August 24, 2014


After a few hours of freezing in the rain while weeding one of the vegetable beds, then nearly dying of heat stroke while in the polytunnel. Also the most recent selfie I have. 

When I was in Iceland I ended up flying to the Northern Fjords to stay a week with the friends of the WWOOF site organizer for the farm I was at in Norway. The town I was staying in was about an hour's drive from the airport and my hosts said, oh just hitch hike, everyone does and someone will take you. When I got there I was the only person at the terminal and ended up having to call a taxi. I only had so much cash and the taxi driver ended up stopping the meter halfway to the town so I could pay her. She took me to this little garden, free of charge, and we talked and during our conversation I told her my whole sad story from the farm in Iceland and burst into tears. I was stressed, tired, hungry, and in dire need of a hug. The poor driver just listened to me and apologized for the behaviour of her countrymen, and was just the kindest person ever. She asked me how old I was and I said "I'll be 27 in August."  Her whole face lit up and she just looked at me with this wide, massive smile. "27 is the BEST year. I am not joking," she said, "I can tell you are in for an amazing 27!" I fully admit she might have been bullshitting me to ease my tearful nerves, but her words have rung in my ears ever since. And others have all told me the same thing. 27 is a good year to make big decisions, figure yourself out, and to just start really living I've been told.

I've always had a weird relationship with my birthday, frankly it has always depressed me. Another year and look where I am, nowhere. But this year, this year is different. I've been looking forward to my birthday for months now. I had all these plans, made mostly because I know that despite how much I dislike my birthday, I would really hate it this year not being with my favourites. But more than that I feel like this new year for me is going to be full of really amazing opportunities as long as I take them and make them.

One of the biggest lessons I've been learning while gone is how life doesn't just happen to you, you really have to go and make it. So many people in our world seem to think it will just happen, but you really have to grab it. I want to grab at it, chase it, tackle it, and just devour every opportunity. I am so excited about 27. I really enjoyed 7 and 17 and I have decided that no matter what, I will enjoy this year of my life, I will enjoy all the years of my life from this point on. No more Sad Ashley every August 24. No more Sad Ashley in general. Of course I wish I could be camping with my family, but I'm also learning that you have to invest yourself wherever you are. I am in Scotland, a place I've been dreaming of seeing for 13 years. Take all the opportunities I can while I am here, make this day the best that I can. And follow suit with everyday.

I know that there's going to be a part of me that is sad today purely because I am not with my peeps, but I'm honestly so excited for the coming year. There's a lot of things I've got planned that really scare me, but in a really good way. 27, let's do this. Let's take the world by the horns.

July 27, 2014

"Three More Months"

The first two destinations on this journey were fraught with problems. Don't get me wrong, they have all be huge learning experiences, and I really honestly wouldn't change any of the things that have happened since I left in May. But problems are problems, stress is stress, and bad days are still bad days even when on a wild and crazy wonderful adventure.

I've been in Scotland for a very short time and oh my stars I am so in love! There is so much that has happened, so many times I have pinched myself wondering if this is all a dream. It's been amazing and has just filled me with joy.

But I miss home. I miss my bed. I miss having a closet. I miss my people.

My days don't generally start terribly early while I am here in Edinburgh. I'm usually out the door by 10 or 11 am. I walk everywhere though and I try and cram as much into one day as possible. By about 3-4pm I am so tired and my feet are killing me, so I usually head back to my hostel to use the (completely terrible, abominable excuse for) wifi and plan the rest of my day and take a bit of a break. While I have some great stories about pubs in the evening, I'm not a big drinker, nor am I always into going out at night after being out all day. So there I am catching up on the goings on of my friends and family back home and suddenly I realize how very alone I am. Hostel living is weirdly lonely. You are surrounded by people 24/7, yet you are entirely alone.

I've come to realize just how much I don't like being alone. Not like the solitude you seek when you've just had too much of people, that everyone needs. But I don't like not being surrounded by people I love, or at the very least being a short drive away from being with those people. It's not because I don't like my own company, I really do! But sometimes on this trip my own company has felt endless. It get's really old.

