Life Out West: Month 6

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 life out west too? Read about month 1months 2&3 and months 4&5 here. All these photos are from Instagram, @ashleyabroad– find me there for travel inspiration and mountain pics!

Amman_amphitheatre

Highs

A week in beautiful, fascinating, delicious Jordan.

Jordan_ruins

Obviously, Jordan was the highlight of April. In Jordan, I felt like myself again. I had forgotten how happy researching ancient ruins, learning tidbits of other languages and laughing my head off with friends makes me. Needless to say, I had an absolute blast and came back a better person.

I can’t wait to blog about Jordan and am really proud of the writing and photography I produced. More very soon!

 

On the upswing at work.

Sales is quite the fickle mistress, but when it’s good, it’s really good. I’ve been doing well at work since my revenue slump in February and am hoping to continue hitting numbers. Sales is tricky but I’m definitely growing more confident!

 

Feeling refreshed post-Jordan.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was really unhappy before I left for Jordan. The honeymoon phase of settling down had rubbed off, and I was becoming increasingly tense and negative. Worst of all, I couldn’t stop snapping at friends, coworkers and my boyfriend. I was feeling so bogged down by my schedule that I even considered quitting blogging.

I came back from Jordan with a new perspective- I realized that I need to practice gratitude for my life in Colorado. And while I don’t want to live in the states forever, it’s pretty wonderful right now. Also I need to be kinder and more patient with others even if I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

I also realized that I had become far too materialistic. As a frugal minimalist who loses everything, I’ve never cared much for material possessions. But over the winter I’d started buying things to mitigate my discontent, which is never a good path. Now I’m striving to be more conscious of my spending and only buy things I need. (No more trips to Sephora! For real.)

 

A relaxing weekend away with the boyfriend.

Buena Vista

I finally understand what people mean when they say “stay-cation.” Last weekend my boyfriend and I headed to a B&B in Buena Vista, a tiny 2,000 person town surrounded by mountains. I love B&Bs because you get good value for your money, have the opportunity to meet locals and duh- there’s free breakfast.

We spent the weekend hiking trails, drinking IPAs at the town’s only brewery, taking photos of the mountains, reading and just relaxing. It was so lovely.

 

Hitting the gym (and the hiking trails!)

Another thing that’s making me happier? Working out. I’ve been hiking a few times a week with friends and my stress levels have plummeted. Who needs the gym when you have the Rockies?

 

Lows

While April was a very, very good month in which I traveled a lot and mentally turned a corner, there still were a few minor lows.

Raging jetlag.

Dear god. Getting home from an international trip at 10 p.m. and waking up at 5 a.m. to go to work was so. rough. It turns out jetlag and office jobs do not mix at all- I was almost falling asleep at my desk for days.

But the worst was playing softball the night after getting home at 9:30 p.m., which for me was 6:30 a.m. I forgot my softball softball, threw a fit and acted a mess. Not my finest hour.

 

Not knowing what to do with my life.

As always, I’m unsure of the direction I want to pursue. Stay in Denver for two years because I work for a great company and have great friends? Move to Shanghai? Hack it all in and travel Central America and work on my blog and new site?

So many ideas for my future are swirling around in my head, and I feel torn. I wish a genie could tell me which decision would make me happiest. Ugh.

 

Missing my family a lot.

I’m really close with my family, so seeing them so infrequently is difficult.

When I was traveling my mom always said she wanted me to move home so we could be closer. But funny enough, I saw my family so much more when I traveled full-time- on average 2-3 months a year! It makes me sad that I can only see them a few times a year but I really can’t think of a solution.

 

Dreaming of Blogging.

Jordan reenergized me so much blogging-wise that I would kill for a solid week to blog 12 hours a day. Alas, the weekends will have to do.

 

Most Liked Instagram photo:

Camel

This adorable camel portrait with 150+ likes!

Something to Ponder

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” – Bob Goff

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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.

24 thoughts on “Life Out West: Month 6”

  1. I love your honesty, makes everyone know you are real and sincere.
    I an glad you liked Jordan and plan to tell us and show us more.
    Spring has finally sprung here and the flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are swooping and singing, and we are sighing and soaking up the warmth.

