I can do whatever I set my mind to, because I am strong as hell.

I try to be confident. I try to be strong. I try to not let things bother me or stop me from doing what I want, but sometimes I feel very self consious. I think most women can relate to that feeling. It’s the “oh no, I have to be in swimwear in front of hundreds of people again, I hate everything about my body, I don’t want to do this.”

This spring I wrote a post here about how you don’t need to be skinny to be an athlete. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you go do so here. And even though I know in my heart that it doesn’t matter what I look like, there have been so many times during this trip that I’ve been so unsure of myself and even considered not doing things because of a bad body image and a temporary lack of confidence. But the brain is very powerful, and sometimes it’s also very convincing.

Brain: Are you really going to be in a bikini in a waterpark? Everyone is going to see your cellulites and how big your stomach is. 
Me: But I want to have fun, and most women have cellulites, and who cares if my stomach isn’t flat? And people are too busy worrying about themselves to care about me. 
Brain: You do, you care. You don’t care about how anyone else looks, but you care about how you look.

And this can be an ongoing process. Every decision is a battle between my brain and my heart, but luckily my heart has won every single time so far. I’ve been to the water parks. I have jumped into pools even though there are several other people around. I’ve sat up in the sun chairs instead of laying down, despite the fact that it make my stomach look bigger, but I want to read and it’s not comfortable doing that laying down. I don’t want to live a life where I spend every single day obsessing over how I look. And I don’t want to spend energy and time trying to change how I look either, it’s not important. There are so many more things to life than going on a diet or limiting myself.

The last time this happened was just a few days ago, before coming to St Augustine, Florida. I had booked my surf lessons, which I had obsessed about first because I knew I had to be in a swimsuit. And then I went to a surf store to buy a rash guard. It’s a shirt that protects from both the sun and from scratches and other things you can get from the board. And I stood there staring at myself in the shirt and thought “I can’t be seen in this.” But I bought it because I needed it, and when I went to my first surf lesson last Friday I just stopped caring. I was in a bikini, I was in a rash guard and I was going to have the best time of my life.

And I did.

Yes, I have cellulites. My stomach is far from flat and my body shape is kind of weird. But I don’t care. Because I learnt how to surf a wave in less than half an hour, and I learnt how to turn on a wave in less than an hour. I felt strong, I felt powerful and I know that I can do anything I set my mind to, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what my body looks like.

I had some initial anxiety when I received the photos from the lesson, as they have a professional photographer come and take photos of you that you can then buy, but then I took a closer look. And all I can see in those photos is how happy how look. How determined I am, and how I actually look great on that surfboard. And if people can’t see that, then that is clearly their problem, not mine. I’m not going to keep looking at the photos I post here, like I have done in the past, and consider if they make me look fat first. I am what I am, I look like I do, who cares?

I am more than my weight. I am more than my body type. I am more than a standard set by society about how I should look. 

I am amazing.

   

 
    
   

 

New adventures awaits, I hope you’re along for the ride (drive).

I have been told that these posts tend to be longer than most essays, but every time I start writing I think “this is going to be a short post!” but somehow it never turns out that way… I’ll do my best today!

Anyway, I drove out to Eureka just outside of St Louis on Monday, it was only a 30 minute drive so that was fine. I went into Six Flags straight away, and enjoyed the roller coasters and the water park all afternoon. Though, I must admit, I was a tiny bit disappointed. Everything felt severely overpriced, 5 bucks for a small drink? 10 for a hot dog? Insane… Especially compared to Holiday World with its free drinks and sun screen. The water park was a disappointment too compared to the other one I went to, but the roller coasters were fun! Well, the steel ones… the wooden ones felt so rickety and shaky that I actually walked away from one of them with a headache. So yeah. I would probably recommend going to Santa Claus instead. 
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This one was my favorite! Batman the ride, and there wasn’t even a line when I got there so I could ride it two times in a row without even getting off. Yay! 
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This one was good too! 
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This one looks weird because it was taken on the Tuesday and it was cloudy. I did ride the slide behind me, you had to stand in a capsule and then it dropped you down into the tube, scary!

I have also extended my car rental until tomorrow, and changed the return location to Nashville, Tennessee! That’s right, I’m heading back south! I googled and their 4th of July celebration seems pretty awesome, and I’ve always wanted to visit that city (and Taylor Swift has an apartment there!). I will stay there for quite a few days, to just have time to unwind and actually try to make some plans for the rest of the summer. Because no matter what I might have wished for, I have realized that this trip will have to take a different direction.

