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
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
Ah Bangkok. The city that well, didn’t leave much of an impression on me. The city, I, to be honest, am not quite sure I liked. The city that makes me feel like a bit of a failure as a travel blogger because I don’t really know what to say about it. My distaste for the city may have to do in no small part to my horrendous, cockroach-infested hostel. The first time I used the bathroom there I discovered a cockroach about the size of a kiwi that had me ranting, “I’M CHECKING INTO THE BEST WESTERN.” And may I say as...read more
Due to my upcoming trip to Indonesia (only two more weeks now!) I wanted to share this guest post on how to travel for free in Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the most favorite countries for travelers like me that travel around the world on budget. During my stay in Indonesia, I explore number of ways to travel around and enjoy my time in the country for free or with very limited amount of money in my pocket. If you are a citizen of one of the 15 countries that are allowed free entry in Indonesia, there is no need to spend any money on visa...read more
If anything, at the end of this Asia trip I will be able to say that this continent has changed me. I’m not certain of much at present, but I know that I will be a different person when I leave Asia than when I arrived- hopefully a slightly older, more balanced, more confident, more courageous version of myself. In true cliché backpacker fashion, I’ve learned a lot about myself on this journey. As much as I love to socialize and ham it up other travelers, at heart I am an introvert. I need time alone each day to process life: to...read more
Oh, Koh Tao. The little Thai island that seems to have it all: palm tree-dotted beaches with colorful longboats anchored offshore, bumping nightlife, diving for days and a bevy of restaurants and brunch spots that would make any foodie swoon. I spent a full two weeks on Koh Tao, and left enamored with this little rock in the sea. Here are the reasons it was so hard to leave Koh Tao. Side-note- almost all of these places are located in and around Sairee Beach, which is where I stayed. After a few nights at Mae Head Village I moved to Sairee...read more
In order to satisfy my France cravings now that I’m in Asia, I’ve been reading quite a few novels that take place in France. I found one, The Cleaner of Chartres, to be particularly special and wanted to share it with you. The Cleaner of Chartres, by Salley Vickers, tells the story of Agnès Morel, a quiet and steadfast young woman who tends the ancient cathedral of Notre-Dame in Chartres, France. A longtime resident of Chartres, her past is troubled and masked in mystery. While the story begins innocuously with a simple-seeming...read more
After the hustle, bustle and huge skyscrapers of Hong Kong, Macau was a breath of fresh air. In fact it was almost like a little European vacation within Asia. Along with Hong Kong, Macau is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of China, meaning it maintains a good deal of its own political and economic autonomy. Macau was colonized by Portugal in the 1550s, and only recently regained control from Portugal in 1999. Though I didn’t hear any Portuguese on the island, the Iberian influence was everywhere from the pastel-colored...read more
Let me start this by confessing something- I’m a giant scaredy cat. I think my parents are honestly just surprised that I’ve survived this long traveling the world because I’m scared of… well, everything. My greatest chilldhood fear was sharks (which I was convinced were lurking in the country club pool), but deep water, rats and the dark all rank pretty high on my terror scale. So why would I want to dive? You may ask. Despite a lifelong love for the water and a curiosity for marine life, I also just really wanted to...read more
Welcome back to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the world share their favorite things to eat and drink. Today we’re swinging over to Toronto (not too far from my hometown!) and hearing from Maria of the Happiness Experiment. . . . . . . . . . . . This past August, while enjoying a warm summer’s night on a Toronto patio, I met a girl from Ireland. She was serving my table, and I was immediately curious about her story when I heard her accent. In her twenties and fresh out of school, she and her boyfriend...read more
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is live with a host family and learn the local recipes. So while arranging a homestay in Hong Kong would have been slightly challenging during my four-day stay, I went for the next best thing- a home cooking class in a local home- Home’s Cooking. Visiting a Local Wet Market My cooking instructor, Joyce, made me feel right at home from the start, and her impeccable English made communication easy. When I first walked into the market I remarked, ”Well, it’s kind of similar to the...read more