September 26, 2014

Souvenir

I won't call it buyer's remorse, but sometimes I get so excited I buy ridiculous souvenirs.


Back when I first visited the UK 10 years ago I brought back a couple of tshirts as souvenirs and wore them to threads. I'm not kidding. I'd bought a particular pack of three t's with a union jack waving on the front that said "London." I don't remember when I finally tossed the last of those out, but I had literally worn holes through the whole thing. It was stained and frankly disgusting but I loved that stupid shirt. There was a tee in Iceland that said "Kick Ash" and I wish I had remembered to go back and buy it. I have this penchant for buying ridiculous tshirts or sweatshirts while on vacation and then go home and realize I don't even wear tshirts very often. I bought these two while at the Wallace Monument and after getting back home I realized that aside from working out or sleeping I will probably never wear these out and about. But here I am still buying tshirts as souvenirs. Oh well, they're cheesy and I don't even actually care. I love them.


William Wallace is my hero and I've been dreaming of visiting the Wallace Monument for years. This was me getting to finally see Wallace's sword (which is actually as tall as I am(I'm 5'6"!)) and I spent the whole time I was there crying and gave the poor Australian tourists who took this picture for me a very impassioned speech about freedom and the free market and natural law.

Some people get excited over sports.
I get excited over economics and 700 year old swords.
Tomayto-Tomahto. 

I decided today that I'm going to remain single until I find a man with the politics of William Wallace, the voice of Josh Groban, and the everything else of Chris Helmsworth. 
I'm all about the realistic goals.

September 21, 2014

North Sea

Oh hello.



I'm not sure if anyone out there is even still reading this here page, but remember me? It's okay if you don't, I barely remembered this page until just a few days ago. Life has been busy. Sad-ish, joyful, breathtaking, interesting, infuriating, annoying, invigorating, magical, political, unpredictable. Busy. I have so many pictures I wanted to share and I just don't even think it's possible for me to even begin to cover all my adventures. At some point I'll catch up. We'll see.



Fisherman's Sweater- Charity Shop in St Andrews, Jeans-Charity shop in Edinburgh, Shoes- H&M in Norway, Earrings- my Great Grandma's, Pin-Gift from my parents, Tote- Viking Ship Museum


Chelsea moved to Texas in June. I don't know if I mentioned that. It's been rough,both of us being away. We hate it, we love it, we Skype every Monday to discuss life. One day we decided to define our styles. She was Preppy Beach Bum. It's true. I was Preppy Hobo. I think Preppy Hobo Hipster Granny is probably a bit more accurate, but it's cool. I like it. Being away has given me such "clarity" about the kinds of clothes I want to wear. Not just about my clothes, but how I wear my hair and makeup, the baubles I wear, and life too, but really about how I want to present myself to the world. I don't really recognize the girl who left California. I don't feel like her, and in many a way, I don't even look like her. I don't think like she did, I don't see things the way she saw them. She was so sad, so very, very lost. Oh I am by no means perfect these days. But that shell I had built up, that other girl, the one who left California, that got broken down. It got shattered, smashed, blow-torched, and stomped into oblivion, and that left me feeling even more confused. Slowly, slowly, slowly I've let parts of me I'd long abandoned begin to reemerge, and suddenly I feel like myself, like the woman I was meant to be, the one I want to be. Some of my days have been long and filled with frustrations and broken down buses after incredibly late buses, but every night and every morning I am glad to be alive, to be where I am, to make plans for the future. That big scary black curtain labeled "Future" doesn't really scare me anymore. I'm brave and bold and wild and brilliant and loud and obnoxious and kind and friendly and helpful and loving and hard working and curious and anti-establishment. Anything I could possibly want is out there and I will reach for all of it. Well that was a rabbit trail.





I found this sweater totally by accident and it has quickly become a favourite in my minuscule travel wardrobe. I've managed to collect a ton of hats and tote bags as I travel, but my clothing options are getting pretty slim! I have about 7 articles of clothing that I brought with me, and maybe an additional five or six that I have collected. There's about three outfits in that and oh man am I looking forward to a closet again. I'm looking forward to a lot of things, my closet being one of the lesser ones. My plan is to hug my family, hug my car, and then hug my clothes. I miss them all so much.







I had a dream about going back home the other night and in it I had somehow been forced into dating this other volunteer at the last farm I was at who I did not get on with (and not in a potentially cute way) and we were at Disneyland right after I had landed back home and then he was trying to buy me a Disneyland Pass and I kept refusing but was $9 short for the one I wanted (??) and so he bought it and then I found my parents sitting eating ice cream and laughing while I cried about this horrible situation and struggled with the moral dilemma of wanting the Pass but also wanting to be rid of this horrible human. I feel like this was a metaphor for where I am emotionally when it comes to being on the road. I leave my current location (not a farm, an Estate and basically I am maiding all day and it's not as cool as it might sound.) the First and head to two more places for two weeks each. Then I am home. So much and so little time.



I'll be back soon. Promise.

In case you're wondering I am currently in St Andrews and this location is a 10 minutewalk from my bedroom. I'm not mad.

August 24, 2014

Twenty-Seven

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

Off!

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.


Flying


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.
Duh.


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

Drizzle


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?