My hand is still hurting. A lot. I wake up every time I turn over during the night, because I touch it or try to support myself with it in my sleep. I can’t carry anything in the hand for a longer time. When on roller coasters or sitting in a tube on a slide, I can only hold on very light with that hand. It hurts when I walk with my arms hanging naturally down my sides, I have become used to having to hold my hand up slightly when I walk to not have a slight throbbing feeling in it.
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Can you see that there’s a bump on the hand, close to my knuckles? That’s where most of the pain is coming from at the moment. The entire hand is sore, but that part really hurts. 

So as the situation looks right now I’m not sure when I’d be able to get on a bicycle and be able to hold on to it for several hours a day for days at a time. It’s not going to happen for quite some time at least. I could wait it out, yes, but right now it just seems kind of pointless. I don’t like to wait, I like to take charge. So as I said before, this adventure will have to take a very different shape. And unfortunately, that means that I can’t keep dragging Elsa and Bob with me and hope for the best. It’s just not a very convenient way to travel, it would limit my options a lot in terms of traveling, so I have had to make a very hard decision.

So yes, unfortunately, I will have to try to sell them. 

Yeah I know, it makes me sad too. I left Sweden exactly one month ago with the intention to cycle around the world, but as it looks like now, I won’t be able to complete that adventure. But that doesn’t mean that I will give up and go home and declare this a failure. I could never have imagined getting hit by a car, but I can’t keep holding on to that, I have to move on. My situation has changed, and so will I. So first I’m going to Nashville, where I’ll celebrate 4th of July, but also try to sell some of my things and buy a backpack instead. And then, the summer of adventures begins. I will travel by train, bus and car all summer and I have so many fun things planned. I want to learn how to surf and have found a 5 day camp for adults in Wilmington of all places! Well, I enjoyed North Carolina so why not go back? I have found a place in Florida where you can snorkel with manatees, and I want to go zip lining in the Smoky Mountains, whitewater rafting in the Colorado river, I want to go to Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and all the national parks I can find, I want to hike mountains in California and ride horses in South Dakota and drive through the wonderful landscape of Arizona.

So I hope that everyone is looking forward to this new adventure as much as I am. Though I am kind of in a new mourning period right now, but that’s not so strange I think. Of course I’m allowed to mourn the adventure that I will have to give up. That is fine. I’m having a lot of anxiety just writing this post, but I’ve made up my mind and no matter how much it pains me I’ll have to stick to it. This is the only possible outcome right now. Yes, I’m a bit sad, but I will get over it and be able to feel 100% happy again before I know it. Soon I’ll be able to celebrate the adventure this will turn into. Sometimes plans fall apart, and it’s up to us to decide how we handle the new situations.

I will try to make the absolute best of this new adventure, and throw myself into it head first.

Let’s do this, and let’s be fearless. Life is short, let’s make it unforgettable!

Meet Me In St Louis, the full American experience.

Since I began this journey, people have been telling me how brave I am. That I’m brave for doing it alone, for going to concerts, amusement parks, baseball games and even restaurants alone. The thing is, I don’t feel very brave for doing it. Since the very beginning, I’ve been very determined to do this on my own, and to not let anything stop me from living my dream. And within that dream are all the little things that most people would never consider doing alone, like going to a concert or go ride roller coasters. But to me, that just seems very silly. If I let the fact that I’m alone stop me, I would never get much done at all, and thats not how I want to live my life. And I’m never lonely, as I’m constantly meeting fun people that I can interact with. So I don’t think it’s brave at all, I’m just trying to enjoy life and have a good time, that’s all. And I think the whole idea that you’re not “supposed” to do some things alone is ridiculous, if you want to do something, just go for it! I promise you will enjoy it.

And I’m having a very good time, that’s for sure. 

I got in the car and left Santa Claus on Saturday morning. It was a pretty pleasant drive, I once again rocked out to Taylor Swift in the car (if you follow me on Facebook you might have noticed…) and arrived at my hotel in St Louis at around 14 in the afternoon. Since I booked my hotel two days in advance and it’s a very busy weekend, I didn’t have too many options but luckily my favorite brand: the Hampton Inn had available rooms and this is the view I’m currently enjoying.

