Life at 25

Hey guys! So today’s my birthday- I’m 25!


As I said last year, I don’t dread getting older because I’m happy with how I’ve spent my time, and for that matter, my birthdays.

I rang in my 22nd birthday while solo-traveling in Ireland, my 23rd hosting a dinner party in Paris and my 24th at my cottage in Michigan, surrounded by family and strawberry cake.

And for my 25th, I went to Vegas for the first time- I just got home last night in fact! It turns out Vegas really is Disneyland for adults and I not-so-secretly loved it.

Looking back I’m glad I spent time building this blog; not only do I have detailed record of my early 20’s, I’ve been able to share my experiences with you guys. And you guys have been so great, providing life advice, encouragement and overall good vibes. I wouldn’t still be blogging after almost three years without you.

While I often miss the carefree backpacker lifestyle of my early 20’s, I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to carve out a settled life that feels like me: a life of wine parties, good friends and frequent camping and whitewater rafting trips.

. . . . . . . . . .

And as I do every year, I wanted to recap on the goals I set last year. Sadly I didn’t do very well.


1. Make a conscious effort to be happy and make friends wherever I move this year.

YES! I did do this. I have a great group of friends in Denver. And despite some downs and what-am-I-doing-with-my-life anxiety attacks, I’ve overall been very happy.

2. Post at least one recipe a month on this blog. I miss cooking, especially cooking French food!

Ha, no. Honestly my recipe posts received such low engagement I kind of gave up on them. But I need to cook more, even if I don’t post the recipes.

3. Stay in shape. I’d love to run my first 5K and get into pilates.

I did run a 5K last fall and tried pilates. Though honestly I didn’t stay in great shape- balancing a 9-5 and exercise is challenging. Though I have hiked and skied all year and I just joined a gym!

4. Keep up my French and Spanish. Y’all know how much I love languages.

I did okay on this. I recently started French classes at the Alliance Française which makes my language-obsessed heart so happy, but my Spanish is rusty.

5. Write handwritten thank you cards. It’s just classy.

I think I wrote like… three thank you cards? Need to work on this.

6. Get better at dancing. Perhaps belly-dancing or salsa?

Nope. Still suck at dancing.

7. Try a wreck dive. Now that I’m an Advanced Open Water diver I’d love to do this.

I unfortunately have not done a wreck dive. But I did go diving in the Red Sea in Jordan- so that’s something!


Here’s hoping I do much better with my goals at 25:

1. Visit three new American cities. I’m thinking Seattle, Portland and Austin so far.

2. Go to a big music festival like Coachella or Bonnaroo.

3. Blog once a week at MINIMUM.

4. Go on a big trip abroad!

. . . . . . . . . .

But I do have one favor to ask- let’s call it a birthday present, k? I would LOVE if you could fill out this survey to tell me how I’m doing with Ashley Abroad. I’m trying to figure out the right direction going forward and your feedback would be so helpful.

Here is the link to the Ashley Abroad reader survey– constructive feedback appreciated but please be kind!

. . . . . . . . . .

What did you guys do for your 25th birthdays? (Or your last birthday if you’re younger!)

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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.

45 thoughts on “Life at 25”

  1. Dear Ashley,

    I am happy that you had a good time on your birthday trip to Las Vegas!
    And I think you did very well accomplishingyour goals and fun to lookforward to new ones.
    Of course being your Gamma I won”t have much criticism of your blogs.
    I have loved them all.
    A quote by Alain de Botton:
    It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves.
    The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not;the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, who may not be who we essentially are.



    • Hi Gamma, I’ve had an extremely busy day today but I will give you a call tomorrow. Thanks SO much for making sure I got strawberry cake on my birthday- that meant so much to me. I was so surprised and thrilled and was blown away you made sure I had it even when I wasn’t home! I love that quote and have read it before- so true. Love, Ashley

  2. Woohoo! Happy birthday! Welcome to the 25-ers club! It’s awesome here! haha Actually love your first goal and how well you feel you’ve done with it. I’m facing the same boat right now, and crossing my fingers I turn out as good as you ;) Going to take your survey right now!

