You may have met our Luminary Manager, Shayla Hoheisel, on our social feeds when she tunes in live from places all over the world, like New Zealand, where she is right now. Touring the country in a van with her partner, sharing all their adventures on Instagram and her popular Living On A One Way YouTube channel is how this girl rolls. She’s an incredible, funny, and light-hearted human whom we love and are always inspired by. We may think she’s a little crazy at times, but this wild child is living her truth and we the world needs more of that.
We asked Shayla about how she got on the path to being full-time traveler, the answers to which we hope will inspire you to go out there and live your most authentic life.
“Tell us, what made you start traveling?
These are some of the hardest questions for me to answer. Yes, I’ve been traveling full time for the past three years, and I’ve done some pretty unconventional things but I don't feel like I’m different than anyone else who has a passion burning in them. We all have it inside of us, but we push it back as this unrealistic thing that could never happen. It just depends how bad you want it.
I was always making my own way. Bending–not breaking–the rules and finagling everything.
Some examples are: personally funding a trip to Japan in high school to visit my cousin, graduating college an entire year early to save money, and moving to different states and countries before I was 25.
I’m one of those typical can’t commit to anything kind of people. The only thing I could commit to and not feel like I had just secured my ball and chain was travel. When I traveled I felt like I was soaring in total freedom. I remember the first time I made a big move and was headed to Spain to Au Pair (nanny) and being absolutely terrified. I had skyped this family a couple of times and now… I’m headed to the other side of the world to live with them for three months. What?! And here in this tiny village town, Cobeña, I distinctly remember having a moment of total bliss. I felt like I was in exactly the right spot, I felt freedom, I felt overwhelmed from learning a new language. I felt all the things. But above all I felt proud; the only reason I was there is because I got myself here. I made this happen. I did it.
So when I “decided” to travel full time, that wasn’t even my intent; I had a three month trip planned, that just never ended. The opportunities kept coming and I kept following them. I’ve lead yoga retreats in Central America, ran pub crawls in Nicaragua, volunteered at Burning Man, fished in Alaska, danced Salsa in Cuba, worked with refugees in Greece, lived out of a van in Ireland, drank beer at Oktoberfest, eaten sandwiches under the Eiffel Tower, made new friends in Thailand, hosted a video in Australia, kayaked with wild dolphins in New Zealand, worked in a hostel on the Appalachian Trail, picked up a boyfriend in Puerto Rico and so many more things.
What inspires you to keep doing what you love every day, rather than find a steady, stable lifestyle?
Everything I just mentioned sounds really cool, right, but what I’ve learned is it’s important to understand yourwhy. For me it was never about the passport stamps or counting all the places I’d been.
It was always about testing myself, learning new things and connecting.
I strive to stay in a place for at least a month so I can connect to the people.
One of my favorite stories is when I was traveling through Venice, Italy. I was obsessively determined to meet someone from there. So one night while riding the water taxi I abruptly asked a group of Italians if they spoke English and what there was to do here! They answered in English that there was a plaza and they were going with their friends, and asked if we wanted to join, which of course we did! The next night they invited us into their home with their roommates from Serbia, Ecuador and Italy and made my five friends and I dinner! They cooked us a typical college meal with an Italian flare: pasta and alfredo with old red wine and Coca Cola.
Then, exactly a year later while I was traveling through Ecuador, the Ecuadorian roommate picked me and my friend up in Quito to show us around! THESE are the moments I live for. THIS is why I travel. Since then it has evolved. In an attempt to figure out where in the world I am, my friends asked me to start a blog. I’m not much of a writer so I started doing video blogs, or vlogs, on YouTube. Now my aim is to keep doing what I’ve always done, but add on something else I love, storytelling. Every Wednesday I tell stories about what I’m up to and the purpose is to inform, entertain, and most of all inspire. And every week I have a mini moment of panic when I realize I have no idea what I’ll talk about next week. Usually the topic comes from talking to a friend, and whatever story I share with them. I think, “I did this, and this and this,” gets really boring. I pick a topic, some points I want to hit in an outline, and then I inject stories, and feelings and entertainment.
What pushes you to keep going everyday?
Everyday I either wake up feeling well rested and excited about whatever the day brings, or completely exhausted working towards my dreams. That feeling doesn’t come easily, it takes an immense amount of work that most people aren’t willing to put in. Always hustling, always working, always trying to live fully in that blissful ‘feel all the things’ moment.
From living it myself, I am here to tell you the life of your dreams is attainable, you need to sit down and ask yourself, “what doI want;” independent of what others want of me, independent of what you think you should want, and most importantly, independent of the limits you put on yourself and what you THINK you can do.
We cannot understand our potential until we test it.
How do you make your passion a full time job?
What I’ve learned is there is not one good answer, there are millions. And if I hadn’t just started I wouldn’t know a single one. I started out doing work exchange, where I’d work in exchange for room and board. I did this in Costa Rica as the yoga instructor, cleaning a hostel on the Appalachian Trail and at festivals. As people began to find out what I was doing I would get asked to do random jobs like making promotional videos for a golf course, a city and farm equipment. I was asked to follow a tractor from South Dakota to Nebraska.
I’m also able to create content for companies as I’m out on my adventures. I’ve lead a few yoga retreats in Central America. That is probably one of my favourites; I get to bring people into places they’ve never been and also guide them in yoga where they can reflect on the experiences they’re having. And of course Inner Fire! I am the Luminary Manager and I love working with Inner Fire because of the awesome community of Luminaries. It's a very cool experience to engage with the community closely. I also enjoy running a brand ambassador program as well as well as be an ambassador for other brands. It’s a very unique experience that I’m grateful for!
Is the life you’ve chosen difficult?
Ah, YEAH! People are always doubting, questioning, and telling me how ‘lucky I am’. I feel guilty when I want to complain about it and sometimes I just want to hibernate; no more people, no more new, no more excitement. And that is okay. I’m allowed to feel. It’s a life just like anyone else's, work is stressful sometimes, always coming up with content, constantly thinking about what I have to do and not fully enjoying the mountains or the oceans in front of me. But again, I feel proud that I have created this stressful and chaotic life where when I’m done with my dizzy I get to go enjoy a new culture. Everyday I know if I put in the work I’ll be rewarded with lessons or with work. If I don’t do anything, nothing will happen.
Create the life you’ve imagined by doing. Doing is living.
What moves you?
Newness moves me, literally.
New people, new experiences, new ideas, new challenges, and seeing things in a new way; they all move me to new places.