I've been gone for about 11 weeks, and still have 14 to go. I have definitely reached the point where I am just soooo tired of living out of a suitcase, where I'm really ready to be home. To have a real place to call home. The weeks and months after I get home are going to be full of changes and me making an effort to not go back to old bad habits, and I'm honestly pretty frightened by the enormity of that. But knowing that I can do all that and still hug my family, still hang out with friends, makes it a little less scary.

And I am so incredibly lucky to be here! So beyond belief blessed that I've got to go out and see such amazing things. It's like when you have been on an amazing vacation and you know in your head that as soon as you get home you will wish you were still on holiday, but you are just so ready to be back in the comfort of your own home.

I leave for my next destination on Thursday morning and I am really looking forward to it. It will be my home for a month and will feel just a little bit like a home. And then my next location will be the same. And my final location is only two weeks and then...

Then I'll be home. My home. Home. I like that word.

Three more months.

July 25, 2014


Today I am flying to Edinburgh! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am I HAVE SO MANY PLANS!! I am so so so so so so! Very! Excited!

This first week I will be in Edinburgh, then will spend a month in and around Falkirk and Stirling. If anyone has an recommendations, send them my way! Edinburgh is a place I have been dreaming of visiting for so long I've been panicking about getting everything in to this one week. I will be flying out of Edinburgh though, and it looks like I'll probably have a little bit of time at the end of this trip to squeeze in anything I've missed. But for now I have a plan for sight seeing and I'm really excited about it! My first day there I'll be doing a bit of charity shop digging in an attempt to fill my suitcase back up and I've been making mental notes of the kinds of clothes I'd like to find so I played around on Polyvore to make up some outfits for the things I'll be doing this week.


Today I decided to keep things super casual and comfy. My flight leaves Norway in the evening and I'll get into Scotland around 10pm (which will be my 11pm), so clothes that are basically pajamas are great. When Erica visited me on Spring Break we painted some grey sweatshirts, and mine, while hilariously huge now, has been a super comforting and comfy reminder of home. It's definitely waaaaay too hot here in Norway for the sweatshirt now, but when I get into cold and rainy Scotland, I will definitely be glad for it! An oversized chambray button up is also comfy and much cooler for the Norwegian heat wave! And since I am always hot, it's a nice light layer to wear under my sweatshirt.
I know so many people have a problem with leggings-as-pants, but I'm going to be hanging at the airport all day, sitting on a plane, and then crashing into bed as soon as I am checked into my hostel. I'm wearing leggings as pants.
Does anyone else ever have a problem with their feet swelling on planes? It doesn't happen to me every time I fly, but often enough that wearing constricting footwear is super uncomfortable. But my big old rain boots take up a lot of valuable room in my suitcase. My solution is to wear my boots to and from the airport and keep some flip flops in my backpack for in the airport and on the plane. Complicated, maybe, but comfortable!
The backpack I originally brought with me broke upon arrival in Iceland, so I've been making due with tote bags, which is not an ideal option. But luckily my wonderful mama sent me the backpack I used in High School (which is pretty damn embarrassing but also a magical time capsule of budding political views, music taste, and female empowerment world views of myself and my bests). I'm doing my best to finally become one of those people who travel light and well and I think this outfit is a perfect for that.

Edinburgh Day I

My first day in Edinburgh I'm planning a fairly light schedule that will include thrifting, and exploring the castle. The whole week I am there will be rainy and chilly and I think a cozy cream sweater, comfy trousers,and my military jacket will do just the trick of being warm and stylish. Flats are good for walking and being cute and a few simple accessories bring it all together.

Edinburgh Day II

Day two will be a little more full. I'm planning on walking the rest of the Royal Mile ending at Holyroodhouse and then seeing the monuments and view from Calton Hill. My mustard zinnia skirt is really too big at this point, but that skirt has proven to be such a great piece to have while travelling. The one "fancy" purse I brought is a vintage Dooney & Bourke bag, which I highly recommend if you are travelling to a rainy location. Again, some good walking shoes and simple accessories complete a cute look.

