Chapter 1: Going Travelling

Chapter 1: Going Travelling

Ever dreamt of packing your bags and going travelling? That’s exactly what I’ve done. Read on to find out why I decided to spend five weeks travelling by myself around Mexico.

Chapter 1: Going Travelling

“Holy fuck!”, I thought as I walked through airport security, away from a waving Charlotte as I fought back tears. It seemed ironic that in walking into airport security, I was leaving behind my own. “What the fu*king fu*k am I doing?”

Two months ago, I somewhat impulsively booked a one way ticket to Mexico. I say impulsively, but for the last few years I’ve wanted to go travelling, and wanted to write openly about my experiences and feelings. There are two things that have held me back: Self-Employment and Fear. Self-employment is probably the greatest blessing and curse. A blessing as you are your own boss, and a curse because you never want to miss opportunities, especially when you’re a workaholic like me. And as for fear, well I’ll get onto that. But as 2017 was almost coming to a close, I couldn’t bear another year going by without following my gut and so I booked it.

So why do I currently find myself alone on a one-way trip to Mexico? Well, I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot over the last couple of years. You regularly hear of people who have everything who hate their lives, and people who have nothing who are enviably happy. When I look at the last few years of my life, my career has gone from strength to strength (I hope that doesn’t read arrogantly), I have an amazing group of friends, and I love the home I’ve made in London, but something is still amiss. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy as such, but there’s a niggling anxiety bubbling away under the surface, and it’s not going away no matter how many pets I fill my house with!

I’d say this anxiety began in 2014 after a particularly difficult breakup coincided with betrayal from my oldest group of friends. My life went to sh*t basically. I’ve talked a little bit about this time in my life, mainly that my confidence was knocked so badly I developed body dysmorphia. I’ve come a long way since then, and I often talk about self-love and the journey I’ve been on in regards to body confidence. I receive a lot of love from people all over the world saying that I inspire them to love their bodies more, and I really love that social media has the power to help inspire people. But I also think it can make people become quite preachy and ego,-driven, when really I don’t think anyone has really mastered happiness, except maybe the Dalai Lama!

My journey towards self-love and true happiness is so far from complete. Whilst I am definitely more accepting of my body, hey I might even say I love my body and its imperfections, I am incredibly insecure emotionally. Over the last few years, probably since 2014, I have had my heart broken over and over again to the point I feel quite unlovable. Recently, I’ve started to wonder if sometimes I am dating someone because I want love and validation more than because I actually like them. Anyway, with each time I try to open up and it ends in heartbreak, I am left feeling a little more unworthy and with each time I become a little more guarded. Added to the pressures and judgement around social media and the press (never read the comments Ashley), I just feel that Ive been dealing with a lot of hidden heartache.

It’s interesting, because when I talk to my friends about love and relationships, most of them feel equally as scared and confused. Let’s be honest, our generation seems to be fu*ked when it comes to dating, at least in London anyway, but no one seems to talk about it outside of their inner-circle of friends.

So when I say I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness, I realise that for me it is feeling I can be authentic. Feeling able to express myself emotionally and authentically, beyond the bullsh*t of the expectation and portrayal of perfection. It’s probably since finding out a friend of mine has terminal cancer that I realised that life is so short to be hiding behind fear and unattainable ideals. So here I am, alone on the plane to Mexico, terrified yet excited. I have decided to share my journey of travel, self-discovery, and reflection with you because I believe that there’s probably so many of you, just like me, bubbling away under a happy surface. Perhaps you’ll read on because you relate to my story, or maybe it’s just that you’re mildly curious, but if I help or inspire just one person aside from myself, then I am happy. I was watching KUWTK on the flight (well it is a 10 hour trip), and a lifecoacth in the episode declared: You are the author of your life. So here I am, the author writing the beginning of my adventure.

So, in answer to my original question, what the fu*king fu*k am I doing? I honestly have no idea. I can’t promise happiness or love at the end, but I can promise to share my emotional and travel experiences of Mexico every step of the way. Think Eat, Pray Love meets Bridget Jones.

Ashley James

Ashley James

3 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Going Travelling

  1. Hi Ashley, Wow! You are exactly where I was 11 years ago and I have been on a journey of self discovery ever since. I don’t know how much I can write in this comment but if you want to hear about my experiences with trying to find my true love and how I have come to be with a woman that I love in a healthy relationship, at least so far, send me an email and I will share my journey. I hope to hear from you because it would be great to compare notes and see if I can be of any help to you in your journey.

  2. Love this! Find it weird that some people can’t understand the desire to want to travel Solo! Not everyone can see the world with someone so why should this hold them back? If you aren’t happy in your own company then how can you expect someone else too? Hope you enjoy everyone moment and wish I could be out there too!

  3. Enjoying your shared experiences Ashley, from someone who found life as a solo traveller the route back from depression a number of years ago. Will continue to follow with great interest and the very best wishes. P xx

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Chapter 8: My Mayan Reading

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