Hi! I’m Ashley and welcome to my travel blog.
I’m a 22 year-old Michigander and next month I am moving to Paris.
I created this blog to document the next nine months in France. I plan to share all my weekend getaways, observations of Parisian life and of course, lots and lots of French-inspired food porn.
Another reason for this blog is to provide travel tips and ideas for other travelers or those who are thinking about their first trip. I remember sitting on the floor of Borders weeks before my first backpacking trip, reading through every travel guide to acquire the info I needed.
Travel information for young female travelers on a budget is hard to find so I hope I can offer it here.
Un petit background
I adore travel, despite my first trip abroad at 15 being a
complete fail challenge. I took a month-long trip to Ecuador in which I was cold, dirty, hungry and penniless the entire time (picture Oliver Twist). Strangely enough I came back hungry for more travel.
I followed that trip up with a home-stay in the south of Spain, a classic European backpacking trip, an empanada-filled semester abroad in Argentina, many trips to Chile to visit my then-novio and three summers working in Paris for the coolest family EVER.
This trip to Paris is the longest I’ve ever been away from home. I plan on learning lots of fattening recipes and offending as few Parisians as possible with my horrendous French.
I also want to take lots of weekend trips. My to-travel list for this year includes Budapest, Morocco, Croatia, Spanish Basque Country, little cow-towns in France and Austria for Christmas. I’d also really like to get down to Senegal, but we’ll see how many euros I manage to save.
Please send me any questions or suggestions you might have at ashleyabroadxgmailcom. I would love to hear from you!
Quick facts about me
- I love, love, love street art.
- My favorite country is Spain and the least interesting place I’ve ever been is Helsinki.
- I prefer traveling alone in most cases because you tend to meet more people. I also am a huge fan of couchsurfing.
- My favorite foods are goat cheese and ceviche (but not together, of course).
- I have no sense of direction and get lost all the time.
- My happy place is probably a plastic table on a Mexican beach with a pile of seafood in front of me.
- I’m really close with my family, especially with my little sister, Bee.
- My dream is to end up in San Francisco working as some kind of writer. Fingers crossed.
Ashley Abroad © 2012
Words cannot express how much I enjoyed Ann Mah’s cheekily named food memoir, Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris. Photo Credit: Penguin À la Julia Child, Mah uproots her life and moves to Paris on account of her foreign diplomat husband’s new posting. But upon finally arriving in the city of lights, her husband is called away to serve in Iraq for a year. Mah is forced to discover a new city and country on her own, in the shadow of fear and disquiet. To distance herself from her...read more
After failing to sleep on a six-hour long bus ride from Sihanoukville during which the driver mercilessly blared Khmer pop music at top-volume, I was thrilled to reach Phnom Penh. And after being charmed by Siem Reap, I was expecting to adore Cambodia’s capital city. But I didn’t care for Phnom Penh. To be honest, I don’t really see how anyone could. I found it a filthy, scattered city lacking memorable architecture as well as a discernible center. Phnom Penh struck me merely as an unending sprawl of squalor. But regardless...read more
Ah, France. The country that I called home for nearly a year. The land I tearfully left almost four months ago. There was so much about living in France that was lovely; I particularly miss all the French goodies that are difficult to procure here in Asia, like wine, cheese and bread. (Don’t even get me started on cheese.) But life in France wasn’t all macarons and Matisse; there were certainly downsides to living in baguette-land. Without further ado… What I miss: Weekend Trips around Europe. From top left clockwise: a...read more
It’s no secret that I was unhappy for the first month or so of my Asia trip. Okay fine. I was inexplicably miserable for the first month of my trip. I descended into a dark place where I battled depression, anxiety and an overall despair for the future. For a while I seriously considering flying home. (How anyone could have a near mental collapse in a tropical paradise is beyond me, but here I am.) And similarly, it’s no secret that I partied a lot in Thailand and Cambodia. And countless pints of beer, excessive sun and lack of...read more
Judging by what I had read about Koh Rong, I had anticipated a Robinson Carusoe-esque paradise, a white-sand island getaway from modern life. And while Koh Rong is certainly lacking in modern facilities (i.e. electricity), what I found was more of a beer-guzzling backpacker’s paradise than actual paradise. Though I admit Koh Rong does have a certain draw- from the adorable kids and puppies playing by the pier to the dreamy, sugar-sand beaches, I see why some travelers love it. I met many expats who had been camping out there for months...read more
Oh, Sihanoukville. The infamous Cambodian beach town known for its intense party scene, bountiful beaches and rampant petty theft. It is a well-trod hotspot on the Southeast Asian backpacker trail as well as a jumping off point for Cambodia’s idyllic islands. Sihanoukville has two main beaches which fall at complete opposite ends of the beach vibe spectrum: seedy, bass-bumping Serendipity Beach and chilled-out, hippy enclave Otres Beach. In my opinion, Serendipity Beach by day is a bit of a nightmare. As I sunbathed by the murky waters...read more
Greetings from Singapore! (A city I’m head-over-flip-flops in love with, by the way). As I just booked my ticket home for Christmas (yay!), I thought it was high-time I announce my upcoming travel plans. I just spent an adventure and work-filled month in southern and central Vietnam and am soon off to Indonesia for a month of yoga and diving. Rough life, guys. So after lots of much-needed family and puppy time in Michigan, I will hopefully be heading back to Asia in January, though I still need to book my ticket. Here’s the...read more
What could be written about the temples of Angkor that hasn’t been written before? Well after reading countless blog posts and travel articles about the temple complex, I thought there was no way I’d enjoy visiting: it’s simply too well-known, touristy and firmly situated on the beaten track. Well surprise, surprise- I loved Angkor Wat and the many surrounding temples. There’s a reason that Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and featured on everything from Cambodia’s flag to its best-selling beer. And...read more
After arriving on a ten-hour bus journey from Bangkok which included a scam-ridden border crossing, pothole-riddled country roads and okay fine, the hangover from hell, the last thing I expected when I opened my bleary eyes was to find a charming Cambodian city. From what I had heard from other bloggers as well as travel guides, I assumed that Siem Reap was just a shabby city used as a jumping off point for Cambodia’s number-one tourist attraction, Angkor Wat. It’s a shame that Siem Reap has such an unfavorable reputation...read more
In stride with my goal to take a cooking class in every Asian country I visit, I knew I would have to find a cooking class in Bangkok. And after spotting their rave reviews on Trip Advisor as well as an enthusiastic review from a close friend, I settled on Silom Thai Cooking School for my introduction to cooking Thai food. Wet Market Tour The morning begun by meeting our adorable instructor, Mai, outside the local wet market. I loved how she took the time to explain the difference between ingredients- by 10 am I had already learned about...read more