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 6months 7&8month 9 and months 10&11 here. Most of these photos are from Instagram, @ashleyabroad– let's be friends there!

This recap is a bit late (I'm very behind on blogging), but the last two months have been amazing. As you may have seen on Instagram, I spent a week in Nicaragua. The trip was filled with more laughs and near-death experiences than any other week in my life, but more on that later.

And on the home front, I was promoted to marketing! After a year in sales I'm now finally doing what I'm passionate about, and I couldn't be happier.

Highs

A solo trip to Seattle

Seattle_Kerry_Park

In mid-October I jetted off to Seattle alone. You can read about here, but in short I loved my glimpse of the Pacific Northwest (seafood, sea views, amazing restaurants).

But in the end I realized solo travel probably isn't in my future. Frankly I'd rather spend my money and vacation days creating experiences with friends- but it was an interesting and mostly fun experiment.

A promotion to marketing!

After a year of working in sales (and knowing deep-down it wasn't a good fit), I was promoted to marketing! I'm loving my new job as it's both creative and strategic, and every day is different. I think I've finally found what I want to do, after years of stress and anxiety about my career.

Nicaragua

Rancho_Chilamate

My trip to Nicaragua with Jessica was above and beyond amazing. We partied in San Juan del Sur, galloped horses down the beach, spoke tons of castellano, rode a scooter around Ometepe and took photos in the colorful streets of Granada. Honestly, I couldn't have had more fun, or more rum.

Jessica is an amazing photographer (check out here Instagram here!) so traveling with her really inspired me to work on my photography.

When I was booking my trip to Nicaragua back in September, I wondered if backpacking in Central America would make me want to give everything up and travel full-time again. Honestly, I don't. But Nicaragua did make me realize that I need to be intentional with my time- i.e. stop wasting pointless hours on Facebook, or worrying about other people's opinions. Going forward I want to work hard but also find ways to maximize my time outside of work as much as possible.

Concepcion_Volcano_Nicaragua

Life in general

As I've said about twelve times in this post so far, life in general has been great. My former roommate ended up moving back to Ohio, but my new roommate is the absolute best. We both love to cook, and so far we've made everything from sweet potato hash to Fesjenjan, an Iranian stew of pomegranates, walnuts and chicken. (No joke, a life-changingly good dish. Why isn't Persian food a bigger deal?)

I also recently started volunteering at non-profit restaurant. The team is great and I'm finally improving my knife skills (which is good, because I'm bound to lose a finger with my current level). And bonus- I get to live out my adolescent dream of working in a restaurant kitchen.

 

Lows:

Paris Terrorist Attack

The Paris attacks shook me up more than I expected, and for several days after it happened, I would immediately tear up whenever someone brought them up. I'm still having trouble even believing the attacks even happened as they're so horrific.

Post Travel Blues

Does this happen to anyone else? After every big trip I'm a mess for about 72 hours- anxiety, depression, the works. I know like most of my problems this is very first-world, but it's something I've struggled with since I was a teenager and have never been able to understand.

 

Most liked photo on Instagram:

Thank you to Jessica for patiently combing the streets of Granada with me to find this pretty pink wall. The guys at the hostel were making fun of me because they said I looked like I was on the way to my wedding wearing this dress, but this photo made it worth their jokes.

Granada_street_scene

 

Coming up

I'm moving to Boulder, Colorado! My new job requires that I work in Boulder five days a week, and frankly the commute is killing me. In February I'm moving into a really cute condo with a coworker, which should be fun.

I'll also be spending the holidays with my family in Florida. I miss them a ton, and am lucky to be taking another vacation so soon after Nicaragua.

A ski trip to Winter Park with friends. One of my favorite things about living in Colorado is skiing. Which is why I'm so excited to be heading to Winter Park with friends in January. Glamping Hub is graciously hosting us for a weekend in a condo with a hot tub– I seriously can't wait!

And as far as blogging goes- I've actually been enjoying blogging recently. After a year of forcing myself to blog and feeling like it was an obligation, I'm now using blogging as more of a creative outlet. I've been posting pretty infrequently, but I'm happy with the quality of the posts, like this one- entry-level job after a career break. You guys seemed to find it useful which I was pleased about!

Anyway, what's new with you? What do you have planned for the holidays?

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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