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La vida Linda

Traveling on your own

13 Aug , 2016, 14.05 Linda

 

For three weeks I’ve traveled through the southern states. I’ve biked along Bourbon Street in New Orleans, laughed until I cried in Nashville, admired the waterfalls of Tennessee, and found a new family in Atlanta. I’ve lived the high life on the beaches of Florida and fallen in love with Charleston, South Carolina.

Traveling on my own has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I’ve met the most amazing people and made friendships that I hope will last for a lifetime. I’ve enjoyed every second and today I feel stronger, more confident and happier in myself.

Before I left New York I felt afraid and a little bit uneasy. I was scared about messing things up or feeling lonely. But when I’m now sitting here at the airport in South Carolina, waiting to board my plane back to NYC, I’m certain that I will be making many more solo trips in the future.

I don’t know what life has in store for me after my year in the U.S., but today I feel ready to take on any adventures that life will throw at me!

NOLA, Photo- Linda Haglund (4 of 27)Life in New Orleans was a big party and I started my trip by wandering the colourful streets of the beautiful city. New Orleans is one of the only cities in the U.S. where you are allowed to drink alcohol publicly. They’ve taken it so far, that you’ll actually be able to find drive through daiquiri stores in the city. And nothing is frowned upon on Bourbon Street, the main street of The French Quarter in New Orleans.

Relaxing and exploring in The Big Easy, also known as New Orleans 🐎

A photo posted by Linda Haglund (@linons) on

NOLA, Photo- Linda Haglund (13 of 27)For two nights I took part in the madness. I let myself get eaten alive by Bourbon Street and I became a part of the carousel called The French Quarter. I kept the heat away with cheap sugar filled drinks, laughter and jazz. I screamed from the balconies and dressed myself in Mardi Gras beads. I became friends with every smile I met in the never ending haze.

NOLA, Photo- Linda Haglund (16 of 27)It’s easy to understand why this city is so loved. But after a while I’m starting to feel a bitter taste in my mouth. Too many smiles are sad and empty. Too many laughters echo hollowly to the pace of the tired jazz.

NOLA, Photo- Linda Haglund (12 of 27)The city is filled with homelessness and people that lost their way. The city is filled with substance abuse and dark life fates. At the same time, New Orleans has become the natural destination for partying tourists and bachelor parties.

NOLA, Photo- Linda Haglund (20 of 20)To get around in the city, I rented a bike. I love cykling so much that it hurts and it makes me incredibly happy to float through the beautiful environments while the wind blows through my hair.

NOLA2, Photo- Linda Haglund (2 of 3)Outside of New Orleans, you can find the most beautiful nature, and during my last Thursday in Louisiana, I went on a roundtrip through the swamps. At the same time we visited a wonderful mansion called The Oak Alley Plantation, and on this trip I met the kindest family from Long Island, New York. Thank you guys for taking such good care of me during our afternoon on the countryside!

NOLA, Photo- Linda Haglund (5 of 27)I loved every day that I spent in NOLA, but when it was time for me to go to Nashville, I felt more than ready for new adventures.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 11.19.07I packed my bags and jumped on a plane that took me to Nashville, Tennessee, the second stop of my trip.

Nashville2, Photo- Linda Haglund (4 of 5)Nashville made me feel at home. The city is filled with happiness and music, and wherever you turn, you’ll see cowboyboots, short jeans shorts, and girls with beautiful long hair.

Nashville2, Photo- Linda Haglund (5 of 5)The city is a centre for American country music and in every corner you’ll hear guitars being played and ballads being sung.

Nashville, Photo- Linda Haglund (2 of 15)I fell in love with Elvis!

Nashville, Photo- Linda Haglund (10 of 15)
And enjoyed life, my vacation, and wonderful company on the balconies of Nashville.

Jag Photo- Linda Haglund (1 of 3)After my weekend in Nashville, I rented a car and drove through the Appalachian Mountains, a mountain chain that can be found in the eastern parts of Tennessee.

ezgif.com-resize (4)Whenever I felt like it, I jumped out of the car to take photos, make movie clips, Snap and explore. It was only me, I had no-one to think about, and I had all the time in the world!

Permobil, Photo- Linda Haglund (10 of 27)On my way through Tennessee, I stopped by the city of Lebanon to say hi to the Swedish interns Elin and Oskar who are doing an internship at Permobil. They invited me to lunch and told me about their wonderful experiences in the U.S. Thank you for having me!

Jag Photo- Linda Haglund (3 of 3)As I was traveling through Tennessee, I decided to visit the beautiful waterfalls Cummin Falls. I swam in the warm waters and tried to keep my camera from getting wet.

ezgif.com-resize (7)When I came to Atlanta, I decided to spend a night at a motel outside of the city. In the evening I explored my surroundings and happened upon a bar where a group of truckers were playing pool. Even though I felt a bit scared, I challenged the biggest trucker, Big Dave, to a game of pool. And while we were playing we somehow happened to become the best of friends. Big Dave smiled his giant toothless smile and cheered me on as I managed to put in one ball after another. In the end, I won the game, and Big Dave gave me a big hug as well as a new nickname.

”Every time you play pool after this, I want you to tell your opponent that your name is Knuckles”, said Big Dave with a laughter and added that I now was a part of his family.

If there is anything I truly learned from this trip, it’s that you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

 

imageI drove through Cookeville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Valdosta until I made it to Florida. When I came to Florida, I stayed with my Swedish friends Nils and Olle in the city of St Augustine and made sure to enjoy every second of this wonderful life.

imageNils and Olle worked during the day and I spent my time by the pool. In the mornings I walked on the beach and one afternoon I watched a whole season of Masters of None. In the evenings we explored St Augustine and during the weekend we made a little roadtrip to Orlando, Florida.

imageI could easily have stayed in St Augustine forever.

imageThe beaches were so beautiful, the sun so warm and the company was definitely world class.

imageThe beaches were filled with seashells that all waited on just being picked up by someone.

IMG_8200And in the national parks we happened upon the scariest spiders that I’ve ever seen.

ezgif.com-resize (6)St Augustine downtown is amazingly beautiful. And it was so much fun to just walk the tiny streets and explore the cute little shops. Every five minutes I reminded Nils and Olle about the fact that they are the luckiest people alive!

imageNils and Olle said that I could stay for as long as I wanted, but on Monday morning it was time for me to drive all the way to Charleston, South Carolina.

imageCharleston, in South Carolina, was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited.

imageWherever you turned you saw amazing architecture, palm and oak trees, and happy people.

imageCharleston is one of the oldest cities in the South and the city was founded in 1670 in honor of King Charles II of England.

IMG_8450I spent my days wandering around the city centre, cycling in the parks, enjoying the beaches and watching the sea. Charleston has everything that you could possibly want from a city. And it also just happens that the kindest people in the world decided to live there. I would go back at any time!

imageAfter traveling for three weeks, I felt sad but also excited to go back to New York. On the way I had picked up new friendships, a ridiculously strong self-confidence, and amazing stories!

During my trip, I listened to the song Follow The Sun by Xavier Rudd every day. The song became a symbol for my adventure through the South and every time I hear this song, I will think of the worry free days that I spent in the subtropical heat in Louisiana.

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Below you can find the whole playlist from my trip. All of these songs came to me during different parts of my travels. For example the song Runaway by Kanye West, started playing in a Vietnamese restaurant in Charleston, when I was having one of the best dinners of the whole trip. Amazing times, my friends. Amazing times!
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