Since I moved to Denver, I’ve been posting monthly updates about the ups and downs of life out west: check out month 1months 2&3months 4&5month 6 and months 7&8 here. Most of these photos are from Instagram,@ashleyabroad– find me there for travel inspiration and mountain pics! 

Hey, guys! First of all, I wanted to thank you for filling out my reader survey. I've gotten so much useful feedback from you all, and it has really made me rethink how I want to blog going forward (more international coverage and travel advice, less product reviews and guest posts). If you haven't filled it out yet, there's still a week left. Thanks in advance!

July was a stressful month due to a break-up and work issues, but had plenty of highlights. Plus, I've booked a few trips for the fall- always something that's bound to put a smile on my face.

Highs

My first camping trip of the season.

Last month I drove up to beautiful Cow Creek Campground for a night of camping under the stars. While I will never be entirely sold on sleeping on the ground, I still really enjoy getting out in nature with friends.

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Things that improve camping dramatically: drinking games, a cooler full of local IPAs and a dramatic pink and orange Colorado sunset.

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White-water rafting.

And the next morning we embarked on one of my favorite adventure activities- white-water rafting! I'd gone white-water rafting twice before: once in Chile, and once in India. This experience was the most adrenaline-filled so far- one of the rafts even capsized on the river.

I already have plans to go rafting again, but this time want to try a class-four rapid. An afternoon of white-knuckled adventure, nature, sunshine? Sign me up.

 

Turning 25 in Vegas.

For my 25th, I hit up Sin City for the first time. My Vegas experience involved all the typical activities: multi-story clubs, fine dining, an indulgent buffet and a bacchanalian pool party. It was indulgent and wild and just right.

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Oh and I had great luck gambling. I won $100 at slots, $100 at craps and 50 or so dollars at blackjack- first timer's luck, I guess!
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I also enjoyed a few birthday surprises (have I ever mentioned I LOVE surprises?) My grandma had my best friend call the restaurant to surprise me with strawberry cake, which I have every year for my birthday. So sweet!

Also, I got to meet my virtual assistant, Miquel, who is awesome, and who brought us booze from the suburbs. (However, DO NOT ever pregame with mimosas- we could barely drink alcohol all nights as our stomachs were so riddled with acid.)

While I can't say I'll make Vegas a yearly trip (it's way too hard to walk around and so expensive) I imagine I'll return at some point.

 

A Bachelorette Party in Vail

I was thrilled when my future aunt Whitney invited me up to her bachelorette party in Vail! I had never attended a bachelorette party before and of course, love any excuse to spend a weekend in the mountains.

We had a lowkey but very fun weekend. We hiked the mountains (see the beautiful vista below!), drank mudslides, sunned by the pool and danced for hours at a local bar, meeting lots of townies, obviously.

Booking lots of trips for the fall!

Always the biggest highlight for a travel blogger, am I right? I have a super busy fall: Michigan twice for weddings, a wedding in Keystone, a weekend in Aspen and a solo trip to Seattle. Because why not?

I'm also trying to work in Portland, Austin and Chicago as well but I'll have to see how much time I can get off from work. And I still have to book that big international trip- hopefully I can do that this month!

 

Lows

Work stress.

God this is redundant but didn't hit quota in July and it was freaking awful. I have the lovely habit of beating myself up relentlessly when I don't do well, so I was basically a stressball for the entire month of July. (Note- sales is not a good profession for the easily stressed. At all.)

 

Break up.

Another lowlight of July was my boyfriend and I broke up. We had been dating six or so months but decided we wanted such different things that it didn't make sense to continue our relationship. We're still good friends and hang out every weekend, but I was still pretty bummed. Break-ups are never fun.

 

And subsequently… Tinder riddles.

Does this happen to anyone else? WTF?

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And finally, some food for thought…

“You can’t get a great job but only give half your energy to it. People who give all their energy get those jobs. It’s only fair.” – Penelope Trunk
“There’s something keeping me from achieving the happiness I’ve been seeking all these years, and I understand it now more clearly than ever: My nomadic lifestyle has robbed me of the ability to form a community.”  La Mochilera
“When we are not meeting our goals it’s a big sign that they are not the right goals for us.” – Penelope Trunk (again)

Well that's enough about me! How about you guys? How are your summers going?

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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