    I love you my wonderful granddaughter,

    Gamma

    • Hi Gamma, glad you like the honesty. I think honesty is so important in both blogs and memoirs- people want to know what’s really going on, not just a glossed-over version I think. Glad to hear as well that the spring in Michigan is as beautiful as always! Love, Ashley

  2. If you find that genie will you send her my way too? I totally know how you feel. There are days I wish someone would tell me what to do too! Man, kids have it easy. I miss those days. But they I remember I couldn’t drink wine back in those days! I Can’t wait to read all about Jordan! I loved following your Instagram while you were there. :-)

  3. I imagine that going from blogging all the time to a full-time job is a very strange and difficult adjustment. But don’t quit because your blog is great and people like me would miss it! Well, at least you’re based in such a beautiful state. I’m planning on visiting my sister in Boulder this summer and I am so excited to drink some good beer and go hiking :)

    • Aw thanks, that really means a lot! The only thing I worry about is that people might lose interest- it seems a lot of times when travel bloggers go home their audiences dwindle but we’ll see. Let me know if you’d like to grab coffee in Boulder, that’s where I work!

  4. I am so with you on the phase of trying to figure out what direction to take next. Things have become a bit to routine and the just going through the motions lifestyle is setting in, which I don’t want. But oh man do I miss my family, I want to have it all, travel the world with my family by my side!

    • Oh my god story of my life- I so badly wish I could see them more and just have them come everywhere with me! I think we travelers inherently resist the “going through the motions lifestyle” because we love new things so much. I personally don’t like routine and wish every day were different!

  5. After moving into my new apartment, I kind of did the same thing with all the buying of stuff, even though that’s not really in my nature. “Oh I finally have a job and a paycheck, I should decorate and make shit really cute.” Must be a natural female instinct. That lasted a few months, but now I’m back to saving all that money instead. Turns out throw pillows and frames don’t really make you that happy, haha.

    And I can’t believe you went to work the morning after getting home at 10 PM. Woof, that sounds terrible.

    • I did the EXACT same thing. When I first moved here I had to buy all new furniture because my brother had most of my old stuff. And because I was buying so much stuff anyway, I decided to go slightly overboard and buy frivolous things like $150 throw pillows and coffee table books. I like having them to an extent but I’d so much rather have that money in the bank. Ah well, lesson learned.

  6. Glad you had a good month, and I can’t wait to hear all about Jordan! Sometimes you just need an interruption to your routine to notice what is making you happy and what isn’t.

    • So true. I think more than any other trip I’ve ever taken Jordan gave me perspective on my life at home. I definitely need to be more grateful because I have it so good out here and it’s not forever anyway.

  7. I’ve been wondering if people would be interested in monthly recaps if I’m not traveling. Thanks for being a great example! A life of travel isn’t always travel! And it’s nice to see the deeper, staying put side once in awhile. And you’ll figure out your next path, one day you’ll wake up and be like, “Now, that’s what I want to do!” Good luck!

    • I can’t wait for that day and sincerely hope I do have an epiphany! I swear I’m the most indecisive person and I regret every decision I make anyway, so I might as well just put my options in a hat and choose randomly :)

  8. Loved this post. I wrestle with many of the same things, Ashley– especially “what am I doing with my life?!”

    I’m looking forward to more Jordan photos; Jordan has been a dream destination for me for a long time! xoxo

  9. What a sincere and honest post! It’s okay not to know right now where you’re headed – you’re making the most of your life, gaining experience in a new job and having a stable life. Though I do caution waiting for the “epiphany moment” – many people wait for it and it never happens, only to realise their life has passed and they haven’t done any of the things they wanted to do. I don’t think you’d let that happen to you, though. Sometimes it’s good to just make a decision, even if you don’t know it’s right and just run with it. Two cents from a blogger just a few years older than you… (I’m 29 :P)

    • Hi Michelle, thanks so much for your insight. I doubt that I’m really the type to have an epiphany- I take absolutely forever to make decisions in most cases. For now I’m sticking to a tentative plan- the only problem is that it changes every few weeks! :)

  10. Hey Ashley, you’ve done really well and even though you feel uncertain, you’d be surprised how focused you really are!
    You’ve achieved some much in your young years and motivated many, many others. Moving to the US will always be daunting at first, in fact, worse than if you weregoing to India as a virgin traveller, because “home” is familar but it isn’t.
    You’ll figure it out I’m absolutely sure and whichever way, you’ll be totally fine, and so will we. :)

    • Thanks Victoria for the encouragement. I definitely have the mentality that I can never do enough and basically never relax. Which is definitely not good- being stressed out all the time definitely won’t work long term! I really hope I can figure out my life one of these days :)

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