Everyday, softball

Balance.

Balance. Everyone knows what the word means, but do we all truly know how important it is to have it!? I just spent two weeks in Europe and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. For once, I decided it was about time I sacrifice a little of my hear-earned money and spend it on an experience of a lifetime. Holy cow. Why did I ever wait this long to leave the country?! What the heck took me so long?! I’m already asking myself WHEN CAN I GO BACK?!

Dropping all things softball for 13 days was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m so used to keeping up with social media, posting outrageously (and probably annoying the world) about my upcoming camps and clinics. I coach young athletes 4 days a week and spend multiple weekends throughout the year with my The Packaged Deal teammates, motivating and inspiring girls to be dream chasers. I love what I do. How could I ever want to stop doing what I love for a second? Because I mentally and physically needed to.

For my own health and well-being, I needed to create time to distance myself from the thing I love to do most, coaching. Putting it all on hold for a couple weeks honestly reminded me of when I was a collegiate athlete. After a season would end, I LONGED for a break. I had been training, playing and giving my all non-stop the previous 8 months, so I was more than ready to step away for a brief summer. It allowed my mind and my body to rest, and when it was time to get back to work in the fall, I was ready. I missed it. I was motivated to get back to work.

As much as I absolutely love coaching and growing this game, I know that I cannot spend every waking hour of my life thinking about it. I would burn myself out. In the past year, I’ve learned, more than ever, that spending time resting and relaxing is just as important as working your butt off for the things you want most. In order to be my best self, the best coach, the best sister, daughter, and friend I can be, I have to find a happy medium. I have to find time to do all of the things I love most, not just coach. I love to cook. I love to go to the movies. I love spending time with my family…and now I can add to my list, I love to travel abroad!

So what did I do while I was gone? Well…I can tell you my favorite morning was spent doing the Frauline Maria Bike Tour in Salzburg, Austria to see where one of my all-time favorite movies, The Sound of Music, was filmed. I’ve never had so much fun within a 3

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The Captain’s humble abode in The Sound of Music.

and a half hour time span in my life! We spent just about every afternoon at an outdoor cafe, immersing ourselves in the culture, and enjoyed some coffee and kuchen like the locals. I can’t tell you how awesome I thought it was that no one we came across ever seemed to be in a rush (other than a few people running late to board the train every once in a while..LOL). But seriously, everyone seemed to take their time, all the time. It made me think…why do I sometimes rush to pay the bill at a restaurant when I could be sitting across from people I enjoy hanging out with for a little while longer? Why do I sometimes rush into decision-making when I know I’m probably going to get a better outcome when I sit down and explore all my options first? Why rush when you can take your time and enjoy life just a little bit more?

Let me tell ya, I’m a PROUD 5 pounds heavier after this trip. Life’s too short not to immerse yourself with new things, so you better believe I went all out on the food! Sorry America…after trying all these foods, I’m not sure we can even compete. Here’s my short list of things Germany and Austria stole my heart with: schnitzel, apple strudel, REAL potato salad, maultaschen, sauerkraut made with bacon, spaetzle, and my new favorite dessert kaisershmarrn (AKA “cut-up-pancakes”…drooling just thinking about it)! Can we talk about gummy bears for a second?! …sure we may have “Haribo” over here, but even their Haribo tastes 10x better! Maybe it’s cause they use actual sugar! I don’t believe you’ve had a real gummy bear until you’ve tried them from Germany. Period.

In-between stuffing our faces with schnitzel…my better half and I did some crazy cool sight seeing. After visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, I barely had any words. It’s Cinderella’s castle on steroids! For a castle built in the late 1800’s, up close it honestly looked like it was built yesterday!

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Neuschwanstein Castle from a bridge nearby! Gah! So beautiful!

Sure, we visited Oktoberfest for a minute, (which I will totally plan come back for someday with family and friends) but experiencing a culture that I couldn’t help but fall in love with was priceless. Germany and Austria’s architecture is absolutely breathtaking, and they take great pride in the immense details of their castles and, even more so, their CHURCHES. I don’t think I’ve seen anything more beautiful. We went into every single church within walking distance because each one had their own personality, and the intricacies of their art was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Wow! Photos don’t even do them justice, but here are just a few of my favorites!

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Lastly, my favorite city might have been Innsbruck, Austria. The Alps were absolutely breathtaking and the city itself was quaint, laid back, and obviously the food was out of this world! I would go back there in a heartbeat!img_20181002_171100

I finally understand why everyone is shocked whenever they found out I’ve never left the country before. There is SO MUCH to see! If you have always wanted to go visit a new city or even a new country…I encourage you, more than ever, to DO IT. Find a way. I 100% wish I would have studied abroad in college, but I always made the excuse that I don’t have time and it sounds expensive! I’ve learned that money will always be there, but there’s only so much time we get to walk on this great Earth. Use that time the best you can. I spent a pretty penny on this trip, but don’t regret it for a single second!

I joked to my boyfriend about thinking I would be someone totally different by leaving the country for the first time, but I’m pretty sure I ended up being right. I experienced a culture way different than the one I’m always exposed to. Because of the time away from coaching, I came back home more excited than ever to work with my athletes again. I missed them! I want them to be able to experience new things, new people, new cultures and not be afraid to go and do it! I’m pretty sure traveling around the world is going to start to become one of my favorite hobbies. I hope you get to find what you makes you happy and MAKE time to do those things whenever you can. Time is so valuable, so take the time to do the things you love, with the people you love. You’re worth it.

Auf Wiedersehen!

1 thought on “Balance.”

  1. Wow Ashley, as I said before you have a way with words. I enjoyed reading your experience even though you told me all about your trip.

    Like

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