Today is a very happy day in my life. I am overlooking the ocean and the mountains in a little beach town near Rio, Brazil, the salty breeze gliding onto my skin, so filled with gratitude. I checked my email an hour ago and had a fun surprise from AFAR.com, sharing the news that I am their Featured Traveler for today. Not only is this a huge honor for me, but it’s a culmination of vision as well as inspiration to keep me moving in the direction of my dreams.
Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about how much AFAR.com means to me as a person and as a traveler. It is a magazine and media platform that has built an incredible community, connecting some of the most engaged, knowledgeable and inspiring travelers around the globe. You can go to the site to get insider tips and ideas for your upcoming trips, create your own Highlights to share your insider tips with other travelers. You can also plan your upcoming or dream trips by compiling Wanderlists of your own.
AFAR focuses on experiential travel and dives in to the essence of a place, its people and its culture. When I first opened the magazine, its beautiful photography and detailed stories captured me– and not just as a reader, or even as an advocate, of which I am both. It captured my soul and spoke to me in such a way that said, Ashley, you were made for this.
I knew in that moment that I was made to do something with my life that involved travel, and that vision has grown more clear since that time. I have taken steps to move me in the directions of my dreams, and I believe that when we align ourselves with our deepest passions and purpose, that the world opens up in such a way that we have never before experienced. I have seen that this year, with winning the Trip Around the World with Travelocity, as well as becoming an AFAR Ambassador.
This life is so full of beauty, and it is also incredibly short. When we discover our greatest desires, I feel we have a responsibility, both to ourselves and to the world, to go after those things with passion. I know when I follow my calling and live with purpose, I am my best self and able to give to humanity more fully.
Here’s to living life full out.