This post is admittedly super late… but I love annual recaps too much not to share.

Honestly 2015 wasn't quite as epic and travel-centric as other years. (See 2012, 2013 and 2014 for epic.)

But 2015 was the most rewarding year of my life so far. Because for the first time I didn't run off to a foreign country when things got tough. I stuck it out and was rewarded with the start of a career I really enjoy and a life in Colorado that I love.

2015 wasn't always easy, but it was gratifying.

Roman ruins in Jerash, Jordan

And okay, okay – I did travel quite a bit. I visited Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Chicago, Michigan, Seattle, Florida and tons of beautiful spots in Colorado. I also went abroad twice to both Jordan and Nicaragua, and in both cases had an absolute blast.

January


2015- the year in which my map obsession reached new and dangerous heights.

January was all about nesting as I finally moved into my own apartment. After 2.5 years of nomadic life I was thrilled to finally decorate – hence why I spent a small fortune on Etsy and Amazon.

January also marked the start of ski season. As a lifelong skier, I was stoked to be able to ski the Rockies every weekend – a far cry from the 100-foot hills of my childhood.

February

February wasn't particularly exciting. But I did go on my first business trip, a blogger conference in Salt Lake, where my coworkers and I were basically the only non-Mormons. I also skied a ton in February and enjoyed a perfect powder weekend at Winter Park.

March

Detroit_Free_Press_Ashley_Abroad

In March I continued to ski a ton and spent an amazing weekend in Breckenridge skiing with my family. (Is it just me or is spring skiing clearly the best?)

I was also featured in a two-page color spread in the Detroit Free Press! You can see the article here.

April

In April I headed to Jordan! I was stressed at how last-minute the trip was booked (four days in advance, no joke) but the stress was well worth it.

Looking back it's hard to believe we packed so much into one week. From riding a camel in Wadi Rum to exploring Roman ruins at Jerash, to stuffing myself silly with labneh and hummus and nearly drowning in the Dead Sea, we hardly sat still for the entire trip. Or stopped laughing.

I also took my favorite photo of the year in Jordan- see the sassy camel below.

Wadi rum camel

Naturally I had the post-travel blues after coming home from such an incredible trip. But fortunately I soon took off for a weekend in Buena Vista, one of Colorado's cutest mountain towns.

Buena Vista

May

May was a deluge – I'm not joking when I say it rained in Colorado for every day in May. It. Was. Awful. Also I got super sick and didn't hit quota, so overall fun times.

One silver lining? Lots of family dinners with my Denver crew. During the spring we spent our Sundays eating a wide variety of delicious foods: ramen at a Japanese farmhouse, dim sum at a hole-in-the-wall in the suburbs and gourmet Korean barbecue. I'm lucky to have friends who are just as food-obsessed as me.

June

Life_Out_West_7

Life turned around in June. I kicked off summer with lots of concerts (Flume!) and visits to Red Rocks, an open-air amphitheatre made of natural rock and my favorite concert venue in the world.

I went to Red Rocks both for concerts and Film on the Rocks, in which my friends and I watched both Jurassic Park and The Princess Bride on the big screen. We had an inconceivably good time.

July

In July I rang in 25 in Vegas, and had a lot of fun on the home front with both a camping and whitewater rafting trip and a bachelorette party in Vail.

IMG_3880

Lowlights? Pulling the plug on my second website, Become an Au Pair. I had been really excited about having a new project, but soon realized maintaining both my blog and a second website was too much for me. Plus, I had no clear monetization plan for Become an Au Pair so I couldn't justify the time I was spending on it.

While my second site was a failure, I did learn a few important lessons. Don't bite off more than you can chew, and don't start a project without clearcut goals.

August

August was all about Michigan. Michigan summer is the absolute best and frankly there's no place I'd rather be in summer. I headed to Michigan twice, once for a wedding and once to my cottage. I also spent a day on magical Mackinac Island, a tiny island with no cars and only horse-drawn carriages.

In years to come I will definitely make coming home to Michigan in the summer more of a priority.

I capped off the summer in Telluride to see Pretty Lights. My weekend in Telluride was one of the best of the year, full of local brews, good people, non-stop partying and (hungover) hiking.

Beautiful Telluride, Colorado in the Summer

Beautiful Telluride, Colorado in the Summer

September

My hectic travel schedule didn't let up in September. I headed to Chicago for a long weekend to see family and friends, then flew to my beloved San Francisco for work and went home to Michigan for another beautiful wedding.

On the one weekend in September I was in Colorado I attended a wedding in Keystone. It was amazing: we rode a gondola to the top of the mountain for the ceremony and danced for hours under the influence of Woodbridge. Note to self- consider having a mountain wedding, they're stunningly beautiful.

On the blog front I was featured in Buzzfeed! I was honored to be included on a list with so many women I respect and admire.

October Seattle_Kerry_Park

In October I got promoted! After a year of basically begging to be on the marketing team, I finally got the job. Thankfully my intuition that I'd be a much better fit for marketing than sales was correct, and I'm loving my new job.

I also took a solo trip to Seattle. Seattle was equal parts a shitshow and a blast. While the trip made me realize I'm not as much of a solo traveler these days, especially domestically, I still loved my short stay in the Pacific Northwest and need to revisit.

November

In November I swung down to beautiful Nicaragua to meet up with Jessica. Needless to say I had a ridiculously fun time. We partied it up at Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur, galloped horses down a beach at sunset, rode a moped around volcanic Ometepe and took a million photos in colorful, colonial Granada.

Granada_street_scene

When I had to catch my flight back home I felt sad I wouldn't be able to continue traveling with Jessica but was also grateful to come home to stability and hot showers.

December

December was pretty lowkey. I skied a few times and spent ten days in Florida with my family which was glorious. I was also featured in Buzzfeed again, what? (I find it so ironic that the year I blog the least I'm featured in the biggest publications. Go figure.)

Over the course of the year I've learned that while I no longer want to travel full-time, I'm a lot more excited about life when I have trips planned. Which is why most of my 2016 trips are already booked. In 2016 I'll be heading to Mexico City, Iceland and most likely Africa (!!!) as my aunt and uncle are moving there.

 . . . . . . . . . . .

Random thoughts about blogging in 2016. Obviously in 2015 I didn't blog as much as in years past. Frankly I'm still struggling to find a balance. But this post from Beverley, You Don't Have To Be One-dimensional to Be Successful really resonated with me. My blogging goal for 2016 is to branch out and blog more about things besides travel. My life no longer revolves around travel (although of course it's still a huge priority), and my blog should reflect that.

And as I said last year, I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year brings us so here’s to a 2016 filled with health, friends, family and adventure.

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

Latest posts by Ashley Fleckenstein (see all)

shares