Hello and Welcome!
Hi, I am Ashley, a small-town Wisconsin native, who at the age of 31, left my career in corporate Health Care to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
My childhood was far from picture perfect. Which, I think that's fair to say for most people. My dad did the best he could but, it quite was common for me to wake myself up for school hours after he had left for work and be home from school for hours before he came home from work. It was a different time, perhaps a better time, and a time that I'm so thankful for. I was very much looked after and cared for by every single neighbor. Truth be told, I still am as I still live in the same house.
Once, my teenage years hit things became really rough. To say there were a few traumatic events ... or years would be an understatement. Now, I could write a book on those years and all the struggles but, I will not. C’est la vie. That’s life. You can let it drag you down and beat you up or you can choose to take away the positives from your negative experiences and grow from them.
What I will say is this, when you’re surviving as a child, you’re learning incredible life skills. Ironically, those skills are insanely useful when it comes to travel. Skills such as, resourcefulness, adaptability, time management, social skills, problem solving, creative budgeting, the power of work hard, the art of perseverance, and so much more.
After high school, my five-year plan (laughingly) consisted of a nice house, marriage, kids, and a career. Truth be told, that was only my five-year plan because it was everyone’s plan at the time. That’s the American Dream isn’t it? Sure, it sounds nice but, it really wasn’t my true dream. Knowledge was always my biggest drive. So much so, that I used to joke I was going to be a professional student. Ashley, just pay attention, learn more, do more, earn more, be better.
Many people say high school is the best time of your life. For some that may be the case but, not for me, I absolutely sucked at high school. Due to my habitual absence, I failed so many classes that I was technically a Sophomore going into my Senior year. My cousin and her husband were my miracle. They not only opened up their home to me but, kept on my ass in every single way to ensure that I would graduate with a high school diploma.
Now, it was a pleasant surprise to all when I went onto college and obtained two degrees. My grades sucked in high school, so obviously I didn’t have any scholarships, I had no money, and my parents did not assist in any possible way. It was not the perfect situation but, I wasn't going to let my circumstances stop me from doing what I wanted to do. So, I worked two jobs and took 18 credits a semester. My plan was to get in and out as fast as possible so I could start making some real money. Looking back, it’s all craziness to me. When did I sleep? How did I spend so many nights playing volleyball, pool leagues, and participating in many nights of debauchery? Can please someone bottle up the energy of a 21 year old for my morning coffee?
Shortly after college, we all started to grow up and one by one we each quit the townie bar scene. It became apparent that I was almost always the single one in the group. No kids, no man, you know, living the dream with the cutest dog ever, Porter.
What does living the dream even mean? Well, apparently work, more work, no motivation to do anything after work so, saving money, A LOT of Netflix, the occasional drink(s) down at The Corner Bar in the hood, and planning trips with friends that we never end up taking.
(PS) You can find Porter on the gram @ThePrincePorter. But, seriously follow him - he is way cooler than that golden retriever from Cali you started following last week.
December of 2015, my dad unexpectedly passed away and, I was left feeling … well, everything. But, mainly lost, as if I was missing something, and desperately needing something more. Feeling confident that I would not find whatever it was in my small-town, it was clear to me that I need to take a trip.
Where, with who? Solo, group, or with one friend?
Anyone else a big believer that everything happens for a reason? Sometimes the reason is for you, sometimes it’s not, and sometimes you never get to know the why. Well, my Canadian friend and I started to plan a trip with one requirement: it had to be an island. We took to Google flights and found the three cheapest flights for each other and ultimately choose Bermuda.
Two weeks before our date of departure, my friends dad was scheduled for open heart surgery. Now, obviously he could no longer join. There I sat, concerned for my friend and wishing the best for his father and also, debating in my mind, do I cancel my PTO and everything else, find someone to join, or roll the dice and go solo. At the end of the day, I decided I would go no matter what. I needed this. Remembering that a friend of mine recently got his passport, I reached out to see if he would be able to join for at least part of the trip. Thankfully, he has a pretty flexible work schedule during the winter and he was able to join me for the first week and then the second week I was solo.