Edinburgh Day III

For my third day in town I'm planning on hiking up to Arthur's Seat, the highest point in Edinburgh, and having a picnic and exploring. That night I'll be giddily going on a Ghost Tour! I have a silly love for haunted anything, and have gone on a ghost tour in San Francisco before and they are so much fun! This one takes you down into the vaults and underground of Edinburgh and I seriously cannot wait. A good hiking outfit for me always involves shorts or a skirt because I always get too hot, and you have to indulge in a little tartan when you go to Scotland.

Edinburgh Day IV

Day three will be for museums! Oh there are just so many I want to go see! I seriously wish I had this exact outfit in my suitcase, and I will definitely be looking for some of these items as I attempt to replenish my sadly lacking wardrobe. 
Edinburgh Day V

Day five I have left somewhat open. A day for maybe seeing the rest of the museums I want to check out. Or a little more thrifting, or perhaps I will check out a few historical sights. We'll see! I tried on this dress at H&M here in Norway and loved it, but decided to skip it because of the high Norwegian Kroner price. But I really, really loved it, so I may go back once I am in (much cheaper) Scotland and pick it up. It's definitely a dress I'd wear once I get home too, so fingers crossed I can find it! Otherwise I may have my mom see if she can find it for me back in The States.

Edinburgh Day VI

Day 6 I have to leave fairly early to catch the train to my next location. Another comfy but still cute travel outfit as I head to Falkirk where I will spend the next month. I actually bought a t shirt very similar to this one in Norway and it has become one of my favourite tops.

I always like seeing inspiration posts like these, so hopefully y'all do too!

 I am seriously so excited for the next league of my trip! I have a few more Norway posts, so hopefully those will be up sometime in the next week or so. 

July 16, 2014

Norway on Instagram

Norwegian makes me giggle sometimes
("Full speed with 4G")

A cabin with no electricity, running water, or gas on the top of the Fjord over looking a Lake.

Raspberry picking along the Fjord

Replacement sneakers and glacier rivers

Waterfalls and wild raspberries

A t-shirt splurge, new wool, and a secondhand handknit Norwegian sweater for a cool 16 clams. 

Still can't believe my luck on this one.

I named this guy Sven and really, really love this picture.

When you find Norwegian Nancy Drew books, you buy Norwegian Nancy Drew books.

Trolls sleeping as I raked fields.

Super Moon at 3:30am.
Yeah, I actually hate not having a night.

More Glacier Rivers

Whale Steak.
I know, I know. 
But guys some environmentalists fed me this and assured me it was caught ethically and was not near extinction. 

Also it was delicious.

Frystekake "Prince Cake" I made and then destroyed.
Also it was so good.

Gigantic raspberries on thebest carrot cake I've ever had.

There were flecks of dark chocolate in it...

I bought a hat because it has trolls knit into it.

A really awesome Skype session with my favourite people.

I leave this farm Saturday and head to Oslo where I will get to hangout and get my fill of museums for 6 days. On Friday I fly out of Oslo to Edinburgh! I am really going to miss this farm, I'm going to miss Norway, and I am also so excited to head off on this final destination. I'll be in Scotland at least until the end of October, and then home. I have learned so much, and still have so much to learn. I'm terrified and so incredibly excited to go home. I'm so exceptionally grateful for everything. I just feel so excited to be able to live. I'm learning to let go of the things that don't bring me joy, that don't build me up. I'm learning to be someone who brings joy and builds up. 

I am really, really, really happy. 
I am so joyful.

July 6, 2014


Cardigan- Old Navy, Dress- Me made, Belt- Target, Shoes- H&M

I have lost 40 pounds in the 7 weeks I've been gone. As a result most of the clothing I have with me is now either comically large or finally fits. The pieces that fit though are t-shirts and tops, while all my skirts are huge... It's a struggle. Unfortunately I've found that thrift stores here are overpriced and lacking in selection, so I will have to wait until I get to Scotland in order to replenish my diminishing wardrobe. In the meantime though I have been doing a lot of thinking and assessing as far as clothes go. I have a post coming on that topic, but it's made my desire to take outfit pictures pretty small. There isn't a lot with me right now that I love and I've come to the conclusion that wearing clothes you don't love is a waste of time. And while I can't do much about that right now, it's given me a lot of food for thought!

