Well hey y’all! NEW NAME! WHO DIS? Welcome to Hey Ashley Renne, the blog formerly known as Travel Lushes. New year, new me! Haha, I know, I know, so effing cliché. But real talk, this was a big switch and you may be wondering why on earth did you go from Travel Lushes to Hey Ashley Renne? Well, I’m glad you asked 😊 Allow me to dust the cobwebs off this old, dusty ass blog and elaborate on how I started neglecting it in the first place and why it was time for a BIG change.
This month marked a huge milestone in my career, which I’ll get into in another post later. I delivered my very first keynote speech at WITSx Los Angeles. I talked about my long, crazy journey (from starting my blog to quitting my corporate job and becoming a full-time content creator) in the speech I gave and it was the first time I publicly shared my whole story. Like I got real raw. Something that’s not easy to do when you’re a content creator who typically creates highlight reels of the best moments of your life. In doing so, it gave me the courage to finally pull the trigger on what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now – reinvent myself.
WHY I CHANGED MY NAME
Where do I even begin without turning it into a novel? My whole story is actually pretty long, but I’mma keep this post relatively short. You’ll have to attend my next speech to hear more 😛
When I first started back in 2013, I had noooooo clue what I was doing. Travel Lushes was never supposed to be about ME. It was just going to be a travel website. To be honest, the meaning of the name might even surprise you. I’ve never talked about this, but do you wanna know what the name actually means? It was my attempt at trying to be niche – Travel Lushes was going to cover the topic of traveling around the world and drinking. Hence the name “lushes” which is a reference to the love of alcohol. Maybe two weeks later I realized I had no interest whatsoever in blogging about drinking. But I kept the name anyway and decided it would represent something else. If a lush is someone who loves to drink, then a travel lush is someone who loves to travel. So boom. Travel Lushes. I kept it.
But I didn’t really know what blogging was back then. I had never read a travel blog or watched a travel vlog and for some reason thought I could be a blogger not even knowing what that really meant. I thought travel blogging meant writing scholarly sounding articles on travel. So in 2015, I modeled my Instagram page after other big travel accounts that were just featuring other people’s dope photos. I modeled my blog after other big travel websites that wrote generic articles about travel. What was missing was my authentic voice and passion for what I was doing.
Then something changed. I started reading blogs. And watching vlogs. And I finally understood – blogs are about sharing YOUR personal journey and advice to inspire others. It didn’t need to be perfect or populated with other people’s content. So a lightbulb suddenly went off. I finally got the hang of this whole blogging thing. I started sharing a lot more of my personal life, including my adventures with my husband and friends, and wow – the love has been real!
As my blog grew, so did I. At one point, while I was traveling in Bali, I visited a beach that was littered in huge piles of trash. I was never the same after that. With a newfound passion for environmentalism, I became motivated to travel sustainably and live an adventurously green life. I began incorporating eco-friendly habits into my daily routine, switched to a completely vegan lifestyle, bought an electric car (Tesla Model S), built an energy-efficient smart home, and started staying at sustainable hotels.
And well, y’all seemed really curious about all these updates I made, so I kept sharing. On Instagram, my stories about moving into my new smart home were the most responded to stories I’ve ever shared. On YouTube, my Tesla videos were what turned my entire page around – in less than a year, my subscriber count quadrupled. It was clear that the more personal I got with sharing all the different aspects of my life, the better my content was and the more you resonated with it.
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But there was one problem. My blog name reflected my past and not my future. I found myself feeling stuck. It seemed awkward to blog about my Tesla adventures, talk about smart technology, or share my vegan finds when my name was “Travel Lushes”. That awkwardness led to me writing less and less blog posts. I kept up my Instagram, because I’m obsessed with travel photography and that will never stop so long as I am able to travel, but I completely neglected my poor little blog and YouTube page, because that’s where I really wanted to expand into other things. I love travel. It’s my passion and what got me to start blogging in the first place – but I’m more than just travel. I’ve grown a lot over the years and I want my blog and vlogs to reflect that evolution. I want to write and create videos about these other different avenues that you have shown so much interest in.
So I did something scary, yet freeing this month. I changed my brand name. I self titled it so that I’ll never fall into the trap of limiting myself ever again. Ashley Renne is who I am and I plan to be unapologetically me from now on.
So now you know how this transformed from a travel blog with no particular direction into an online source for eco travel, smart tech, and vegan lifestyle inspiration. “Sustainability” is ultimately the overall theme of what my blog has evolved into. Whether I’m at home working on my smart house, exploring the country in my electric car, deep diving into new cultures abroad, or uncovering the hippest vegan restaurants around the world, I just want to share with you my personal experiences to help you travel sustainably, find the tastiest vegan eats, rock the best cruelty-free brands, get the latest smart technology, & live your greenest life. So in other words, travel is still a major part of this, but with a few extra added layers.
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WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY ANYWAY?
In your daily routine, when you live an everyday sustainable lifestyle, you’re choosing to make an effort to reduce your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability.
In the travel industry, sustainable tourism is defined as making an effort to minimize your impact on the environment and local culture so that it will be available for future generations, while contributing to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems.
So my goal is to incorporate sustainability in every facet of my life – the way I travel, the clothes I wear, the food I eat, the technology I use – I make every effort to make sure it’s sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free.
THE BOTTOM LINE!
This blog will show you how to live a sustainably stylish and adventurously green life. Ultimately, when you choose a sustainable lifestyle, it takes your everyday life and travels to a new level.
For example, when you travel sustainably, you’ll find yourself going off the beaten path more and I’m here to provide tips and guides as resources to help you truly immerse yourself in the local culture of the places you visit. Find those secret spots that aren’t in your guidebook.
Let’s explore unique, fun, and interactive ways to travel outside the box and have a well-rounded trip. My motto: travel globally, experience locally. Why not try a locally-owned boutique hotel? Party it up at a local bar! Attend a huge festival or thrilling sporting event. Strike up a conversation with a local and find out what THEY do for fun and where the hidden gems are.
I HAVE NO REGRETS
Climate change, environmental pollution, animal advocacy, and socio-cultural impacts have been the biggest factors affecting the way I travel and live. It is a major part of who I have become and the message I have chosen to focus on as a professional content creator. That one little trip to Bali forever impacted my mission as a blogger. After witnessing the tragic plastic problem there, I suddenly became hyper aware of how our everyday choices were having a direct impact on our planet.
Now whatever I do, whether I’m at home or traveling, sustainability and compassion are at the forefront of my mind. How eco-friendly is that hotel? Are there vegan restaurants where I’m going? Is that a verified animal sanctuary or is it an abusive animal attraction tricking tourists with misleading advertising? Is that tour company locally-owned? Am I supporting the local economy or am I putting money into the pockets of giant foreign corporations? Do I need to travel internationally every time or can I invest in an electric car and reduce my carbon footprint by exploring my own backyard more?
Travel has taught me that I don’t own the world. I am merely a visitor passing through and it will be here long after my exit. I’ve learned that it’s my individual responsibility to try my best to leave it in better shape than when I arrived.
I blog with the hope to inspire within people the will to not only explore this world, but to take much better care of it. I want my travels and everyday lifestyle to inspire others to see exactly why this world, the environment, and everything in it is worth saving.
So um yeah. Thassit. If you’re diggin it, say hey Ashley Renne 🙂