New York City

The big finale

I’ve been dreading writing this. It’s almost like I’ve felt like when I do, it means that the tour is officially over. I have to close the book behind me and look forward, when all I want to do is keep riding around the country, wake up to a new place every morning and have people that I love around me at all times.

I have been warned about this – the post-tour depression. Although I don’t really have the right to sound too heartbroken. In only a couple of weeks, most of us are packing our bags again and flying over the Atlantic for the European part of the tour. I get to go home for a couple of weeks, and even after that there is more touring to come. So I might as well stop sounding so deflated right now.

But I have also been dreading this because I have absolutely no idea how you summarise seven weeks of not a single day being like the other. Then I figured, that maybe I don’t have to. Maybe that is what this is all for. Perhaps it is enough to say that nothing else that I’ve done compare to this and that if you have a chance to do nothing but travel around in a country like America, you should take it. I know I will never regret that I did.

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We arrived to NYC, our last stop, late morning.

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We only had that day, so I didn’t even have time to see any of my friends.

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Because I’ve been before I didn’t feel the need to run around.

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The few hours I had before the show were spent here.

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Watching Swedish tv.

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Fell in love with the hotel room.

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But I had to get ready and head out in the night.

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Everyone’s show was even more fun and emotional than usual.

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Afterwards we went to our favourite hotel to celebrate.

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These two were inseparable.

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The morning after I woke up to this.

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And a headache that required this.

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On the last number of the show the girls made me go up on stage and clap along. It made a nice last memory of all the fun we had on this trip. I also want to thank everybody that has read this little travel journal and given me their love for it. I really appreciate it and will probably continue to write when the touring resumes in a couple of weeks. All the best until then.

/M

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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Day before the last

We woke up not believing what we saw. It was all just a big nightmare. Every person who tumbled out from his or her bunk and looked outside the window quickly let out a ”nooo!” before dropping their jaw to the floor.

The snow. The cold. The wet and muddy streets. It was all so familiar. Too familiar. We thought we had gotten away, gotten through, but here it was, back to haunt us again.

The result of this for my part was that I put all my touristing plans aside and pretty much camped out on the bus all day. Twice I got out for some Chinese food, being parked in China Town as we were. I did also manage, when the heavy snow had settled, to walk the few blocks to the venue where the rest of the group was playing that night.

And I’m glad that I did, because now only was the show great as always, we also continued the fun by going to a karaoke bar where someone however did a serious mistake thinking I would start off the night by singing Hanson sober amongst professional musicians.

Call me boring but that didn’t happen. One more drink at the end of the night and maybe I would have let bar with strangers have some fun at my expense. For the time being I was quite fine with just singing along while my friends crushed everything that came their way.

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Washington D.C.

A day in the capital

Being my first time in this nations capital, I felt like I was obligated to try to learn and see as much as humanly possible in the one day we were gonna be there. It was absolutely insane. After a quick but steady breakfast and a much needed cappuccino with the others, I waved goodbye to them and set off in the opposite direction. I walked and I admired and I walked some more, not having to consider anyone else’s wishes on what to see. I just kind of let my curiosity lead me, my starting point being the White House, because that’s just a given.

At the end of the day – one million blocks and three museums later – my legs were throbbing with pain from all the walking. I realised I hadn’t even stopped for water, which of course was nothing but stupid. It did however make me feel like I had succeeded with my mission of sightseeing to my very best ability. There was not a step left in those feet (it also made me gorge a double cheeseburger at the bar AFTER dinner).

Because I took so many pictures, I’m going to save you from meaningless captions. If there’s a painting, it’s Monet. If there’s a Roman-inspired, pompous building, it’s most likely a government building. If there’s a book, it’s because I got lazy by the time I was done with the third museum.

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North Carolina, Raleigh

Sleepwalking

Some days my brain switch just seems to be off. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to find an on-button. It is like it is not even there. I’ve had enough of those days now to learn how to cope with them without feeling desperate. After making sure to eat and put caffeine in my blood stream, I simply pack a book in my bag, download a few podcasts, and start walking.

In my defence, there weren’t tons of things to do or see in Raleigh. If the city doesn’t feed you with energy, it is hard to give some back. And it is not like it is the worst thing ever. The weather was better than we could have wished for, the food was decent, the company as always exceptional, wine plenty, and so on. We also knew we had three intense days and cities coming up: Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York City.

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When you tend to wake up late like we do, the best thing you can find is and all day breakfast joint.

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With mountains of fried potatoes and bottomless coffees.

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We found the place on this little cobble stone street.

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I love me some lamps in the trees.

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Most places looked closed and abandoned.

