Here I am, in my bed at the London hostel, about 830am. The room is still somewhat dark because the sun is covered by clouds and the air is crisp. I can hear the morning start, birds chirping, busses passing and people in the hostel getting up to shower. But here I am, just laying here, not wanting to move. I have a flight today at 130 to Dublin and although I am completely excited to see the other "motherland", I don't want to leave here. Flight at 130 means be at the airport by 1130, which means leaving he hostel at 10 or 1030 to allow plenty of time (I calculate getting lost or screwing something up into my plans now). I still have to shower, eat breakfast, repack and configure my luggage, and take it downstairs (yes, in a 4 story hostel, who do you think got assigned to the 4th floor?). This basically means I should get up now.... But I don't want tooooooooo! I fell in love with London and its people, way of life, and culture.

My last few days here had its ups and downs. I lost my train pass, still battling a cold that I'm worried about, and there is a nerve in my back that is killing me. But with all that aside, I still managed to enjoy London.

While walking down the street, thinking about my backpain actually, I looked across the street and TA-DA! A chinese massage and accuuncture shop! It was meant to be. I went in, consulted with the "doctor" on staff who needed a translator, and agreed that an hour deep tissue massage followed with 30 minutes acupuncture would help with my pain. I had never done acupuncture before but I really liked it! While listening to soothing chinese music, the massage was just what i needed and I practically drooled everywhere. The accupuncture was very relaxing too and I felt like a new woman afterwards! The pain is still somewhat there, but it does feel a lot better.

Yesterday morning, I put on my black boots that I brought with me (not my hunter rain boots) and realized the heel was worn so thin, you could almost see my sock. So I asked a guy that works here where I could get cheap boots and he said " our lost and found box upstairs. If you find anything, take it!" So I looked and found a pair of brown boots that are really cute and fit me almost perfectly! They are a little big but perfect with 2 socks, which this weather calls for anyways. Woohoo!! Free boots!

I finished my trip with some more sightseeing (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, Soho) and I also saw Phantom of the Opera. Amazing! I made friends with Jeremie, a French worker here, and we talked about French food and wine while eating French cheese and drinking Sauternes, my favorite dessert wine. He showed me how to eat cheese like the French do: stuff a large amount in your mouth all at once. I don't know if that's really how they do it or just his way, but it was fun regardless. And I went to O'Neil's one last time in hopes to see Terry, but he wasn't there. So I sat down with my Guinness and wrote instead. And this is what I wrote:

"After everything I've done and seen in London, making friends, going out, eating and sightseeing, I still come back to the same conclusion: its just me. What I mean by that is at the end of the day, you only have yourself. Yourself to count on to make you smile, to take care of you, to make decisions for you. I don't mean this to sound depressing at all. That is not my intention. It's just that your own plans or concepts don't matter to anyone else more than it does to yourself. Your family loves you and cares and Most of your friends care too. But YOU are the only one that you always count on. When something goes right, you are there to pat yourself on the back. When things go wrong, you are there to reassure yourself that tomorrow will be better. I don't know what I would do or who I would be without my friends or family because they all mean a lot to me... But who would I be without me?

Traveling without family has taught me a lot: mom and dad won't be there to plan things for you, you are responsible for everything that happens, and you support everything you do. But traveling completely alone has taught me more: you are the ONLY one that controls what you do, where you go and what you see. If something goes wrong, it's up to you to fix it or make it better. When you get lost, it's up to you to find your way. If someone disappoints you, are you still able to make the most of it? I've always considered myself pretty independent, but now it has a new meaning. After these 6 days, I have learned that I can navigate on my own, figure out public transportation on my own ( a fear of mine), eat alone, see shows alone, sightsee alone and still have fun but most importantly, still be COMFORTABLE. Independence is not quite independence until you're comfortable.

 I think in the past 6 days I've become so much more comfortable in my own skin.  Ive finally learned to enjoy me because of who I am. Because when your all alone, little insecurities don't matter. What matters is being able to survive on your own, where you will sleep, where you will eat, how you will get there, how will you pay, will you be safe.  Living, essentially... And thats it. Just living. Then you move past that and get to  REALLY living and seeing and doing and FEELING. Oh, the feelings! When you move past the scared and the doubtful and just feel the moment, there are no words to describe it.

This trip is full of ups and downs but when I look back at it, they are all ups. Because not one thing happened that I didn't learn something from. And I live to learn,  by the way. I love learning new things. But I've discovered learning to live. A whole new world.

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" just came on. ITS A SIGN!!! And you all know I believe in fate. And you all know I love this song. :) and then I looked at my camera and saw a picture of an engraving I saw at Westminster Abbey. It says "the wind goeth towards the south and turneth about unto the north. It whirleth about continually and the wind returneth again according to his circuits"."

I'm doing something right.


  1. This is just beautiful and so are you inside and out! Stunningly right! <3

  2. Ashley! It's Laura... I am attempting to not be a ghost :) I love reading your blog! And I love this bit you wrote about independence, I'll keep those thoughts in mind as I work towards that. You inspire me all the time to get out and take more risks. I am so glad to hear you are having a great time, you are also inspiring me to travel -- soon I hope!! I can't wait to read more updates and I will try to comment often. I gave you my email address, right?! Send me an email, I will definitely keep in touch that way :) I miss you!! Adventure on, and keep reporting on your grand expedition.

  3. Really beautiful commentary, Ashley. Isn't it fun discovering You? And you get to experience life and share it with a very important person - You. Plus, you take You with you wherever you go, so you always have company. PLUS, when you share your experiences with others, you reveal parts of yourself, putting your own particular energy out into the universe, and receiving more in return. Life truly is a circle.

  4. I love the responses! I didn't know my words were effective... I kind of just write to relieve stress or to simply update people at home. I'm thankful for having readers!! I enjoy writing so i will keep it up. And thank you for the support. Being out here alone is tough, so any love is definitely appreciated!

  5. Things can be replaced. It's the delightful surprises and unexpected experiences andmeeting fascinating people that are priceless! These are the things you will remember and cherish forever! Look out world, move over Samantha Brown! I so wish I could have been there with you. You know I would have been on that dance floor embarassing you to death. lol! I adore your writing. It is so you! Your curiousity and enthusiasm are infectious. You and Wizzlewazzle teach me everyday!

  6. God you give me the chills. I remember the conversations on our road trips about being on our own and learning to do more independently, and you've taken that to a whole new level. I am so so proud of you. Each post makes me miss you more and more.