Meet Ashlyn (@thelostgirlsguide). This explorer from Saskatoon is a travel writer, social media content creator, and #swimsuitmodel.
Why did you choose this career path?
When I started my career I had a very different path in mind- I’m a supposed-to-be high school teacher. After five years in a university institution, I designed a five-year travel plan so I could learn in the world. It changed my life. Since 2010, I’ve travelled to all seven continents and 60 countries and discovered what I am most passionate about: adventure and the outdoors. During those years I launched my travel blog The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding The World in 2013, and then I was hired by the Government of Saskatchewan in 2015 to be their official personality and travel blogger for a year. In 2016 I started my own business as a travel writer and content creator. Following my heart truly led me to a career that I feel very fortunate to have.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m adventurous, curious and always wanting to learn more- I think that’s the biggest drive for why I do what I do. I’m incredibly positive. Travelling solo over the years has pushed me outside of my comfort zone so many times. It has taught me to creatively think around any situation and see the positives in difficult challenges. I’m also highly motivated and goal orientated- you could say I’m determined to the point of stubbornness. I refuse to give up or quit.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Anything outdoors! My happy place is being in nature out hiking, biking, camping and any other outdoor activity you can think of. I’m also a professionally certified PADI Divemaster scuba diver so love to spend time in the ocean.
What are three personality traits you identify with?
Ambitious, optimistic, outgoing.
What are three words your best friend would use to describe you?
Bubbly, adventurous, creative.
What do you want people to know about you?
I am a regular person who took a chance on a non-traditional career. Through persistence, hard work and some very careful and dedicated budgeting over the years, I’ve been able to build a life I’m so passionate about. I also want people to know that social media is a highlight reel. It’s the best of people’s lives and doesn’t always reflect what’s happening behind the scenes. I’ve been turned down and told no hundreds of times. But I refuse to give up. That determination is what has helped me get to where I am today.
What are you hoping to achieve with your social media following and with your relationships to your followers?
I hope to inspire others to be curious about the world around them and get out there to explore, both locally and globally. But most importantly, I want to encourage people to love a life that challenges and pushes them to be the best person they can- and to always be kind.
How do you hope to connect with, touch or inspire that people that follow you?
I want people (particularly women) to know they are strong and beautiful and capable. We shape our whole lives through our thoughts- we can literally go as far as our mind lets us. Push yourself and get outside your comfort zone- because it’s in that space you’ll be able to do, to be or to create something awesome.
We selected you for this campaign because we believe your life is aspirational. What do you feel makes your life aspirational? Why did you decide to participate in this campaign?
It’s always surprising when people call me aspirational. I view myself as a regular person. I think what makes my life inspirational is that over the years I’ve refused to give up on my passions even when people doubted me or asked when I was going to start real life and settle down. This is my real life and I’m excited about the big dreams I’m chasing.
I chose to participate in this campaign because I wanted to add my voice to the conversation around body positivity and confidence. There is so much pressure in the media and the world of social media about looking and being perfect. That conversation won’t change unless we speak up about it.
What did you enjoy about working with Swimco on this campaign?
It was empowering to work alongside the talented Swimco team and build on the conversation around what it means to be a #swimsuitmodel and see how passionate everyone is about changing the way we talk about, and view, our bodies.
It was also very inspiring to connect with the other swimsuit models and motivated individuals from across Canada who are all pursuing their passions and dreams.
Did you discover anything about yourself?
My body isn’t perfect and that’s completely okay. For me, my body allows me to pursue my passion of outdoor adventure. It lets me run hundreds of kilometres in a month, it lets me learn how to white-water canoe solo and it lets me hike mountains and trails around the world. It doesn’t matter whether I have six pack abs or a tiny waist (because I don’t!). It only matters that I can do the things that bring my soul alive because of what my body is capable of.
If you could say one thing to someone who may not be confident with their body, what would it be?
Your body is beautiful because of the way it lets you live.