Life Out West: Month 1

While on my RTW trip I loved posting monthly updates as they’re so much fun to both write and look back on. So I figured why not recap my new life out west too?

So Dec. 1 marks one full month in Colorado. And honestly, life is lovely. I’m relishing this long-awaited stability, making friends and let’s be honest- enjoying the hell out of my first salary.


Exploring my new city.

Denver has the best restaurants, coffee shops and bars. So far I’ve especially loved Forest Room 5, an outdoorsy cabin bar with fire pits, Williams & Graham, a speakeasy hidden behind a bookshelf with a killer cocktail list and Ace, a ping pong bar serving up Asian fusion cuisine.

But my favorite spot may be Union Station, a train station-turned coffee shop/restaurant/gathering spot. If you’re ever in Denver, Union Station is a must-do.

Union Station Denver

Awesome eats. 

From biweekly Vietnamese feasts on Federal to late-night tacos al pastor, I’ve been loving the local eats. My favorite spot so far is Linger, a one-time mortuary that is now one of Denver’s trendiest restaurants.

And thank God the Vietnamese is good here otherwise I may have been forced to return to my nomadic ways and move to Saigon. #Halfjoking


The best Friendsgiving ever.

While my 2014 Thanksgiving was far from typical (no turkey, stuffing, gravy or cranberry sauce!) it certainly was wonderful. I spent the day with close family friends, my roommate/best friend Alyssa and slew of new faces in an expertly restored 1898 Denver home.


Starting another website.

As usual, I’m kind of terrible at keeping my own secrets but yes- I have started a new website that I’m very excited about! (Which I started because I’m not busy enough with a full-time job, two-hour commute, travel blog and busy social life, apparently.)

Once the site’s a bit more developed I’ll make the big announcement but until then I’ll be working hard on my new project!

Feeling content, finally.

The worry I felt while traveling about finding a job, settling down, making friends, etc. has completely vanished. Back then I assumed I would suffer from “the grass is always greener” syndrome once I did finally settle down, and miss travel fervently- but no, in most ways I’m just a lot happier now.

Okay no, I don’t get to rappel down cliffs or make my own schedule or lounge on Indonesian beaches- but I do have other things worth noting- a solid group of friends, a bed, a steady job. So far, normalcy feels pretty blissful.

My new gig.

sovrn desk
I’m really enjoying my new job- especially my coworkers and workplace. It’s so relaxed sometimes it feels like college! And because I work in digital advertising my blogging background is super useful- bonus!


Lack of time.

God knows how anyone with a full-time jobs does anything but lounge in a flannel and watch Scandal after work. I’m usually too tired to cook, let alone work out, see friends or manage my blog. I should probably fix this.

Blogging less.

While I used to stick to a fairly rigid blogging schedule, now I’m struggling to reach the same quota. What I’ve found works best is writing posts on Sunday and then editing and promoting throughout the week. Nevertheless, some days it feels like I have two jobs.

Self-doubt, as always.

While I haven’t suffered too much from this, I have been undergoing a slight identity crisis. For so long I identified as both an expat and traveler- after all, my blog is named Ashley ABROAD. Which begs the question(s): Who am I really? What do I really want to do with my life? I’m happy here, so what does that mean? And how long will it last?

Christmas market denver

Things I’m loving:

Blogs not related to travel. While I love my fellow travel blogs, I’ve had fun expanding on my reading: Zoe London, Vivianna Does Makeup, The Nectar Collective and Un-fancy are all new (and awesome) additions to my Bloglovin’.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. Who knew I was such a product junkie? I already have Damned, Mysterious Red, Train Bleu and Walkyrie. I know I should stop but I want more.

The Serial podcast. I’m addicted to this murder mystery podcast. Seriously worth downloading.

SkinnyTaste recipes. Along with dry shampoo, SkinnyTaste recipes are the working girl’s best friend. Here’s one of my favorites so far, Turkey Meatball Spinach Tortellini Soup. Easy, healthy, delicious.

 . . . . . . . . . . .

Up next? I just bought a $600 Epic Pass so I’ll be skiing a ton this winter. I will also be going to Florida with my family for Christmas, and have an international trip in the pipeline- so stay tuned! As always thank you for reading, and I sincerely hope you are having an amazing holiday season wherever you are.

The last thing I’d want for this blog to become is boring so if you have anything you’d like for me to write about please comment below!

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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.

31 thoughts on “Life Out West: Month 1”

  1. Seriously, addicted to The Serial podcast. I was so sad that they skipped a week for Thanksgiving! It’s my favourite part of Thursdays, haha.

    Also, your Thanksgiving feast looks amazing. Also, it’s great that you are happy there! I’d love to read more about Denver, and I think you can still write about travel while having a home base. If you’re happy in the moment, I think it’s cool to go with it. :)

  2. Fabulous to read!

    The Friendsgiving was the best!

    I have some fun memories of The Brown Palace in your neck of the woods; but I far more enjoyed your version of Denver! Fantastic stuff!