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The park wasn’t exactly crowded either.

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The look-out chair on the front porch. Doesn’t get more American to me than that.

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Neither does it get more spring than this.

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There were some tall buildings too.

IMG_4846PParked outside the Lincoln Theatre, where we ended up spending the night before the bus was northbound.

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Notes

We woke up happy that day. The sun gave our faces a radiant glow and the streets were ours. ”I want to buy you a dress. I feel like buying you something today,” you exclaimed and I laughed because we both knew I wouldn’t let you do such a thing. ”Didn’t I promise you I’d make you fall in love with me,” you could say and we’d laugh again. It could all be so simple between the doubt and despair. When I disappeared into myself you would try everything to bring a smile to my face. ”I can always make you laugh at least a little bit,” you’d say proudly when your silliness had made me giggle behind the tears. ”Yes, you can,” I would admit and we’d laugh about how silly you were and how stubborn I could be. I think that is our diamond; that we can laugh our way through the pain. That’s why we deserve the happy days.

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Asheville, North Carolina

Hippie heaven

After learning it is considered by some ”The Portland of the South”, I knew instantly I was going to like Asheville. Frankly, even though it had a cool, laid-back vibe, it was however on the verge of being too kooky for me to really love it. There were a lot of spiritual healers, boutiques with power stones and dreamcatchers, yoga studios, hand-made furniture and soaps, farm to table restaurants, all organic, local foods supermarkets, and the list goes on.

Those are all harmless, great things to some extent. I just felt a tad too modern and progressive and a bit too chemical-loving to really fit in and appreciate all of it.

We did have a great day, and I ended up finding my little heaven on earth: a book shop that was also a champagne bar. I can’t possible think of a better thing. It is just the best combination possible and I can’t believe there aren’t hundreds of these around everywhere.

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IMG_4600PAt dinner we convinced the only two in our group without Instagram to finally join the rest of the world on the platform.

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It resulted in this, flawless premiere picture.

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Atlanta, Georgia

Daytime wandering

It has been a long ride, closing up to seven weeks, and the steam is starting to run out of us. We are all kinda tired. We sleep longer. We drink less. We run slower. Shower more seldom. Embrace a new place with less excitement. It is just inevitable.

In Atlanta, I had no greater ambition than to walk around for a little bit. I didn’t even care to change into running clothes. I just took my bag with my book in it and started walking.

I was pleasantly surprise to find the city full of life even on a Monday. People were running, walking their dogs, playing sports on the open fields, reading books on park benches, and just laying around in the sun. So after I had tired myself out walking around, I found a nice little spot in the shade and spent rest of my afternoon reading. I’d say that counts as a successful day.

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First thing I ran into was an (unfortunately closed) art museum.

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Saw this interesting piece outside, made out of tiny figures.

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Skyscrapers were many.

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And reflective.

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These flowers almost looked like snow.

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But it was spring in the air.

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Made an effort to make up for all the junk food.

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Spotted this young lady reading.

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The city park.

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Which had a pretty lake. 

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 Nighttime came.

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 I decided to wear a little bit of make up for a change.

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 Watched the show from a staircase.

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And said goodbye to Atlanta.

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Alabama, Birminghamn

Southern girl

Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I’ve had this fix idea that I need to have a traditional barbecue meal before we leave the south. It didn’t necessary have to include meat (contradictory perhaps, I’m aware) but at least a serving of mashed sweet potato or a corn on the cob. Something like that.

In Dallas we had a couple of beef briskets, but they weren’t really to my liking, and so my craving for grilled foods was still intact. Luckily in Birmingham, the guys said they knew just the place, and it definitely shut me up. I don’t know if I’ve seen a more traditional bbq place in my life.

And it’s not their fault that seeing all that meat at once got me grossed out, resulting in that I ended up ordering a chicken salad and a side of baked beans. At least they tried.

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Started the morning with a walk.

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And coffee.

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It was hot and sunny.

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The fish market at least had corn on the cob.

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Found this amazingly cute little typewriter shop.

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Felt like the whole city was abandoned.

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It was hard to spot a single human being.

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Anywhere.

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Not even the bar was busy.

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But there was meat. Way too much meat.

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And enough white bread a bbq sauce to go around. Looks like I got what I asked for after all.

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Dallas, Texas

Green explosion

Waking up in Dallas was a bizarre experience. It was not yet noon, and all I could see outside the window were hundreds, maybe thousands, of people dressed in bright neon green, drinking beer and marching up and down the streets.

