Traipsing Round The Globe: Month 1

Um, so remember when I said I was done blogging for a while? Well, I couldn’t resist sharing a monthly update of my trip! This is a real time update that covers the last 40 days. (My trip started February 20 so I figured I’d squeeze that bit in with March!)

I’ve spent the last five weeks in Europe. In short, Europe feels a lot less, well, thrilling after going to Asia. In fact, traveling here hardly feels like traveling at all; it more feels like a heightened and happier version of everyday life. I’ve spent the last five weeks wandering about in a happy daze, visiting friends, enjoying near daily doses of sunshine (weird right?) and picnicking in parks. And of course, I threw in a few random adventures like skiing in Switzerland and road-tripping to Wales with a bunch of British guys. As you do.


In short, everything has been delightfully familiar and I’ve felt so, so happy. Also, after many -20 degree Michigan days, I’ve been extra grateful for the balmy spring weather in Europe.


Where I’ve been:

NYC (2 days)

London (2 days)

Venice (5 days)

Switzerland (9 days)

London again! (2 weeks)

North of England (4 days, during my stay in London)

Wales (3 days)

Madrid (4 days)

Paris (3 days and counting!)



Madrid Club

Seeing so many friends! I kicked off the trip with my college roommate/best friend, Alyssa (we had a ridiculously good time, needless to say.) I followed that up with seeing Edna and the Googlers in Venice, a German family friend in Switzerland, Amanda and my little brother Andrew in London, English friends in the north of England, blogger friends in Madrid and French, English and American friends in Paris. And thanks to their hospitality I only had to pay for seven nights accomodation out of six weeks!

Couchsurfing in London with a house full of Spaniards was ridiculously fun. We had several house parties in which we barbecued, made tortilla de patatas,  drank vino and listened to Galician music. Plus, I got to speak Spanish for about three days straight!

Venice canal

Carnevale in Venice. While carnevale itself was a bit of a let-down (basically Venetian carnevale is  occassionally seeing old people in costumes walk by, not quite the debaucherous outdoor masquerade I had envisioned) I got to spend a week in beautiful, canalside townhouse with an incredible group of American expats. So. Much. Fun.

skiing Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland. I grew up skiing every weekend and raced in middle and high school; Needless to say, skiing is my favorite sport. Also due to watching Warren Miller movies as a child I’ve been dying to ski in Switzerland; so, life made.

Hyde Park

Spring in London. I spent a few weeks in London feeling the happiest I’ve felt in ages. I simply enjoyed the blooming flowers, leisurely picnics in the park and many, many food markets with Amanda (p.s. if Amanda ever gives you a food recommendation PLEASE take it. Girl knows what she’s talking about.)


Road-tripping to the North of England and Wales. I headed up to the north of England to see Lauren, one of my good English friends who also worked as an au pair in Paris. What was supposed to be a weekend turned into an entire week in which we road-tripped to York and Wales with a car-full of new English friends who share a love for the Arctic Monkeys and seaside Welsh towns. Sometimes it really is best to just ditch the return ticket and go with the flow.

 Meeting Awesome Blogger Friends in Madrid. One of my favorite things about blogging is meeting other bloggers. And honestly, I couldn’t have enjoyed the company of my Madrid roommates, Amanda, Julika and Jessica more. During our long-weekend in Madrid, during which we stayed in an adorable, travel-themed apartment provided by Go with Oh, we partied at Kapital, ate metric tons of Spanish ham and basically all became best friends.

Spring Paris

Returning to my beloved Paris. What can I say? There’s nothing better than spring in Paris. And there’s also nothing better than seeing some of your best friends after almost a year. In Paris I’ve been staying with a Parisian guy-friend who has been forcing me to speak French (ha) as well as allowing me to stay in his swanky apartment in Puteaux. It’s been so good to revisit my second home- and I still have four more days to enjoy it!


I won’t lie- there weren’t many lows. But no trip is perfect, so here goes:

In a last-minute packing mishap I forgot a lot of stuff, including my brand new Tieks! I’ve really got to pack more than three hours before leaving.

Um, my four days of solo travel in Switzerland kind of sucked. First of all, I currently hate solo travel and secondly I spent an absolutely fortune. Literally thinking about the money I spent in Switzerland makes me sick: a $60 hostel bunk I have to make myself, a $7 crappy salad at the grocery store. If you want to ski the Alps, head to France or Austria. Your credit card statement will thank you.

Not having a computer was equally a blessing and a pain the ass. I probably needed time away from the screen but running a blog remotely was not the best.

Gaining approximately 8 billion pounds. Um, all I have to say on that (rather hefty) front is THANK GOD for India.

And finally I have no idea what I’m doing after India so I’ve been freaking out about that. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do in June and July?

