Why I Want to Settle Down (At Least for a Bit)

So I have an announcement! I got a job and am moving to Denver, Colorado, THIS FRIDAY. And I’m crazy excited.

While I had my heart set on San Francisco, rent prices turned out to be way too high. (4K a month for a two-bedroom? No thanks.) And though someday I’d love to live in the Bay, it’s just not in the cards right now.

But still, I’m heading west and I’m so happy about it.

Ashley Abroad

I’m also excited about my new haircut!

I’ll be working for a young, fast-paced tech startup based in Boulder. It has a gorgeous office with panoramic views of the Flatirons, as well as beer on Fridays, yoga at lunch and barbecues in summer. My role is to collaborate with bloggers and web publishers in the digital advertising industry which of course interest me.

In short, I got really lucky.

But along with a career, I’m also really excited to start a life. It’s no secret I’ve been wanting to settle down for a while- after a year of nomadic living I’m excited to sleep in the same bed every night and make friendships that last longer than a week.

And this isn’t forever- I want to live abroad again and will always be an expat at heart. I love foreign languages, culture and foods too much to live stateside for long. But this will be a great start for my career and allow me to save up some money.

Here’s why I’m thrilled to settle down for a while:


For a long time I’ve felt lost career-wise. At least now I’ll know if I’m heading in the right direction- before I was just speculating on what I might want to do.

Also, I’ll be able to figure out if 9-5 corporate America is for me. At 24, this is my first “real” job, so who knows?

Anyway, I couldn’t keep traveling even if I wanted to– I blew threw my savings on my round-the-world trip, and I no longer have a way to make a living on the road.

Answers.com fired all of its writers last winter, so my main source of income is long-gone. (I used to make $1200-1500 a month from that job alone.) Also, Google changed its algorithm so link sales have dried up. (I used to make $500-1000 a month from selling links- now I make next to nothing if anything at all.)

So while I used to make $1700-2500 a month on the road (which is more than enough to travel Southeast Asia comfortably), now I wouldn’t be able to support myself.

(Sidenote- I have no idea how travel bloggers earn enough money without a high-paying freelance writing job. It’s a mystery to me.)


I know as a travel blogger I’m supposed to eschew all material possessions and spend every dime on experiences, but screw it- I’m excited to have a not-meager paycheck for the first time in my life. I want to buy myself a few treats (like a GoPro!) and perhaps a second pair of jeans.

And while I’ll always be a minimalist who wears clothes until they fall apart, it will be so nice to buy things if my heart so desires.

That being said, I also want to save up money for future travels. Because you know, some things really never change.

Creative Projects + Cooking.


This year I want to explore a few creative projects that are hard or impossible to do on the road. For one, I want to brew lots of beer. I’ve recently gotten into it and am head-over-hops in love.

Also I want to cook more. I want to recreate all my favorite French and Vietnamese dishes and throw lots of elaborate dinner parties. I freaking love dinner parties.


It’s hard to date when you’re hopping countries every week. And though some travel bloggers manage to find love on the road, I never did. A year of traveling taught me I’m a sensitive Cancerian who gets hurt easily, and I’m much more suited to long-term engagements than flings in Thailand.

So I’ll admit- I’d like to find someone. Maybe not a forever-thing, but someone to go on dates and ski trips with.

(And as an aside, I’ve been dating an awesome guy in Michigan whom I OF COURSE met a month before leaving. So great timing there. #storyofmylife)

My Own Apartment.

I can’t wait to have my own apartment as I haven’t had my own living quarters for two and a half YEARS. And my best friend from college is tagging along with me so I already have a roommate!

As boring as it sounds, a part of me craves routine. I want to have a neighborhood, a group of friends, a local pho joint. All in all, I want a more settled life.

. . . . . . . . . . .

The last two years of my life living in France and traveling the world were beyond amazing, but here’s hoping the next couple of years are just as wonderful in a totally different way.

And as Val so eloquently put it, to live will be an awfully big adventure as well.

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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.

80 thoughts on “Why I Want to Settle Down (At Least for a Bit)”

  1. Good luck with your new experiences in CO. SF is only a short hop from your new digs. There are still plenty to do in CO that you can still write much about. What you need is your own tv travel show. It has been a joy following your adventures to date.

  2. Congrats on the job fellow Cancerian. I don’t know anybody who has done it the way you have, travelled then start a career but I can tell you that you’re well equipped to dive into a career.

    Looking forward to seeing how the beer turns out.

