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  • Writer's pictureAshlyn

Let's Start at the Beginning

I was 14 years old living at Wasatch Canyons treatment center. It was journaling Tuesday and we all had matching journals. Our big creative expression the day we got them was getting to personalize it. Mine was a hard cover that was one foot in length, rectangular, colored two shades of green with carved gnomes on the cover and the bottom corner of each page. They were funky sort of gnomes, something you might find from a Tim Burton movie. A little wonky here and there with compelling faces that were a little creepy if you weren't into the original kind of fairytales. I liked them and they frolicked through my pages as the writing went on.


One thing I wrote during this time, was my dream to travel the world and I wanted to do it in a very specific way. First, I would take my car across the US and into Canada, then the West Coast down into Mexico. I would then continue through South America until I reached the southern tip, sell my vehicle and buy a plane ticket over to the southern tip of Africa. I would get a motorcycle and travel my way up North, entering Europe as I work my way through the Mediterranean and northern areas, crossing into Russia, dropping into the Middle East and onwards towards Tibet and China. From there, I would travel South through Malasia, India, and the surrounding countries until once again, buying a plane ticket arriving to Australia, finishing in New Zealand.


What a great dream for a teenager right? This vision compelled me and I so badly wanted to do it one day. I believed I would. As I got older, this dream faded within me, and not because I was no longer interested, I just forgot about the possibility of actually doing it. I wanted to get out of Utah but forgot I could save up money and travel, instead I partied it all away and dove into living through my trauma body introducing myself to adulthood and conscious spirituality at once. Not the worst thing to have done, but I could've chosen better friends during this time. I would've probably been a lot more patient and logical but I was a people pleaser and leaving my friends seemed agonizing at the time. We were all one renegade family back then it meant something to everyone to stick together to a certain point.


Enter, 20 years old. I'm out of my party phase, because after one year, it got very old to me. My spirituality and self-awareness were matriculating faster than I could stop it. My intuitive gifts were naturally getting stronger than I could control them, every time I got high with my friends, to the point my friends said they no longer wanted to get high with me. It didn't take long for me to realize I was losing my ability to hangout with any human that didn't acknowledge their own spirit. Though I'd been living on my own since I was 18, my mother desperately wanted me to stop working in the strip club industry, and part of me wanted that also, but I didn't know how I would ever do something in life that gave me as much money, freedom, and passion as dancing gave me. When I entered Salt Lake Community College, I went into Broadcast Journalism. I wanted my own Discover Channel TV Show about traveling and connecting to strangers, filming stories and bonding together. During one of my finals, I had a vision that within ten years, the credibility of journalism would all but cease to exist, therefore, I would hate my future industry because it means everything to me to produce the Truth - turns out I was right. But back then, 2011, this vision was devastating. Being a published writer was very important to me because it was my passion. I've kept diaries since I was 9 years old and have been writing songs, poetry, articles, reports, and essays throughout my life. I think at that point I just wanted my family to know I was both valuable and not crazy.


So, I'm 20 years old and I'm working the front desk one Friday night at American Bush. My mom sends me a text with a link to ILP, short for International Language Program. It is an LDS Mormon volunteer program for mormon kids to go live in another country and teach English to preschoolers for 6 months. Growing up, I was only interested in traveling to Mexico, Africa, China, and Norway. These are places of my lineage and ancestors I've always felt connected to. I particularly fell in love with China as a young child and declared I would walk the Great Wall before I reached 21 years old. And wouldn't you know.... China was one of the countries on the list.


I lived in Bengbu, Anhui, which is about 300 miles west of Shanghai. Within those six months, I solidified my self-awareness and met my first real spiritual masters. I studied the Tao, was introduced to Transcendental Meditation (TM), learned bostaff and nunchuks, and I became conversationally proficient in Mandarin. It is my second language to this day. Needless to say, I was Home. The culture did not shock me at all, in fact it made complete sense to me. I knew I would love everything about China, and I did, to the point I almost didn't come back to the US.


I was very excited about hot water on command when I arrived back to the States. I was excited to eat Mac and Cheese and I was excited for Mexican food again. Other than that I felt completely alone when I came back. This country, my home country, shocked me at every turn. I remember I couldn't stop gasping at every interaction I observed and encountered personally. I was appalled by so much. I tried to go back to what I was doing before and that all felt really different in a way I no longer enjoyed. I recognized the feeling of the inner-shift, the moment everything is about to start changing rapidly. And it did. I started shifting in such a deep way that I felt I couldn't express to anyone. I went back to my job at merchandise processing and got a stress fracture in my foot, (don't worry this micro bit turns out good), the podiatrist tells me I won't ever dance, ride a bike, or wear heels again, basically any movement I love and wear are no longer in my future plus it'll take 4 months to heal in a boot. I was both perplexed and now a changed young woman. I've been healed by the best!! Bring it on. So I glitterized my boot and self healed my foot in two weeks. "My God," he said, "I've never seen this in 30 years of my practice." Shocker, I thought. I have never been very fond of western medicine, though I love really good real doctors. I had this deep sense that I was supposed to do something here, back home in Utah, but it wouldn't be my forever place. So when I wasn't working, I meditated.