Apparently, it was St Patrick’s day – sort of. People were celebrating it anyway. The whole scene reminded me of Halloween during college, but more grotesque, to be honest. The whole neighbourhood reeked of beer and sweat, and I promise you I saw more people helplessly drunk, fighting with their partner, crying against a girlfriends shoulder, etc, than I did people cheering and having a memorable Saturday with strangers.

I don’t want to sound negative – I’m sure celebrations like this provide a much needed escape and an excuse to party for a lot of people. I just don’t personally have a relationship to the holiday, and I’m not sure I want one either. It didn’t help that I got pinched by a random dude for not wearing green. Apparently that’s a rule. Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. It actually kinda hurt, ha.

The whole thing resulted in that we pretty much hid all day in the bus, one of us running out to get everyone barbecue food when we got hungry. At the end of the night though, when things had slowed down and only a few, brave souls remained on the streets and dance floors, we found our way out to the nearest bar. And maybe because it was after midnight by that point, I didn’t get punched or pinched again, thank God.

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IMG_4240PThings got pretty wild, early.

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I spent most of the day reading.

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IMG_4250PThe night ended with a firework of friendship.

 

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Houston, Texas

Take off Houston

Finally I got to see what Texas is all about. The day off in a parking lot of Van Horn didn’t do the trick. Houston on the other hand was more what I had in mind. Sure, the weather wasn’t great – grey skies and drizzling rain – and I still haven’t had a proper barbecue. But I did on the other hand have plenty of Tex-Mex and lots of time to walk around.

One thing that strikes me about a lot of the cities we’ve been to, is that the streets are almost always empty. They have this apocalyptic feeling about them that I wasn’t expecting, even knowing America is a land of cars. I feel like a mad person, walking around looking for sidewalks and crosswalks.

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Morning view from the bus window.

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Suiting venue.

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First rain puddle of this trip.

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Trucks and more trucks.

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Downtown Houston was covered behind a veil.

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Color makes everything more fun.

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So does pretty birds.

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Food supplies weren’t short.

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But we all ended up going back to this taco place whenever we got hungry (even two in the morning).

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I went for a run, as I do.

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This got me perplexed.

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And this from a distance to me looked like it was made out of lego.

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Ended the night with drinking Moscow Mules and having an epic dance party on the bus. Texas got us all wild and we didn’t mind.

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Notes

Essentially it was like you were part of the walls. The sky, the air, the very dirt that I walked on. You were in every corner and on every horizon. You were in my past, my present and my future. Really you were engrained in everything that I did and I didn’t see a way it would be any different. ”I’m still in the room where he used to keep me, only the room is bigger now. It’s the world and there’s nowhere to hide,” I explained, almost in resignation. But he promised that wasn’t true. I was free as a bird in the summer. With my wings, there was nowhere I couldn’t go. So with nothing to lose, I decided to trust him, take a leap over the cliff, and jump.

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Texas, Van Horn

No man’s land

While some places we visit are magnificent, almost magical, some are just flat out boring. Normally I would be careful with saying that type of thing, since it is after all someone’s home, and I don’t like to offend people when I can avoid it.

But, in this particular case, I don’t feel bad at all. The part of Van Horn we were in was basically just a big parking lot for trucks and tour buses like ours. There was a Mc Donald’s, and a couple of hotels and gas stations. That was it. It was too depressing even to go for a run. There was nothing to see besides a highway and littered wasteland – no exaggeration.

Luckily, there was wifi, and we spent most of the day watching Mad Men in the hotel room, and reading and watching basketball. Sometimes those days are pretty relaxing too, especially when you’re traveling around seeing a new place with hundreds of new impressions every day anyway.

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Arizona, Phoenix

Desert city

I must be honest, I hadn’t heard too many great things about Phoenix. Despite the low expectations, I went in with an open mindset and ended up actually loving my day there. Maybe because I didn’t feel any pressure to do so.

After all, it is my very first time in the majority of all these states and places, and that alone is an experience worth feeling excited about.

After waking up early and walking around, looking for a coffee shop to write in (too many times it ends up being a Starbucks), i found my way to the nearest YMCA for a work out. To get there, you had to pass the university campus, and it is something about that atmosphere I can’t get enough of. For a while I just walked around, looking at the different department buildings, imagining what it would be like to go there.

At the same time, I’ve had my fair share of college life, and can’t really say that I would like to go back. Maybe enjoying it from a distance is good for now.

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At first glance, it’s just a city like anyone.

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Empty streets and tall buildings.

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But I thought it had a cool, deserty vibe.

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I liked the university area.

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This piece caught my attention.

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The gym was surprisingly well-equipped. Love the ropes!

