Life Out West: Months 2 and 3

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? Read about month 1 here. All these photos are from Instagram, @ashleyabroad– find me there for slices of daily life!

So in Months 2 and 3 I continued to love life in Colorado and adjust to the old 7:30-4. But most importantly in January I got my own place! (After crashing with not one but two family friends- what a mooch.)

As of late I’ve been working, skiing and obsessing about my new apartment. And once in a while I squeeze in a boozy brunch, as pictured below.

Brunch

Highs

My very own bachelorette pad.

I got so lucky with my apartment- not only do I get to bunk up with my college roommate Alyssa (featured in posts such working backstage at NYC Fashion Week and Venetian carnevale), I also get to live in a spacious and beautiful place. Plus, it’s smack-dab in the middle of my favorite hipster neighborhood and we only pay $1750 a month, a steal compared to my San Francisco/Chicago/London friends.

And can I please gush about how glorious it is to have my own apartment after 2.5 years of nomadic living? Maybe this novelty will wear off, but for now I’m relishing every second in my new pad. Though I admittedly spend far too much time fretting about Amazon packages and perusing Etsy. Photos/post soon!

Ski trips galore.

Keystone

My goal this winter was to ski three weekends a month and so far I’m almost meeting it! In the last five weeks I’ve done three ski trips: Winter Park, Keystone and A-Basin.

One huge highlight was renting a gorgeous, 10-bedroom house last weekend with a bunch of my college friends. It was so lovely to see everyone and not even expensive with 15 people.

Question- how many of you would be interested in hearing about ski trips? Because I’d love to write about them.

Dating someone great.

I’m not sure how much I’ll share about this facet of my life, but I’m seeing someone who makes me smile. Sorry for being such a tease, ha.

Continuing to explore Denver.

The_source

While I haven’t spent as much time out and about as I’d like (ski trips and moving don’t allow for much of that), last month I uncovered my favorite Denver discovery so far: The Source. The Source an artisanal food market housed in a former 1880’s brick foundry building. I’ve been twice so far and on both visits enjoyed delicious coffee, tacos and craft cocktails.

Florida for the holidays.

Florida_Beach

While I’m not a huge beach bum, I loved spending the holidays with my fam in Florida. In Florida I just soaked up the sun and attempted to relax: I played tennis, shopped with my siblings, swam in the surf and cooked an enormous leg of lamb for Christmas Eve dinner. Ten days well-spent.

Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios

Disney

Um, Hogsmeade guys? The best. Over the holidays I dragged my 15-year old sister to Harry Potter World to geek out about butter beer, stroll through Diagon Alley and devour a salted caramel blondie waffle cone at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. Post very soon.

Watching my savings grow.

Call me Scrooge, but one of my favorite parts of working a salaried job is watching my savings grow each month. By 2015 I hope to have saved 20K so please chide my frivolous apartment spending, mmkay?

A business trip this month!

It’s so crazy to me that a year ago I was a beach-bumming blogger and now I’m going on a business trip. More details later but here’s a hint- my company’s sending me to a blogging conference!

Lows

Feeling unhealthy.

Ugh, gone are the days of funemployment when I had time to work out twice a day. Now I wake up at 5:45 a.m. every day and return at 5, so finding the energy to move after such a long day is tough.

So to combat this my roommate and I are pledging to a. not drink alcohol for the next month, b. cook every meal and c. do something active each day.

Not blogging enough.

I’ve accepted that my old schedule of two 1,500-word, carefully photographed posts a week is not going to happen so I’m going to have to be creative. Going forward I will be sharing more collaboration posts and quick ski trip posts. I’m even thinking about doing monthly posts about blogging revenue… would this be of interest to anyone?

The insecurity problem.

Ugh. If I could change one thing about myself it would my eternal insecurity (that or my tendency to lose/forget everything.). But really, I compare myself to others and then feel so stressed I end up in tears. I think I need to get “Comparison is the thief of joy” tattooed somewhere because this is such a problem.

Missing France.

