On a Journey with Ashley Blake (Part 1)
You may have seen us post about our partnership with Traverse Journeys, sponsoring their upcoming trip to the Ecuadorian Rainforest in February. Well, we recently sat down with the Founder of Traverse Journeys, Ashley Blake, to pick her brain about community-oriented travel, her upcoming trip, and how Peaceful Fruits connects with the international community. Pour some hot cocoa, grab some snacks, and sit with us!
How has the entrepreneurial life been thus far with Traverse Journeys?
That’s a great question! I’ve often referred to myself as an “accidental entrepreneur.” I didn’t set out on my career path to necessarily be one, but the journey led me here. It’s exciting and challenging, and really leads to a lot of self-awareness about how your decisions affect not just yourself - personal, business, career - but also those close to you in life.
You seem personally well traveled, but why social-good and community oriented travel?
I have always been interested in positive impact through travel since my first trip abroad to Panama at age 17. Traveling made me realize how much GOOD there is in the world, despite the bad, and that people in their own communities are working hard to create change. The first several trips I took as a teenager were in the volunteer sphere, then in college I studied in Costa Rica and Spain and did a good bit of backpacking, which exposes you to a wide variety of people and life paths.
In grad school, I researched music for social change in Brazil for my Masters, which really highlighted to me the importance of community agency. That is why we stress with Traverse that both travelers and community are catalysts for change. Traveling responsibly means that it’s a mutually beneficial experience.
If you could go back to only one of the places you’ve visited, which place would you choose? Why?
That is a nearly impossible question! If I have to answer, right now I’d say Morocco (which, side note - a September 2018 Traverse Yoga & Art retreat is in the works - stay tuned!) The artisan community, the architecture, the food - each were profoundly rooted in culture and tradition, something I admire and respect. I have a great memory of randomly connecting with a group of college students in an Internet café and ultimately hanging out with them the entire evening, communicating in a mix of Spanish, Arabic and French while sharing music and stories. It was an experience that still makes my heart warm today!
Stay tuned for Part 2 with more responses from Ashley!