Shannon Across America: A spontaneous journey

A sudden life without obligations leads to an opportunity for adventure

There is a ton of topics I want to speak about on the design and development side. But to be honest with you, I need to produce photos and materials for that and currently I lack room for even a simple production shoot. Nearly all my things – including my photo studio equipment and wood shop – has been in storage for the past year while I’ve been living out of a cramped bedroom back home with barely two drawers to store things.

How I ended up in that situation was not due to financial reasons but unfortunate timing. A year ago I was looking to buy a house as my rental lease was about to expire. The plan was to put everything in storage and move back home to my old bedroom only temporarily while I put together a down payment and closed on a house. But it was then that my workplace chose to lay off a number of creative/production people. Thanks to them, it would now be difficult to secure a home loan while unemployed and my temporary living situation suddenly became indefinite…and it would be for an entire year.

During that time I worked on my personal business and brand and got back on my feet. So I’m very happy to report that soon all my things will be coming out of storage as I am currently closing on a new home.

So as I finish closing over the next few weeks and getting moved back in, I’d like to rewind to exactly one year ago. Not to talk about the layoff – I will have plenty to speak about that in future writing – but rather, I want to talk about something else that resulted from that bad situation: the opportunity to experience a grand adventure to the west.

The opportunity of a lifetime

Hours after being booted out the door of my former work, I sat in an Irish pub staring into a glass of Guinness and asking myself that familiar question of all those who’ve been in my shoes: “What now?”

I knew for certain that I didn’t want to head back to work right away. I needed a break from all of that and as the holidays was quickly approaching, I knew many clients and businesses would be radio silent until the season was over.

As I hadn’t taken a vacation in a while, now was the perfect time to do so. Going somewhere warm and spending time relaxing on a beach and photographing scenery didn’t sound like a bad idea to me at all.

I don’t know many who dislike traveling, but I especially like to travel as I’ve always been very curious and adventurous. I occasionally hop in my car during a lazy afternoon and drive somewhere random on a map just to discover what’s there, and I’ve learned of a lot of unique spots this way. Occasionally I daydreamed about being free of obligations so I could simply travel the country, photograph new places and finding out where the next adventure would take me next.

Suddenly I realized I was exactly in that situation. I’ve been jobless before, but always had a household to maintain between jobs. Now with no home, job, bills nor responsibilities, I had all the time in the world to go where I wanted and do what I wanted and had no “final day of vacation.” This would probably be the only time in my life I could do anything like this.

So as I finished my beer it was decided: with little thought on where to go I decided right then that I was going to hop in my car, live where I wanted and follow wherever the road would take me.

Logistics, first

Over the next series of posts, I’ll tell you where I went and what I did while out on the road for a month. But there were basic necessities to take care of before I could accomplish all that.

Next time: A crash course on living in your vehicle

Patrick Shannon

About Patrick Shannon

A creative professional, photographer and design+technology advocate based in St. Louis, I have worked with a number of businesses, agencies and clients on design, production and marketing for everyday brands. In my spare time, I enjoy woodworking and am still attempting to build a life-sized replica of Optimus Prime out of wood.