I meant to have these up on the 4th, but the weather has suddenly turned rainy and made picture taking difficult. It also makes hiking difficult. Yesterday I decided to go on a hike that everyone had assured me, was a leisurly, nice little jaunt. Two and a half hours, a hugely steep mountain, and getting caught in the rain, later I made it almost to the end of the trail when the rain got even harder and I decided to head back. These are from a moment of dryness at the top of the trail. Don't get me wrong, the hike was super cool and well worth it, but also I was annoyed and returned home soggy and tired. I should probably mention that I ended up hiking two steep mountains too because where I live is at the top of another steep mountain. I really like Norway, but my knees are pretty done with hiking Fjords!

Also if you were wondering what is up with my face in the first few pictures, it's due to the fact that I noticed this guy hanging out in a tree next to me.
Have I mentioned how terrified of bees I am?

July 2, 2014


I have been in Norway for two weeks and I don't even know where to begin! While the first two days of being here were riddled with strange problems, I think I may have finally left the bad luck I ran into in Iceland behind (knock on wood!). The farm I am currently at has been absolutely wonderful. When I arrived there were two others here working, but both left this past Saturday, so now I am on my own until I leave here in a little under three weeks. I've spent 90% of my time here being outside whether I am raking field after field of hay or rescuing potatoe plants or swimming in a Fjord. I've been tanned, and sunburnt, my hair has turned a rather intense shade of red, I'm covered in bug bites, and extremely happy.

I've walked on glaciers, stood by a lake of smelted snow, saw the oldest Stave Church in Norway, spent Midsommer on the top of a mountain watching bonfires in the bright light of the night, seen so. many. trees, visited a village of 60 people, eaten whale, laughed so much, eaten even more, made a friend or two, and been filled with joy. So much joy.

I don't want to get too personal here, but I realized something the other day: My time in Iceland was all about tough love. Walls and ideas I'd built up were coming down, and coupled with my circumstances I crumbled. I asked my parents to let me go home and my mom had to basically slap me in the face and tell me I was being an incredible brat (I really was). And after that, after starting to see things a little clearer, I started to feel something I haven't felt in a very long time.

When I realize that I've only been in Norway for two weeks my brain sort of short circuits. So much has happened, and I don't even recognize the girl I was in Iceland. She cried and cursed a lot. (I mean like, a lot guys). But me, I smile and sing, and get excited when I see moss covered rocks because they are actually trolls guys. I've had one bad day here, and it wasn't even a bad day, I was just seriously exhausted. I am joyful. I am excited. I've fallen in love with life and the world and my place in it. Life is really, really, really good.

That's not to say that there haven't been days when I'm frustrated or tired. Sometimes the days seem a bit monotonous. Sometimes I want to punch 19 year old know it alls. Sometimes I just want one more hour of sleep. But overall everyday is a good day. Iceland may have been the Tough Love I needed, but Norway has been a does of Life Love.

I leave here in 20 days and leave the country in 24 days. It's hard to be both super excited for the weeks to come and super impatient to move on to my next adventure.  
But views like this make me okay with sticking around for a little longer.

Norway, I am super into you.

June 12, 2014


It's 9pm right now and the sky outside is bright and alive. 

I officially leave on Monday and will make my way to Beautiful Norway. 
There is a lot of things I can say about my time here in Iceland. Heartache isn't always bad and can do a lot of good for a person sometimes. 
I've come to realize a lot of things about myself including that I am a total exhibitionist when it comes to my emotions, and I'm trying to change that. There is a difference between sharing and making a fool of myself and I am really good at the latter. 

Travelling this way has left me sad often.
I've learned about the things that make me happy and being alone isn't one of them.
That said this place has been wonderful
Awful, horrible, tear inducing, ridiculous, and full of growing pains. 
But wonderful.

I've had some serious time to evaluate life and I'm excited for the future.
For foreign adventures.
For finding adventure in my own home.

Growing pains suck a whole lot, but they make you grow. 
And that is good.