  3. Many Many Happy returns of the day Ashley.
    Really good to read about the goals you’ve stuck to.
    Wish you more adventures and a great year ahead.
    Happy Birthday!! :)

  4. I’ll be celebrating my 25th in six months, I hope I do something half as exciting as you did to celebrate!

    I really admire your list of goals, they all seem totally do-able! Good luck!

  5. Feliz cumpleaños :) What a fabulous way to celebrate your birthday. Well, I’m ancient compared to you as I turned 25 five years ago and can’t fully remember but I’m sure it involved dining out somewhere ha ha.

    Personally, I like recipe/cooking inspired posts, especially when they’re of international cuisines so I hope you do more in the future :) P.S. I still buy note cards because yes, they’re the epitome of classy!

  6. Happy 25th birthday, Ashley! You chose some amazing, exciting and unique ways of spending your last four birthdays. I am sure you’ll achieve all your Goals for the upcoming 365 days. I haven’t filled out your reader survey yet, but I will do, I promise. I came across your Blog two years ago through Adventurous Kate and I am following you ever since. I especially like your post about your past travels and I am looking forward to read where your next big trip abroad will take you.

  7. Happy happy birthday! :-D Glad you had such an amazing one – Vegas must be a great way to spend it! Birthdays aren’t often a big thing for me (I tend to pour all of my year’s celebrations into Christmas, which I LOVE), so I usually just go into work like a normal day, then maybe have a meal out with family in the evening. Though I did have a pretty raucous affair for my 21st in Melbourne – which, by the way, has some of the BEST quirky little bars.

    Hope being 25 brings some fantastic things for you :-)

  8. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

    I can definitely recommend Austin and if you’re thinking about music festivals… ACL there is a great time to go! Although then you may get sucked up in the festival and miss the wonders of the city. But either way, you’re gonna love it!

    • I literally just googled ACL and am seriously considering going- thanks so much for mentioning it! I am on the fence if I’d rather go to Austin for a festival or just to see the city. We shall see!

  9. what a cute post! You’re doing much better than I did at 25. I had quite a few what-am-I-doing-with-my-life moments. Enjoy it I loved my 25th year!

  10. After reading the title of this blog post, I briefly forgot how old I was and had a moment of panic. Figured it out though, 27, whew. Exercising (and blogging) and working is tough – and you have that huge commute too so I can’t imagine. Also, I’m dying to go to Austin and Seattle, mainly for the food obviously. Happy Birthday!

  11. Happy Birthday! I will also turn 25 this year, later in October, my favorite season (for other reasons too!). You should do a post on making friends in a new city, I would love to read about that.

    I also just joined a gym, the key for me is going with my coworker after the 9to5 3x/week, having a gym buddy/partner is effective accountability.

    For a new American city, consider Philly! We have great art, food (fantastic bring your own (BYO) liquor options), history, and lots going on outdoors in summer. Labor Day Weekend there is the Made in America music festival too. Do let me know if I can sell it some more!

  12. 25!! Happy happy birthday! You’ve inspired me to make my own list of goals now that I’m no longer a backpacker – except I really don’t want to because fitness is going to have to go on that list, ugh.

  13. Happy Birthday! I do the same thing setting goals for each month! For my 25th a celebrated with some friends and went to the DC Cherry Blossom Festival!

  14. I turn 25 in February, so I will have to check back in and let you know what I do! Hopefully it is not just spending all day at grad school. I will hereby make a conscious effort to make sure that does NOT happen. Ha! I am going to Austin in November and I am so excited to check it out! Southwest had a good sale and I just couldn’t resist. Happy belated birthday! :)

  15. Hi Ashley,

    You are such an amazing inspiration! thanks for the posts thus far. I am planning a trip to Paris for under 2 days in September. Do you have any tips for solo female travel? Any ideas of where I must visit? Thanks x

    • Thanks so much Shainna, that’s so sweet of you to say! Normally I’d recommend looking into either Couchsurfing or Airbnb for a more local experience, but considering you’re staying less than 2 days I would stay in a cute boutique hotel. I’d highly recommend staying in Le Marais. Have an awesome time!

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