It’s my 24th Birthday!

Hey guys! Today I’m 24. Which officially means I’m in my mid-twenties. Is it weird I’m mostly totally okay with that?

First off, I want to thank each and everyone one of you who responded to my twenty-something crisis post. I teared up reading a few of the comments- seriously, you guys are so awesome for sharing your sympathy and wise advice.

Okay, and back to the birthday. My family threw me the loveliest birthday at my lake house, complete with the same strawberry cake I’ve had every year since I was 16. And while I did receive some lovely gifts (a new Swarovski necklace!), the real gift was being home: riding old-fashioned bikes with my brother, sipping champagne with my grandmother, hearing my grandpa’s World War II stories over coffee. I adore my family.ash ash1

Also, I do have some exciting plans in the works. While I don’t want to prematurely announce them, I’m 95% sure of where I’m moving in September- but my lips are sealed until I sign the lease!

Until then, I will be right here.IMG_1981


And I’m so excited to continue blogging about my world trip- I still have Switzerland, England, Wales, Spain, France, India, Thailand, Malaysia AND Vietnam to cover! There’s so much I can’t wait to share.

And long-time readers may remember that last year I posted a list of 23 things I wanted to accomplish in my 23rd year. Here’s how I did!


Learn how to scuba-dive, get in the best shape of my life, learn how to cook Asian food, get 3 freelance articles published, fight muay thai, make a conscious effort to keep up my French and Spanish, try Stand Up Paddleboarding, pay off all my debt


Move to a new city after the Asia trip, learn how to drive manually, get a job that I love, try surfing again, go to a music festival, volunteer for a great cause, attend a travel blogging or media conference, take a graphic design course, throw a surprise birthday party, run a 5K Color Run


1. Learn how to use my camera in manual, learn how to shoot in RAW and edit with Lightroom.

I learned how to shoot in manual and use Lightroom, but still don’t know much about RAW. Oops.

2. Buy a new wardrobe.

Um, do a few ASOS dresses and two pairs of jeans count?

3. Buy a custom-design for my site.

Well, I got a new theme. But money was way too tight for a $5,000 redesign.

4. Learn how to do liquid eyeliner like a French girl (yup, still failing after a year).

Yeah. I think I’ve got this one but I’d have to run it by my French friends.

5. Keep blogging!

Well I took an intentional three-month break, but I fully intend to blog regularly now.

. . . . . . . . . .

And for next year? Here are seven goals. (Apparently 23 was far too ambitious!)

1. Make a conscious effort to be happy and make friends wherever I move this year.

2. Post at least one recipe a month on this blog. I miss cooking, especially cooking French food!

3. Stay in shape. I’d love to run my first 5K and get into pilates.

4. Keep up my French and Spanish. Y’all know how much I love languages.

5. Write handwritten thank you cards. It’s just classy.

6. Get better at dancing. Perhaps belly-dancing or salsa?

7. Try a wreck dive. Now that I’m an Advanced Open Water diver I’d love to do this.

. . . . . . . . . .

So, do you set goals at your birthday? Or is it just me?

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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.

22 thoughts on “It’s my 24th Birthday!”

  1. Happy birthday Ashley! It’s funny that I would stumble upon your blog on the day of your birthday when my 24th birthday is exactly a week away! Don’t know if I’m as ok with it as you are, but I’m working on it haha

    Looking forward to following your future adventures! I wish you the best of luck! :)

  2. Happy birthday, Ashley! Glad you had such a lovely day. And congratulations on achieving so many of your 23 goals – I think it’s a huge number to set yourself! And paying off all your debt is a huge deal. Congrats. Hope 24 is another amazing year for you! :-)

  3. Yes! I totally set my yearly goals on my birthday! It always seems much easier to do (and stick to) than setting them at the start of the year. Although similarly, I never complete all of them, it’s good to keep them at the back of your mind! Hope you had a lovely day celebrating!

  4. Happy Birthday! I did goals for my birthday too although I think the only one I’ve seriously ticked off is going to visit my friend in Hong Kong (priorities!) Will have to do better for the next one. Good luck with your goals – I have to say completing almost the majority of the list is not bad at all!

  5. Happy belated birthday, Ashley! I think, your birthday was yesterday already, wasn’t it? Great to hear that you had such a nice day with your family and beloved ones. I also set up goals on my birthday for myself, but I don’t write them down, I just keep them as my little secrets.

    I am curious to read where you’ll move in September.

  6. Happy Birthday Ashley. Only hitting your mid twenties, you young un’. I am firmly in my late 20s. :( Must make some goals to achieve before I turn 30 eeekkk.

    Cake looks delicious and you look lovely on your birthday.

  7. Happy Birthday! It all looked terrific and your goals – both accomplished and newly created – sound just superb! Cheers! – Leah


    I can’t wait to hear what your 24th year brings you. I’m thinking you chose the good ole USA by hinting at signing a lease, simply because it’s hard to do from abroad but I sure do love this guessing game. Can’t wait to hear the news!

  9. Dear Ashley,

    You take such good photos. Your birthday shots are treasures!
    Also your comments about your family. We love you too, and
    are blessed with the time we have with you.

    Much love,


  10. Happy Birthday, Ashley! Given how much you’ve already seen and done in 23 years of life, I’ve no doubt you’ll make this next year excellent as well. I’m looking forward to hearing about your future plans, and I’m glad to see you’re enjoying your summer back in the States.

  11. Happy birthday, Ashley! I love your goals: I am big about handwritten thank you cards — and I also plan to learn to salsa this year! We shall have to meet up somewhere and show off our new skills.

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