Former Bachelor contestant Lesley Murphy doesn’t “think finding love on TV was [her] thing” after competing on Sean Lowe’s season and Bachelor Winter Games, she exclusively tells Life & Style, but she’s found so much more. These days, the Bachelor Nation star is engaged to the love of her life, Alex Kavanagh and shares her adventures with followers through her travel blog The Road Les Traveled

After finishing in the top five of season 17, the Arkansas native packed up her life and moved to Argentina for two years. The “eye-opening” experience ended up partly inspiring her LimitLes travel series, where the reality star takes a group of “women all over the world for connection, exercises [and] a whole itinerary where we’re fully immersed in another culture.”

Lesley Murphy in Malaysia
Courtesy Lesley Murphy/Instagram

Fast-forward to 2018, Lesley met Dean Unglert on Winter Games. The pair stayed together following the finale of the spinoff but had a very public breakup a few months later. “That sucked,” the yoga teacher confesses. “I think the publicity of it was even worse. I think it allowed me to both go inward and but also speak to it in a public way …  It made me find my voice even deeper in that regard.”

Amid heartbreak, Lesley discovered much bigger things inside herself. “I’ve never felt more freedom, more creative, more empowered,” she says about the time following her split from Bachelor in Paradise star. “It was such an amazing time in my life … I think you have to say yes to a lot of experiences in life in order to grow. And, maybe that sounds weird in relation to going on reality TV, but I’m so glad that I did because of what happened after the fact in terms of growth.”

Lesley acknowledges she hasn’t spoken to Dean “in years,” nor did she have a comment on his current relationship with Bachelor alum Caelynn Miller-Keyes

Taking the time to “heal” is what she believes led her to her fiancé. “The moment I was at complete peace with myself, I found Alex,” she says. “I thought that’s so cool because it wasn’t meant for me to find anybody on national TV. I think I had to go through these certain life experiences and heal my own.”

The pair met after Lesley slid into the drone pilot’s DMs to get her drone fixed. “It was such a beautiful, easy relationship. Just like, ugh, it doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to play the games. Like, it can be effortless,” she gushes. “There was no drama and I don’t know if I’ve ever really been in too many relationships where it’s been so drama-free. It’s amazing.”

Lesley Murphy and Fiance Alex Kavanaugh Smile in Fancy Clothes
Courtesy Lesley Murphy/Instagram

Lesley and Alex, who hails from Australia, are planning their wedding and hope to walk down the aisle in 2021, pending on travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It sucks delaying it, and I was already so for a short engagement anyway,” she confesses. “Now it’s, like, should we have a baby first? I mean, I don’t really care. I’m so nontraditional anyways, why not?”

Circling back to where it all began, Lesley says she has “no regrets” about her time on Sean’s season. “I think back on that experience and just have so much joy for it. I had the best time,” she gushes. “I met Catherine [Giudici] through it. I met Robyn [Howard] through it and some other girls I still talk to this day.”

It looks like Lesley ended up exactly where she was supposed to be!