12 Trips in 12 Months Challenge – Reflection No. 1

May 4th, 2023

I’m not sure what about this challenge inspired me so much that I decided to take it on, but I am happy I did! I’m five trips down in four months, and it has been a journey.
I’ve visited one new state, checked off a major bucket list item, traveled between four countries in one month, and visited three new countries altogether.

I’ve laughed, cried, learned, and, most importantly, grown.
This challenge has pushed me far out of my comfort zone each month. It has forced me to be flexible because each month, I have to leave the comforts of my home to tackle a new destination. And it has forced me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and taught me how to trust more.

As a solo traveler, when entering a new country, all you have is yourself, your wits, and some faith in mankind. And when I say faith, I mean trust that not everyone you meet is out to hurt you or take advantage. During this challenge, I’ve spent most, if not all, of my time with strangers. From my road to Carnival experience in Trinidad to my morning swims in Barbados, to playing dominos outside at night in Guyana, and exploring the entire island of Antigua with someone I met just the day before.
I’ve really been trusting people. Which is absolutely insane to me if you think about it.

I grew up in New York City all of my life, so trusting people is not something I’m keen on. And no, I’m not saying you can’t trust people in New York City; I’m saying that growing up here, you learn that you can’t be too trusting, so for me to then leave the safety of my home where I’m not that trusting of people to then fly thousands of miles away and trust strangers in another country is criminally insane.

And now that I’ve written all of this, I’m asking myself, have I changed this much? Has this challenge changed how I view and interact with the world?
And yes, it absolutely has. I’ve always said that the world is not as scary as people make it seem, and there are people in all different parts of the world that are just like you and me. But I only fully experienced that once I decided to take more risks, like partaking in random nightly domino games in Guyana and then traveling for miles exploring an island that was not my own with a complete stranger all through the late afternoon to night.

As I continue to reflect, I think that this is absolutely crazy. But in hindsight, I’ve walked away from each country with a new understanding of people and a new family.
So with only four months under my belt, I’m curious to see where the rest of this year and challenge brings me.

2 thoughts on “12 Trips in 12 Months Challenge – Reflection No. 1

  1. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts Ashley. Growing up in Northern New Jersey, I do know what you mean about the trust issue. Things move fast in this urban region; some human beings do things from fear and manipulation in the general area. Forgiving them for their lack of understand allowed me to let them go and to be more open, trusting and willing to let my intuition guide me along the way. Circling the globe to observe the kindness of love in action also helped me trust deeply, too.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. So you understand where I’m coming from! But it’s really refreshing to meet genuine people that turn into great friends and even people you’d consider to be like family from traveling. When that happens I feel like a have a small piece of home in that country.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s