Meet Our Featured TFT Traveler: Ashley A!

How old are you, what grade are you finishing, and where do you go to school?

I’m 18 and I attend Gustavus Adolphus College as a Freshman.

How many countries have you been to?

I have been to six countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France.

Funniest travel moment…go!

When we were in Cinque Terre, I saw a few guys my age playing a soccer/volleyball type of game where they would volley the ball back and forth over a fence. I love soccer but my one year of experience in middle school obviously did not compare to their skill level. Still, this didn’t stop me from asking to join in (with the help of google translate). They must have thought I was pretty good to have the confidence to ask to join in on their game and passed me the ball to which I kicked straight into the fence with enough force to almost knock it over. Needless to say, we all started laughing!

Give us three fun facts about yourself.

I’m a language enthusiast; I speak French and English and plan to start Russian and Spanish in the spring. I blame this on my love of writing and storytelling. I have been obsessed with animation ever since I watched a Studio Ghibli movie when I was five. Finally, I am a part of my college’s women’s rugby team (who played in nationals), though I have not yet played in a game, having started the season with an injury.

What do you travel for?

I travel to experience new cultures, people and locations. I use the word storyteller to describe myself and travel allows me to do just that. When traveling, I have the opportunity hear and see stories both old and new. Whether that be from the people I encounter or the ancient architecture and artwork I see, the ability to travel is the ability to be witness to the world’s story, a fact I find so comforting and inspiring.

What do you think the best local mode of transportation is?

I have a newfound love of trains due to my travels abroad and still do not know why it isn’t a bigger thing in the US. It’s so relaxing with such scenic views and after a jam-packed day of traveling, it’s nice to be able to get some sleep before heading off to the next part of the trip. Also, the ability to walk around makes it so much better than a plane.

Despite being a traveler, what’s the most touristy thing you’ve done that is definitely worth doing again?

It’s a tie between going paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. They both were adrenaline rushes that provided unique views of the locations I was in. Both provided unforgettable stories. When I was snorkeling, someone decided to feed the fish before I got out of the water which was both amazing and terrifying having fish swarm you in the ocean. Finally, when I was paragliding, the guide decided to let me fly the parachute without acknowledging that was what I was, in fact, doing. He simply said “hold on to this,” which ended up being the strap to fly it and said “okay, you’re on your own now!” It still makes me laugh when I think about it.

Favorite ice breaker game and why?

I love word ball. It is a great way to help people get out of their comfort zones and stop thinking about what others will think about them.

What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

I make it a priority to experience the food of every culture I travel to. In Cinque Terre, since it is a collection of fishing towns, I decided fish would be the appropriate meal. However, I did not know what style of fish I had ordered. When the server brought out my meal, all that I could see was a full fish, head fully intact. I have eaten snails and frog legs, but there’s something special about having your meal stare at you while you attempt to figure out how to eat it!

Tell us about your favorite travel moment.

My favorite travel moment was the last night on my TFT trip. We were in Paris when our program leaders decided to take us to the Seine just as the Parisians do. We sat by the water and told stories of our adventures together and how we were going to miss one another. It was a simple but unforgettable moment that I still view as the highlight of what Paris stands for to me: simple but magical.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment