Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Personal Growth

I have grown more in the last 8 months than I have in the past 5 years. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I am a completely different person.

It all started when I moved to Australia. Young, fearful, innocent, and not fully aware of how life really works. I went through some rough patches when I first arrived that dealt with banks and money and grown-up stuff, which I had to deal with on my own since I didn't have Mommy on my side.


I got lost. A lot. But it was all part of the experience and part of the growth. I used to make up excuses not to go to my friend's houses back in the States because I was too afraid of getting lost. Then I came to Australia where I didn't know how to get ANYWHERE. Now I get on my bike and ride a few miles in any direction and get “lost” on purpose for excitement and adventure.


I also made a huge personal step and faced my fear of traveling alone... which was such a liberating experience! Not only did I make small trips to beaches and different towns here and there, but I also did a spontaneous trip to New Zealand, which was also very eye opening and a growing experience within itself.


Meanwhile, I was studying art at Queensland College of Art. I was really immersing myself in my classes and experimenting as much as I could with new materials, processes, and concepts. I dove into the world of art and learned more than I can put into words... not only was I making art that was inspired by this new area, but I was also learning about how the art world works in real life.


In the midst of it all, I won an online art competition and was awarded with online coaching from Sian Lindemann, who helped me grow even more. We had weekly online meetings where Sian helped me develop a business plan related to my art and talents. Soon I went from simply selling art to writing an inspirational book!? Sian pinpointed some talents I had that I wasn't aware of, such as writing (especially blogging about my travels). She gave me the confidence to realize that I can do anything I want, and make a living doing what I love. We are still working together, and I learn more every time we have a consultation. (Thanks for everything, Sian!)


I also had the amazing opportunity to travel to Thailand for 6 weeks, which again was a growing experience within itself. New people, new culture, new scenery, new language, new food, new climbing... all so inspiring.


I never would have guessed that I would be where I am today... In Australia... traveling the world... making art... climbing... I have matured so much and I look forward to growing even more. I have 4 months left of studying abroad and a lifetime more to explore myself and the world. Cheers!


I'd also like to take to thank everyone who has made these experiences possible for me (especially my parents- words can't explain how thankful I am for you and the opportunities you gave me! I love you so much!), the study abroad office at UTC (Thanks Mr. Prevost!) and everyone who I met and supported me along the way... including YOU for reading my blog! Sending love to all of you!!!


12 comments:

Adeline said...

Great post Ashley, always a pleasure to read you.

thinck said...

...a very good snapshot of who you are right now! You are an amazing girl with the world at your feet!

Anonymous said...

..I am very proud of you. Love, Mom

Josh Fossgreen said...

Cool!

Sian Lindemann said...

You made me cry ~ You are one amazing and beautiful young woman and it is an honor to work with you Ashley ~ YOU get IT ~ and I am in AWE !

Brian Greco said...

Ashley is AMAZING
Brian

Universal Rhythm said...

Ashley! I am so glad that you posted about this. I am going to study abroad in Ecuador this summer and was really nervous about it. Reading your words has given me new strength and excitement for what is a head of me. Thank you for posting this and I'm really excited for when you get home. I'll be done with school (for now)and want to make time to visit all my friends that I couldn't while in school. (You're on that list!)

Jamie said...

I just found your blog by searching "rock scrambling vibrams" and clicking on a picture. I love it! I've been reading through some of your old posts and just wanted to not-be-a-lurker and say hi :)

Colette said...

aww ashley!!! i'm so psyched for you!!! opening your heart and mind to all the possibilities of life, travel, art and humanity is something some people never fully experience and appreciate. to understand this importance about life at such a young age is just wonderful!! live it up lovely, the journey never ends!

Anonymous said...

to our dear ash...i know we are not suppose to have "favorites" when it comes to our nieces/nephews but how can you not be ours?!....even though due to distance our families can not be together as often as we all would like, diane & i always feel a strong connection with you through the love we all share for nature, travel, art, cultures, adventure, family/friends and, thx to your inspiration, healthier eating too!..i am just a little sad we can not get our butts down to australia to see you...continue to travel safe & well (physically and spiritually) in your life...with much love.."up"

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