“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Hey there!

Hey there!

I'm Ashley. I'm a wine drinker, bookworm, and expat in Uganda. Since college I've au paired in Paris, backpacked Europe, Asia, and India for a year, and lived in Colorado. Read more on my About Me page.

Latest blog posts

Two Art and Pasta-filled Days in Florence

Between hiking the Dolomites and eating everything in Bologna, it's safe to say I enjoyed myself in Italy. But before flying to Spain to walk the Camino, I had one last stop – Florence. I journeyed to Florence to see my mom, who was attending a painting course. My mom...

What to Eat in Bologna, Italy's Culinary Capital

While I was visiting Bologna, Italy, last fall, I enjoyed some of the best food of my life; from the fresh pastas to the cured meats, it was all magnificent. I'd even go as far as to say Bologna has the best food in Italy and possibly Europe. So I wanted to write a...

Tips for Safely Hiking the Dolomites (Without a Guide!)

Last fall, I spent several glorious days hiking the Dolomites in Italy, a mountain range that forms a southern section of the Alps. While they're technically located in Northern Italy, the vibe is decidedly Alpine; many people speak German, and red geraniums and dairy...

Popular posts

Tieks by Gavrieli: My Favorite Travel Flats

On most of my backpacking trips, I packed only two pairs of shoes: flip flops and running shoes. Which of course meant I had nothing to wear in dressier situations. In Asia I was even turned down at several clubs for not having proper footwear. (Like at the Skybar in...

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

One of my goals at 23 was to get in the best shape of my life, and where better to do so than beautiful Bali? But as a budget-conscious backpacker I knew I couldn't afford a $1,500+ packaged yoga retreat- so I devised a plan to do a yoga retreat on a budget. More...

How to Become an Au Pair

One of the most frequent questions readers ask me is, "How did you become an au pair?" So I thought I'd take the time today to finally answer that question, as well as talk about my personal experience working as an au pair in France. What is an au pair? An au pair is...

Travel tips

12 Travel Accessories That Drastically Improve Long-Term Travel

As many of you know, I've spent months, if not years, living out of a backpack. By the end of my year-long RTW trip, I had gotten packing down to a science and could pack and repack in thirty seconds or less (thank you, packing cubes). Which is why I wanted to make a...

How to Plan an Inexpensive but Awesome Trip Abroad

There is a widespread (and erroneous) belief that traveling has to cost a fortune. Let me let you in on a little secret- it doesn't. I have traveled to 35 countries and besides family vacations as a kid, all on a tight budget. With a bit of finagling, you can save...

How to Become Fluent in a Second Language

So you want to learn a second language? Good. In my humble opinion, everyone should learn another language. But let me first say- it's not easy. In fact, it's really hard. But, it's also incredibly satisfying, fun and rewarding. And not to mention useful. What is...

Books I love

Why I Don't Do Reading Challenges

Reading challenges seem to be all the rage these days. The annual PopSugar Reading Challenge is especially popular, which prompts you to read an impressive 40 books in a year. The list ranges widely, from 'a book from a nonhuman perspective' to 'a book involving...

6 Cookbooks that Travelers will Absolutely Love

I like to cook and host dinner parties more than basically anything. And I love to cook food from all over the world - from countries I've lived in (France, Argentina), countries I've visited (Japan), and countries I'm dying to visit (Iran, Korea). So I wanted to put...

The 16 Best Books I Read in 2016

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! As many long-term readers know, I love to read. As I know many of you are also readers, I wanted to share my favorite books of 2016. Reading this list you'll notice a few trends. I read lots of non-fiction, i.e....

Musings

Is It Smart to Travel Young? A Follow-up Five Years Later

Five years ago, I (melodramatically) posed the question, “Is it smart to travel young?” At the time, I was 22, working in Paris as an au pair. Though I loved my life in Paris, I feared I had preemptively ruined my career by taking a gap year. I certainly hadn't, but I...

The Real Truth About Dating as an Expat

Throwback to when I lived (and dated) in Paris When I first moved to Uganda, I thrilled at my newfound dating options. Finally, a pool of politically savvy, well-traveled men interested in things beyond dogs, hiking, and marijuana! At first glance, dating abroad...

The 9 Life Lessons I Learned on the Camino de Santiago

Sunrise in the Pyrenees, Day 2 Yeats once wrote, “It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield." After walking nearly 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago, I fully understand that sentiment. The...