So I've decided to resume my monthly recaps! My recaps will cover the highs and lows of living in Uganda, as well as recap where I'm traveling and what I'm reading. I've also decided to change the title of this series as it's looking like I won't be moving to Kenya – so Life in Uganda it is!

Hey guys! I hope you're enjoying the end of summer.

This summer has been a whirlwind: I turned 27, traveled to South Africa for two months, and next Tuesday, I leave for London. It's been a crazy ride, but I'm having a lot of fun.

Greetings from me and my dirty sunglasses in chilly Johannesburg, South Africa

Where I've Been:

  • Michigan (18 days)
  • Overlanding in South Africa and Swaziland (9 days)
  • Cape Town (6 days)
  • Uganda (the rest)

Highs:

My surprise birthday party in Kampala

For my 27th birthday, my friends threw me a surprise party at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I was so touched and honestly didn't expect it at all. (That being said, I'm the most oblivious person ever, so it's not exactly hard to surprise me, ha). Somberos were worn, Coronas were drunk, and fun was had by all.

Two weeks in South Africa!

In August, I traveled to one of my dream countries – South Africa! I spent two weeks exploring the East Coast and Cape Town with one of my best friends from college. While I enjoyed the East Coast, I fell hardest for Cape Town and the surrounding areas. (LOTS of posts soon!)

Going on safari in Swaziland

Safari in Swaziland was out of this world amazing. On our morning game drive we saw tons of rhinos, and got incredibly close to six or seven lions; see the young males feasting on antelope legs below.

On the the other hand, safari in Kruger National Park was bit of a let-down; there were tons of tourists, and cities and smoke-stacks were visible on the edge of the park. You win some, you lose some.

Remembering that I actually like hiking

In Colorado, I often felt ambivalent about hiking. But hiking Lion's Head in Cape Town reminded me why I do love it. Lion's Head was one of the best (and scariest) hikes I've ever done; there were ladders, chains bolted into walls, and via ferrata (metal hand-holds that allow you to free-form rock climb).

By the end of the hike I felt energized, exhilarated, and more than a little terrified.

Enjoying as much cheese, cured meat, and wine as possible in South Africa

The food in South Africa was amazing and so cheap! You guys know I'm a francophile, so I was in heaven being able to afford cheese platters whenever I pleased.

I also fell in love with South Africa's most quintessential dish, peri-peri chicken. (Side note – what is peri peri sauce made of? I'm addicted.)

An epic cheese platter in Cape Town

Ashley Abroad turning five.

It's weird to think that I started Ashley Abroad FIVE years ago. I forgot to post a blog ‘birthday' post, but I will say I'm eternally grateful for the community and opportunities this site has provided me. You guys are the best.

Hanging out with my Kampala crew.

After my vacation, it felt great to settle back in with my Kampala friends. We've been hanging out a lot more recently and even host a Game of Thrones night every Monday. Having a community sky-rockets my happiness levels, so I feel very grateful for my friends here.

Lows:

Not loving my group tour.

I did a nine-day overland tour in South Africa, and honestly, I didn't love it. We camped every night, and moved every day except one. It was extremely fast and we rushed through destinations.

All in all, I just don't think super fast group travel is for me. I hate having a regimented itinerary while traveling; it just doesn't feel like an adventure.

An honest review of overland travel in South Africa

Bididng adieu to several friends.

Sadly, three of my closest friends in Uganda are leaving next week. As much as I love living here, it can feel like a revolving door with far too many goodbyes.

Getting sick and missing a big musical festival.

After dealing with a terrible case of bronchitis back in April, it's come back. Yay! So this weekend all my friends are going to Nyege Nyege, East Africa's biggest music festival, and I'm staying home. So lame.

What I'm reading:

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York by Sari Botton (2013).

Goodbye to All That is a beautifully written anthology of essays is about writers on their decisions to leave New York. I've never lived in New York, but found the essays poignant and moving nonetheless.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter– And How to Make the Most of Them by Meg Jay.

As I'm now in my late twenties (gulp), I picked this book up to give me some direction. And wow, did it ever. This book makes a case for why your twenties are essential to setting yourself up for success in your thirties. It made me realize that I need to be extra intentional about my financial, romantic, and professional decisions in the next couple of years.

What's up next:

Travels: Next week I head to Europe for a month! (God bless working remotely). I'm staying with a friend in a Shoreditch for a few weeks and then head to Copenhagen, Germany, and Italy (The Dolomites, Bologna, Florence). Travel recommendations very welcome!

Upcoming posts: I have a few more posts about Zanzibar on the way and then it's all South Africa. I've decided to stop posting about Uganda because um… no one cares. Comment if you feel otherwise.

Other news: Thekitchn.com featured my solo travel tips! Check 'em out.

Anyway, that's enough about me. What are your travel plans for this fall? Have you been reading anything especially good?

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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