I discovered Ashley Castle from a blog post she wrote a year ago about her love for AFAR and was instantly hooked. It’s difficult to turn away from her passion and nearly impossible to be immune to her contagious zest and positivity. Whether it’s on her blog, or via her Facebook, Twitter, or AFAR Highlights, she constantly exudes a wonder of life.

Last December Ashley fought to garner enough votes to win a trip around the world with the Roaming Gnome of Travelocity. It was a remarkable journey to follow, and now that she’s returned to her apartment and her job, her clear perspective is a pleasure to experience. She hasn’t slowed down and she’s still traveling every chance she gets (she’s currently back in Rio). I strongly encourage our community to follow this inspirational spirit, who we’re now so fortunate to have as an AFAR ambassador. Go on, travel with Castle.

See all of Ashley’s Wanderlists.

Occupation: VP of Sales for a Swiss skin care and health company

My last trip took me on a trip around the world to Rome, Beijing, Mumbai, Lisbon and Rio.

Two wooden elephantsfrom Darjeeling, India are my most treasured travel souvenirs.

Favorite hotel: The Four Seasons in Wailea, Maui Hawaii or The Surrey, NYC

Favorite restaurant: Beauty and Essex in New York or Lupe Tortillas in Houston (the best beef fajitas on the planet)

Favorite shopping destination: Intermix

Backpack, wheelie, or trunk? Used to be a backpack but most recently traveled the globe with my new TUMI Vapor 4 wheeled suitcase—it was a dream to travel with!

Public transportation, cab, or bike? I always prefer to walk if possible.

If you’re in Maui anytime of the year, don’t miss the sushi at Sansei or a stunning ocean view meal at Mama’s Fish House. 

Dancing with locals, especially if you don’t speak the same language, is the best way to connect with locals (and break down barriers—it’s a universal language!).

Five things you can’t travel without: earplugs, iPod Nano, Arbonne skin care products, journal, and camera.

Where do you always take out-of-town friends? Employees Only, a cool little speakeasy-type bar in the West Village, NYC with amazing drinks and a great scene.

Best memory of a trip with kids—either from your own childhood or with your own kids: Taking the Durango-Silverton train in Colorado when I was 10 years old with my family—that trip really birthed a new sense of adventure and a love for the outdoors.

If I had a whole month to travel, I would go to New Zealand.

If I had a whole year to travel, I would go to Southeast Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia.

Favorite foreign word or phrase: Obrigado. It’s thank you in Portuguese, it’s just fun and lyrical to say.

Favorite foreign tradition: Although Hawaii is still in the U.S., I love the tradition of greeting people with leis. I lived there for a while and it was such a beautiful part of the Aloha culture and spirit.

Travel has taught me the beauty of living simply and seeking after experiences during this lifetime more than accruing things.

Photo credit: Sara Kerens