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 Someone asked what I was reading, and right now it’s Z: The novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I have this thing about famous authors’ wives. I’ve already read several books on Hemingway’s women. It is something about the insights to the creative process and the dark sides of literary success that fascinates – and scares – me.

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California, San Diego

Home by the sea

A handful off all these places we are driving through, I’ve been to before. San Diego is one of those. First time I went was when I went to college in Santa Barbara, and drove down with friends to see a concert. But all I really remember from that trip was the insane traffic, In n out burgers, the inside of the venue and Sea World, so it doesn’t really count.

Last time I was there, just a couple of months ago, I went to pick up my Swedish driver’s licence at the consulate, and squeezed in a quick lunch with my family, that drove down with me, by the shore, so I didn’t get to see much that time either.

This time however, I had the whole day to spend as I pleased, pretty much by myself. So I did was I usually do: put on my sneakers and ran until I hit a dead end.

The beach blew me away. I grew up close to water in Stockholm and in the southern part of Sweden where I later went to high school, there are stretches and stretches of white sand beaches surrounding the little beach town where we lived.

For a moment, I felt like I was home. And when all you can see is water, the ocean and sand, who can really tell.

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Notes

Right before your big moment the world came crashing down on us. “Don’t look so sad, I can’t breathe when you look depressed,” I said even though I knew I was being unfair. “It’s all right, you have the right to be down,” I added, realising my mistake. “You’re not going to leave me, are you?” you asked, your worried eyes seeking consolidation in mine. “I’m right here,” I whispered and pressed your head against my chest, our eyes tearing up. “I’ll be your best friend,” I promised and you tried your very hardest to smile. “No good things can last forever, but they can still be good, just different,” I explained in an effort to cheer you up. “That’s why we’ve got to enjoy the moment,” you said, finishing my sentence. “Yes, that’s right,” I confirmed, and then, it was just the two of us. 

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California, Malibu

Paradise Cove

Kind of unexpectedly, we got an extra day off in Los Angeles after San Francisco, on our way down to San Diego. And even though – and maybe because – we almost never go to the beach when we’re home, we decided to pack our beach towels and a couple of books and drive down to Malibu.

I’d never been to Paradise Cove before, at least not that I can remember, and after all the cold and snow we endured in the last five weeks, it was plain heaven.

Basically our day consisted of driving the convertible listening to music, eating ridiculous amounts of fish tacos, laying in the sand and reading to the sound of the waves, followed by dinner at our favourite restaurant that we’ve missed so much.

I’d say – and we did say this many times – it was the perfect day off in California.

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Notes

That day before you left you tried to kiss me, but I wouldn’t let you. The kiss landed on my cheek and when you realised my heart was closed, your head sank, heavily and deeply. ”I’m sorry,” I thought but said nothing. So you nodded your head in comprehension, let go of my hand and stepped into your car, looking back at me one last time. ”Let’s talk, and take care,” we said before you drove off, knowing it would never be the same again. Because that is what love does; it comes and it goes, sometimes never to return in the same form, same shape, same figure. For some, it transforms from a wind to a whisper; a faint memory of what once was but wasn’t meant to last forever.

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California, San Francisco

One moment, please

For once, the drive wasn’t too long. We were only going from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I love that place so much. It gives you a sense of freedom. Not too big, walkable, and with a lot of public transportation. In that way it reminds me of home, Stockholm.

Like always, we only had little less than a day to spend. After walking around looking for a lunch spot, that ended up being a decent teriyaki grill, I squeezed in a meeting and got some writing done.

Usually when we go somewhere, I have the ambition and the wish to do a long list of things, but some days, the energy – and time – just isn’t there. It can seem like an easy thing to do; traveling around with friends, party, work from the road and explore, but as fun as it is, it still takes a lot out of you.

Partly because of that, we make sure to have days off and no one will give you a hard time for secluding yourself from the group, take some time for yourself and just rest up. That’s the beauty of friendship.

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Historic venue: The Fillmore.

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Little Kids Rock.

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I just walked around.

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Enjoyed the sunshine.

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So did these fellas. Too cute.

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Web of wires.

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First time I had to mix my own salad.

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The show was sold out.

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Same stage as Johnny Cash once played. I used to be obsessed with his and June’s love story, and still am. I must have seen this clip of them one hundred million times. Gives me chills every time.

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California, Los Angeles

Home sweet home

Even though time on this trip has passed by quickly, it still felt like forever since I had last seen my sisters and my nephew. I go crazy if I have to wait too long to kiss that little baby’s face.

Finally the other day, it was time for the LA show. I spent the day in the most perfect way; surrounded by friends and family around the pool with drinks and bbq.

