So I have an announcement! I got a job and am moving to Denver, Colorado, THIS FRIDAY. And I'm crazy excited.

While I had my heart set on San Francisco, rent prices turned out to be way too high. (4K a month for a two-bedroom? No thanks.) And though someday I'd love to live in the Bay, it's just not in the cards right now.

But still, I'm heading west and I'm so happy about it.

Ashley Abroad

I'm also excited about my new haircut!

I'll be working for a young, fast-paced tech startup based in Boulder. It has a gorgeous office with panoramic views of the Flatirons, as well as beer on Fridays, yoga at lunch and barbecues in summer. My role is to collaborate with bloggers and web publishers in the digital advertising industry which of course interest me.

In short, I got really lucky.

But along with a career, I'm also really excited to start a life. It's no secret I've been wanting to settle down for a while- after a year of nomadic living I'm excited to sleep in the same bed every night and make friendships that last longer than a week.

And this isn't forever- I want to live abroad again and will always be an expat at heart. I love foreign languages, culture and foods too much to live stateside for long. But this will be a great start for my career and allow me to save up some money.

Here's why I'm thrilled to settle down for a while:

Career.

For a long time I've felt lost career-wise. At least now I'll know if I'm heading in the right direction- before I was just speculating on what I might want to do.

Also, I'll be able to figure out if 9-5 corporate America is for me. At 24, this is my first “real” job, so who knows?

Anyway, I couldn't keep traveling even if I wanted to– I blew threw my savings on my round-the-world trip, and I no longer have a way to make a living on the road.

Answers.com fired all of its writers last winter, so my main source of income is long-gone. (I used to make $1200-1500 a month from that job alone.) Also, Google changed its algorithm so link sales have dried up. (I used to make $500-1000 a month from selling links- now I make next to nothing if anything at all.)

So while I used to make $1700-2500 a month on the road (which is more than enough to travel Southeast Asia comfortably), now I wouldn't be able to support myself.

(Sidenote- I have no idea how travel bloggers earn enough money without a high-paying freelance writing job. It's a mystery to me.)

Money.

I know as a travel blogger I'm supposed to eschew all material possessions and spend every dime on experiences, but screw it- I'm excited to have a not-meager paycheck for the first time in my life. I want to buy myself a few treats (like a GoPro!) and perhaps a second pair of jeans.

And while I'll always be a minimalist who wears clothes until they fall apart, it will be so nice to buy things if my heart so desires.

That being said, I also want to save up money for future travels. Because you know, some things really never change.

Creative Projects + Cooking.

porter

This year I want to explore a few creative projects that are hard or impossible to do on the road. For one, I want to brew lots of beer. I've recently gotten into it and am head-over-hops in love.

Also I want to cook more. I want to recreate all my favorite French and Vietnamese dishes and throw lots of elaborate dinner parties. I freaking love dinner parties.

Love.

It's hard to date when you're hopping countries every week. And though some travel bloggers manage to find love on the road, I never did. A year of traveling taught me I'm a sensitive Cancerian who gets hurt easily, and I'm much more suited to long-term engagements than flings in Thailand.

So I'll admit- I'd like to find someone. Maybe not a forever-thing, but someone to go on dates and ski trips with.

(And as an aside, I've been dating an awesome guy in Michigan whom I OF COURSE met a month before leaving. So great timing there. #storyofmylife)

My Own Apartment.

I can't wait to have my own apartment as I haven't had my own living quarters for two and a half YEARS. And my best friend from college is tagging along with me so I already have a roommate!

As boring as it sounds, a part of me craves routine. I want to have a neighborhood, a group of friends, a local pho joint. All in all, I want a more settled life.

. . . . . . . . . . .

The last two years of my life living in France and traveling the world were beyond amazing, but here's hoping the next couple of years are just as wonderful in a totally different way.

And as Val so eloquently put it, to live will be an awfully big adventure as well.

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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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