2015: A Great Traveling Year

A very happy Ashley in Prague, March 2015

I didn't really realize how great of a travel year I had in 2015 until I started to pen this post. I conquered 9 new cities and one new country that I had never visited before! I'd say that's a major win; and this is what I love about blogging: in documenting, I realize how stupendous my year actually was.

Let's break down where my travel disease led me by month: 


My first trip of the year brought me to artsy, weird, beautiful Portland, Oregon. I'd categorize Portland as a sleepy, yet odd city/town with a great music and food scene. 

 Also, the trees in Oregon are just loooooovely. 


Once February rolled around, I worked quite diligently on my evil master plan: I scoured the interwebs for a way to have an extended stay in my beloved London. My job allowed for me to work from home, so first thing I did was ask the boss if she didn't mind of I, ya know, worked from halfway around the world. She said "As long as you get your work done, that's fine with me!"

Moral: If you don't ask, you shall never receive!

Next thing was accommodation. How was I going to afford a 4-6 week stay in the most expensive city in the world?? Enter trustedhousesitters.com, which provides free housing in return for petsitting.  I watched Oscar the dog for over 3 weeks. This coupled with a few nights here and there at my friends' places (and a mini Euro trip) allowed me to have a FULL 6 WEEK STAY in LONDON TOWN. 

Oscar the dog.
For my mini Euro trip, I went to Florence and Prague.

 The magnificent Il Duomo. 

 It's impossible not to fall in love with Prague. 

When I returned to England, I took one more mini trip to Birmingham and Stratford-Upon-Avon.

I then returned to London for a couple more days before I bid adieu.


I finally took it easy on travel (my pocket book was happy about this).

Back at it again, this time in Boston.

Going to a Red Sox game is an absolute must! 


This was a big month for me--the month I got a promotion at my job and opportunity to move to the East Coast. I chose New York City as my new home, and this month I was off to Waterloo, Canada for training (my company has a branch in Canada). 


I spent two whirlwind weeks saying goodbye to loved ones in San Diego, and then, August 15, 2015 is when I moved to NYC in the sweltering, crazy summer heat. 


No travel this month, as I started to ease into my new city and build a community around me (whilst also appreciating every rooftop/skyscraper view).


Took a very quick work trip to DC, went out at night and snapped a blurry photo of the white house while some guy yelled at us to "not get too close!" Okay, guy. 


Stayed in New York, had a fun Friendsgiving.


Went to Miami, which was warm and relaxing, but not terribly interesting in the winter so I never posted on it.

And finally, I took a trip back to San Diego for Christmas. I stayed for a New Year's Eve Wedding, which was magical and beautiful (and a reunion for old college roommates/sorority sisters).

What a year! Internally, 2015 was a year I was going through some struggle, knowing I had to branch out of San Diego, but was still figuring out the how/when/where. I think this was evident in my random travel to a few US cities ("should I live here?"), as well as returning to London for a long stay because I missed it so.

The move to New York was decided in a matter of days, and east just felt like the right direction. It is a city where I believe I get my "travel" in everyday--there's no shortage of things to do and interesting people to see.

I still battle my grass-is-greener syndrome, I still miss London, and I wonder if I will ever live in Europe again; however, this is home, now. In creating a post like this, I realize I don't have to envy another place, another life. My own life is pretty sweet, and I'm curious to see where 2016 will bring me, or rather, where I choose to go, because life is all about choosing and creating. 2015 is a testament to that. 


For Shits and Giggles

January is my busiest month at work; some comic relief is definitely in order.

Enjoy the things that made me laugh on the interwebs :)


My NYC Bucket List: Empire State Building and Xmas Tree in Rockefeller Center

I did two big classic NYC things in the past month. First off...the other night, I was walking with my buddy, David, and we both realized we had not been up to the Empire State Building since living here. There was no real line to get up there, so we thought, "Why not?"

The view from the ESB is the stuff movies are made of (uhhhh, Sleepless in Seattle, for instance?). So, whilst up there, I channeled my best Meg Ryan, but alas, my Tom Hanks never came for me. Maybe next time.

The other classic New York-y thing I had to check off my list? One very famous tree in one very famous center. Oh Christmas tree, you were surely delightful. I don't think this picture truly shows you how huge this tree is, but at least you get to see how very beautiful it is!

And with that, I ✓✓ two off my list! 


Here's Looking at You, 2016

I'm excited for 2016. This is because 2015 was the year I got off my sorry ass and finally moved out of San Diego.

San Diego is not a dead end for most; it's beautiful in it's simplicity. For me, there comes a time when you know--YOU JUST KNOW--that you have outgrown a place. I had known for years, but still tried to hang onto some remnants of San Diego I loved. My family and friends were really the only things keeping me there.

However, what everyone learns (at some point in their lives) is that living an unauthentic existence simply because you don't want to hurt other people only does a disservice to everyone. The mind, the body, the spirit all become depressed pretending to love a life you're not actually connected to. When you start feeling like a shell of a person, you are no longer enriching anyone's lives, especially your own.

And so, as most of you know, I packed up and moved to New York City on a complete whim. The past 4 months have been a whirlwind in the City. There's been an adjustment period--a time for building community and getting used to this new life. There have been nights where I have asked myself if I made a mistake, and mornings where I brushed off my doubts as growing pains. It's all part of the process, and I am a big believer in the quote that "the process is the result." I am already a changed person from all of four months ago.

Moving into a new year, I couldn't help but make a resolution list to continue my process of growing, living, and learning. So here we are, my Resolutions for 2016:

1. Visit one New Landmark in NYC Each Week. New York is HUGE and slightly overwhelming. I want to see it all and sometimes am unsure of where to start. I started making a list of things I must see to conquer them all. One landmark a week is certainly doable.

2.  Travel. Attempt to save up and take a trip to London and Berlin in late spring (HOPING I can swing this one). Go to Boston for St. Paddy's Day. Visit Philly in early March (this one is happening for sure).

3. Continue to Grow at my Job. I waited so loooooong to get this position. As I was adjusting to a new city, I was also adjusting to a new job. I'm doing well, but I really want to start to SHINE in my new role. This involves perfecting and organizing my daily schedule to maximize my time and energy.

4. Meet More People in the City. I already have a solid community in NYC, but I want to continue making more friends! This may include joining a club/league/something.

5. Write Down What I'm Thankful For EACH Day. Life gets hectic anywhere; life in NYC is hectic x1000. If I don't take the time to appreciate what I have everyday, I'll miss it all. To add to this, I wanna get back in the swing of blogging...so a post once a week (at least) is my goal.

I'm excited for 2016, and I am excited to live this life. Who says you need to slow down at 30?! Not this lady.


A Three Sentence Movie Review

1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan (Star Trek reigns supreme, ok?). However, I enjoyed this, mostly due to the main character, Rey, who wasn't a helpless little lady, but a self sufficient heroine who kicked some major ass. Throw in BB8, the cutest little robot, and that makes this Star Wars one of the best and something you should see on the big screen.

2. The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne is trying to nab all the Best Actor awards...AND SUCCEEDING. The film is beautiful overall, as is Eddie's performance as the first transgender woman (as well the supporting actress, Alicia Vikander, a recent favorite of mine). I will say the plot was predictable and the ending left me wanting something better, something not so CLICHE; however, the entire film is most definitely worth a watch, although you don't need to be in theaters to watch it.

3. Joy

Odd film, but to be expected from the same director who created Silver Linings Playbook, among other strange films. Joy is not his best, but I will say the story is fascinating (especially because it's based on a true story). Also, end rant: I like Jennifer Lawrence, but when is she going to play anything else besides herself (it's time for a more challenging role, J Law)?

4. Carol

Does Cate Blanchett ever have an off performance? I'm pretty sure she's one of the ultimate queens of acting, as she proves yet again here in this tale of a lesbian relationship in the 50s. Overall, I liked it a lot but wanted just a little more development of the relationship between Cate and Mara--not the fault of the actresses, but the script.

Picture Credits: 1/2/3/4


For Shits and Giggles

It's Monday and we are oh-so-close to the holidays. To help get in the festive spirit, I wanted to share the funniest things I found on the internet recently (there's some holiday themed ones in there!).

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