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Can’t complain about that view! 

I decided to go for a walk, and I had barely gotten outside of the hotel when someone asked “are you going to the game?” I had no idea what game he was talking about, but it turned out that I was very close to the Busch ballpark where St Louis’ baseball team the Cardinals are based. I decided to walk over there, and on a whim I walked up to one of the ticket booths and asked if they had any left. They did, so I just thought “why not” and that’s how I ended up spending my Saturday evening watching the Cardinals take on the Chicago Cubs in front of a 46 000 person strong crowd. Since the accident this has kind of become a “spare no expenses, do all the fun things!” kind of trip, and I love it. I just think “I could have died!” and suddenly nothing is too expensive or out of my reach. We should always live with that attitude, in my opinion. Life is precious, and we only get one chance.
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Before the game I walked around some more, and then went back to change and to apply more sunscreen if I happened to end up seated in the sun all afternoon.
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After some rest at the hotel I walked back to the park, and decided that if I was going to participate in America’s favorite past time, I needed to do it fully. So yeah, I had some hot dogs and beer. So happy to be out of dry county! Even though I get slightly offended every time they ask me for ID, I don’t look that young…

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As the game began, I realized that all those games of softball my PE teacher Kattis made me play in junior high actually payed off, because I actually understood some of the rules and what was happening. Well, some, not all. And here is the thing about traveling alone again that I love, had I been at the game with someone else, I would most likely have spent all night talking to them and not interacted with anyone else. And this might come to a surprise to anyone who has ever known me, but when traveling alone I actually become pretty outgoing and talkative. Yes, it’s true! So I decided to talk to the people sitting next to me, to try to get to know them better. And that’s when my night got even better.

On one side I had the very nice couple Brittney and Todd, who were Cardinals fans and I had a great time getting to know them throughout the game.
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Look at that, I got a Cardinals tattoo!

On the other side I sat next to Thelma and Janet who were there with their husbands. Also Cardinals fans, and Janet lives in North Carolina so it was fun talking about my experience cycling through her state. Such extremely nice people, I couldn’t have asked for better company. 
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Basically I just had a great time, the game was fun and the people I met was great and I’m just so incredibly thankful and happy for how welcome I feel wherever I go. As I was walking home later that night I just couldn’t stop smiling because of how happy I felt. And the Cardinals won so that helped a lot too. I’m definitely a Cards fan now! IMG_3069_2
The ballpark has a beautiful view of the Gateway Arch. 
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Happy, happy, happy! 

This morning I had a ticket to go up into Gateway Arch at 9:30 in the morning, which can seem early, but since I came to the US I haven’t been able to sleep for longer than 7 a single day. At home I usually can’t get up before 9…

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Cyclists! I’ve seen so many people on bikes around St Louis, love it! 
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This is the place where I went to pick up my ticket. Pretty cool. 

Gateway Arch was built between 1963-1965 and is 192 meters/630 feet high, and is also known as the gateway to the west. It’s a very impressive sight to see, and it only costs $10 to go up which I thought was super cheap.
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We got to ride in tiny little trams that took 5 people each in 8 tiny cars. One of the women riding in mine suffered from claustrophobia, she did not enjoy the 4 minute ride to the top…
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But once up there the view made up for the ride. On one side you can see all of St Louis which is in the state of Missouri, and on the other side you can see the east side of the city, which is in the state of Illinois. It’s divided by the Mississippi river.

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The ballpark is on the left side, and my hotel is the red building in the right corner by the road. 

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It was a lot of fun visiting the arch, and I’m glad I did, but 10 minutes at the top was enough for me. I walked back to the hotel to get Elsa the Bike and walk over to a nearby bike shop. As we were walking we came across the St Louis Pride Parade! I had absolutely no idea that it was happening today, but I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I love Pride Parades, how can celebrating love ever be wrong? Everyone is so happy, and especially with the historic decision to legalize gay marriage in the United States the other day. Finally it’s just “marriage”, no matter who you are.

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Of course they had an eagle in the parade. America! 
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Hillary Clinton was there. Or a cardboard copy of her. 
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They were throwing beads from the floats, so I got pretty colorful too! Love it.

But then it was time to take Elsa to the bike shop, and after having given her a once over I was told she was working fine and there’s nothing wrong with her. I didn’t even have to pay for it. I did buy a new pair of cycling gloves though, without the old pair I’m pretty sure my hand would have been ripped open, now the glove took most of it thankfully.

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So Elsa is fine, but I can’t really say that I am yet. Clapping my hands at the baseball game hurt like you wouldn’t believe it, and it’s still very sore both to touch and when I squeeze my hand in a fist. The bruise is fading pretty fast, but I honestly thought it would be better by now.
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I have been very honest on this blog up until now, and I want to keep being that. The truth is that I’ve been thinking a lot. Or more like my brain has been working overtime trying to think of what I really want out of this adventure. Cycling was fun and challenging, and though hard, I enjoyed it and it’s why I decided to actually quit my job and travel the world. But these past few days have just been amazing. I’ve enjoyed being able to be more spontaneous, and to be able to have more options when it comes to what I do and what I see. And I’ve been thinking of how amazing it would be to be able to travel America for the next two months and see all the sights, like Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, go down to Nashville and listen to music, continue on to Texas and see what it has to offer, maybe even go down to Florida, or google where the best 4th of July celebration is and go there simply because I can

But the point of the adventure was to cycle the world. And I still want to do that. It kind of feels like I would let people down if I change the adventure now, and that I would let myself down too. But I want to be able to travel more freely too, to just grab a backpack and get on a bus or train instead from time to time. If I could somehow solve that logistically I probably would, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet…

So right now I’m very confused. And it doesn’t help that my hand still hurts. Tomorrow I’m returning the car and spending Monday and Tuesday at Six Flags, but from Wednesday the schedule is empty, and for the first time it kind of scares me. Whatever route I choose, I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself immensely and have a lot of fun, but first I have to make the choice. And at this point I have no idea what that choice might be. Especially since I’m not even sure that I’ll actually be able to cycle without being in pain on Wednesday…

If you have any thoughts that could help, I would appreciate it a lot. Any feedback is appreciated right now.
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Let’s finish this post off with the beautiful view from my room this evening. It looks like a painting.

Thank you! 

Thoughts and feeling after a week in the U.S.

It’s been a week since I first sat my foot on American soil now, and in some ways it’s been both the longest and shortest week of my life. I knew before setting out on this adventure that it would be hard at times, but I have really been struggling this week. I feel sorry for my mother, I know she’s been struggling with me leaving too and still she has to watch me cry on Skype almost every day. The worst part is that I don’t even know why I’m sad! Yes, it’s been tough week physically but I’ve been struggling even more mentally. But then the other day I got an email from a follower who said that at the beginning of a change this big, there is usually a sort of “grief period” and when I read that it just clicked. It has really felt like I’ve been grieving this week. No wonder I’ve been struggling with eating and been feeling so low! I’m not sure what I’m exactly grieving, but I’m hoping it’s about to pass now, and that I can be my usual happy self.

Yes, I am finally living my dream, but that doesn’t mean it will only be amazing and I’ll love every second of it. 

The reason I’m sharing these very private feelings with everyone is because usually adventure blogs are all about the great things that happens and how amazing everything is. There is normally not a lot about feeling low or struggling, and I can’t pretend to be fine when I’m not. Maybe this will help someone else too, who might be feeling the same way.

But in better news, I am feeling much better now. I’ve actually managed to eat without feeling nauseous for two days now, though not full portions yet because after a week of barely eating my stomach has shrunk a bit. But I’m eating and I’m feeling much better at least!

On Monday I spent almost all day in bed, only venturing out to get some food. It was just what I needed, but after a while it was time to get a cab and go into central Charlotte.
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After walking around in the sweltering heat for a while I had dinner (well, half a dinner) before heading to the Time Warner Cable Arena and the Taylor Swift concert.
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A lot of people were in costumes which was a lot of fun to watch. I think every single music video she has ever made were represented in terms of clothing… I think I saw at least 10 people in pajamas (see the You belong with me or We are never ever getting back together videos). Everyone was given wristbands when we got in, which then lit up during the concert in a multitude of colors depending on the song, or the beat. It was amazing to see. But first we got to see Vance Joy who sings the huge hit Riptide.
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After Vance Joy, Taylor finally came out and oh wow, it was just amazing. She won “Entertainer of the year” five years in a row at the country music awards and when you go see her in concert it’s so obvious why. She really goes the extra mile to make her concerts an amazing experience for everyone there. Before the show starts there were interviews with her, and fan videos and her own personal youtube videos which was fun, and during costume changes her closest friends had been interviewed and talked about her and her music and their friendships. Pretty great. She played almost all songs from the 1989 album and some of her older songs, but all remixed into something completely different. No more country for that girl… “We are never ever getting back together” even turned into a rock song!
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It was a truly great night, but I was pretty tired when it ended, luckily I got a taxi quickly and were back in my room in no time. When I woke up this morning I decided that I needed another rest day, so all I’ve done today is lie in bed, watch movies, eat snacks and Skype with my family. I’ve also ventured out to eat twice, I don’t think you can understand how amazing it feels to finally be able to eat and actually want to eat again.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on the bike, and head north towards Kentucky. I’ll try to do shorter days for a while now, no need to put so much pressure on myself anymore.

See you soon!

I’m finally here, let the adventure begin. 

I can’t believe it’s only been a day since I left Sweden, it feels so much longer. On Tuesday morning I got in the car with my parents and all my gear to drive down to Copenhagen airport. I’m really glad that they were able to do that, even though it was super hard saying goodbye it was worth it. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first crying person they’d seen at the security check either.  

Saying goodbye to the dog too, I’m going to miss her. 

  

After having dropped my bags and said goodbye, I went to my gate in hopes of having enough SAS points to upgrade myself. And I did! A few minutes later I had exchanged my economy ticket for a business one instead. I have never flewn business in my entire life, but thanks to traveling so much for work I had a lot of bonus points to cash in. I got on the plane and was embarrassingly giddy, I sat laughing by myself and pushing all the buttons while sipping my champagne. I think it was pretty obvious that this was a new experience for me…  

    

And the meal! It was served on a table cloth! A table cloth! On an airplane! Wow. And they just kept bringing me more food! It was amazing.


After the meal I watched a movie and then slept for a while, before spending the rest of the flight watching movies reclined in my seat under a blanket while every once in a while visiting the snack bar. I’ve never felt so spoilt in my life.  

8,5 hours passed way too quickly, I could have travelled for much longer without a problem. Too bad I wasn’t going to New Zealand or something… But we arrived in Washington and I met a lovely border officer who stared me down and flipped through my passport several times. I was just waiting for him to ask why I’d been in both Russia and China the past year but surprisingly he didn’t. And then I got in! And my bags were waiting for me, and after picking up my rental car I braved the insane traffic in Washington, D.C. and was on my way. Two hours later I was almost falling asleep at the wheel so I found a motel by the road and spent the night there. I think spent is a better word than slept, because I didn’t sleep that much unfortunately. Insomnia is not fun, let me tell you.


I drove that huge car!! It’s huge! I was terrified at first but then I just felt like a proper American and enjoyed it. It was really nice to drive actually.

This morning I woke up, had breakfast (they had a pancake machine! I repeat: a pancake machine! A machine that makes pancakes by just pushing a button! Wow.) and was on the road by 8. I have no idea how far I drove (miles are confusing), all I know is that I got to Wilmington at 12:45, so it was quite a drive. After having checked in and returned the car I got a taxi back to the hotel, and a lovely lady called Debbie drove me back. I love Americans so much, I’ve been here for a day and people are just so friendly. People start talking to me in the elevator! Very strange to a Swede… But she gave me her card and told me to call no matter what I might need, so sweet. In return I gave her a sticker, so hi Debbie, hope you found your way here!

I have spent the afternoon putting my bike back together and trying to force myself to eat. When I’m stressed and tired I have no appetite, but at least I had some pizza for dinner. Well, half a slice… Yeah, I need to work on that. I also took a walk around downtown Wilmington, it’s very beautiful here. So many movies and shows are shot here, you should google it! Like Dawson’s creek and one tree hill and most of Nicholas Sparks movies too.


      

To be honest this post has been a bit more upbeat than I feel right now. I’m very jet lagged and tired, and I think I’ve cried 10-15 times already since I got here. But it will pass! I know myself, all I need is some sleep and to eat better and I’ll feel great in no time. Tomorrow morning I’ll start cycling, heading west. I can’t believe it’s finally time to go, but I’m ready!

Next time I’ll be on the road for real, see you then!