a ton of topics from my past I want to write about: my experiences doing music videos and being a movie extra, my Disney audition, my road trip, my time in New York, and a bunch more.
I know nobody is here reading this now, but I hope in the future I can inspire people to follow their true callings, and they’ll come back and find this post- and discover where it all started.