I met Ashlyn through my call for collaborators on Instagram! I think she introduces better than I ever could: “I have experienced a good number of bumps during this journey and take it on as my duty to laugh through the crazy with you. I have always been drawn to those that are authentically sharing their lives with others, I never thought I would be one, but here I am. The inspiration I get through these amazing experiences have driven me to be less apprehensive about sharing my personal journey. Follow me through the good, the bad and the silly as I tackle serious life struggles and confusing train schedules one day at a time.”
Hi! My name is Ashlyn and I am a nanny. Or a nomad. Or a daughter, sister, girlfriend…I am A LOT of things. Except for myself most times, I feel like there is so much going on in the world constantly and we kill ourselves as young people trying to keep up with the rat race and societal standards. We have to be fun, responsible, happy, financially stable, maintain good friendships, learn new things, take over the world, and somehow still get enough sleep.
Needless to say, this is beyond exhausting. I make plans to run away as an adult far more than I did as a child! So, that’s what I started doing, I started running away. No, not literally, I would be drowning in baguettes staring at the Eiffel Tower if I really ran away. I have been giving myself the freedom to go as far as I can for as long as I can whenever I get a break. It has shown me so much about myself and makes me question my beliefs about the world I think I know so well. I have learned so much by getting out of town, out of the state and out of the country.
My biggest revelation is that I relied HEAVILY on other people. I have been to many places and they have all been lovely, but they relied on other people being there, mostly my ex who refused to take a five-hour road trip to see me. I have traveled a few thousand miles and spent a few thousand dollars on ex-boyfriend trips. These trips were great trips, but I never dreamed of experiencing long drive to the middle of Illinois farms mid-October or San Diego for the hundredth time. There are trips I could have taken years ago if I had just left when I wanted to without the godforsaken “who will go with me” saga. I always had this notion that going alone would hinder my experiences because I would have no one to look back on these times with. Which is true, and whenever I get the chance to travel with others I do. The big picture that I was missing is that I can experience things the way I choose to and make friends along the way.
I never thought I would be the girl packing up a bag and leaving for the weekend to experience things on my terms. I have social anxiety, a heart condition, a need for outside approval, and a mouth that never stops rambling away about whatever crosses the mind. So, how was I supposed to go on trips solely by myself? What was I supposed to do when I got to my destination? How did I stop using the lack of travel buddies as a crutch? I picked up my laptop and a camera. I didn’t think that sharing my experiences online would do anything more than give me an outlet to help me feel less alone. On the contrary it has given me opportunities, like this one and opened doors for others to know they are not alone. Let me be the first to tell you that you are never alone. I can no longer imagine living a subpar life filed with the mundane. The mundane is home my set schedules are great, but I no longer thrive within the mundane.
The mundane is the day-to-day life that can breed things such as discontentment, anxiety, self-loathing, and restlessness. The same schedule in the same place with nothing to look forward to is my least favorite place to be. I enjoy learning new things, smiling, soaking up the sun and taking in new experiences. That is what makes me thrive, that is what keeps me going, that is my means for survival. YES! Travel is my means for survival!
Whether near or far, travel challenges my beliefs, thoughts and feelings. How can I say the world is so cruel if I just experienced the nicest strangers helping me figure out the new parking meter? The smiles of the strangers in the museums, the “I see you” head nods from my fellow magical Black girl, the older men on the train asking me to break a tie during their philosophical debate, or the homeless man who sat to pray with me because I had half a sandwich to spare. These are the things that make me tear up and remember that humanity around the world is the most beautiful creation. Traveling alone has made me feel less alone than other activities I have partaken in. As Belle from Beauty and the Beast would say, solo travel makes “all corners of the world seem small”. Solo travel has allowed me the freedom to be myself and something so much bigger than myself all at the same time.
If you were to experience anything on your terms, what would it be? Now that you have your answer, go do it!
Want to keep up with all of the latest posts on Curves and a Carry On? Make sure you follow along on my Pinterest page, and you can save this post there, too!