Is this a ridiculous thing to put on my lows list? But seriously- so many people I love live in France and it kills me that I haven’t been in almost a year. Plus, the cheese, bread, yogurt,  etc. suck in the U.S. and frankly I’m over it. I want my 90-cent baguettes on every corner back in my life. #francophileforever

Up next:

Well, nothing too different! In February I foresee lots of ski trips and Denver exploration, and this weekend I’m going to a porter tasting and a reggae concert. (And okay fine, I’m also going to Ikea, the bane of my life.)

Blogging-wise I’ll be writing about ski trips, Harry Pottery World, Florida and Denver. I’d also love to tackle my trip to Malaysia as well as some French recipes and blogging advice.

Announcement- guest posts needed! Please get in touch if you either blog and work OR if you have worked as an au pair. I may have some opportunities for you!

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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.

50 thoughts on “Life Out West: Months 2 and 3”

  1. Ahh the joys of a new apartment! Have fun decorating! When we got our house I had to exercise serious restraint not to go to West Elm and Crate and Barrel, or even Target every week.

    Even as someone who doesn’t ski a whole lot, I’d enjoy reading about it. So bring on the ski trip posts!

  2. Having your own apartment is the best. A place to crash after a long day at work is the best, despite not having any energy for blog posts or exercising. I totally get that. I love Denver though! I love the beer scene and the art museum is so cool. I would love to go back and visit.

  3. It’s really encouraging to hear that you can truly thrive after the traveling-expat-in-Europe stage of your life. I’m savoring every moment I have left in Spain but I am really looking forward to putting down roots, getting a Grown Up Job, living in an apartment for more than 8 months at a time (and “nesting”), and seriously paying off loans/saving money. Thanks for honestly sharing what your new 9-to-5 life is like!

    • I’m actually totally planning on doing a “Life after long-term travel” post- I think that would be an interesting post for a lot of people! Where do you think you’re going to settle down by the way? :)

  4. Apartment photos now, please! So curious! I’m glad you’re enjoying your grown-up life so much, Denver sounds like an amazing place to live!

  5. I honestly think you’re balancing the best of both worlds! I don’t think I could ever travel without a home base. I like having an apartment of my own to come home to.

    I’d love to contribute a guest post! I blog and work, and have been an au pair :)

    • Travel with a home base is definitely what I’ll pursue in the future- I don’t think I could ever travel completely untethered again. It’s super exhausting and you have zero security. And I will shoot you an email right now actually :)

  6. I really like how happy you seem to be about your new life.
    And yes, please post about your ski trips. I’ve recently gotten back into sking (after only having done it once for a week 10 years ago) and I love reading about skiing that doesn’t take place in chaotic Kyrgyzstan…

    If you ever figure out how to stop comparing yourself to other people, tell us about it. It’s especially annoying at the beginning of my career right now. “Oh no, he speaks one language more than I do./She has done one more internship/…”

    • Wow, you live in Kyrgyzstan? That’s amazing.

      And all I can say is that I definitely have gotten less insecure as I’ve gotten older and accumulated more experiences/accomplishments. Hopefully the trend continues…

  7. Haha

    After 2years of travelling and 6months of house sitting. The most exciting thing was getting my own room and an underwear drawer. An ACTUAL drawer not having to root around a backpack.
    its the small things of normality :P

  8. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your apartment! And that boozy brunch looks perfect. The only thing better than brunch is brunch with booze, haha!

  9. Hi Ashley! Love this recap – sounds like things are going so well for you in Colorado! And your apartment situation sounds fantastic! I’d love to hear more about your ski trips (excited to hear you went to A Basin – we snowboarded there last year and had a ball!) and blogging revenue would really interest me too :)

    I would LOVE to contribute a guest post – I blog and work full time :)

    Carly x

  10. Your new apartement sounds great, I would like to see photos as well. I am glad to read that you are enjoying life in Colorado although having a 7.30 to 4 routine is something totally different than being a full-time Traveller and Blogger. Both has certainly its advantages and disadvantages. I am looking forward to read more about your Life out West.

  11. Ashley, PLEASE do more ski trip posts! My husband and I want to eventually move to Denver (in 2-3 years) and I’ve been a skiing since I was 9, so I’d love to hear your experiences!

