Places I’ll Remember

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There are places I remember
all my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better.
And some have gone, and some remain.

All these places have their moments
with lovers and friends I still can’t recall.
Some are dead and some are living.
In my life I love them all. [The Beatles]

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You know that experience when you leave a place and “say see you later”, but don’t actually know the next time you’ll be seeing it? Then weeks, months or maybe even years later you go back to that place and it’s as if nothing ever changed; didn’t skip a beat and just continued as if you had never left at all. Is there a word for this? Whatever it is, I simply love it. I love that you’re both so comfortable and know each other so well. I love having that connection, it makes leaving just a bit easier because you know when reunited what you’re coming back to. It’s almost a sense of safety and security.

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Cayucos: Summer of ’96

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Cayucos: Fall of ’15 [we traded in ice cream for ales]

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In this vast world it’s hard to find a place to make you feel comforted and special like this. I’ve traveled to many places and find this experience to be very rare. Two sweet beach towns that lie on the edge of the central coast of California have this very rare quality. Cayucos and Carmel have little pieces of my heart. Each time we meet its as if nothing has ever changed. These places played roles in making me who I am. They watched me grow.

But places aren’t the same as people, because when you leave a person you will not encounter the same one upon reuniting. They’re always slightly different. They’ve changed; even if it’s a minute shift. When we leave people, we take with us visions of how they were; memories that help when that persons gone and far away.

People evolve. They are ever moving. No person will be the same way they were when you left them. They meet new people that open their eyes in ways they never thought possible. New experiences change them and the way they see the world can slowly shift as well. So as I begin to embark on a new phase in my life I can’t promise that when I come back I will be exactly the same person. No, that would be ridiculous to assume. But I can promise to take all that I experience and learn, and make it a beautiful chapter in my growing story. I can only hope that when I return I will be an even better version of myself.

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❝So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow. ❞Attachments, Rainbow Rowell

 

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To those I love, just know I’ll be back. Like an old Australian Proverb says: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” Remember this isn’t goodbye; its see you later.

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-xo ash

ps: To those who have helped shape me like the places and people in these pictures, thank you…in my life I love you all. (Anna, my kindred spirit, thank you for giving these places that much more meaning. Promise to let Tommy dance with YOU next time 😉 )Anna and Me


Carmel Favorites:

  • While in Carmel-by-the-Sea save your appetite and check out my favorite little Italian restaurant, Little Napoli. It is seriously the best! I always order the same thing and it never gets old. Be sure to order the crab bisque, steamed manilla clams and of course Chef Pepe’s famous garlic flatbread. Made from a 100 year old family recipe it will transport your taste buds to Italian citys like Rome, Naples, Sorrento or Capri! If there’s still room, have a cappuccino and share the Tiramisu..you wont be sorry.

    Cayucos Favorites

  • Run off all the food you ate at Little Napoli and take a jog on my favorite stretch of beach, Sand Dollars. Perfectly named, this public beach is littered with little white sand dollars early in the morning and has the best view of both Morro Bay and downtown Cayucos. I love getting up early and jogging on the sand, or finishing the day watching the sunset and strolling.

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Lets Be Adventurers!

“I was always an unusual girl.
My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean…”-Lana Del Rey

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As long as I can remember I’ve always been a dreamer, a wanderer and a lover for new adventures. As a child I was timid, very careful with every step I took, but as time has pasted I’ve learned to step out on the edge; chipping off layers and discovering a person who has been there all along. I’ve become an endless explorer with an aching desire for new experiences. While exploring I found I had “an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point I couldn’t even talk about it and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me.”

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I believe that there are many definitions of what it means to be an explorer. Along my path I have made a list of what I do and how I explore and adventure. I continuously add to the list as I go.


