Name & Age? Ashlyn George, 28
Where's home? Saskatoon, Canada
What was/is your last/current trip? Panama and Costa Rica
What got you started? After five years obtaining two degrees in university I decided to plan a five year round-the-world trip solo (coming back to Canada to work every six months for six months). Six years later I've been to 43 countries, 6 continents and more than 400 cities.
How do you pay the way? I worked a seasonal job back in Canada for the summer months. I also budgeted like crazy and have tracked every penny I've spent since 2010. I can tell you how much I've spent on ice cream...
What's always on your packing list? A travel pillow and blanket. Long haul buses and airplanes can be freezing cold, especially in tropical destinations. It takes a little more space in my bag but is worth it for comfort while on the road.
What’s the last thing that blew your mind? Through travel blogging I had the opportunity to fly in formation in a military jet with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. It was insane.
By land, by sea, or by air? I love airports but you can't beat the sites and adventures you get to experience while overlanding it with the locals.
Hotel or hostel? Camp or Couchsurf? Hostels are so great for meeting people. The best part is you can book a room to yourself if you're looking for a little more privacy than a dorm and still meet people.
What's your travel pet peeve? Activities that are booked up. But I can honestly only blame myself as I'm always last minute and like to book only the day before.
How do people react to you as a solo female traveler? Locals often wonder where my husband is. Others think it's really admirable. There has been an incredible rise of solo female travelers in the last five years though so more people are used to seeing women dominate the travel scene.
What scares you? I'm an adventure traveler and sometimes the activities I participate in scare me. But what's even scarier is saying no and regretting missing out on an experience all because of fear.
How do you overcome fear / anxiety / doubt? Sometimes fear, anxiety and doubt can be paralyzing. Research helps but sometimes it's just taking a deep breath and forging ahead anyway. Lists and writing down whatever I'm scared about also help as they let me visualize what it is I want to accomplish.
Worst memory: I once had a man enter my private room in the middle of the night. It was terrifying waking up to that and kicking him out. Always double check your door locks.
One unforgettable memory: I'm fortunate to have so many! But seeing my first magazine article about travel in print was a dream come true. It made me feel legitimate in the travel writing/blogging world.
Bravest memory: Every time I step on the plane at my home airport to leave on another solo trip. No matter how many times I do it, I always feel scared.
Culture shock moment: I remember crossing the border from quiet Laos to a hectic and loud Vietnamese town where there was no English and feeling very uncomfortable. It took me a few days to adjust to the different culture.
Best reason to talk to strangers: For inside information on what to see and do in an area.
How are you different while traveling? I'm a little more serious as I'm the only one responsible for my safety and my experiences. I need to make sure I have all my bases covered when I travel solo.
Is it harder to leave or to stay put? It's so hard to leave! Whether that's home or a place where you've made new friends. Always lots of tears leaving destinations.
Three things you've learned on the road:
- There are wonderful people everywhere willing to help you.
- I am strong and independent.
- A global education is as valuable as a university education.
What keeps you going? New experiences. I want to see, taste and try everything the world can offer.
As pretty as a picture. But in reality, it's hard to capture an image to fully express the experience. Wandering through the slot canyons near Page, Arizona was pretty incredible - and an item I was able to ✔ off my bucket list! 😄 Props to my hand model @mitchesbcrazy #arizona #page #lowerantelopecanyon #usaroadtrip #northamerica
What's next? More traveling and pushing a traveling writing career further. I want to go to Antarctica (my last continent) and publish a book all before I turn 30 in a year and a half.
What would you be doing if you’d never left home? My life would be more settled and I would probably have spent a few years teaching. I would definitely have more money in my bank account! But although my life is unpredictable at the moment, I'm so thankful for the rich experiences I've had.
What advice do you have for wanna-be Wild Hearts? Not to rip Nike off, but just do it. No one has ever regretting traveling and you'll surprise yourself seeing what you're capable of.