9.29.2018

I just can't let go of this blog

In the height of blogdom, maybe around 2009 (give or take a few years) we were living the life. The blog communities were vast and rich, and there was this real feeling of making something. Some of us were wannabe writers, or wannabe photographers, or even wannabe moguls. But we were really making something, even if just for each other.

Somewhere along the way instagram took over and was more, well, instant. It was easier to post in the palm of your hand, and blogs started to die.

Although I'm on instagram a lot (man, it was an addiction for awhile) it's hard to deny that there's just something missing when it comes to the insta life. Instagram started in pure place, but has mostly become about advertising. This is not to say that blogs didn't do the same thing, but they didn't do it so drastically.

All this to say, I still have this space, and I'm hardly on it anymore, but I also can't let it go.

There's a feeling I miss about blogging. Maybe it's the time taken to create and write and edit a post that gives me a sense of calm. Maybe it's the feeling of ownership. As my friend Linda (whom I met through blogging) told me, "instagram is rented space, but you own your blog."

And that's just it. This is my little corner of the internet, and it's been an honest, embarrassing, amazing catalog of my life, starting from the first post in 2005. It can't be stolen, and it doesn't need hashtags. Honestly, there's never been another social media to truly replace blogs. And so the littleturkishgirl remains, forever a part of me, and forever a part of the internet.


7.14.2018

The Answer Could Be Yes


This past week I did a big thing in my professional life. While I can't spill the beans on what it is just yet, I can tell you it involved me asking my boss a question I had been wanting to ask for years.

It's funny, when you hold onto words for that long, those words become a part of your body somehow. As I mustered up the strength to ask my boss the big question, I started welling up with tears--my body was having an emotional reaction to these words being spoken out loud, as if I was going through an amputation. 

To my delight, and my years of wondering and worrying and waiting, my boss's answer to the question was "Yes."

Yes? Did she say yes? Did I hear that right?

The next day she brought my question to the CEO and he said "Yes."

Words have a lot a power, but I didn't know my words had so much power. In speaking my truth, my secret, my innermost desire, I was met with a yes from my boss and the universe.

I still have hurdles to jump over before I reveal the big question, but my confidence is high that I can clear said hurdles. The purpose of this post is to simply say that the biggest hurdle was myself. Finally speaking those words gave me freedom. Even if the answer ended up being no, I still would have felt the same sweet freedom simply by speaking the truth.

So a lesson to you, dear reader: go for the big thing. Say the scary words. Free yourself from the weight of self-doubt, and keeping your inner most desires hidden. Free yourself from the fear of hearing a no. You might be so utterly wrong, because the answer could be yes.

Yes. 


7.06.2018

Because You're F*cking Brave

Hey you. You're sitting there, often feeling so very tiny, but why?

It's time to remember who you are

YOU are the woman who takes the big chances even if you're scared shitless. You could be trembling in fear and you do the big thing anyway. 

You jump off the ledge. 
You pledge your feelings despite the sting of rejection. 
You venture into darkness because there might be an adventure somewhere in there. 
You switch cities even though it's terrifying
You live your heart's desires.  

YOU ARE FUCKING BRAVE. 

And that’s it, my dear. The thing you haven’t said out loud to yourself. So congratulate yourself with it. Bathe in it. Adorn yourself with this word, because it is yours. Wear your many gold bracelets of bravery, standing tall as a goddamn warrior princess with your spear (it's a new vision of myself, and I'm feeling it). 

Keep on being so damn brave, for you know deep down your only real fear is regret.



4.29.2018

Returning to the Simple Life in the South of France


I cannot tell you how nice it is to be soaking up the sun in the South of France after coming out of winter in Boston. I felt like this winter was one of the worst, and the corners of my mind were wintery indeed.

I'm shaking off the icicles here and letting the sun and wine heal me good.

Of course, it goes beyond sunbathing--between hopping on trains and catching new flights I have little time for anxiety because I'm too busy living.

What is it about the everyday grind that gets us down so low that we forget how to appreciate the small things?

Part of it is the extent that social media plays in our lives and the extent to which we compare ourselves to others. I've definitely been posting on social media while traveling, but I haven't been checking it constantly. It's more that I've been posting things as an after thought.

We're slowly dying in front of our smart phones and forgetting how great it is to just bite into a strawberry or drink a cappuccino for the joy of it, rather than to later post it to instagram to get the most likes. The sad part is I still participate in this circus sometimes, and if I get caught up in it too much, I'm just another freak show act like everyone else.

I miss the days of traveling and then blogging two weeks later, when blogs were in their golden age and the best form of social media--a place to share deep thoughts, full stories, and accompanying pictures. Bloggers will always be the best internet friends I have, and I'm glad we haven't let this art form die completely.

I'm hopping into a lot a topics here, but I think what I'm trying to get at is what we're all trying to get at: how to enjoy life more, how to stress less, and how to balance it all with these newfangled gadgets getting in the way.

I always remember how to live the simple life while I'm traveling, and then forget most of it again upon returning home. Of course, I'm exaggerating, as writers do.

