One of the great things about social media is its ability to connect people from all over. Sailing also boasts this ability. No matter where you are in the world, sailing has the ability to bond two strangers who share that passion into friendship. I am constantly inspired by not only the women I sail with, but also those I connect with on social media as well. This is how I recently met one of my newest friends. Today, I am super excited to introduce you to Ashleigh Bridget of The Sailing Yogi.
Describing herself as an avid hat wearer, above-average pancake flipper and exploration enthusiast, Ashleigh calls the extraordinary Whitsunday Islands of Australia home. After earning a degree in Art History and Economics in the city, Ashleigh returned to the Whitsundays in 2013 and took a job onboard a sailboat in order to fund upcoming travels where she would earn her yoga instructor certification and work with indigenous artists in the Western Australian Desert. Although she grew up on beaches and power boats, this is where she got her first taste of sailing.
In July of 2017, Ashleigh made the decision to leave her job in order to dedicate more time to her yoga studio. Currently, she owns a yoga studio in Proserpine and also works as a freelance digital media and marketing strategist for local businesses. Like many others, Ashleigh went through a period of questioning and ‘feeling lost’ as to what direction life should take. She started her blog, The Sailing Yogi, as a way to build up her yoga following and business while capitalizing on the beauty of the Whitsundays. Her blog has changed immensely in the last few months and now incorporates more travel, sailing and Whitsunday exploration. She has even added vlogging and drone footage to the mix! If you’re following Ashleigh on Instagram (if not, you NEED to) it is clear why and how she has built up such a following so quickly. She is an expert content creator and her photographs are BEYOND stunning. It’s mind-blowing to think that she calls a place like the Whitsundays home.
Located on Australia’s Queensland coast, the Whitsunday Islands are the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays are made up of 74 islands, most of which are untouched. We here in the U.S may have close access to the islands of the Bahamas or the Caribbean, but there is something to be said about traveling, literally, to the ends of the earth to find paradise like this. Wanderlust becomes so much more alluring. The Whitsundays are a sailor’s paradise. This week, they are hosting the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival, as a part of the Clipper Round the World race. It’s also home to the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which is Australia’s largest offshore regatta. Thanks to Ashleigh’s photos and vlogs, it’s safe to say that I am officially obsessed with the idea of sailing the Whitsunday Islands.
Photo via The Sailing Yogi
MG: When did you first start sailing?
AB: I started sailing in November 2013 after getting a job as a host/deckhand on a sailing catamaran that offered 3 night and 3 day tours around the Whitsunday Islands! I worked on and off on that boat for about 18 months. In that time I claim that I learned how to sail by osmosis. The boat was pretty easy to sail. While the skippers did most of the work themselves, overtime I picked up on what was going on and became more inquisitive and interested in sailing.
MG: What places are on your sailing bucket list?
AB: Everywhere! Everywhere that is warm, as I am not a fan of cold places. The Pacific Island groups are the most appealing right now, as they are the closest to me.
MG: If you could give someone only one tip or piece of sailing advice, what would it be?
AB: Just back yourself. I think hesitancy is a killer in any aspect of your life. Back your decision and if it was a giant mistake, then its a great lesson to know what not to do again.
MG: How was your experience skippering a boat for the first time?
AB: I was terrified! I did this recently with two girls that had never sailed (or spent much time on boats) before and I was pretty anxious leading up to the trip. We were on a brand new 39ft Jeanneau that a charter company in the Whitsunday’s gave me to blog about. There were a few daunting moments where I wanted to ask someone for advice and then realized I was the decision maker. Once we were out there, and I got used to the boat, the nerves wore off. It was exhilarating and exciting – I can’t wait to do it again!
MG: If you could own your ‘dream boat’ someday, what would it be?
AB: As I haven’t done much sailing on monohulls, I would have to say a catamaran. Once I find the boat I’ll let you know!
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