So many sessions of silencing myself through TM, hours on end, night and day, asking my guides to please guide me. They continuously brought me to the massage school, UCMT, and I continued saying no to them for two weeks until the volume of the message was so loud I finally relented.


And thank goddess for that, because I graduated as Class Ambassador with a 4.0 in October 2013 and I had adopted my dog earlier that year. Later graduating with a Master Bodyworker certification with my class DM0114 in January of 2014. Outside of starting my first practice, Phoenix Sun Massage, I worked in Major League Soccer for RSL and Massage Express. I only had these two in my vision and these were my only options other than my own practice. I was a sports intern at ReAL and I love deeply my home team and all my friends and soul family I've made there. I followed love to New York in 2015, with my very handsome boyfriend at the time to work with NYCFC. I had a blast and loved every minute of it, but they needed someone who could always go and I learned that both of us couldn't work in sports full time and travel at the same time to every game together and leave our dog, also new to NY. The nice part about starting my own practice was that I could have freedom (and power to bring my dog to work) and knowing my dog was given a good life and time and attention in a new place. It worked out great for the both of us and I traveled when he was home.


Fast forward to August of 2019. It's been almost 5 years together and we've learned a lot about each other, we've created a home and life together. But it isn't working out. We have a heartbreaking breakup. I call my best friend and she beckons me to her at the bar. I arrive and I turn the corner and meet my now fiancé, Anna. (Not the same as my best friend.)


Receiving true adoration from a partner is something everyone deserves to have. My fiancé not only adores the hell out of me, they literally love the heaven into me. They support my hard ethic, freedom, and make me feel like the most beautiful woman they've ever seen. It was really hard to get used to, receiving the love I'd always fantasized about.


When you finally receive the loving treatment you've always wanted and never received before, it may just make you uncomfortable.


I didn't want that to be my life. I didn't want to push away actual love just because I was so used to (and so good at) receiving Not Love. When love dies, dreams die. I Was 28 years old and ready to put it all there.


I asked Anna on our first date if they had good knees. They said, "Yes, why?" Smiling, I answered, "I have a lot of hoops."

"I love hoops."

"With fire."

"I love fire."

I didn't even know what to do with that!


Anna moved into my house in late February 2020 and then, March came. The globe was under threat and for three months, the entire world was shut down and, no surprise here, nobody could go anywhere.


At the end of April 2020, I was rehabilitating my lungs from almost dying from COVID, sleeping a lot because my practice was shut down along with every other business in Connecticut. Anna was teaching preschoolers over Zoom. We took a psychedelic journey together and during that journey we talked about all the things most couples get divorces over. Not even a day later, one of her best friends called from Colorado and said, "Come quarantine with us!" Which was a really wonderful invitation to extend. It ignited something inside of us that will burn for the rest of our lives. I'm convinced to this day, knowing Emily was apart of that dream coming to life.


This would be the trip that starts it all. The very beginning of where we are now.


We packed my SUV with a cooler, a duffel of clothes, and my dog. We had our rent paid for the next 4 months, let our roommate know that she was officially the queen of the castle, and we left two days later, not knowing exactly when we'd return. We ended up spending two months on the road. Nobody was anywhere across the States. Highways and Freeways were empty and gas was $1 per gallon. The only places in the country that were open were grocery stores, and some businesses depending on where we went. We avoided big cities and even got to drive Highway 1 all the way up the coast of California. We got to Big Sur the day it opened and we were the only people there. We camped on the coast of Oregon and ate cheese and ice cream at 10am in Tillamook at their creamery.


For the first time, since that journal entry from 2005, I thought about that dream of mine and it started to feel like a possibility.


I had never wondered about the specifics of this dream when I was 14, but if I had known I'd be starting that trip 14 years later, I would've stuck to a lot more painting and writing. I would've really believed in more of my dreams on various levels, big and small. This was my dream coming true, because I just kept following my heart at every corner. It kept bringing me to places I didnt even consider.


There's something so special about the moment you let go what others think of your relationships or life goals. There's a silent empowerment that begins to grow once you accept where you're at and start following your actual journey, whatever that entails. The road was our oyster and my car was our safe place. The first real place we got to be alone and it was a small space and our friendship and love only grew. This was where we determined what our relationship was and how we wanted it to be, what we expected from each other, and despite our differences, we have always ended up in the same place when it comes to morals, ethics, hard conversations, and beyond.


So many things came to life being on the road and I knew it was somehow going to be a huge part of our new life together. Fast forward to present day, January 2024, I am 32 and three quarters. We've done multiple cross countries that I'm finally going to start writing about and we converted that same SUV into a livable camper and we are actually living on the road. I am writing this from a library. There's now a second dog. Things have become very real.


I am living on the road getting to live out my ultimate creative journey. I need to pinch myself sometimes, because my 14 year old self.... she was setting us up for something wonderful. She knew to pay attention to that dream over other vivid dreams. She had the intuition to stop at that and go, oh that makes me feel some type of way. And somewhere inside of her, she did keep that dream. She was smart and didn't obsess over it. She just let it ride out in a safe deposit box to withdrawal when the time was right. That clock struck time in May of 2022, the day we started our car conversion and made the decision to actually go live on the road after two years of cross country visiting.






Until the next post, I love you so much. Thank you for being Here.


Peace of I,

Zynnia

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