Hey everyone! Today is my 23rd birthday. Isn't that exciting?

23rd birthday

The 22nd year of my life took me to so many places: I moved to France on a whim, stayed at a 200-year old French apple farm, visited my lovely cousin in Istanbul, drank lots of frothy brews in Germany (twice), shopped for my dream neighborhood in London, drove down the French Atlantic coast to Spain, explored fairytale cities in Alsace and most importantly, had the absolute time of my life with great friends in Paris.

Some of the home-based high points were having breakfast on top of Pompidou, watching Nadal at the French Open, learning a third language and making strides in my career as a freelance writer, columnist and blogger. Needless to say, 22 was a very happy and successful year.

23rd birthday

To ensure that 23 is just as amazing as 22, I've made a list of everything I want to accomplish during the next year. (And in case you guys haven't noticed, I'm kind of obsessed with lists, ha.) Hopefully next year I'll report back proudly on all of the international shenanigans I've gotten myself into.

So here's what I'm dying to do this year:

  1. Learn how to scuba-dive
  2. Get in the best shape of my life (via yoga + muay thai perhaps?)
  3. Move to a new city after the Asia trip
  4. Get a job that I love
  5. Learn how to drive manually
  6. Try surfing again
  7. Learn how to cook Asian food
  8. Go to a music festival
  9. Get 3 freelance articles published
  10. Volunteer for a great cause
  11. Attend a travel blogging or media conference
  12. Fight muay thai
  13. Make a conscious effort to keep up my French and Spanish
  14. Take a graphic design course
  15. Throw a surprise birthday party
  16. Try Stand Up Paddleboarding
  17. Run a 5K Color Run
  18. Pay off all my debt
  19. Learn how to use my camera in manual, learn how to shoot in RAW and edit with lightroom
  20. Buy a new wardrobe
  21. Buy a custom-design for my site
  22. Learn how to do liquid eyeliner like a French girl (yup, still failing after a year)
  23. Keep blogging!

. . . . . . . . . .

As for the rest of the summer, my travel plans will take me across three continents. Here's my itinerary:

July 24- HOME (Words can literally not express how excited I am to see my family and spend time at my lake house.)

August 4- Chicago to visit college friends and pick up my travel buddy from the airport!

August 22- Los Angeles (to see one of my best friends from high school!)

August 30- Hong Kong!!!!!

23rd birthday

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading Ashley Abroad. All of your comments and shares make the sometimes-slog through site crashes and uploading photos so, so worth it. More than anything, it has really been a joy to connect with so many other travelers around the world.

. . . . . . . . . .

 I just wanted to apologize for the lack of posts recently- moving back across the Atlantic has been just as frenzied and time-consuming as I had thought! Expect lots of travel coverage soon though- I'm off to Asia in five weeks!

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
shares