New Years’ Resolution Update

Considering I’m a bit short on photos this week, I thought I would recap y’all on those lofty resolutions I made back in January. Almost six months later, I’m happy to report that I’m doing surprisingly well.

Resolution #1: Learn Fluent French

When I arrived in France back in October, I barely spoke a mot of French. Most of my conversations began with “Parlez-vous anglais?” and ended with me feeling a bit embarrassed with myself.

Due to lots and lots of good old-fashioned hard work (and ahem, Harry Potter) I would safely say I’m conversational now and thiiis close to fluent. I often find myself chatting with friends at cafés for hours in French (quoi?) and have been told by my host parents, French friends and language professor that I’ve improved loads.

Nevertheless, I am still very keen to get better. I think if I keep working hard and stubbornly trying to converse in French I’ll be fluent by July.

Resolution #2: Get Back in Shape

Em… while I’m happy that I’ve been successfully dieting and now weigh the same as I did a year ago, I’m not really in prime physical shape. Yoga and gyms are crazy expensive here so as I am pinching pennies for my Asia trip I’ll have to hold off on serious work-outs. (Granted running is free, but um… yeah.)

To prepare for this, I just bought a yoga Groupon for when I’m back in Michigan (10 classes for $25!) and am thinking of doing a yoga retreat in Bali in September. So hopefully I will look good in a bathing suit sometime in the near future, ha.

Resolution #3: Build My Blog

I’m very happy with how I’ve kept up this blog. Though sometimes I do have trouble striking a balance between blogging and um… living, I think going forward I will strive for quality over quantity.

Speaking of quality, I’m concerned that some (hopefully not all?) of my posts are boring as more than a few friends have told me that they skim through them.

I wanted to ask you guys- which posts are you enjoying and which ones not so much? Anything I should scrap? And I would love, love, love it if you guys could complete this quick 10-question reader survey! I’m still quite new at the charade and it would mean the world to me if you guys told me how I’m doing.

I’ve also started reaping some small earnings from this blog, and so far this year I have posted 70 times. And in my 9 or so months blogging, I have posted 135 times. Not bad for a newbie!


Resolution #4: Freelance

This is a goal I have certainly fallen short on. I wanted to have one freelancing piece published a month and so far I haven’t had one thing published. Womp ,womp.

BootsNAll even accepted one of my pieces but I stupidly never followed up with them! Which was probably because I was really intimidated by the whole situation… which is a terrible excuse.

In better news, I have been working as a travel columnist for a local Detroit newspaper, The Metropolitan Detroit. Check out my first two columns! Naturally, they’re all about travel. Oops.Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 12.32.55 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 12.33.43 AM

Other goals:

a. Save up for Asia (I have $2500 right now, and need $2500 more to meet my budget)

b. Improve photography (learn HDR, finally!)

c. And just keep living life to the best of my abilities. Take advantage of every opportunity to meet cool people, eat good food and do cool stuff. In a nutshell.


Most of all, thank you for reading Ashley Abroad. I don’t want to get sentimental, but blogging has really changed my life and opened up a lot of doors for me and it’s all thanks to you guys. Reading your comments makes my day, for serious. Thanks for spending time in my humble little corner of the interwebs… I hope you’ll stick around!

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

17 thoughts on “New Years’ Resolution Update”

  1. I’m glad you were able to follow your resolutions so well! I also wanted to pursue blogging in a more serious way this year, but then life happened and between sleeping and working hard for school, I had to draw some priorities – so I definitely know how much work it must be for you! :)

    My favorite kinds of posts are those where you get personal about things you’ve done and thought, just because they make it easier for readers to connect with you on a more personal level.


    • I totally know what you mean- blogging can very easily start to take over your life so it’s important not to overdo it! I will try to put more of my personality into my writing (something I struggle with), thanks so much for the feedback :)

  2. Of course being your grandmother, I probably can’t be as objective as your
    other friends and readers. I like to feel that I am experiencing everything with you. Your photos are very helpful. I would like to see more shots of you in some of your travels and doings. Love, Gamma

  3. I really love your posts that describe your day to day life there in France or the trips you’ve taken around there. It’s nice to see what life is like in a different country! I’ve never skimmed through anything here :)

  4. Your blog is great! I think it’s always great to see other people’s perspective of Paris. I feel like I know most of the city inside and out, but that’s why I enjoy reading… everyone’s experience is different! Balancing blogging and living is always difficult, but in the end, as long as you are doing what you want to do, there’s no “right way” to live. :)

    • That’s so true- and I think you have to adjust blogging to fit the pace of your life. I know when I’m backpacking Asia my pace will slow way down, and that’s probably for the best.

  5. A. Your Grandmothers comment was adorable (and she sounds like my grandma!)
    B. I love reading about all your adventures and I am excited to hear about asia!

    • Aren’t grandmothers the best? :) And I’m so glad you enjoy reading what I have to write… sometimes it seems like I do this just for myself so it’s good to hear you find some value in it! xx

  6. Congrats on keeping track of your resolutions! I know most people make resolutions and then let them fall by the wayside…myself included. You’ve done a remarkable job of achieving your goals so far, and seem to have plan for completing the ones you have yet to check off. I’m looking forward to your next update on these to seem how far you’ve come. I’ll be making my own resolution/goal list for when I leave to teach in Spain in late September!

  7. If you are still looking for cheaper yoga, I download yoga podcasts from iTunes. They are from I usually get the free 20 minute classes and love them! They have longer ones on the website that you can downloard for usually under $5. Hope this helps you :)

  8. Hi Ashley,

    I have been reading your travel blog for sometime, and loving it. I am fairly widely traveled too, but not in as many exotic places as you have been.

    Just wanted to say I am enjoying your blog; thanks for posting; and, all the best with your career.


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