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.

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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!

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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!

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

Share it!

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

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