  1. Walk as if you’re kissing the earth with your feet, feeling every rock and pebble.
  2. Breath in the sweet smells of Mother Nature and allow it to permeate through your lungs.
  3. If it scares you, say a quick prayer, and continue on. Fight through the fear.
  4. If it begins to rain don’t see it as a damper on the situation, see it as an opportunity for a second shower.
  5. Do not envy the birds that fly above your head, but be reminded that you are just as free as they are.
  6. Stray off the path as much as you can, creating your own. (Unless making your own path means ruining a critters home.)
  7. Be quiet and don’t interrupt, let the earth speak.
  8. Before reaching for the camera, take mental pictures that can never be recreated. (Because a great memory is so much better than any photograph ever taken will be.)
  9. Don’t be sorry or regret anything; tomorrow isn’t promised.
  10. Don’t go home unless a wild wind has blown through your hair, there’s dirt on your face, and you’ve discovered something new.

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If you find a kindred connection with my list I encourage you to let your desire to explore continuously shape and mold you. Through adventures and explorations you will find you learn lessons no school can ever teach. Like the trees of the forest know, “everything you go through… grows you.”

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Little by little the world that surrounds you will teach you the things you need to know. Remember to always keep your eyes wide open, with humble appreciation, because you never know what will inspire you next.

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All explorers realize along the way to live with a fire of fearlessness. Over time a true explorer will become a child of the wild. There’s nothing to lose when you believe in the freedom of the open road and its endless possibilities.

Live fast, feel young, be wild, have fun!

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[Side Note: Mumford & Sons always knows how to get my blood pumping for new explorations and reminds me to “keep the earth below my feet” –enjoy!]

 -ash xo

Out with the Old…

This time of year can be filled with cheer and glee as family and friends gather together to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one. A new year filled with opportunity and excitement waiting just around the corner.

We are often so caught in the presents, the food and the making of fun memories we often forget what it all truly boils down to.

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For me, 2014 was a year of endless activity and non-stop action. I was a busy full time student with a part time job and internship; rushing to graduate and get on with my life. I felt like I took a quick breath and I was on the next departing flight from LAX to the Leonardo DeVinci Airport in Rome. I spent almost three months abroad and found when arriving back home I needed to find anyway to stay busy. I took spontaneous trips to San Francisco, San Diego and Sedona while also working a part time job. I concentrated on putting real time and energy into true friendships.

In a weird plot twist, after being pushed by some friends, I took a step outside my comfort zone and decided to create a profile on an online dating app. (I know looking back it could be seen as a low point-but I guess there is always a learning lesson in everything) There were many gentleman callers but as usual they all turned out to be ugly toads as opposed to handsome princes.

I did however go on one spontaneous date with a down to earth photographer that reminded me to slow down and not take everything too seriously. It was the only date I went on and felt I shouldn’t ruin my chances by thinking all my dates would turn out to be so great. Soon after my relaxed meet-up I deleted the app.

This year turned out to be one of the most educating years I’ve had thus far. It was a year of rushing and running around; and ever since I arrived back from my travels I was told repeatedly to “Be Still”… but knowing me I don’t usually do what I’m told- at least not without a little resistance. I continued life at a fast pace never really taking time to rest my body; let alone my mind. Now just a few hours away from the New Year I have found that I have been forced, literally, to slow down and take time to realize what is truly important. As I sit down writing this, I have come to realize how much each and everyone of us take things for granted.

On Christmas Eve, instead of getting ready for a family holiday party, I found myself checking myself into Urgent Care for what seemed to be a really bad sore throat. After a quick examination by the on call doctor I was diagnosed with a viral upper respiratory infection that had taken over my throat. I had a fever, body aches, the chills, and my throat felt like it was engulfed in flames. My swollen lymph nodes were the size of golf balls and as tender as a fresh Christmas roast. With the help of a mirror and flashlight I discovered white balls filled with puss, forming on my tonsils. I was told the only cure for this type of viral infection was rest and lots of liquids. Knowing this information I stocked up on tea. I felt like I was swallowing razor blades with every sip. Swallowing became the biggest chore. I couldn’t sleep, which lead to extreme exhaustion and hysterical crying through the night. I later was diagnosed with strep throat, a bacterial infection.

It’s been a few days since that excruciatingly painful night and I’m still unable to eat any solid food. Even eating soup has become challenging. This infection has become a big eye opening experience. I realize the little things we take for granted are truly a gift.

As usual I have resolutions for the new year but the biggest I’ve come to realize is that I need to stop rushing my way through life and take time to slow down. It can get exhausting both physically and mentally trying to go at a 100 mph pace. I’ve realized if anything I need to practice moving the body and making still my mind. Being present is key! It’s time to step outside of me.