    Also, the comparison/insecurity stuff – I wish I had wisdom or words to give you regarding this, but all I can say is that you are not alone in that feeling. I’ve battled it for as long as I can remember (and social media has exacerbated it in the last decade.) My only way of keeping it in check is to take care of myself the best way I know how and then to focus my energy on others. When I are helping other people and are concerned with their lives and struggles, mine don’t feel so overwhelming.

    Anyway – I am new(ish) to your blog, but I’ve loved reading! Thanks for all the work you to put into it!

    • Glad to have you reading Jordan! :) Social media definitely exacerbated that anxiety for sure, but it’s a hard thing to give up as a blogger unfortunately. And that’s great you want to move out to Colorado, it’s wonderful here!

  12. Ashley – would LOVE to read anything you have to say about Denver and skiing near there! I’m visiting next month and would love any tips :) Also, have you made the hop over to Boulder yet? Would love to read about that city too!

    • I did the Boulder to Denver commute for 3 years, so I feel your pain. It gets old really fast. I’m now living full time in Europe, so your Colorado posts are making me a little homesick. But there are always tradeoffs in travel.

    • My husband got hired as a professor, so I’m on a spouse visa. I still work for that Denver company, just remotely.

  13. Loving hearing about your post expat life – it’s just as interesting!! I’m totally interested in Denver and Colorado in general so just keep it coming with the ski posts. I’d be happy to learn more about the area.

  14. Yes, I’d love to read about ski trips. Even though I grew up out west, I was partial to one area (Jackson Hole, you still have my heart), and I’d really like to know about terrain/slopes/snow quality/lines/whatever else you’d like to share about all the other mountains!

  15. Comparison is the thief of joy
    Never heard something more true. It’s an infection that starts with a single thought and then taints all of them. Sometimes when I’m feeling really blue I write down all the things that I am proud of or happy about and that helps. It’s kinda silly but it really does.

    I still love your writing and following you- I’ve never been to Colorado and your posts make wanna come visit.

    • No I totally agree- practicing gratitude has frankly saved me in so many ways. It can alleviate everything from anxiety to boredom to insecurity. And that’s good to hear! I’m definitely loving it out here so hopefully that shows :)

  16. Dear Ashley,

    Your blogs just get more and more interesting. I like your honesty.
    I also like that you are loving your life there, but maybe because you
    Took the time to travel and broaden your horizons and at the same time
    Use your talents is why your life is good. No experience is ever is wasted,
    Is it?

    Much Love,

    Gamma

  17. Ski Trips!!! …..I’ve actually haven’t skied since I was 10…. I know. I’m the worst! But I want to go again!!! So please share! Especially about how to make them affordable!

    Also I blog and work a full time job so if you need anything let me know!! :)

    AND Business Trips are completely overwhelming (in a good way) it just makes you feel like a grown up haha!

  18. Ashley, I’d love to read more about ski trips. I love when you post things about your skiing! I’d also love to read more of your favorite bars/restaurant/spots in Denver as I’d love to make a trip out there!

  19. I’m jealous of both your steady income and your frequent ski trips! Two things I haven’t had in QUITE. SOME. TIME. It sounds like, minus missing French delicacies, you’re doing just fine in Denver :) I’d live vicariously through ski trip posts for sure!

  20. I feel your pain with the early mornings and lack of time to work out and blog! I’m in the same boat- up by 6am and usually at work 7.30-5. It’s hard to find spare time to blog and I really hate waking up that early and having to go to bed so early! Although it is easier to get up in the warmer months when it’s already light out, I must admit.

  21. I’m glad that you’re finally settling into your new life, and it shows. Try not to worry about what other people are doing or thinking, we’re right behind you, cheering and supporting you all the way! I’ve just got back from a week of skiing in the Czech Republic so I’d also like to read more about skiing to make me feel better about not being there anymore!
    P.S. I both blog and work.

  22. You have such an adventurous life! It is great that you manage to go skiing so often! I wish I could do it also! Thank you sharing! :)

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