At night, all our close friends came to see the show at the Fonda. My sister and I also snuck out for a while to go to a friend’s birthday party.

But not all good things can last for ever, and at midnight, it was time to seek our way back to the bus and keep going. Right before we had time to become too comfortable being at home.

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We had to have breakfast at our favourite breakfast spot.

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It was the perfect day for driving with the top off.

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Hadn’t seen these in a while.

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Not these two either.

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The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

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My sister and her boyfriend took me for dinner.

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Then came the show at night.

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Followed by a dreamlike roof top after party.

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My sister and I had to sneak away for a bit.

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Before it was time to say goodnight.

 

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Utah, Zion

Fantasy land

I don’t know if I have seen anything more unreal in my life. Driving into Zion National Park was just a surreal experience. Mountains and mountains and not a single person as far as we could see. I can easily say that I haven’t experience anything like it and I’m forever grateful that we were able to spend a day off in this paradise.

I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves this time.

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Boulder, Colorado

Winter all over again

Just when we thought we’d got through to cold, it was time for Boulder. But I am not going to complain, because the sun was out and it was a really cute little student town. Fun, hip coffee shops and restaurants everywhere and of course: a stunning view in every direction.

But to be honest I didn’t do much that day other than stroll around, do some writing and make an effort to plough through my growing pile of books. My already tiny bunk bed is filled to the brim and it’s time to get to work.

And oh, we also had delicious tacos that were served in lettuce cups instead of flour tortillas. I’m a dedicated carb lover, but sometimes in this country of delicious foods, it is nice to find a lighter option. Highly recommended.

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Wish I’d brought a pair of skis.

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It was nice just walking around too.

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 The scarf came back on.

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I’m so impressed with these guys, putting on a great show night after night.

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Tacos Boulder style.

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Salt Lake City, Utah

Daydreaming

Pretty much all I knew about Salt Lake City was that they hosted the Olympic games about a decade ago. And that it is the headquarter for the Mormon church. The first thing that hit me when we stepped out of the bus was again the spectacular natural backdrop. It is just so stunning that no words or photos can make it justice.

Just like we start every other day, we went coffee searching and found this amazing place just a couple blocks away from the venue, called The Rose Establishment. I love when coffee shops are made to hang out in, with books and games to keep you entertained a whole day. The fact that the food was awesome was just a bonus.

For the first time on this trip, even though the weather was quite mild, I also decided to spoil myself and spend a few hours at a spa and fitness center with one of the other girls. I get super restless if I don’t work out at the gym or go for a run every other day. I am so used to being active that I feel like I’m going to implode if I don’t exhaust myself regularly. I guess it’s a good problem to have.

After the show at night, we all went out for drinks. Even though I wasn’t planning on drinking, the bar still wouldn’t let me in because I only had my driver’s licence, and not my passport. Apparently the state Utah is very strict about those things. At that point, I couldn’t care less. Sometimes it’s nice to have some alone time on the bus that is normally crammed with people anyway.

And we have enough of opportunities to drink on this tour, trust me.

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We were basically parked in a mall.

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This was the golden spot.

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Killer combo.

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Mountains everywhere you look.

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Not complaining.

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The sunset was worth stopping for.

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These were popular in the green room.

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Naturally we had to find a bar that showed the Cavs game.

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Tea poetry.

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Pre-show.

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Down in the underworld.

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Boise, Idaho

A night with them

If some stories are love stories, others are just stories. There was nothing wrong with little Boise, and people were lovely. It was just one of those days where my energy was kind of low and the place didn’t feed me with any either.

Except for the show at night, which was live streamed on Yahoo and made the room feel even more electric than normally.

We also found a cool little bar to spend the last hours of the night before the bus was supposed to start rolling again. That’s always a win.

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 You can’t really tell in this picture, but the city had a beautiful backdrop of snowy mountains.

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Construction everywhere.

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We spent the day reading and writing in a café, like that’s new.

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The bar we found was shabby chic.

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We came too late to participate in the weekly rock trivia, which was a shame since we (I should say my brilliant musician friends) probably would have crushed.

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Sometimes the bus parks on a cool, happening street. Sometimes… it’s just a parking lot.

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Oregon, Portland

Love at first sight

You know how with some places, you set your foot on the ground and just know it is the beginning of a love story? If Portland was a single man, I think I’d consider marrying him tomorrow. But even if I can’t have him, just having him in my life would last a long way. There is just something about that place that captured me in its arms, completely and fully.