  3. Congrats on the new job :) I’m very very VERY happy for you :) Sounds like it’s something you’ll love.

    On the easily heart broken Cancerian thing – I too am one. I don’t think I couldn’t do a ski trip unless that guy was ‘the one’. However you probably shouldn’t be with me. My ‘one’ is in Australia. I’m in Northern Ireland with plans to manage a ski resort this Christmas.


    • Ohgosh no, there’s not. Resort will be *somewhere* in mainland Europe!

      I was always very flippant about love, until this one. Now I’m in that horrible missing him and feeling like I am falling to pieces and he isn’t here to fix it. Why can’t I just teleport…..then life would be simple.

      Be simpler for you too!

  4. Good luck with your new job (yoga at lunchtime, I’m in!) and settling down. I totally understand about the fixed-life envy thing. Whilst I love travelling, it’s nice to have stability and being constantly on the go can feel lonely at times. Looking forward to hearing about the next chapter!

  5. Congrats on your job! I have some friends in Denver that love it & will never come back to Ohio. You’ll have a great time. I hear there are a lot of cute boys there too ;) Now you’ll have time for pinterest recipes! LOL I miss doing that.

  6. Congrats on the new job Ashley! It sounds so perfect for you. I totally understand why you would want to settle down, and really, it’s just a new kind of adventure!

  7. Denver is my number place I want to live in the United States!


    Congrats Ashley!!

  8. Congrats on your new journey! There’s a lot to be said for having your own place, the time and resources to do projects you’ve always wanted to, and more importantly, the means to purchase something you’ve been drooling over for a while :) Denver (and all of gorgeous looking Colorado) look amazing, I’m sure you’re going to love it!

  9. Ah congratulations on the job! I think it’s a great idea to write down all the reasons why it’s a good idea as I’m sure in a few weeks it may seem like the grass is greener but you have all your reasons for the decision laid out. Hope it all works out for you :)

  10. Congratulations on your new job! Whether you’re living abroad or in your home country, I think settling in an unfamiliar city is a great way to strike a balance between routine and adventure.

  11. I’m SO excited for you! Can’t wait to read about your skiing (and dating?) adventures — and I’m totally coming to visit you in Denver sooner or later!

  12. Congrats to you! Sounds like an awesome experience and Colorado is a great spot to be! Plenty of skiing to be had as it comes into winter too! Can’t wait to read about your transition and about what Boulder is like :)

  13. Hey Ashley,

    Really refreshing post. I’m just about to give up my day job to go travel/blog so i’m doing the opposite to you but it’s always good to hear it from someone else’s POV. I think the ‘grass is always greener’ saying is so true…i know i’m going to miss my bed so much!!


  14. Congratulations on your Grown-Up job! And there’s nothing wrong at all with wanting to settle down—I totally hear ya and have been itching to get a place of my own somewhere in America and “put down roots,” for better or for worse. Yay for dinner parties and having money, as silly as that sounds! :P Wishing you all the best (and sending you warmth from Spain) in your new Denverite life :)

  15. Congrads on your job, Denver is great! I always wonder when I’ll want to settle down in America (if ever). I think the difference is that I live as an expat, rather than constantly traveling, which helps me feel settled, and I can actually have “things”. Although currently “things” do not include a couch or a full-size fridge or basically any cooking stuff… but my roommates might invest in a hotplate this weekend. Exciting!!

  16. First of all, what a stunning photo of you – I love your haircut! And second, a huge congratulations! Settling down sounds like an exciting move and luckily it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel. I hope it makes you happy <3

  17. Ah, a second pair of jeans. What a luxury! I feel ya sista.

    Can’t wait for all that brings you–and believe it or now– I can’t wait to read about it either, be it a foreign country or not! :D

    Congrats again! Can’t wait to visit! DINNER PARTIES.

  18. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! I totally understand about settling down, even if just for a bit. I’ve uprooted myself from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and am living in Logroño, Spain this year. It’s been quite the transition from having a permanent home to more of a “live on the road.” I’m not exactly sure where my life is headed after this year, but that’s something I’ll figure out later. Also, I’m super jealous you’re in Denver but am excited to hear about it. One day I hope to move there! Good luck with the home brewing. It’s a a tricky, but fun, process!

  19. Congratulations! Denver is awesome and I can’t wait to know more about the city through your eyes and experiences! And I can totally relate to the wanting to settle down thing… I felt the same way after traveling at 24/25… It’s not a given and I totally still want to keep traveling in some way, but I think it’s natural to want to build something for a bit, stay still, and have the comforts of a home… at least for a little while. :) Good luck, Ashley!

