Hey everyone! Sorry for my extended blog-cation over the holidays, I am now hoping to resume my normal Christmas-shopping free life and start writing again.

So like many others, I wanted to take some time to reflect on not only what happened in 2012, but also what I want to get done in 2013. The older I get the more I realize that I don’t really have many concrete goals in life. All I want is to be a happy, healthy writer who speaks foreign languages, has wonderful family and friends and lives a life full of adventures.

Here are the ways in 2013 that will bring me closer to living my dream life.

1. Learn fluent French.

Despite my frequent social media gripes about how difficult it is to learn French (pardon me for those, dear readers!), I absolutely will be able to learn fluent French in seven months. I know it won’t be easy – I will have to insist that French friends speak to me in French and arrange tandem exchanges -but it will be so worth it once I can speak French beautifully.

2. Get back in shape.

I am so much happier when I am in shape and so in 2013 I need to work out often and eat cleanly. My normal work-out of choice is yoga but it’s much more expensive in France, so I will probably end up joining a gym. I am also hoping to enjoy more of my favorite activities like tennis, horse-back riding and skiing in 2013, and trying new ones like scuba-diving and camel-riding.

And while I do just enjoy being an active person, I also need to get back in shape because I live in Paris. Let’s be honest – love handles are practically illegal here.

3. Build this blog.

When I started this blog back in August, I acknowledged the possibility that I might not enjoy blogging and that I might eventually quit. Luckily those fears were never realized, and it turns out I actually love blogging! Already my blog has brought me so many opportunities, from helping me make friends in Paris to landing me a job as a travel columnist for a local Detroit newspaper.

I want to continue to build this blog to become not only a way to make connections with other bloggers and travelers but also to become a source of income. My measurable goal is a PR of 3 and $500 a month by June so that I can use some of the money to take that long-awaited trip to Southeast Asia.

4. Freelance.

This is something I failed to do much of in 2012. My current goal is to have a travel piece published at least once a month, and I’m looking to pitch to websites like Gadling or Matador.

If anyone knows some great places to send freelance travel writing please do let me know!

 

What are your goals for the New Year? What could you do better in 2013?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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