    Cheers! – LB

  3. I’m impressed that you have the time for a new website! Kudos, Ashley! And I wouldn’t worry about this blog becoming boring. You’re an excellent writer with lots of personality – that will always shine through no matter what you write about.

  4. I understand how long-term traveling would sound appealing, especially if you’re someone who’s been stationary for a long time, but to me it really sounds more exhausting than exhilarating. Having a home base is really important – glad you’re enjoying yours!

  5. Glad to hear you are enjoying Colorado and relishing in stability—there’s nothing wrong with being happy staying the same place. I hope you get to explore Rocky Mountain National Park soon; it’s one of my favorite places in the whole country!

  6. You’re killin it in Denver, girl!! It looks awesome and I am super jealous of all your amazing eats. And if you’re gonna have a desk, you might as well have a kickass one like that! You’re making me feel a bit better about pondering a return next year and going back to work in Canada.

  7. I love reading about your time in Denver! Your blog has always been a lot more personal than many travel blogs, so I think your readers are just happy to read about what is going on in your life. And I’m also totally addicted to The Serial podcast!

  8. Great to hear you’re enjoying life in Denver! I love reading your posts about settling into your new life. Don’t worry, your blog is certainly not boring – in fact its really encouraging to hear that you are so happy being settled for a while after travelling the world. Makes me less fearful of returning home one day!

  9. Congrats on 1 month in Denver! Looks like you’re adjusting well with good food, a job you like, and lots of friends for Thanksgiving! Enjoy this winter in Colorado – it must be gorgeous and an absolute blast for skiing (I’ve actually never gone downhill skiing but so I’ve heard!). Reading your post just reminded me that someone I know from HS started up a brewery/bar there called Former Future Brewing Company – if you need to warm up with a drink this winter, check it out :-)

  10. I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying the stability of Colorado and working life! I know it can be a big change as I just changed my life around but doing the opposite you have. There are ups and downs to both ways of life, but the best thing is that you can always change things up if you want. I can’t wait to hear about your skiing trips! I’ve always wanted to go skiing in Colorado!

  11. You’re about the third person who’s mentioned Serial this week, I’m definitely going to have to check this out! The transition to staying still after being nomadic can be tough, but even if you’re not abroad it sounds like there are lots of adventures to come – and look forward to seeing the new site!

  12. Dear Ashley,

    I just wrote a long note to you, and it didn’t accept my E-mail. I will try again.
    I love that you are so happy, and your blog is certainly not boring.
    I love hearing and seeing all you are doing, and it seems that you are
    truly happy and have lots of choices and variety.

    Papa and I love reading about all you are doing and seeing that you
    are enjoying your new life.
    Love, Gamma

    • Hi Gamma, I’m so sorry your comments aren’t coming through, that’s so strange! I will call soon because I miss you and Papa very much. Thanks again for commenting, yours are my favorite :)

  13. Oooooh, you’ve really built some anticipation around this new ‘site’. I’m new to your blog and I’m already intrigued. I love your blog, it’s great!

    So cool that you have landed a job that you like so much. So many people struggle with that.

    Can’t wait to follow along!

    Your fellow salty butter fan friend,

    • All I can say Dani is that if I can do it, anyone can! I was so apprehensive about not only settling down, but even just living in the states. And it turns out there’s so much to be positive about and grateful for that I honestly am just relieved, happy and comfortable. More so than when I was traveling for sure.

  14. Balancing blogging and full time work is tough. I managed OK until I returned to work in print journalism and found that after eight hours of reading and editing articles the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time writing. It took about two months for me to move past that and enjoy writing again and soon enough I was scribbling notes at 2am because something came to mind. I’m sure you’ll get back into the swing of things soon.

    • Thanks, Megan. It’s definitely a tough balance to swing- I stare at a screen for 9 hours a days so it’s hard to convince myself to spend 4 more at a screen too. But I sincerely love blogging so I will continue without a doubt.

  15. I’m so glad that you’re adjusting to your new life in Denver. It’s nice to see you happy again and that’s all that counts.
    Your blog boring? What’s that? It’s a great blog and we all love reading it.
    Don’t worry too much. I have a 30 hour per week corporate job, a husband, a child, and I still travel and have a great time running all over town. Town for me is Berlin, Germany so there’s lots to do LOL! It’s also the reason why I only blog once a week and it works for me. I’m sure it’ll work for you too.

    Think about it. Figure out your niche, then go for it. Sometimes what you thought, isn’t what it is!

    • Once a week definitely sounds manageable. Thanks for the sweet encouragement, Victoria. I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday and I’m glad to hear that you’ll be reading along- always love receiving your comments/wisdom!

  16. Must be so nice to be settled into one place! I know I get rundown when constantly on the go, which is why my travel style is much more “serial expat” than backpacker these days. It’s not quite the same as having a steady job and salary, but at least I have longer in each place to get to know the city, make friends etc. Happy to hear that you’re happy!

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