What's not an exaggeration is the need to love life while we still have it.

(Thus concludes my South of France post in where I ponder the meaning of life amongst these colorful window shutters, amazing cheese, and even better wine). 

4.11.2018

Still Learning How


Being a restless soul I need daily reminders to appreciate the little things and embrace life. Of course I'm on a high right now because I'm about to embark on a month long trip to the UK and France. Travel, my favorite drug. 

Learning how to travel in everyday life is something I really want to master. I haven't done it yet. 

I'm restless because I'm constantly and astutely aware of death, every minute of every day. Exhausting, right? I'm always thinking to myself, could this day have been better? Did I appreciate it enough? Did I present the best Ashley? Did I give enough? Was I grumpy and a pain in the ass to others? 

I'm 33 and I'm not sure I've figured much out since I was 19 and started this blog. I mean, I know I have figured out a little. But. 

I'm still learning how to do life. 

Saturday, travel will fill my veins again, and I'll be embracing every single second like it was my last. Now to carry that on in non-travel periods. That is the ultimate task for the extreme wanderluster. 




3.22.2018

33, but not old yet

It cracks me up how our 30s are this weird zone in where somehow we're considered both young and old.

We're supposedly more mature than our 20s, but that doesn't mean we have it all together. Yeah, I bought myself a pretty rug and nicer dresser than the Swedish kind I used to buy, but I still have intense wanderlusty ways and think about catching a one way flight to Europe often.

I'll never really change or grow up in the way society wants me to, and I'm more at peace with that.

Incessant brainwashing since we were babies telling us where we should be at what stage still makes me feel behind sometimes--it's hard to shake. I have to remind myself that gypsies can't really be told what to do, which is what I am.

I'm not trying to be the rebel. I do a lot of things that helps me fit into society: I like gel manicures, I still listen to Justin Timberlake, and I certainly watch This is Us.

But I also adamantly stand by our right and freedom to declare our own path, without any interference from other people.

So maybe I will be that weird 30-something who wants to foolishly travel the world and live in different time zones. So then I'll be weird and foolish. But also content with my own choices.


***
P.S. I haven't posted here in AWHILE but that felt good, must not forget that writing is my cure to all that ails me. 

P.P.S. I turned 33 on 3/3, how do you like them apples?

Hi again,
Blog World!


1.16.2018

2017: A Good Traveling Year

I can't move onto 2018 until I recap my 2017 year in TRAVEL!

It was a good year! I went to 3 new countries: Wales, the Netherlands, and a stop in Belgium, rounding out the number of countries I've visited to 20. 

I went to something like 10 new cities I had never seen before, including York, Newcastle, Cardiff, Amsterdam, and Cincinnati to name a few. I added a new state to my list: Ohiooooooo!

I rang in the New Year in Vegas. It was the second time I've spent a New Year's in Vegas.

Saw Yale for the first time (the prettiest Ivy League I've seen so far). 

Went to Boston in March (during a blizzard), decided I'd be moving here! 

Had an absolute blast in Miami for my dear friend's bachelorette. We then went to her wedding in April, in New Orleans (a city that never gets old). I also went on a swamp tour! 




Headed for a UK/Europe trip in May, and got to visit a lot of Northern UK for work. This included Chester, York, Newcastle, and the gorgeous Lake District: 




(the North is underrated) 

I also fell in love with Cardiff, Wales! 



Oh, and don't worry...I made a stop in London (always and forever): 


Then came the Europe part of the trip. First stop, Amsterdam! 


My good San Diego friend, Lainey, joined me. 

And then came Paris, always a favorite of mine (my third time going)...



After Paris, my good french friend, Solene, nicely drove me to Normandy: 



The Europe trip was something like 4 or 5 weeks, I think? Would I be Ashley without a long Europe trip because I can? I think not.

Next trip was a place that surprised me with how much I liked it: Cincinnati, Ohio. Who doesn't like good beer, nice people, and a decently built up downtown area? 



By the end of all this crazy travel, I was left with one more month in New York City. This was my view on one of my last days there: 


A beautiful goodbye, I think. 


***

Here's to another good year of travel in 2018! 

12.30.2017

Onwards to 2018 and Finding Joy

I'm in San Diego for the winter, and in an attempt to defrost from Boston, I've made time to sit in the sun and soak up those soul-warming rays. Taking the time to cater to my endorphins and just BE in that moment--without a phone, without even speaking--got me thinking: Why don't I do this more often?

Here's the Ashley of 2017: a woman coming back to life, but not quite there yet. 

Well, 2018 is almost here and I really like the act of assigning a resolution/theme to the new year--so here we go: I want 2018 to be the year that I start to find joy again.

The past few years, post London, I feel like I've been chasing a really good dream I had. Boston is the closest I've come to loving a city again the way I loved London; however, I have developed some behaviors from my depressed years that I'm now hoping to shed. I am a deeeeeeep thinker by nature, a worry wart, and a lady who lives in her head most of the time (hello, I'm a pisces, nice to meet you).  All of these things got amplified during my times of sadness, and anxiety has become my unwelcome best friend. Anxiety, as we all know, is the stealer of joy.

