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February 24, 2017

Flying High On A One-Way Ticket With Fierce Flyer Asia Dawn

Heather Stephens

Following an abrupt divorce, Volée teammate Asia Dawn, stepped outside of her comfort zone and embarked on an unconventional path towards self-discovery. She had the courage to start over and write a new story for herself. It is one of strength and resilience through running and travel.  


My husband left me shortly after our wedding day. I didn’t see it coming. Shocked, I moved back in with my parents and quit my job. Now I’m living out of a backpack in Latin America and getting to know myself all over again. This new chapter of my life entails some serious soul-searching.


As I watched my relationship collapse in slow motion, it felt like a lot of things were happening to me. I certainly didn’t want the divorce. I didn’t want to be on my own for the first time in 10 years. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want the change that I so often craved. I had the support of friends and family to help me get through a very turbulent time. I became more involved with Oiselle meet ups and my yoga community. My best friend encouraged me to stick to my original plan of 31 runs in 31 days, even if I only made it one mile because every step was filled with tears. I tried hard to take control by taking care of myself while the world was spinning around me. It was a period filled with uncertainty, but I was never alone.


Slowly I started to move forward. I was ready to do something for me and wanted to make a positive change in my life. So, I bought a one-way ticket to Ecuador and quit my corporate job. I had never done anything so extreme! Travel has always been something that lights me up, so I decided to listen to my heart and observe what it needed to heal. I’d always done what society would expect out of someone like me, a “good girl.” I went to university, worked a stable job, went back to grad school, and continued on my career path. This decision was completely out of the box... and it filled me with excitement, anticipation, and hope. I couldn’t remember the last time I had made a decision that felt so good. Scary, but good.


I started to research Ecuador because I didn’t know much about it. In fact, I hadn’t heard it mentioned much outside of the Galápagos. It turns out that Ecuador is a beautiful place and one of the most bio diverse countries in the world. It has over 1,600 bird species... #headupwingsout! I stayed in Quito for 3 weeks when I first arrived and volunteered at a children’s summer camp. I had to speak only in Spanish, which immediately moved me out of my comfort zone. Yes, I had studied español in college, but it had been years since I used it. I was able to brush up on my language skills, but more importantly, these kids taught me not to take myself so seriously. Some came from traditional households while others were orphans. I fell in love with their smiles and laughter. It felt good to love again.


I moved on to the coast and rebuilt homes for families affected by the earthquake that killed nearly 700 people. These families had been living in temporary shelters, sometimes with only a tarp over their heads. I picked up my first power drill, and I learned how to work with bamboo. The Ecuadorians showed me how to live with less, and every day I was reminded to be grateful for what we already have. You never know when your circumstances may change.  


I continued my journey north into Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica. I traveled on public buses, slept in hammocks, tents, and bunk beds, and surrounded myself with good people. I went for a run with my own personal bodyguard and danced the night away in salsa clubs. I became more in tune with nature and spent a lot of time alone reflecting. Nature does wondrous things for the soul. I hiked for hours and sometimes for days. I swam in the Pacific. I swam in the Caribbean. I visited remote jungle and desert locations inaccessible by roads. I traveled for 21 painfully slow hours on a cargo ship. I learned the art of patience and how to be patient with myself as well. This wasn’t going to be a quick fix; I still had a ways to go. I began to accept that things aren’t always in my control, and consequently, I learned how to let things go too. I lived this new way of life to the fullest extent of my being and noticed my heart beginning to swell with happiness. I absorbed and embodied all of these experiences, and slowly, I began to heal.


With each new encounter and with each decision I make, I learn something new about myself. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever realized. I’ve learned how independent I am. I’m not only able to live on my own for the first time in 10 years, but I’m also confident enough to explore Latin America as a solo female traveler. Definitely adding THAT to my resume! I’m learning to accept my past and am no longer ashamed to share my imperfect story. This new beginning started off uncomfortable and scary. But it evolved into something raw, honest, and eye-opening. If I wasn’t forced to take a new path, if my life wasn’t shaken up in unexpected ways, if I never bought that one-way ticket, I may have never started on this journey to truly find myself.


I’m over 6 months into this one-way flight and not sure where it will take me next. Coach Steph described this “wheels up moment” as “where a grand dream meets doubt, limits, and discomfort” and I say cheers to that! This year, I resolve to continue to follow my heart and listen to my gut, no matter how crazy or unconventional it may seem. And I encourage you to do the same.

- Asia Dawn

Get in Here, We Love You



Valerie | February 24, 2017 at 8:50am

I've followed Fitness Fatale

I've followed Fitness Fatale for a while and fell into your blog from her. I didn't realize what made the decision to move but it was something I was envious of. I had a situation where my ex-fiance packed a bag and walked out. It was a jolt. I've learned so much and pushed myself in so many ways and have had so many awesome experiences since then. Through the pain I've found a lot of awesome moments and a life I never could have had with him. It still bothers me when people say "better sooner than later" but really I would have been happy in that life... but I can say I'm honestly happier now. It wasn't because of him... but because I learned to love and trust myself more. I'm grateful the relationship happened and I'm grateful it's over. It's amazing how many of us go through similar situations that we never thought would occur when we were young.

Jennifer | February 24, 2017 at 11:36am

Wow, what a journey. You are

Wow, what a journey. You are one strong woman and an inspiration! Thank you for sharing!

Adrienne simonelli | February 24, 2017 at 12:08pm

This is so inspiring. Keep on

This is so inspiring. Keep on traveling! Life is an adventure.

Asia | February 24, 2017 at 12:41pm


Thank you again for sharing my story. I was incredibly nervous to put it all out there, but seeing the support of the Oiselle community has brought me to happy tears. I love this group of strong, kickass women and cannot wait to meet more birds at future meetups when I get back to the states!

Nicole | February 24, 2017 at 12:51pm

You're incredible

I'm so proud of you Asia! You are brave, strong, and fierce. Love you!

Asia | February 24, 2017 at 3:17pm

I'm so sorry you had to go

I'm so sorry you had to go through that but am glad that you could relate to this blog post. I love what you said about learning how to love and trust yourself more. That is SO true & is something that I am learning to do more each and every day.

Guest | February 25, 2017 at 10:08am

I'm so impressed by your

I'm so impressed by your independence and insight. You are an amazing person! Can't wait to hear what comes next.

Kelley | February 25, 2017 at 11:28am

Asia I knew little about your

Asia I knew little about your journey but I'm happy and in ahh of you! You know me as Craig & Lindas bartender, I asked about you last year they said you were in Equador. I truly love your story and thank you for sharing! I hope you inspire other women to 'step out of the box' we are amazing all on our own. Hope to see you again someday as you have always been one of my favorites to talk to at C & L's.

Jess | February 25, 2017 at 4:54pm

Hey girl, I went through

Hey girl, I went through something crazily similar almost a year ago. My ex fiancé walked out and I've been trying to pick up the pieces and find my own way since. Your words resonate with me so much. Grateful to have had him and grateful it's over. It's so crazy and has been a rollarcoaster but it's for the best I know. I'm going to live MY life and take advantage of doing things I couldn't or wouldn't have with him, much like you said. I'm sorry you went through this too but thank you for sharing. It's comforting to know I'm not alone.

Guest | February 27, 2017 at 8:41am


I want to be you when I grow up... Oh, by the way... I'm 58.

Sally | April 30, 2017 at 6:32pm

crying while reading this

Wow i love how inspiring your journey has been. Though not going through a divorce I am currently trying to get through a break up after 7 years and travelling the world together. This gave me a glimmer of hope thanks for being such an inspiration