I was told a popular slogan in the city is ”Keep Portland Weird”, and maybe that’s it – maybe it was the kooky, outlandish, almost freaky vibe about it that I liked so much. It is definitely hipster-heaven. Amazing coffee, awesome food, countless mom and pop stores, incredible book store. You name it.

It is also supposed to be called ”the place where young people come to retire”. Nothing wrong with that either.

After getting various foods at the food truck plaza, we walked around and got coffee, bought more books than we have time to read, did some shopping and just enjoyed the surroundings. To catch ever more gorgeousness I went for a run and just observed people as they went on with their lives.

I really hope it won’t be too long until i revisit this place.

(Ps. I also had my first real donut: coffee and coconut cheesecake. It was unbelievable, unfortunately.)

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I felt like I was walking around on movie set.

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Even the lamp posts were romantic.

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Mandatory: Stumptown coffee in the lobby of Ace Hotel.

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It had a comfy hangout.

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And an interesting book collection.

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But it was nothing compared to Powell’s.

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Found this old jewel.

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Running alongside water is always preferred.

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Had to cross a good amount of train tracks.

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This big sign visible from afar helped me not get lost.

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The sun made it feel like spring.

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So did these.

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It was pretty quite.

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But I didn’t mind having all this to myself.

IMG_3195PIt was also Andrew Belle’s last night on the tour. He is going to be deeply missed.

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Notes

Every night you would tell them how we bonded over our shortcomings, rather than our strengths. “Perhaps that is the recipe to make love last,” you said and shrugged. You told them how you used to feel alienated and alone and I how I had felt the same way. ”It is weird,” you continued, ”because she is beautiful and brilliant, but it is true, I guess”. It made me think about how we aren’t nearly what we see when we look ourselves in the mirror. We’re always more. Always better. Always more beautiful and with more potential. No matter where the sun and moon are positioned, we’re always a star on someone’s sky and an angel in someone’s heaven.

Notering
Seattle, Washington

Lady Invasion

For a while now, I’ve been the only lady on the bus filled with men. Nice, sweet and caring men, but still, men. In Seattle, our lovely Ann finally join the ride, and the moment, we are actually four (!) women onboard, almost making it a 50-50 ratio. That’s definitely a first.

Like most mornings, I woke up among the first on the bus and quickly got out when we arrived in Seattle. I had heard so much about how Seattle is the land of coffee (being the home of Starbucks and all). However, ironically, I think I had my worst cup of coffee ever.

That’s all good though, because I did taste the best clam chowder in my life and everything else about the city, including the weather, was just lovely.

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OK it looks a bit cloudy here, but it was actually quite sunny.

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Apparently, this was the place to go.

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The chowder and seafood was incredible.

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So was the view.

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Some of the buildings were really cool.

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I always manage to find my blossoming trees.

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Salted caramel apple, check.

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Loved the grungy vibe.

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And the pipes made into flower pots.

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Dear Ann and B.

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Before these two owned the night.

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Look up.

IMG_3080PAll together like one big family.

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Canada, Vancouver

Run with me

A reoccurring dilemma when we pull up in a new city is this: because we are most often starving when this happens, late morning, should we cross the street and have junk food at the chain restaurant, or, should we be a little more patient and adventurous than that and go looking for a real, local and unique place around that we haven’t been to before?

Big problems, I know.

I’d say eighty percent of the time we actually pull ourselfs together, find the most recommended places in the area and go searching for something special. But, every now and then we get lazy and end up buying food at places we would barely go to at home.

That was kind of the scenario in pretty Vancouver. Although, a good thing about making the wrong (read: lazy) decision is that there is always coffee. And dinner. After walking up and down the main street in the area of Vancouver we were in, we found a restaurant that we liked and stuck with it for the rest of the night.

For a change, I also managed to find a beautiful park to run in, instead of running around in the city. Even if that can be a good way to see a new place, there is obviously nothing quite like the tranquility of nature.

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Always going somewhere.

IMG_2998PThis time here.

IMG_3249PThe street we spent the day walking.

IMG_2999PPassed this window.

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And went in here to eat, drink coffee and read.

IMG_3248PBefore I ran here.

IMG_3245PAnd watched the birds fly.

IMG_3006PThe view was just stunning.

IMG_2995PI am coming back.

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Canada, Clearwater

One day vacation

Every now and then, there is an off day in between all the crazy traveling and many shows the boys are playing. Those days are usually spent in the city we’ve been to or are going next. However, sometimes the drive between two places are too long for our driver to manage in one sitting, and we end up stopping somewhere remote along the way.

Like the other day, when we decided to park our bus in Clearwater, half way between Edmonton and Vancouver.

It was like a goddamn beach day. Comparably.