  20. Congrats on the job Ashley. Sounds like a great opportunity.

    Also: “I know as a travel blogger I’m supposed to eschew all material possessions and spend every dime on experiences.”
    I’m sorry but I think I missed the memo on this one. Being travel blogger means one things: you blog about travel. It doesn’t mean you have to travel, live or blog in a certain way. If you’re reading blogs that make you think you otherwise then I suggest you start reading other blogs. Now take that first pay and treat yourself big time! You’ve earned it.

    • I totally agree, Megan. But I do think lots of travel blogs spout this idea that you have to sell all your belongings and live nomadically to be fulfilled. Frankly, I’m sick of living on so little.

  21. Wow, are you in my head? This is something I have been thinking about loads recently. I am loving being settled and being around my, pretty amazing, friends but my feet are getting itchy and I feel I want to leave again. But weighing up pros and cons at the moment.

    Huge congrats on the job. Enjoy the stability for a while.

    P.S. I love dinner parties too!

  22. Congratulations! This is excellent news. Admittedly I was looking forward to seeing more of San Francisco but Denver sounds great too. You’ll have to keep us all posted with your adventures there. And Friday? Holy cow that is soon! But when you’re ready, you’re ready.
    Happy apartment decorating and making your new home all cozy!

  23. Good for you for making this choice!
    I too would love to live in San Fran one day… ah, that would be the dream.
    And I started dating my guy 8 months before I moved away for school… that was 3 years ago and we are still together. Don’t let distance dictate!

    • Oh, San Francisco. The city I’ve wanted to live in since I was nine years old! And I know what you mean about long-distance relationships but I’ve vowed never to do another one as I was with a Chilean for a few years. I think I still have PTSD from the Skype call sound…

  24. Denver sounds awesome! Congrats! I’m enjoying being nomadic right now, but there’s a lot to be said for settling down. Good luck with everything!

  25. I love your ambitious goals! I know what it’s like to feel pulled in both directions – to travel and to settle down. I think having a healthy balance (a year or two here, a year or two there) is a good way to keep the wanderlust satiated. I’m also shocked (and very impressed) to hear how much you were making in link sales and freelancing. So inspiring! Best of luck with the new job in Boulder. I’m just north in Fort Collins if you ever want to meet up!

    • I would love to meet up, that would be great! I don’t know anyone in Colorado so it would be great to have a fellow travel blogger in the area :). And of course the danger of link sales is getting flagged with Google, which is why I’m done with them now. But back when I was on the road I needed the money some months…

  26. This is fantastic and exciting! The glamorous photo and haircut are wonderful! And here’s to a safe and sensational new move! Give em’ Hell!!! Cheers1 – Leah

  27. Congratulations Ashley! You deserve it! The company is very lucky to have you, and so is the boy ;-) Looking forward to learning more about Colorado through your eyes.

  28. Congrats on your job and your upcoming move to Denver! I know exactly what you mean about craving routine and a place to call home — after a crazy year where I lived and worked in 4 cities across 3 countries, I was in the same boat. Traveling is fantastic, but so is being able to sleep in your own bed every once in a while. Good luck with the move and the job, and I can’t wait to read about how you make this next adventure great!

  29. Good for you, Ashley! This all sounds very exciting, and I hope this move goes well for you. I too miss being able to cook and get stuck into long-term home-y projects when I’m on the road! Also, I am pretty baffled too about how most travel bloggers make it work in terms of the money! I still do blogging on the side of teaching, which is my main income.

  30. Congrats on the job + anchor! After nervously wondering for the past 3 years if my student visa will or won’t be denied, I definitely understand the desire to have some defined roots. Hope to hear more about dinner parties and local explorations in the near future!!

  31. Congrats Ashley! I hope you’ll enjoy your new life. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your beer experiments.

  32. Congratulations Ashley!! I totally know how you feel about needing to settle down. How did you go about finding that job? It sounds really interesting and like exactly what I want to be doing when I return to the U.S. You’re going to love Denver, have so much fun!!

  33. I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to come visit in Denver. Let’s brew some beer together :)

    And I cannot believe you met this awesome dude right before leaving :( I bet the guys are better out west, though!

  34. Welcome to my town! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and I am so excited for you! Denver is an amazing place! I think you’ll enjoy it :) Good luck in your new adventure!

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