Introducing our Travel Blog

To travel by definition means a journey to an especially distant or unfamiliar place (Merriam-Webster). You don’t have to travel the world or even to the other side of the country to find your next adventures. Sometimes your greatest adventure is right in your backyard.

My name is Ashlee, and I have travelled as far as Australia and as close to home as Charlottesville. When you travel, you will find what is most important to you. For some that importance will be the things you do abroad, for others it will be the architecture you see, the history you learn, or people you meet. Keep in mind they are all important and will impact your trip in different ways.

This pilot blog to our new travel section is supposed to introduce why I love traveling, and I admit that have struggled to figure out what travel means to me. I type to you 2 months after I co-hosted a golf tournament to fundraise money to fulfill the bucket list of a 15 year old girl sick with residual issues from childhood cancer. Our primary goal was to fund a trip to send her and her family to Norway. Every time we hit a dollar closer to sending her, I was reminded of how hard I worked to send myself to Europe, 10 years ago in June. I am reminded of every trip and how it has brought me to the point of writing this blog.

Emma by the grace of the community was able to raise enough money to fund her entire families trip to Norway. There were days of doubt and struggle, but when we realized we accomplished our goal, no one could help but feel a sense of accomplishment. In a previous draft of this blog, I stated “it will spark something in her most people don’t find until they “just go,” but the reality is Emma passed away nearly 3 weeks ago. She passed the week after receiving an 11 day long itinerary laying out her time in Norway. Unlike most of us, Emma did not have the choice to not follow her heart to Norway or to a state past the Mississippi River; she was too sick to pursue those dreams. Her heart led her there in dreams, spirit, and in life. Norway would have been a rebirth of sorts for Emma, which is the way that Europe was for me. I embraced different cultures, food, currency, and people. I remember returning from Europe, and all I could do was talk about the people I met and places I went. I was ready for the next adventure, and for 4 years I travelled closer to home.

In 2014, I travelled to Mexico and Australia, and that was the start of the travel madness. I moved to Australia in 2015, and visited Singapore, Vietnam, and Vanuatu over the course of the next 3 years. My life was a continuous adventure, and I loved every minute. I collect currency from everywhere I visit in addition to collectors spoons, both of which I will talk more about in future blogs.

My advice if you have travelled before or if you haven’t travelled at all is to “just go.” Life is to short to wait. Emma would want you to live everyday the way she did until her last: filled with joy, laughter, and adventure. You would be surprised how fast time goes when you say “I need to start saving for that trip” to wherever. Don’t let life happen to you, and the next thing you know you are out of time or can’t travel for whatever reason. Make sure you live every day and every minute fulfilling your dreams. Some of you who will read this will never travel, some of you may not want to. Some of you will take the leap and go and see all the world has to offer. Your destiny is in your hands, this world has too much to offer to not try and see some of it.  

I have learned a lot since I started traveling and I want to share it all with you but in due time. The goal is to keep you coming back for more, right?! I will see you again soon, but, for now, start thinking of where your next adventure might take you.