Back from Asia… And Home for the Holidays!

Hey! I’m not sure if you saw on Facebook and Twitter but I am home! (Once I suffered a 30+ hour flight in which Delta shoved me in the corner with a crying infant and a seat that didn’t recline. Love.)

Being home is so nice. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy to be home. Ever. b1

Reunited with my little sis and soaking in Christmas cheer at the Fox Theatre in Detroit! 

After two months of solo travel all I want is quality time with my family and friends. For the past few days I’ve been pestering my siblings with questions like, “So, who wants to go to see The Hunger Games?” or “Anyone need a ride to Best Buy?”

I think a part of me was lonely in Asia; while I was constantly surrounded by other travelers, I missed being around people I actually know, have known and will know. If that makes any sense.

Two tiny complaints- I have the worst jet lag of my life and have I mentioned how COLD Michigan is? The winter chill here is truly bitter. Which is why I have barely left the house, content to lounge around by the fire and watch the snow fall, curled up with my laptop.

The only time I leave the house is to do hot yoga- thankfully my yoga habit has continued on from my retreat in Bali! I’m kind of obsessed now.

Speaking of Bali, I have a post about all that Asia meant to me in the works. Now that I’ve left I feel it’s easier to reflect on the trip, though all of the cliched words do come to mind: life-changing, incredible and unforgettable.

In other news I got a new, much shorter haircut. I kind of dig it, what do you think?


And professionally I’m doing quite well. My site is up to more than 9,000 unique monthly views and more than 26,000 monthly page views! How did that happen?

Which may have to do with the fact that last week I was featured on Adventurous Kate as one of the nine standout blogs of 2013– which truly meant the world to me.

And in another stroke of great news I won the Angie Away holiday giveaway! (And I never win anything, I swear!) My new Tieks are already in the mail and I can’t wait to see the rest of the goodies.

And I won another giveaway too! Candace Rardon, one of my favorite bloggers, sent me one of her incredible watercolor postcards because I won her December giveaway… isn’t it gorgeous?


So, what’s up next?

Well, I’m not really sure. I definitely want to be home for at least a month. And then I have several options… but any suggestions on travel destinations in 2014 would be very welcome!

And over the holidays I’ll be taking a break from posting- happy holidays everyone!

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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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    • Thanks so much Alex! And I would HIGHLY recommend cutting your hair, it’s so much easier and is especially nice for the cold weather! (You don’t have to wait hours for it to dry.) And thanks, your blog is so big and you have such exciting business ventures going on! And I’d love if we could all do a blogger meet-up this spring… and if you’re serious about the camino we should start planning it :)

  1. Loved your comments about being home–and are we ever glad you’re glad!!
    Your hair-do is fantastic and the photo with Andrew is outstanding of both of you


    • Thanks Gamma, it would so wonderful spending time with you over the holidays. Thanks so much for the wonderful and thoughtful gifts, you always give the best presents! I hope you like yours as well. Love, Ashley

    • Thanks so much, Leah! Sometimes home is the best place to be :)

  2. Amazing that you made Top Standout Blog of 2013. I’ve only been around your blog a few weeks and I think you deserve it. And…there is no place like home.
    Brittany recently posted..Weekly WishesMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Brittany! I was so surprised to be recognized like that and it was such a nice thing to see :). Happy holidays!

  3. You look fabulous — that SE Asia tan and the new haircut are totally working for you!
    Merry Christmas! I hope you have the most wonderful time with your family! I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting you again in Europe in 2014!
    Julika recently posted..All You Need to Know about German Christmas MarketsMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Julika! I LOVE your photos of Germany at Christmas, how beautiful! And fingers crossed we can schedule a meet-up :). What do you think of Brittany or Normandy?

  4. Started reading your blog recently but have appreciated your honesty and photos. Enjoy your family time!
    Jimmy Dau recently posted..My favourite photos of 2013My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Jimmy! Enjoy your holiday as well!

  5. Being home after traveling is amazing isn’t it? Even the simple things, like taking a shower with clean water and having clean towels is such a joy haha.

    Live it up! Love the new hair cut too :)
    Jessica Wray recently posted..Six Experiences You Must Have in SpainMy Profile

    • Oh my god, you really never appreciate those things quite as much as you do after a long backpacking trip. I’m just thrilled to be able to sleep in a room all by myself and feel clean all the time. Merry Christmas! Hope you’re enjoying yourself in England, can’t wait to read the post about it :)

    • Thanks so much, Colleen! And happy holidays! Your photos of Iceland are beautiful by the way :)

  6. You’re glowing! I also recently got back from traveling (and also had the pleasure of sitting next to a crying baby on the flight from Thailand) and ohmygoodness you are right; it’s cooold! Hope you’re enjoying being home!
    Silvia recently posted..A Lone Coconut in CambodiaMy Profile

    • Ugh, crying babies! Not okay! Hope you’re enjoying your holidays too :)

  7. I so much understand your joy of being back home for Christmas. I hope, you could spend lots of family time during those days and that you’ll get over your jetlag quickly. As much as I love travelling and am bitten by the travelbug I love to spend Christmas with my family.

    For 2014 I would suggest you Laos and Malaysian Borneo as travel destinations, both very much worth a visit.
    Vanessa recently posted..Merry ChristmasMy Profile

    • I loved spending Christmas with my family too… there’s really nothing like it. And I’m so jealous you got to Laos and Malaysian Borneo! I really want to dive in Malaysia someday, and Laos looks amazing (especially the Gibbon project!)

    • Happy and healthy New Year, Ashley! I envy you for the time you spent in Indonesia, I have never been there but definitely want to go in the next few years, especially to Bali.

      I didn’t dive when I was in Borneo in 2011, but Sipadan must be an amazing spot for it. I have been to Laos twice, but not to the Gibbon project, although I just saw I have been quite close to it. I travelled to Luang Prabang in 2005 and went back to Laos in 2009, travelling down the Mekong from Huay Xai by boat for two days to Luang Prabang and further to Vang Vieng and Vientiane.

      All the best for 2014!
      Vanessa recently posted..2013: My China YearMy Profile

    • Wow, you’ve been to some amazing places! Hopefully I’ll get back out to Asia at some point :)

  8. Wow! I think you have enjoyed your christmas vacations in Asia. I know you are feeling very fresh and good after returning from asia trip to home. You will always remember this trip to Asia with your family and friends. It’s like your dream come true in real life. Not everyone have such type of destiny of travelling abroad.You are very lucky have christmas vacations in Asia with friends.

    • Yes I am very lucky :). And thanks so much! I will definitely never forget this trip to Asia, it was incredible :)

  9. Well done Ashley! I’ve just started reading your blog and I like what I see so much I’m going to follow you!
    Sometimes, it’s when we go abroad that we appreciate our hometowns, friends and family all the more.
    I’m a British expat living in Germany for going on 15 years now but when I “visit” Britain, it’s just lovely to see the country, get windy and wet, watch TV soaps and eat good ol’ English crap!
    Victoria recently posted..Hey! It’s a New Year: time to get out there and do stuff!My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Victoria! It’s always so nice to return home after a long way away… and I totally know what you mean with indulging in some junky comfort foods! :)

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