Greetings from Singapore! (A city I'm head-over-flip-flops in love with, by the way).

As I just booked my ticket home for Christmas (yay!), I thought it was high-time I announce my upcoming travel plans. I just spent an adventure and work-filled month in southern and central Vietnam and am soon off to Indonesia for a month of yoga and diving. Rough life, guys.

So after lots of much-needed family and puppy time in Michigan, I will hopefully be heading back to Asia in January, though I still need to book my ticket. Here's the plan: fly into Bangkok, head straight south for a 10-day silent meditation retreat (gulp), hit up the Half-Moon Party and finally take a bus up north to hang out in Chiang Mai (ELEPHANTS!). Then travel slowly across Laos and northern Vietnam.

Of course this is all liable to change. Depending on how much I like Indonesia, I might try to fit some time in for Malaysia and Indonesia, and of course, I would love to plan a visit back to Singapore.  Because there's only so much deliciousness you can cram into three days.

And then?

Back to Europe!

I'm hoping to score a cheap one-way flight from Bangkok to London sometime in March- fingers crossed!

In the U.K. I'm going to visit my little brother who is studying abroad in London, as well as hang out with Amanda from Farsickness, catch up with some of my Paris-based London friends and finally check out the street art-filled Shoreditch neighborhood.

Then I'm venturing north to visit one of my best friends from my Paris days, a Northern England native and fellow lover of everything nerdtastic. In the north I plan to finally live out my Downton Abbey fantasy and explore the English countryside! I'm dreaming of holing up in a cozy pub with a pint of cider… ah, so excited.

Then I will travel by train to London, which I'm very excited about because on my trip to Scotland in 2011 I used trains as my only mode of transport and they were incredible- they even had the trolleys filled with sweets like in Harry Potter!

highlands

Views from the train in the Scottish Highlands.

 From London I will fly to Switzerland to stay with a beloved family friend in her ski chalet and catch the tail-end of ski season. After exploring Lyon and the cheese-centric mountain towns of eastern France, I will meander down to Milan to visit one of my best friends, the lovely Edna of Expat Edna! I imagine we will eat lots of food and perhaps squeeze in a visit to Sicily. Either way we'll be drinking lots of wine, per usual.

And then I will be taking a 5-week Alliance Francaise course in Toulouse to prepare for the DELF, a very difficult translation test. The price tag is hefty- about 600 euros, and I'll have to find a place to stay in Toulouse (help?) but I think the struggle will be well worth it.

One of my biggest goals in 2014 is to become a certified translator from both French and Spanish into English. Translation combines many of my greatest loves: languages, writing and finicky boring linguistic points (i.e. etymology) that I nerd out over.

Next I really want to squeeze in the month-long Camino de Santiago, an epic pilgrimage that takes you from the French border to Galicia. I kind would like a travel buddy though… any takers?

From there I will head back to Paris for the springtime stay for at least two weeks to enjoy my favorite city as well as spend time with some of my favorite people. Sometimes I honestly do feel like I have more of a life there than back in the states!

Then it will be back to London again- it seems I will be booking trains to London quite a bit in 2014!

All of this is highly flexible- I would love to attend TBU in 2014 as I was forced to miss it last year due to work scheduling conflicts. (Despite buying a ticket and a train ticket. Harumph.)

This post may seem a bit all of the place and manic, and I realize that at least 50% (hopefully not 100%!) may not occur. But provided that my freelancing jobs continue to support me and I keep pinching pennies I should be able to swing all of this. Fingers crossed.

What do you think of my plan? Any words of advice?

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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