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Having traded Driffield for Florida, Ashleigh Gowlett is currently living it up in America! Here, in an exclusive interview with “Pulse” author Steve Rudd, Ashleigh raves about work and play stateside…

You’re currently living and working in Florida! What prompted you to head over there, and where have you been working?

I’ve been working at the Sanctuary Golf Club. It’s a member-owned platinum club on Sanibel Island, which is a small island on the west coast of Florida. I’ve also been living on the island. I’ve always wanted to get out of the Driffield area and broaden my horizons in other places. Working away is something that I’ve wanted to do for a good few years now, so when I got the opportunity, I didn’t hesitate to take it!

How did you get the job, and is it all that you’d hoped it would be?

My friend from university had pretty much posted a Facebook status saying, “Does anyone want to work in America for a year? Send me a message if so.” Everything seems to happen through Facebook now — it’s crazy! I messaged her thinking, “I probably won’t get it, or even have a shot at doing it.” She put me in contact with a lady who looked over my CV and interviewed me via Skype. She thought the Sanctuary would be the best place for me, so I Skyped the manager, and he gave me the job there and then! The club is fantastic, and I’ve been working with the most amazing people.

Have you visited the states before?

I’ve visited before. I had a holiday last year with a couple of family members. We visited New York and Vegas, which were both insane. I also had the chance to go to Philadelphia and be a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding, which was an honour. Visiting the US made me think, “This is where I want to be.”

What is Sanibel like, and are there many interesting places close by to explore?

Sanibel is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen! There are so many things to see here. It’s not every day that you can look out of your bedroom window and see blue sky and palm trees. The island itself is interesting enough to explore. There are so many nature trails that you can bike or walk on in order to see all the different wildlife. Sanibel is really into preserving its nature. If you’re into chilling out and enjoying the fresh air, it’s the perfect place to be. The beaches are beautiful. I think Sanibel has some of the best beaches on this side of Florida. I went on a friend’s boat a few weeks after getting here to Cayo Costa. If you’re into shelling, you can pick up the most fascinating and pretty shells on the island. The water was so blue; it was so heavenly and peaceful.

What has surprised you the most about the American way of life?

Just how different America is to England! For example, if you want to go to the nearest store, you can’t just walk for ten minutes like I used to at home. Everything is so spread out here. I don’t know if it’s because I’m living on an island, but everything is so chilled out, too.

Have you explored any other parts of Florida?

We’ve not really ventured out much yet. We’ve been over to Fort Myers on a few nights out. We’ve also been kayaking! I actually went for a night out in Miami the other day, and I visited West Palm Beach, which was pretty awesome! Miami is such a different place compared to where we’re living. It’s got a lot more life to it, but it was definitely nice to get back to Sanibel where it’s quieter!

Are you proposing to stay in the US on a long-term basis?

After my year-long visa expires, I’ll get a month to go travelling, then I have to come home. I’d love to stay over here on a long- term basis, but I want to travel around more of the world before I decide to settle in one place. I’m going to spend a couple of months back home before I set off on another adventure. My next goal is Dubai. I’ve got my heart set on visiting there. I’ll hopefully be able to work over there if I can find a job. The world is such a huge place, and there’s so much more to see! Anything “long-term” is off the cards for me right now.

What do you miss the most about being so far away from home?

A good English brew! As well as my family and friends, of course! As much as I love being in the US, and as much as I really wanted to get out of Driffield, I do miss the place. I guess people take things for granted when they’re stuck in the same town, but as soon as you venture away from a familiar place, it makes you realise how much you miss the people there. I speak to my family and friends every week, so they keep me up-to-date with what’s going on, which is nice. At the end of the day, they’re only a phone call away!

What advice would you give to others who have always wanted to live and work in America?

My advice would be to follow through with what you want to do in life. I was really sceptical about coming out here, because I was leaving a lot behind at home, and I was coming into the unknown, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To be able to experience something completely different, and having the opportunity to work at the most beautiful place whilst meeting some amazing people, is just incredible. I’ve learnt so much already. Being able to travel the world is an experience in itself. America is a great place to live, and there are so many more states I want to visit. I kind of feel like my journey is just starting, and I’m really beginning to find myself as a person.


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