Humans are the most interesting beings, in that we can live a whole life in our heads without actually living at all! Sometimes all I can see is the road I could take, rather than the road I am currently taking. All this obsession, all this worry has not served me well. So how can I change my behaviors? A few changes I will be implementing this year:

*In the morning when I first wake, resisting the urge to dive into social media. Instead, writing (setting an intention for the day or getting out my thoughts on paper), and/or doing yoga. When I commit myself to either one first thing in the morning, I notice a big difference in the day. 

*Planning group events and creating joy myself. Not waiting for joy to come to me, but being the creator of the good times.

*Continuing my love affair with taking pictures of the world, which turns my eye towards the beauty around me (I've always been good at this one). 

*Allowing myself to laugh, joke, be silly, and remembering the good in life. Letting go of the need to be right, and instead surrendering to the need to be loved. 

*Reading books that touch on reprogramming the brain, such as Daring Greatly (my current read). 

I've been putting this into practice already, and I feel tension releasing from my jaw. The political climate the past year has had us all in a tizzy. I'm placing down my arms and choosing to still find the goodness in life (this doesn't mean I'm apathetic. It just means I'm not going to be in battle mode all the goddamned time).

No matter where I roam, life is seriously beautiful. I choose to contribute to that beauty. Not only do I choose to find joy, I choose to be the creator of joy. Cheers to you, 2018! I come to you with an open heart, ready to be filled to the brim. 

12.09.2017

2017 was about waking up

We're nearing the end of 2017 (how did that sneak up on us), and I'm happy the end is near.

Politically, this year was a catastrophe. Personally, I was on the mend from a brutal last year in NYC.

It's funny how long it takes for your body and mind and spirit to heal after a bout of depression. There is depression, and then there is after depression*. It's not like it's so easy to snap out of sadness when you've been comfortable sitting it for so long: it's lukewarm, and not that pleasant, but kind of comfortable enough that you stay in it.

I was fully depressed in 2016 (weren't we all?). I spent a lot of 2017 away from NYC, taking looooong trips to California and Europe. It was these trips that brought me into my after depression phase. A phase where a lot of good moments started to come my way, but I couldn't relish in them completely. I was learning how to live again and not reside in the darkness of my mind.

The move to Boston gave me a spark of life, but moving to a new place comes with its own set of complications. Being new is about learning who to hang out with, where to live, and how you fit into the city. It's been a good, strength-building process.

Every year around this time "New Year, New Me" posts come out. The New Year means new beginnings, it's true; but that doesn't mean it'll always be this HAPPY AMAZING FANTABULOUS year. Sometimes it'll be a crappy year. Or a year of growth. Or, maybe, our best year yet.

Still, we strive for that best year yet, and I can't be mad at us for trying. By us, I mean humans and our simple, lovely ideas of having an eternally happy life, however misguided that may be. While we strive, I'm happy knowing that 'losing our way' does not mean we are lost completely.

2017, thanks for waking me: emotionally and politically. My year of after depression and being in a sleepy haze is no more.

2018, here I am, fully awake. Lovely to see you. I have big plans.

___________________________

*after depression is not a real term, but it should be. 

11.18.2017

Niagara Falls, My Ultimate Retreat






Have you ever been to a place that instantly quiets all your fears, doubts, and anxieties so that they become white noise, and a rush of beauty and happiness hits your body so forcibly, your cells have no option but to dance in delight?

Yeah, that's Niagara Falls for me. 

I don't know what I was expecting when I decided to drive toward the falls to check yet another site off my list, but this ended up being much more than a checkmark. The water was SUCH a force that all I could do was stand in awe of it, mouth agape. It moved me. I heard the earth whisper in my ear, "it's going to be alright, Ash. Everything in your life is going to be alright." 

It's a reminder to surrender to nature more often. After all, it's where we come from, and it's where we  must retreat to. 

It's all going to be alright. 

9.20.2017

My Guided Meditation


My friend Andres challenged me to write a guided meditation plan. I struggle with meditation, so this wasn't too easy for me. However, what I've come to realize is that writing is truly my mediation.

So here it is:

Preferably you are on your rooftop, because it’s a total zen spot for you. Take a deep breath. Breathe in life and let it sit in your lungs. You are alive, and that is miraculous. Take a few breaths and meditate on this thought. Really let it sink in that today is for living, and you are an amazing living being made of stars and cosmic dust. Breathe out any stress or frivolous thoughts that are weighing on your mind.

Now get out your pen, because this is how you truly meditate. Write about what’s on your mind until you figure out the way to go. Writing always leads you to an answer, and you’ve always known that.

After you write out your thoughts, take a few minutes more to relish in the fact that you are a beautiful thing. Close your eyes. Connect to the universe and be glad you are a part of it. Let happiness and warmth take over your body. Let love pour into your heart while you continue breathing in life, breathing out stress.

Open your eyes and start your day, for you have connected to life before diving into everyday stresses.



**alternative quick route: Blast I’m Every Woman, the Whitney version, and dance your ass off to it knowing it’s ALL true. Go about your day.