I’m going to Peru!!

About a month ago my cousin casually sent me a Facebook message asking what my plans are for March and if I happened to be interested in hiking the Inca Trail. She filled me in on the details and told me to “let it marinate”.

I’m always interested in new chances to travel but I was nervous about altitude sickness (nearly 14,000 ft!) and afraid that I’m not fit enough for such a strenuous four-day hike.

The night of my 23rd birthday I decided to screw my worries and take the trip.

Ashley begins training for the Inca TrailI make a lot of decisions based on not wanting to let fear hold me back. While I like to think I still have a healthy amount of fear in the back of my mind (although that hasn’t completely stopped me from doing some really stupid, dangerous things over the years; lessons learn, right?) I hate to pass up the opportunity for adventure.

For a long time there was a sticker on the freeway ramp near my house that read “Live a good story.” It’s gone now but it so perfectly sums up my philosophy that I still think about it all the time. Hiking to Machu Picchu is going to make a great addition to my story.

Here’s the skinny: I’ll fly to Lima with my cousin where we’ll spend a coupe days getting our bearings in Peru; we’ll hop on a plane to Cusco and acclimate to the high elevation (more than 11,000 ft!); then we hike the Inca Trail with a group for four days (26 miles and up to 13,800 ft!); fly back to Lima for a few more days of fun; and get back to California at midnight on Sunday with just enough time to turn around for work on Monday.

This past week I’ve started to ease myself into training to get a sense of where I’m at physically. I was SO sore after hiking Cowles Mt. with my mom. It’s only a 2.5 mile hike so, naturally, I got really nervous for a minute but the soreness quickly went away and now I’m just more motivated. I plan on doing a lot of yoga (for core and breathing), running (for cardio) and hiking (duh) of the next the next 100 days. You might also catch me taking laps on the stairs at work.

Any experienced travelers out there have tips? I’m all ears.

Thankful Thursday

Thank You TurkeyAs much as I like to think that I am conquering this adventure as a solo-act, I know that there are so many hands helping me to the stage.  I want to take a day each week to thank someone for their big or small act of kindness in getting me to Spain.

Thank you lady at the bank who gave me real people advice instead of pushing a product (more…)

Passing through the dark

Study abroad and travel fears

I was terrified of everything as a child. Jumping from the monkey bars would surely end in broken bones; the McDonald’s play gym was most definitely going to collapse while I anxiously scampered through its tunnels; and the boogie man, big bad wolf and several poltergeists all lived in my closet.

Don't look under the Bed

Photo attributed to Hannah

I like to think my fears have become more rational as an adult, but now that I’m throwing myself into a completely foreign environment, I’ve been trying to sort out which concerns are legitimate and which are akin to the monsters in my childhood closet.

Here are the five fears that are currently on my mind. (more…)