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.

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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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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Uganda. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Colorado. She's been to forty countries but somehow still gets lost in her home town. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein