From My World: Ashley Onadele
“My solo trip to Costa Rica taught me a lot about myself and I never would have had those “aha!” moments if I had gone with my husband or my girlfriends.”
Who doesn’t love traveling to exotic places and experiencing new things? But do you ever feel as if you’ve paid too much for your trip or were catfished by your AirBnB? We decided to get to know travel blogger Ashley Onadele and find out how to travel like a pro!
I’m Ashley Onadele and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and son. Before my son came along, I traveled frequently with my husband and sometimes by myself and when this little bundle of joy came along, I kept traveling!
I’m passionate about families traveling with their kids and showing them how they can do it like my family does. But in addition to family travel, I also believe in couples and solo female travel because partner relationships and self-care are so important when raising a happy family, in my opinion.
What Was Your Most Memorable Trip?
This question is hard! All of my trips have meant so much to me for different reasons but if I had to choose just one it would be when I traveled solo to Costa Rica for 2 weeks to teach English in 2014. I thought I was so brave when I left my husband at the airport in San Francisco but I was actually terrified. And that uneasiness stayed with me until I traveled by bus to the coastal town of Manual Antonio for my free weekend. When I was truly alone, and not with my homestay family, I had the space to relax and get my confidence back. I learned a lot about myself and the type of traveler I am while I was on that trip.
How Did You Get into Being a Travel Blogger?
I have always loved writing and reading and I remember I was doing research on Google for an upcoming trip and I fell into this rabbit hole of Black female travel bloggers. I found blogs like Oneika the Traveller and Nicole is The New Black and it was just so amazing to see women who looked like me who also traveled fearlessly. Then I found other phenomenal women like Liz Carlson of Young Adventurous and I was hooked. I registered my blog and domain in 2016 but really started to take it all seriously in 2018 when I was home on maternity leave. I used to write just for myself, but I have evolved into writing for other women, mothers, and families.
How Do You Feel About Solo Travel?
I’m a huge proponent of solo travel. As I mentioned, my solo trip to Costa Rica taught me a lot about myself and I never would have had those “aha!” moments if I had gone with my husband or my girlfriends. Solo travel teaches you how to survive in the moment, it shows you the good, bad, and ugly about your own biases, requires you to be resourceful, and so much more. And as a mother, I would argue that solo travel is mandatory for moms. There is no greater feeling than leaving the guilt and your children behind (in capable hands, of course) and being on your own schedule again, even if just for a few days.
When Did You Make the Decision to Travel With Your Family and How Did That Change Your Travel Experience?
I was very conscious of when I wanted to start my family. My husband and I have that almost classic love story of being high-school sweethearts, surviving college together and so on. I had a list of places I wanted to see totally baby-free and thought that I would slow down a bit once we started having kids but I couldn’t shake my wanderlust. So I would say that I made the decision to travel with my family well before my son was born. Traveling with your baby slows you down because there are inevitably more things you have to bring, you are no longer on your own schedule, and you have to be sensitive to where babies are and are not allowed. The experience is definitely different but the trade off is invaluable and I have never regretted taking my son anywhere.
What is the Biggest Lesson You Learned While Traveling?
The biggest lesson I have learned while traveling is humility. The places around the world that I have visited operate on so much less than we do here at home: less food, less money, smaller homes, smaller cars, you name it. I am so much more aware of my place in the world and I owe that to traveling.
Have You Developed a System to Find the Best Deals for Travel and Has That Changed the Way You Travel?
Yes and no. Sometimes due to the time of year that I am traveling, like in the summer, there isn’t a whole lot I can do about the price of high season travel. But for the most part, I travel in the off-season to cut costs, and I absolutely love Airbnbs. But the most efficient system for cutting costs on travel is definitely utilizing hotel points and airline miles whenever appropriate.
When and How Did you Decide to Start a Travel Business?
In 2018, I was home on maternity leave and somehow had time to really get into my blog. I found it so fulfilling to spend time writing about my travels. People were always asking me for tips and tricks on how I afford to travel, places I’ve been, how I did this or that, etc. And it was actually my husband who kept telling me that I needed to charge a fee instead of giving out so much advice for free. My answer was always, “I love this stuff! I can’t charge people, can I?” Well, fast forward to the end of the year when I had the opportunity to join Gloria Atanmo of The Blog Abroad in Playa del Carmen for a business retreat and learn about all things travel writing, blogging, consulting, etc. It was at that retreat that I learned how to make my travel business a reality.
What is Your Goal for Your Travel Business? What Do You Hope People Gain from Your Travel Business?
My goal is to become a trusted source for travel consulting, trip planning, and points and miles consulting, with special focus on traveling with young children and babies. Not enough parents and mothers think that they can travel with their little ones and I want that to change. From my business, I hope that people will gain the confidence to believe that they can travel without breaking the bank and that the world really is at their fingertips.