Up Next: My Travel Plans for the Next 8 Months

Greetings from Singapore! (A city I’m head-over-flip-flops in love with, by the way).

As I just booked my ticket home for Christmas (yay!), I thought it was high-time I announce my upcoming travel plans. I just spent an adventure and work-filled month in southern and central Vietnam and am soon off to Indonesia for a month of yoga and diving. Rough life, guys.

So after lots of much-needed family and puppy time in Michigan, I will hopefully be heading back to Asia in January, though I still need to book my ticket. Here’s the plan: fly into Bangkok, head straight south for a 10-day silent meditation retreat (gulp), hit up the Half-Moon Party and finally take a bus up north to hang out in Chiang Mai (ELEPHANTS!). Then travel slowly across Laos and northern Vietnam.

Of course this is all liable to change. Depending on how much I like Indonesia, I might try to fit some time in for Malaysia and Indonesia, and of course, I would love to plan a visit back to Singapore.  Because there’s only so much deliciousness you can cram into three days.

And then?

Back to Europe!

I’m hoping to score a cheap one-way flight from Bangkok to London sometime in March- fingers crossed!

In the U.K. I’m going to visit my little brother who is studying abroad in London, as well as hang out with Amanda from Farsickness, catch up with some of my Paris-based London friends and finally check out the street art-filled Shoreditch neighborhood.

Then I’m venturing north to visit one of my best friends from my Paris days, a Northern England native and fellow lover of everything nerdtastic. In the north I plan to finally live out my Downton Abbey fantasy and explore the English countryside! I’m dreaming of holing up in a cozy pub with a pint of cider… ah, so excited.

Then I will travel by train to London, which I’m very excited about because on my trip to Scotland in 2011 I used trains as my only mode of transport and they were incredible- they even had the trolleys filled with sweets like in Harry Potter!


Views from the train in the Scottish Highlands.

 From London I will fly to Switzerland to stay with a beloved family friend in her ski chalet and catch the tail-end of ski season. After exploring Lyon and the cheese-centric mountain towns of eastern France, I will meander down to Milan to visit one of my best friends, the lovely Edna of Expat Edna! I imagine we will eat lots of food and perhaps squeeze in a visit to Sicily. Either way we’ll be drinking lots of wine, per usual.

And then I will be taking a 5-week Alliance Francaise course in Toulouse to prepare for the DELF, a very difficult translation test. The price tag is hefty- about 600 euros, and I’ll have to find a place to stay in Toulouse (help?) but I think the struggle will be well worth it.

One of my biggest goals in 2014 is to become a certified translator from both French and Spanish into English. Translation combines many of my greatest loves: languages, writing and finicky boring linguistic points (i.e. etymology) that I nerd out over.

Next I really want to squeeze in the month-long Camino de Santiago, an epic pilgrimage that takes you from the French border to Galicia. I kind would like a travel buddy though… any takers?

From there I will head back to Paris for the springtime stay for at least two weeks to enjoy my favorite city as well as spend time with some of my favorite people. Sometimes I honestly do feel like I have more of a life there than back in the states!

Then it will be back to London again- it seems I will be booking trains to London quite a bit in 2014!

All of this is highly flexible- I would love to attend TBU in 2014 as I was forced to miss it last year due to work scheduling conflicts. (Despite buying a ticket and a train ticket. Harumph.)

This post may seem a bit all of the place and manic, and I realize that at least 50% (hopefully not 100%!) may not occur. But provided that my freelancing jobs continue to support me and I keep pinching pennies I should be able to swing all of this. Fingers crossed.

What do you think of my plan? Any words of advice?

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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.

38 thoughts on “Up Next: My Travel Plans for the Next 8 Months”

  1. Great plans ahead! Feel free to send me an email whenever u r back in Sg and wanna meet up. Or if u want me to show u around for a (half) day… Have a wonderful time!

  2. Ooooh I’m jealous. I’m hoping to make my way back to Europe at the end of next year – though if circumstances change I’ll be heading over there early next year. Either way I look forward to reading about your travels in Europe through your eyes (and would totally be your walking buddy for the Camino if I end up in the area earlier than expected!)

  3. Where will you be heading in the north of England? I lived in Newcastle for 2 years and absolutely love it up there! Sounds like you’re going to have a great 2014; enjoy!

  4. Ashley, Learning French is my goal this year and I’m super interested in doing an in-country course. Do you have any recommendations for good programs? Thanks!

    • I personally would recommend not doing it in Paris as it’s really hard to get conversation practice (the Parisians are often very intent on practicing English). I would suggest the Alliance Francaise in Toulouse- that’s the school I’m looking at anyway!

  5. Have you read Cat from @ Sunshine’s & Siestas stuff about the Camino? She’s obsessed and wants to do it again. Maybe I’ll join you? That, or somewhere in France! Would love to plan something :) Exciting stuff ahead!

  6. I’m SO happy you are extending your travels after going home for Christmas! And you are going to some great places! Hmmm… Seriously think this travel show should happen. The name.. “Ashley Abroad”. Miss you sweet girl, much love. Xo

  7. Ooooooooooh you’re gonna do the Camino!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s so exciting to hear! :) :) :) I’m currently living in Santiago de Compostela, so if/when you finish the pilgrimage we should meet up here to celebrate ^_^

  8. This is a great 8 month plan! There is something so fun about planning that far in advance even when plans can be tentative. Looking forward to hearing more about your time in Singapore! I am going be heading there in the next few years. Good luck with your upcoming travel!

  9. Ashley, I first off am so excited to hear about your Angkor Wat trip as it’s always been one of my need to visit places! Secondly, I’m so surprised to hear of your hope to do the Santiago de Compostela, as I’ve always wanted to! Wishing you the best!

  10. My head is spinning. So much to hear about! WOW.
    Hearing it all at once, sounds impossible, but knowing you, I’m sure it’s not.
    Looking forward to your being home at Christmas. Love, Gamma

  11. Awesome plans! I hope they all do work out :) It also looks like 2014 will be the year when we cross paths! Keep me updated and I’ll try my best to meet you somewhere! (Or of course, you can try and fit in Madrid. :) Maybe even a …Madrid blogger weekend? )

    Good luck with all the French and the freelancing! I’m sure you can do it ;)

  12. YES YES YES!!! I am so excited to hang out with you in London. Also there is a street art tour of East London that is supposed to be amazing that we should go on.

    And I agree with Jessica, Madrid blogger weekend sounds fab :)

    Good luck with all the freelancing. It sounds like you are really making this travel life work!

  13. How fun! Goodluck on your translation test, I’ve been learning French since I was four years old yet still don’t think I’d be able to pass one.

    The Camino de Santiago has been on my list of to-dos for years there’s just so many great things to do in this world. Ahhh… one day :)

  14. The list sounds like a dream! Happy travels there!

    Milan is amazing! Do try to take a day trip to Torino, it’s about 2-3hr ride maybe, but its a wonderfully cute little italian town up north.

    The highlands of Scotland look amazing! I was only able to check our Edinburgh which is nice but i hear the highlands is where the magic is at :)

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