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A lot can happen in a year, and I have absolutely no regrets with 2014. (I feel living with regrets is a big waste of time). I lived and I learned and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for me. I vow to take more paths less traveled, step out on the edge, surprise myself and create! I want to meet new people, see new places, hear new music and taste new foods. I can’t wait for the new experiences and adventures that await me in 2015.

Time to step outside.

Cheers 2014, you were a memorable one!

2015…gosh I hope you’re ready for me!

-ash xo

True and Real: The Ocean Blue

 

the tyrrhenian

the tyrrhenian

I’ve always had a strong love affair with the ocean; the way its waves could go from soft kisses to engulfing hugs. The changing hues of cobalt that transform into a deep indigo and comfort me the minute I see the sea. The ‘big old blue’, a place of mystery and adventure, the depths we will never forge below blows my mind and puts me in a trance.

I recently graduated from college and embarked this summer on a two and a half month journey through Europe with four friends. To say I discovered a lot about myself, the girls, the people of the world, and life in general would be the biggest understatement of the year. I learned some ugly truths and life lessons but more importantly I found I didn’t really have a clear path for my life like I thought I would once the trip came to an end.

Now that I am back I have found that this chapter in my novel is a blank page ready, dying, pleading to be written on but I feel like my pen is lost at sea. I’m floating softly, begging the waves to take me safely and quietly to shore. I’m not sure what shore that is, but to see any form of it on the horizon would be great, and would bring such relief. Its scary being lost at sea, and can be lonely. I don’t know what I am looking for but I must continually remind myself that it’s a journey and that great things never came from comfort zones.

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 Ocean waves have a confidence so strong they can move all, ocean waves know, they’ll take me where I need to go.

While on my trip I rode a rickety train from the popular town of Naples in Italy all along the coast to my final destination of Sorrento, a cute tourist filled town that sat beside the Amalfi coast. I sat by myself quietly listening to a playlist of songs a friend from home had made for my travels. I watched the oceans horizon and listened. I don’t know why but I quietly asked for a sign; some way to tell me I was where I was for a reason, and that I was going in the right direction. (Song lyrics have always spoken to me, and at times I feel like they are louder and more defined when they need to tell me something specific and in the moment.) As I watched the locals stare at me from across the car, like the strange foreigner I was, a song on my friends playlist began to play. I felt my ears quickly sync to the unheard rhythm, as if the volume was intentionally turned up I listened intently to the words. I heard a quiet voice within say “listen, stop, and really listen.” For the next couple of days I spent in Sorrento I listened to the song, waiting to hear a message; an understanding of what these words meant, but its purpose never came.

Now, months later, as I look back I’m not sure the full message has fully appeared but I do think I am starting to really grasp the words and slowly make sense of them. When I feel alone on the ocean I must remind myself that I am not. I mustn’t fight the changing ocean tide, it is my home. I must give the waves my oars and know the wind will blow in the direction it must go. Breath. Enjoy the waves beneath and learn with each roll and splash. I might find a shore but I know that each shore is just a chapter. I’ll set foot on land, learn what I must learn, but eventually I’ll return to the boat, ready to set sail to my next destination. Whether the destination is out at sea again or onto another shore I will always have the ocean blue as my permanency.

 

 

free in capri

free in capri

“Deep in her soul, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she would gaze out over the solitude of her life with desperate eyes, seeking some white sail in the midst of the far-off horizon. She did not know what this chance event would be, what wind would drive it to her, what shore it would carry her to, whether it was a longboat or a three-decked vessel, loaded with anguish or filled with happiness up to the portholes. But each morning, when she awoke, she hoped it would arrive that day. …”

-Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

When you feel like you’re out there on your own
Know there is someone watching over you
When out at sea feels nothing like a home
Oh sailor we will blow the wind like
And if you’re tired of them
Telling you what to do
I hope you know that you can sail right on
I hope you know you’ve got the ocean blue

p.s.: m.h.- thanks for the playlist and bringing me a little piece of my puzzle. I’m forever grateful He chose you to give me such a great, eye-opening piece.

-ash xo