This trip to Bermuda worked out better than I could have ever imagined, and it completely changed my life. Yes, I know, that's so basic. But, it’s true. Sitting there on the tarmac waiting for my plane to take me back to the United States I was in tears. It was the first time I had left a piece of my heart in a location other than my little small-town in Wisconsin.
Just like that, I was hooked! Once, I returned home I started crunching some numbers in Excel. Then, I set some financial goals for myself. Lastly, I went out and got a second job, and started bartending concerts again. For the next three years, I worked 60-100 hours a week, saving every penny I possibly could. There were times when it sucked. However, it was awesome how much money was starting to pile up.
At this time, I didn't really have a plan. All I knew, is that I wanted to travel as much as possible and as far as possible. Connecting with other nomadic travelers on social media really began to inspire me. And, not in a way like, oh I must visit that beach. It was deeper than that. There are all these women and men out there who are traveling the world full-time and making a living off of it.
Spring of 2019, my mind had been made up. I was going to quit my corporate career and travel full-time. Everything was falling into place. Between, Facebook marketplace, eBay, and weeks of hosing an estate sale I was able to sell over 10 thousand of dollars’ worth of stuff. Sold my both of my cars and then things started to get real when I submitted my three weeks’ notice.
For months, I ran around excitedly telling people that I was quitting the corporate world to travel full-time. When it came down to quitting, it was a weird mix of guilt and nerves. Am I really doing this? Thankfully, there are a few supportive people in my life that kept my mind in the positive zone. They kept saying things like, what is the worst that can happen? You travel for a few months, end up broke, and come back to your home in Wisconsin. Most people can’t even get away from life for two weeks let alone months! You will not regret this.
November of 2019, I boarded my very first one-way flight to Tahiti. Since embarking on that plane I've spent my time enjoying life and the simplicities it offers, sharing my life and personal journey with total strangers on the internet, publishing travel tips on my website, trying my hardest to inspire men and women around the world to chase after their dreams, scuba diving, beach bumming, always picking up trash, and promoting fellow ocean hero’s to join together and inspire all of us to do better.
The number one question I am asked is, ‘How can you afford to travel full-time?’. As I mentioned above, I worked tirelessly for three years, saving every penny I possibly could. Currently, I am solely surviving off my savings and my Patreon page.
If you are not familiar with Patreon, it is a social media platform where people can subscribe for a small dollar amount to help creators like, myself, continue to grow and produce content for all to enjoy. Quite honestly, my Patreon page is not something I promote constantly. It is very strange and uncomfortable to ask people for money, at least for me. That being said, if I inspire you or you simply love what I am doing and wish to be a bigger part of the journey, I invite you to click here to see if this is something you would like to be a part of.
All in all, I’m learning and growing. Constantly developing different travel styles with each country. Food!! There are so many different foods around the world. Honestly, you all know I'm a beach bum to my core but the food it way up there on the list as well. With each and every country my intentions remain the same, explore new lands and cultures at a slow pace. Many days I'm walking or riding my bike so I can see observe things up close with fresh eyes. It’s such an incredible feeling to look at a map and remember a moment that took your breath away or a dish you ate and fell in love with.
Traveling made me realize what was lost, missing, and what I was desperately needing. Happiness.
So, for now, I’m going to enjoy life to the fullest and let the world guide me where it guides me. It is my biggest wish that I can continue to inspire as many people as I can to chase their own dreams. Whatever dream you might have, you can do it! Please, don’t give up. Chase your dreams. Seriously, I grew up making myself cheese and ketchup sandwiches and now I’m traveling the world. Whatever your dream might be, you can do it. It’s up to you.
Thank you for making your way all the way down here! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to email me!