Au pair year leads to life of travel for Ashley Abroad


After a year working as an au pair in Paris, Ashley Fleckenstein traveled around the world — studying yoga in India and Bali, trekking the Himalayas and moving to Africa.  She now lives in Uganda writes about life as an expat and tips on planning African adventures.

1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)

When I was 15, I went on a student trip to Ecuador for a month. During the trip we backpacked the Andes, built a house with Habitat for Humanity, and did a homestay in Cuenca. Though the trip was difficult at times, I came back absolutely obsessed with travel.

2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?

If I had unlimited resources I would plan an epic trip around Australia, New Zealand, and Polynesia. Oceania has always attracted me but I’ve stayed away because it’s super expensive.

3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?

Growing up I had a fear of open water so I faced my fears by learning how to scuba dive. Now I love being underwater and dive whenever I get the chance.

4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?

I use Citymapper a lot when I travel – it’s super useful for navigating major cities. I also just discovered Tile and it’s amazing – it helps you find everything: your keys, your passport, your phone, etc.


5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?

I live in Uganda and the more of Africa I travel, the more I fall in love with it. I understand that many people are afraid to travel to Africa – I certainly was – but the continent is so beautiful, diverse, and full of wildlife that it would be a shame to miss out on it.

6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?

 My grandmother says ‘It’s better to be loved than to be right’, and it’s something that I tell myself often!

7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?

I’ve been surprised by the kindness of strangers so many times while traveling, and especially while traveling solo. One time that stands out was when I was Couchsurfing in Greece and ended up getting really sick and feverish – I had a fever of 104 degrees for a week. My Couchsurfing host made me tea, gave me her only fan, and basically ensured I survived the week.

8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to see the world. As I got older, I became increasingly interested in learning about how other people live, which is why I’ve done a lot of homestays, lived abroad several times, and learned Spanish and French.

9.)I travel because.I travel because the world is too interesting not to see it.

Ashley Freckenstein believes in living a life worth writing about, and through her blog, Ashley Abroad, she shows others that it’s possible to travel when you’re young and cash-poor.  She also thinks more female travelers should know that solo travel is an option, and that Couchsurfing is incredible.

Stay up-to-date on her travels through:

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Lori Leroy

Lori Green LeRoy is a mom to two young boys, and currently indoctrinating them into the wonder and awe of exploring the world, so far 27 states and 11 countries. She writes travel pieces for several websites as well as her own blog:

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