All day I felt like I was walking on cloud nine; soaking up the sun and walking around in jeans and a thin sweater. ”I feel like I can breathe again!” I kept saying and celebrated with a light jog in the hills to see as much of the area as possible.

Later that night, we managed to gather everyone together (usually we are all spread out and on different schedules) to go and have dinner. Problem was there wasn’t a single taxi to get a hold of in Clearwater. Correction: there was one. And it would take 30 minutes to get. So we kindly asked our lovely bus driver to drive us what can’t have been more than a mile with the bus and join us for dinner. Problem solved.

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Looked pretty good already from a distance.

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So idyllic.

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With the most picturesque café ever.IMG_3010P

Just stuffed with memorabilia.

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They were very proud of having hosted the Sedin brothers.

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And had classic books like this one.

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This was pretty magnificent.

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We asked around for the best dinner in town… (Love the hot tub symbol)

IMG_2932PMy dear road family doing what we do mostly, wait around.

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Canada, Edmonton

Survivors

Remember the bomb threat against Mall of America? It is only a few days ago terrorists threatened to attack the Minnesota mall, and it happened to be on the one day we were there. My first time ever. Our plans to go ride the indoor roller coaster (yes, there’s such a thing) got scratched, although some of us wanted to go just for the heck of it.

The other mall that was said to be a target was the Core mall in Edmonton. Something I realised after I’d been walking around it for a good hour. As you can tell, I’m all alive and well. And I actually enjoyed the city, despite the continuously cold weather that kept making our bones shiver.

I have to admit something; by the time I am writing these posts, we usually have moved on long ago. I find it hard to take the time while I’m in the city to write about it, but after a few days, it is like the experience has digested and I’m ready to scribble down a couple lines. Nothing groundbreaking, obviously. Mostly it is just a good way to keep track of the days, since everything – days, hours, cities – tends to mesh together.

In the end though, all I really need to know is that I had fun, enjoying new places with great people, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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What I saw when I woke up. (And yes, we have cleaned the windows since)

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The view from the hotel room was a lot clearer.

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I loved how far you could see.

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And naturally I loved the trees.

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We found a bar that showed the game. Can’t go wrong with basketball and Prosecco.

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The boys played another church where they had lots of old stuff. And ketchup flavoured chips that should never be recommended to anyone. Ever.

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Notes

It was a disaster waiting to happen. Too much had been building up over the hours. I said I was scared of what tomorrow would bring and you promised you would catch me no matter what happened. “I’ve got you,” you assured and explained that I never had to worry. Today, tomorrow, forever – you would be there to ease the pain and widen the horizon. We had gone through so much already. “Don’t scare me like that,” you always begged when I said I didn’t know if I was ready. Life was moving so fast and I couldn’t catch up with everyone that seemed to be running. “Life is long,” you insisted and I closed my eyes, let a single tear fall for all the lost years, then took your hand and let you lead me out into the future, wherever it would take me.

Notering
Calgary, Canada

Towards the sun

A few more days. A few more days.

That is literally what we keep reminding ourselves, and each other, when we are about to freeze our asses of in the cold wherever we go. Soon, the northern part of this tour will be over, and we will start heading south. If joy has a face it will be ours when we step out of the bus in our shorts and sneakers. It is almost like I can’t remember what life without ten layers of clothes, hats and scarfs, cold fingers and super-dry skin all the time is like.

On top of it all, I woke up this morning seeing my sister posting pictures from the beach in Mexico. The beach! In Mexico! I feel like I barely know what a beach is anymore.

To cure my coldness and get rid of my envy, I decided to run a few miles on the treadmill. I hate running indoors, and they only thing that gets me through it is music. When I get back to the warmth, I am going to run those streets and hills like a maniac.

Good news is the boys played a wonderful show in Calgary. For the first time on this tour, in a church, which just made them sound even more spectacular. Like that was possible.

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I’ve must have been close to dying a million times.

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Just thought this was so pretty.

IMG_2803PHonestly the only remotely nice street I saw.

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At least the nights always end well.

 

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Canada, Winnipeg

Brown gold

It didn’t look to good at first. Rolling into Winnipeg, all we could see was snow, and more snow. But as the bus parked, we actually found ourselves in a cozy little hipster area of Winnipeg that I liked instantly. The boys, who had been here before, remembered a little coffee shop with amazing coffee, so the first thing we did was to go coffee hunting. Another thing we are constantly looking for is strong wifi, so while the boys soundchecked and did all those things they need to do, I went to find a café to write in. Pretty much my life at the moment.

IMG_2765PNot too promising.

IMG_2768PBut the coffee was good.

