When you meet people who are just as passionate about travel or the outdoors, have a sense of adventure, and have an insatiable curiosity like you do, it raises a connection. There are so many different people and personalities that have inspired themselves and maybe even inspired others to get out there… including a woman named Ashley.
I created this interview series called From _____ to One World on this blog site because I want to get to know other people who have changed their life in one way or another to pursue what they love most: adventure. But in a box, this will explain it all:
From Ashley To One World
Meet Ashley Sprinkel, a woman who listened to her heart to become ready to chase her dreams of adventure. When you are stuck between keeping love and having dreams, where do you even begin? It is a very difficult decision and ultimatum to have to make. Love is such a powerful human need and many people thinking about leaving their loved ones is not unusual.
Ashley knew that love can be found in all different forms. Many can forget that romantic love is not the only type of love out there. When you’re still figuring out what you want in life and what direction to take, Ashley’s story can inspire all of us to understand how to start with that. Her journey to self-love, self-development, and travel, all while experiencing heartbreak (and breaking her engagement), was something she longed for and in many ways, it surprised her. Starting a new life at a new country is intimidating and leaving behind a lot including love requires adjustment.
Let’s hear from Ashley herself to learn about her story.
1. Tell us more about yourself. What is your occupation now? What was your occupation then?
I am 30 years old, been married and divorced (married in 2010 and divorced in 2012). I have no kids. I am from Baltimore, Maryland. I was living in Bladensburg Maryland, working in a DC charter school as a teacher. I was engaged to my long term boyfriend of 6 years, Jon.
Since my divorce, I had been doing a lot of work on myself. The divorce tore me apart in many ways. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted with my life. The only thing I knew was I deserved better and the life I was living was not what I wanted. Jon had shown me the things I needed to find myself.
I attended personal development seminars, read books, and attended a spiritual school in New York City (NYC). I had learned how to give myself self-love and I gained the confidence I had never had before. When I first moved to Costa Rica (CR), I started teaching at a private school, 2nd-grade math, science, English. I am trying to switch to teaching online to allow myself for more flexibility with my time.
2. After quitting your job and moving to Costa Rica, do you think this was the best decision for you? Why?
In some ways, yes I believe it was the best decision for me. In other ways, no. I have learned more things about myself that I could have never have learned in the States and finding out the rest of me. And no, because I miss the spiritual school in NYC. My spiritual side hasn’t found a place that fulfills me like the school in NYC did.
3. Was changing your mind on marrying your fiance something that still tugs your heartstrings?
Not really, but I do miss him sometimes. The conversations we had were really eye-opening for me. I miss that. One of the reasons I moved to CR was to figure out if I wanted to marry him. I had a lot of doubt. After moving to CR, I realized that there was a better man out there for me. Jon really wasn’t respectful to me. He didn’t respect my emotions. His way of being helped me understand myself and at the same time I knew it was time to move on.
4. How has moving to Costa Rica changed your life?
There are so many ways of moving to CR has changed my life. I have truly understood my emotions in ways I never understood before. In the States, I was fighting to survive in a place that I couldn’t actually live in. Living in CR has allowed me to just live. I have come to understand my emotions in a way that I couldn’t even imagine.
Last April, I was on a trip to Chile for a funeral of the founder of the school in NYC. I was robbed. I knew going on the trip that something major would happen. I was able to feel it. I just didn’t know what. When I got robbed, it was quiet and stealthy. I didn’t even notice. It was life-changing. I had my small backpack with MY passport and all my money. The bag was stolen. I only had my cellphone because it was on my lap.
I was with many people that helped me out because it was scary. But, how I handled the situation was amazing. I was calm, relaxed, and attended the funeral with all my focus on the present moment. I worried about my passport and other stuff when I had time. This was a huge shift because, in the past, I would have never have done this. I would have been hysterical.
I never thought I would learn Spanish, and I am not fluent in it but I can at least communicate more than I did when I moved here. I don’t have a car, so I hitchhike every day to work or anywhere else I need to go. I am more thankful and grateful for the life I have. I started my own blog and coaching business while being here. I want to share what I have learned about self-love to others. I want to coach others to live their best life and not to settle. I never thought in a million years I would start my own business. But, living here has allowed me to be who I am deep inside. I still struggle and I have more things to work through. I couldn’t imagine doing that in any other place but CR.
5. What are your favorite parts of Costa Rica?
There are so many amazing places here. To start off, I love Monteverde. It is a cloud forest in the mountains about 3 hours from where I live. It is beautiful and relaxing. It is a great place to let your mind settle and to be with nature and life all around you.
The Osa Peninsula is a great place to go if you want to get away from society. There isn’t much cell phone or wifi reception there (depending on where you are). I went there with my girlfriends and my puppy. We met gold-diggers while hiking up a river and we saw bioluminescence on a kayak tour. We slept at a hostel that was essentially outdoor camping but with a bed. No wifi or cell service. It was a great place to unwind.
I live near Tamarindo. It is great to live because I have locals and expats. I get a mix of Costa Rica life and American life. I am close to the airport, volcanoes, rivers, beaches, and stores.
6. What do you recommend when someone plans to visit Costa Rica, especially for their first time?
I recommend going to places that have little to no expats. Places that are off the beaten path and get to know the locals. Take a hike up a river and get to know the local gold-diggers in Osa.
Go to beaches where most people don’t go. Playa Uvita was the first beach I ever went here. It was small, not crowded and it is what caused me to fall in love.
Rent a car and go where you want to go. I love finding out the best places by talking to the locals. I have found so many places that were amazing and beautiful because of not taking the normal tours.
7. Do ever have plans to return to the United States? If not to live in, what other places would you visit?
I don’t plan to live in the US again. I do, however, plan to visit as my family still lives there. My sister is getting married, so I think the next time I visit will be for her wedding in March 2020. It has been 1 year since I have been back.
8. What do you hope for your future plans?
In the future, I hope for my self-love coaching to take off and I hope to create a few workshops that people can come to CR or other amazing places like Thailand for a long weekend or a week for activities to promote self-love and personal development. I hope to travel to Thailand for a few months of traveling to different spiritual places to gain more insight and ways to promote self-love.
9. What’s your advice to people who are stuck choosing adventure over love?
This is a hard question for me actually. I would follow what my life purpose is. Not everyone knows what their life purpose is so I would say figure out what that is and follow that. I would always go after adventure over love. My life purpose isn’t focused on love. It is focused on growing and making the world a better place. My life’s purpose is more important than love. Of course, it is nice to have love and I do have love. I am however aware that my life’s purpose may mean that love comes and goes. I embrace that while doing that I need to make the world a better place.
Connect with Ashley on Social Media
If you or anyone you know would like to share their life-changing story where adventure inspired them, please contact me here.