I have had the pleasure to work with Ashley on many occasions in the past year; just from email correspondence you can tell she is a very lively and bubbly lady as well as passionate about travel. Earlier this year Ashley did an interview of me and this blog (Life, Love and Adventure). After the interview I wrote a guest post to feature on her blog of my favorite place in the world… Costa Rica! :) I figured it was about time I introduced my readers to this lovely lady, she’s gearing up to experience the long term travel lifestyle in the next few months.
Make sure to keep in touch with her adventures in Southeast Asia and beyond through her blog, A Southern Gypsy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself… I’m Ashley- the creator and mastermind behind A Southern Gypsy - an outdoor adventure travel blog. I’m a 20-something female who about eight months ago decided to trade my Nashville life in for a life of adventure and travel. Slight problem – I needed to save up money for that so from then and for the next 6 months I’m doing just that before I head out to Southeast Asia in November.
Where in the world have you been? I’ve been all over the United States, Canada, South Korea, and a majority of western Europe.
What inspired you to start traveling? I’ve been traveling for as long as I can remember – luckily my family always valued that. However, I’ve never traveled the way I will be – long term and slowly. What inspired me to do that was several things from feeling smothered in my monotonous life, to failed relationships, to tearing my ACL last year. I knew a change was needed or I was going to spiral into depression and finally plucked up the courage to combine my love of travel and writing.
Out of all the places you have traveled is there one specific place you could say was your favorite? I have a hard time picking favorites (of anything). I always go back to London though, as cliché as that might sound. I’ve always had a slight obsession with England and specifically London and after being there twice, I can say I love it and can’t wait to go back again.
You have traveled across seas many times, where was your first long distance travel adventure? My first long distance trip was to Europe – my family and I went to England for several days visiting London and Devon where we have family before going on a three week cruise to England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, and Norway. Even though it was a cruise and ultimately a tease, it opened my eyes to a whole new world.
Have you ever experienced culture shock while traveling? Yes, two words – South Korea. My first and only trip to Asia (until later this year!) was here and about 4 years ago. It was such a completely different place especially to a Westerner. I actually really enjoyed my time there. I just regret not getting out and seeing more while I was there.
You have been preparing for long term travel in Southeast Asia for several months now. Can you tell us about what made you decide to leave it all behind for long term travel? I touched on it a little bit before, but just too many disappointing and monotonous things going in my life that made me wake up and realize I didn’t have to continue living my life the way I was. I was miserable day in and day out – that’s exhausting and no one should have to experience that. Luckily, I was in a position to change that. All I needed to do was a little (okay, a lot) of hard work, save up money and work out all the plans.
As for why I chose Southeast Asia as my first destination? I felt like it was an easy destination to plan for a solo female traveler and extremely easy on a long term budget. Those two things combined with the fact that going somewhere completely different than what I’m used to was even more appealing.
Would you say that traveling has changed you as a person? If it doesn’t change you as a person, what’s the point? Besides traveling for the relaxation aspect, the point of it is to experience new cultures, foods, and people. When it stops changing you, you should probably change the way you do it.
You are a co-host for the Sunday Traveler? What’s that all about? The Sunday Traveler is a weekly travel link-up that myself and four others have put together that has steadily built up over the months. Every Sunday at 12AM GMT we open up the link up for 30 hours so that other travel bloggers can add their own stories. It’s a fantastic way to network and promote work. There are a few small rules, but nothing major and it’s a lot of fun! Come join in!