Favorite shot

 East End Street Art

How cute is this octo-phant by Alexis Diaz? I loved exploring London’s East End for both the incredible eats as well as the incredible street art. Honestly if I ever move to London (which I’d love to do) I think I’d settle in the East End.

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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.

26 thoughts on “Traipsing Round The Globe: Month 1”

  1. I loved seeing you in Madrid! I already miss being roommates SO much! #latenightarugula for the win! Also: road trip in the summer, please!

  2. I want a life “do-over”. You sound like you’re having so much fun. 40 years ago I would have never had the nerve to venture out like you are doing…. You go for it! :) I’m living the adventures through your blog. Thanks for posting…

  3. Haha you just couldn’t stay away! I bet you’ll be blogging in your head during yoga. Your’e an addict.

    Oh need help deciding? Easy! The Camino, Vegas, a US road trip, Mexico…? Any of those ideas sound idea to me, mostly because I count myself involved. :) God, it would be ridiculous.

  4. It sounds like you’ve had the most amazing time and you’ve been so lucky with the weather!! I’m so sad I missed you in London by just a few days (I got back 2 days ago!) but hopefully we can catch up soon! Oh and even though you’re taking a blogging break – please keep doing these monthly updates! They’re great :) xx

  5. I’m glad you popped back to post this update Ashley! Also glad you enjoyed London so much :-) I used to live in East London too (well, I’ve lived all over London but that was one place!). It’s a lot of fun. I’m really glad you had great weather too. I was still living there this time last year and it snowed in April! Yikes!

  6. Glad you wrote a post!! Shame about Switz stealing all your moola & the teiks! I JUST considered ordering some. I’m going home to Ohio for one month and will be catching up on all my online shopping.

    I hate to be the bearer of mediocre news, but almost all ppl I meet in India (even here for yoga) are gaining a little bit of weight! Even eating fruit, curd, and museli somehow this country has a sneaky way of getting you haha Indian food truly is bad for you because so much ghee. Luckily you can ask them to make yours w/o it! I hope that isn’t the case but just my two cents :)

    I SO hope we can meet up while you’re here! I’ve never met a blogger in real life & it seems you all know each other quite well! You’re like little unicorns to me lol

  7. Haha Rachel, I love your comment about other bloggers being “unicorns” to you – I know how you feel :) Enjoy India, Ashley, I look forward to reading all about it. I also think Jessica’s ideas about a US/Mexico road trip sound kind of awesome. Just saying! x

  8. So great to see your posts back and your incredible travels! As for some “8 billion pounds??” That most certainly does not look like the case, and every picture looks absolutely beautiful and it’s really fun hearing your reviews of each trek and experience! Great to see! Cheers!

  9. I’m so glad you enjoyed London and the food, even if it contributed to your 8 million pound weight gain ;( I had the best month with you! Seriously. I’m a bit sad to go back next week knowing you won’t be there :(

    Enjoy India (I cannot wait for updates) and hopefully we’ll be seing each other this summer!

  10. Hey girl!!! So nice to read you again!!!
    It sounds good, even the low part :)
    Come here where I live, close to Croatian and Slovenian border!!
    Summer in Croatia is sweeeeet :) and I can fit you in my 40sq flat :P
    And you should come to my town, Trieste, next Carnival: it’s basically Rio de Janeiro + scandinavian amount of booze…. :)
    xxx take care hope to read you soon again!

  11. Your trip sounds and looks amazing! I just started following your instagram and everytime a new pic from you comes up I get a slight wave of jealousy! :)

  12. Wow, you’ve been going fast, but it looks like a great ride! I *love* that octo-phant in Shoreditch too…though cute is not the first word that comes to mind when I see it: maybe terrifying!

  13. Great recap! I’m in Europe for the semester, and I was feeling pretty bummed that I didn’t make it to Venice for Carnevale – so hearing you say it wasn’t that great after all sorta makes me feel better :)

  14. You’ve done an awful lot in the short time that you’ve been offline and Europe has done you a world of good. You look happy and relaxed.

    For June and July, go further. There’s a whole host and variety of festivals all over Europe and many are free. Go have fun!

  15. You were able to do so many fun things in only 5 weeks! I must admit that I am a bit jealous. I would love to be able to travel a more than I do.

  16. Carnevale in Venice has always been on my bucket list. Sad to hear that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Sounds like you’ve had an amazing time in Europe, though. It feels like home to me, too. I love the way you describe it as “a heightened and happier version of everyday life.” So apt. Enjoy India!

    • I actually didn´t mean this in a negative way at all, or that Europe is less “magical” than Asia- just that Europe is so much more familiar to me and more similar to home than Asia is. Plus, I have called Europe home in the past as well!

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