Travel and Blogging Recap: December 2019 – February 2020

Hey everyone. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, it almost feels silly to update you with what’s going on in my life. I’ll try to keep this light. I hope you are staying safe, healthy, and sane in these difficult times.

Sorry I haven’t written a recap since, oh, December. Grad school has been intense — I’m taking 15 credits right now, so it’s been tough to focus on anything but school. The good news? I’m done in June!

This winter, I’ve mostly stayed put in Ann Arbor. That being said, I did take two trips out west — Park City, Utah, to ski, and Calfornia to see friends.

The amazing City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, where I finally picked up Little Women

Where I’ve been:

  • Park City, Utah (7 days)
  • Traverse City, Michigan (3 days)
  • San Francisco, CA (6 days)
  • LA (3 days)
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan (the rest of the time)

Highs:

Skiing in Park City. Over the holidays, my family and I spent a week skiing in Park City, Utah. It was delightful. I felt very fortunate to be able to ski and to take a much-needed break from grad school.

Writing a historical fiction novel. After many false starts writing books (by which I mean I started and quit writing at least ten), I think I have found my genre — historical fiction! I’m 80 pages into my novel and it’s been so much fun to research and write. One thing that helped immensely was The Artist’s Way, a book that leads you through a 12-step creative recovery course. I recommend it to everyone, unconditionally.

Spending spring break in California. As I’ve mentioned on this blog many, many times, San Francisco is my favorite city. So it was wonderful to spend five days there catching up with friends and scoping out potential neighborhoods (P.S. I’m very into Richmond and the Sunset). Though the city has changed a lot in the past 10 years, it’s still where I see myself after graduation. (And if you know anyone hiring for UX design, I would be so grateful for an intro.)

Lows:

Coronavirus. This pandemic feels so surreal and is difficult for so many reasons. I’m trying to do the socially responsible thing by staying home and washing my hands frequently. I’m trying to stay positive and not panic. I’m using this opportunity to finish my novel, read a ton, and re-learn piano. That being said, I’m very worried about people in my life who are at risk, as well as the general state of the world right now.

Michigan winter. Honestly, it sucks to live in a place where it hurts to walk outside six months out of the year. It’s just too damn cold here. Thankfully, spring seems to be right around the corner.

Saying goodbye to Cape Town. I never announced this, but last month I got a two-month internship in Cape Town, South Africa in May and June. I was SO excited about it. But yesterday, I got the news that the internship was canceled. It’s a huge bummer but pales in comparison to what other people are going through — so I’m trying to not feel sorry for myself.

Blogging Stuff

Popular posts

Most popular post: Why Ditching My Dream Camera Made Me Love Photography Again – I was surprised this post did so well. It seems many people felt the same way about mirrorless cameras!

Other posts published since November:

Blogging traffic & income (February 2020):

My blog traffic took a huge hit in November due to a Google update. Traffic is now taking an even bigger hit due to the coronavirus. Dips in my income like this make me grateful blogging is only a side-gig — I’m really feeling for all bloggers and people who work in the travel industry right now.

February traffic: 47,375 page views

September blogging income – $812.25

  • Advertising – $693.36
  • Affiliate income (Amazon) – $61.78
  • Affiliate income (not Amazon): $57.11
  • Ebook sales: $0.00

Note that this is my blogging income before deductions or expenses.

Favorite read

The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer – This book won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. This memoir follows the journey of Guy, a 16-year old French boy who is drafted into the German army in WWII. Though the book has a lot of violence, I really enjoyed Sajer’s introspection on becoming a soldier and what it’s like living in wartime. He is an excellent writer, and writes very poetically about many subjects: “Peace has brought me many pleasures, but nothing as powerful as that passion for survival in wartime, that faith in love, and that sense of absolutes. It often strikes me with horror that peace is really extremely monotonous. During the terrible moments of war one longs for peace with a passion that is painful to bear. But in peacetime one should never, even for an instant, long for war!”

Up next:

Nothing, I guess? I was supposed to go to my friend’s 30th birthday party in Baja, Mexico, in April, but it looks like that won’t be happening. Graduation is also canceled.

How is your winter going? How are you handling/embracing this crazy time? Book recommendations EXTREMELY welcome.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Travel and Blogging Recap: December 2019 – February 2020”

  1. I’m so glad I got to see you in SF (it already feels like a lifetime ago??)! So sorry about Cape Town, but I’m sure you’ll make it happen to get there again someday.

    Reply
  2. Hi Ashley! I love you, your blog, & instagram account so much! You are unbelievably talented, hard-working, & inspirational! I’m a huge fan! :) I’ll be thinking of you & your loved ones during this difficult time. Likewise, please take the time to *grieve* & feel your feelings related to your internship not taking place. I imagine traditional graduation ceremonies may be cancelled as well? Take excellent care of yourself! Felicitaciones on finishing up Grad School: such a big deal! Continue dreaming big! :) You have motivated me to go on SO MANY solo adventures, including: Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Moscow, Kiev, Cancún, Puntarenas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, & many more in the future, I hope! :) Have a lovely night! You’re the best!

    Reply

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