A few months back, I was feeling unsure about my direction. So I read my tarot cards.

The first card I pulled was a hierophant. It read, “You may be struggling with an issue and are unsure about what is “right” for you to do. Know that the answers are within you.”

At the time, I was considering quitting my job and moving to Africa. Naturally, I was conflicted. Do I leave behind a wonderful life to move to a continent I've never visited? I wondered. Or do I be grateful and stay the course?

Then I read a post on Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook page called “START KNOWING”. It read, “Anytime I am faced with a dilemma, and I start to feel very small and confused, and I hear myself saying, “I don't know what to do!”, some voice from deep within me rises in full power and says, “START KNOWING.”

I'm not sure I believe in signs, but these two small events, especially so close together, felt like an indication.

Finally, I realized that I knew the answer to the question I had been asking for months. It was time to go to Africa. It was time to leave Boulder.

But that didn't mean that it was easy to decide to leave. I've carved out a home in Colorado. I have a roommate and a dog and an insanely comfortable bed.

More importantly, I've made friends here. Really good friends. Friends who will help me move or co-host dinner parties or help me run lines for acting class.

I have friends who come over every Tuesday to drink wine and laugh until we cry. Friends who I will miss, and who are sad to see me go.

It feels strange, almost irresponsible, to choose to leave a place I love. To discard the things that I wanted so fervently when I was younger: a pay check, a group of friends, an apartment to call my own.

But I know how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to live in Africa, and it's not an opportunity I'm prepared to pass up.

And as my dad said, “You've got to find a deep harbor to launch a big ship.” For me, Africa is that harbor. There's so much I want to do in the next year that wouldn't be possible in Boulder.

And though I'm sad to leave a good life behind, I'm beyond excited for what's ahead.

I also wanted to thank so many of you for filling out my 2017 reader survey! It's given me lots of insights on what I will post going forward. If you haven't filled it out yet, take it here.

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Uganda. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Colorado. She's been to forty countries but somehow still gets lost in her home town. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein
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