Life Out West: Month 9

Since I moved to Denver, I’ve been posting monthly updates about the ups and downs of life out west: check out month 1months 2&3months 4&5month 6 and months 7&8 here. Most of these photos are from Instagram,@ashleyabroad– find me there for travel inspiration and mountain pics! 

Hey, guys! First of all, I wanted to thank you for filling out my reader survey. I’ve gotten so much useful feedback from you all, and it has really made me rethink how I want to blog going forward (more international coverage and travel advice, less product reviews and guest posts). If you haven’t filled it out yet, there’s still a week left. Thanks in advance!

July was a stressful month due to a break-up and work issues, but had plenty of highlights. Plus, I’ve booked a few trips for the fall- always something that’s bound to put a smile on my face.


My first camping trip of the season.

Last month I drove up to beautiful Cow Creek Campground for a night of camping under the stars. While I will never be entirely sold on sleeping on the ground, I still really enjoy getting out in nature with friends.


Things that improve camping dramatically: drinking games, a cooler full of local IPAs and a dramatic pink and orange Colorado sunset.


White-water rafting.

And the next morning we embarked on one of my favorite adventure activities- white-water rafting! I’d gone white-water rafting twice before: once in Chile, and once in India. This experience was the most adrenaline-filled so far- one of the rafts even capsized on the river.

I already have plans to go rafting again, but this time want to try a class-four rapid. An afternoon of white-knuckled adventure, nature, sunshine? Sign me up.


Turning 25 in Vegas.

For my 25th, I hit up Sin City for the first time. My Vegas experience involved all the typical activities: multi-story clubs, fine dining, an indulgent buffet and a bacchanalian pool party. It was indulgent and wild and just right.


Oh and I had great luck gambling. I won $100 at slots, $100 at craps and 50 or so dollars at blackjack- first timer’s luck, I guess!

I also enjoyed a few birthday surprises (have I ever mentioned I LOVE surprises?) My grandma had my best friend call the restaurant to surprise me with strawberry cake, which I have every year for my birthday. So sweet!

Also, I got to meet my virtual assistant, Miquel, who is awesome, and who brought us booze from the suburbs. (However, DO NOT ever pregame with mimosas- we could barely drink alcohol all nights as our stomachs were so riddled with acid.)

While I can’t say I’ll make Vegas a yearly trip (it’s way too hard to walk around and so expensive) I imagine I’ll return at some point.


A Bachelorette Party in Vail

I was thrilled when my future aunt Whitney invited me up to her bachelorette party in Vail! I had never attended a bachelorette party before and of course, love any excuse to spend a weekend in the mountains.

We had a lowkey but very fun weekend. We hiked the mountains (see the beautiful vista below!), drank mudslides, sunned by the pool and danced for hours at a local bar, meeting lots of townies, obviously.

Booking lots of trips for the fall!

Always the biggest highlight for a travel blogger, am I right? I have a super busy fall: Michigan twice for weddings, a wedding in Keystone, a weekend in Aspen and a solo trip to Seattle. Because why not?

I’m also trying to work in Portland, Austin and Chicago as well but I’ll have to see how much time I can get off from work. And I still have to book that big international trip- hopefully I can do that this month!



Work stress.

God this is redundant but didn’t hit quota in July and it was freaking awful. I have the lovely habit of beating myself up relentlessly when I don’t do well, so I was basically a stressball for the entire month of July. (Note- sales is not a good profession for the easily stressed. At all.)


Break up.

Another lowlight of July was my boyfriend and I broke up. We had been dating six or so months but decided we wanted such different things that it didn’t make sense to continue our relationship. We’re still good friends and hang out every weekend, but I was still pretty bummed. Break-ups are never fun.


And subsequently… Tinder riddles.

Does this happen to anyone else? WTF?


And finally, some food for thought…

“You can’t get a great job but only give half your energy to it. People who give all their energy get those jobs. It’s only fair.” – Penelope Trunk
“There’s something keeping me from achieving the happiness I’ve been seeking all these years, and I understand it now more clearly than ever: My nomadic lifestyle has robbed me of the ability to form a community.” – La Mochilera
“When we are not meeting our goals it’s a big sign that they are not the right goals for us.” – Penelope Trunk (again)

Well that’s enough about me! How about you guys? How are your summers going?

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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.

22 thoughts on “Life Out West: Month 9”

  1. Dear Ashley,

    Beautiful country and photos.
    Sounds like a lot of trips lined up. Should prove interesting!

    Looking forward to your trips to MI . I know you will be busy with weddings,
    But maybe we’ll catch a glimpse of you. I know your time will be limited!

    Love, Gamma

    • Hi Gamma, I’m intending to spend the whole Sunday up at the cottage- my parents told me you’ll be there! I’m sorry I won’t have more time but I can’t wait to catch up. Love, Ashley

  2. Your pictures are beautiful! We moved to Fruita, Colorado in February and love it. Looks like you have a bunch of fun trips planned for the fall!

  3. I’m still loving all the updates! The photos of the mountains are beautiful! Although I’m headed back to Spain in a few days, I’m still pretty jealous of your upcoming trips, especially Seattle and maybe Portland. I’ve always wanted to go to the Pacific Northwest. Also, I don’t use Tinder but I really enjoyed that screenshot. It definitely made me laugh!

  4. Even in a bad month your are ‘killing it’ – Keep it going, you inspire us.

    Also, there is no way anyone would break up with you :-)) Not possible.

  5. Ahhh I have wanted to try white-water rafting since I was 10. How awesome!! And to do it after such a nice night with your friends? Talk about a fantastic 24 hours. I am so glad you do these posts; it is so nice to follow along and see somebody settling into a new spot. Quite well, as it seems!

    • It was truly a great 24 hours! I’m doing something similar this weekend as well so stay tuned. And yes, having an apartment and community is so nice. I could do without a commute and a bit more free time but other than that it’s wonderful!

  6. Ooooooh looking forward to reading about what you think of the Pacific NW; I’ve been dying to go there for ages (and briefly considered moving there!) so I’m interested to hear what a like-minded blogger makes of the region.

    And I love that quote you took from La Mochilera about the lack of community in a nomadic lifestyle—that was one of the biggest reasons that led me to move back home to the States to “settle down” and find long-term employment somewhere. Some might call it “selling out,” but I just want friendships that last longer than 8 months, okay! :P

  7. YEAH for the PNW. If you’re loving Colorado (which it sounds like you are) then you will find even more of that goodness in Portland, Seattle, and dare I suggest Vancouver :) Craft Beer, Mountains, Yoga, Cycling, Beaches, SUP… we’ve got it all!

  8. I hope that August will hold less stress for you, Ashley, and I am curious to find out where your big international trip will take you (I think, I have mentioned that before). I am also looking forward to read about your trip to the Northwest. I have been to Seattle twice and really liked it, but it’s a while ago. I also bet that the bachelorette’s party was fun. I have never been to one yet because my married friends didn’t celebrate one. Your camping trip with your friends sounds great. Almost everything depends on the company.

  9. I’m loving these life out west posts! My boyfriend and I are constantly talking about living out west someday, and Denver is definitely a big contender. All of these posts are making me more anxious to make it happen!

  10. Hi Ashley, I was actually born and raised in Seattle! (I currently live in a suburb 15 min east of Seattle.) If you would like some input for your trip, let me know. There are so many fun little places and yummy restaurants that I’d love to tell you about!

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