IMG_2773PAnd there were some cute little shops.

IMG_2775PThe cafe I wrote in was called ”News Cafe”. Suiting.

IMG_2777PPretty Winnipeg.

 

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Calm me down

Days go by so quickly when you’re always moving. Despite the fast pace, I try to find moments and ways to slow down and decompress. Micro-meditation, running, reading, walking around or just crawling into my bunk and listen to music or a podcast. Whatever it takes to find a minute of serenity.

In Minneapolis, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a beautiful little park that was completely empty, except for a couple squirrels, when I was out running. The peacefulness in combination with the physical exercise just showered all that stress of not having a home, trying to get work done from the road, and missing friends and family right off me.

At night, we bought ourselves some crappy take-out food and watched the Oscars in an equally crappy hotel lobby. There was also (kinda crappy) champagne, and betting (I think I might have ended up last, everyone stopped counting my points because there simply were none. To their defence, they had all advised against me voting with my heart instead of my head, but that’s just me so, fair enough).

IMG_2792PAnother city core.

IMG_2793PAnd flags, of course.

IMG_2794PMore impressive silhouettes.

IMG_2795PThis is what I found.

IMG_2796PAnd made all mine.

IMG_2769PNight after night, the boys rock the stage.

IMG_2751PAnd while they couldn’t understand why I wanted to get out of my sweats for Oscar night, they still said I looked pretty. That’s how sweet they are.

 

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Chicago, Illinois

Love in the air

I’ve been dying to see Chicago. It is something about the atmosphere and architecture that have seem romantic to me. Like a smaller New York City with more charm. At least that is how I’ve pictured it in my mind. I also know people that have lived there a significant amount of time in their lives, and when someone I care about has a history somewhere, I want to know more about it to know more about them.

After stopping in a lot of small towns, it was nice to finally see a bigger city. Plus, we had a day off, so that made it even more enjoyable. We had decided to get a bit more comfortable and stay at a hotel, which ended up being the best decision ever since I completely fell in love with the place (I told you I found Chicago romantic).

I did have a lot of work to do, but the hotel again exceeded all my expectations when it turned out the room had a gorgeous dining room that I could use as my office. I’ve always liked the messy, traditional writer’s desk with piles of books and paper, but I might have to rethink that after this Zen-like experience.

At night, we had the most insane meal (meaning crazy amounts of food) at a popular steak house where Jordan used to eat his meals back in the day (that stuff matters). And a couple nights later, the boys had a show at a beautiful venue that was ultra-hipster, but amazing.

The days in Chicago definitely ranks among the highlights on this trip so far. I can’t wait to come back sometime when the winds are milder and the streets are lusher.

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 Daunting but beautiful.

IMG_2555PMost peaceful work space ever.

IMG_2558PThe lobby was cozy.

IMG_2560PThe chandelier breathtaking.

IMG_2579PSo was the hotel restaurant.

IMG_2582PThere was a pretty cool bar too.

IMG_2672PLoved the roughness of the buildings.

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We didn’t have to go hungry.

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Lemon pie that required a steak knife (!)

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As we were hitting the gym, we realised we’d forgotten our sneakers on the bus.

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I just couldn’t get enough.

IMG_2697PI almost got lost.

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The venue was magnificent.

IMG_2679PWalls were my style.

IMG_2677PWe had a great night.

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Writer’s block

Working from the road is a challenge. Not only because everything you want to do when you wake up in a new city is to go out and explore. Like I’ve said, we rarely spend more than a day in each place. Sometime after midnight, the bus starts rolling, heading somewhere new, at least for me that haven’t really been around in the states too much.

But it is also a practically difficult task. Again, we live ten people on a bus. Mostly, it is like being inside a tornado. A fun and awesome tornado, but a tornade still. We basically live on top of each other. Outlets and seating are limited. Distractions are plenty.

My strategy so far has been waking up early, trying to squeeze a few hours of work in before everyone gets up. Then hang out. Then work. Then eat dinner. Then think about working some more but end up hanging out some more instead. Sometimes the other way around, if I’m lucky.

Although in the end, I feel grateful for having a job that allows me to see the world. It is true that seeing new things and visiting new places inspires you and widens your perspective. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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American flags everywhere.
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Finally got to see some sunshine.
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It was still cold as F.

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The venue was one of the prettiest so far.

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Our home on wheels.

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Notes

He wrote me and told me he was more afraid than ever. Scared that I would never come back and that he would be lost without me forever. He said he was sorry, for all the times he had treated me badly. All the times he had been unfair. All the times he hadn’t loved my like he should have. “You’re my soulmate, the love of my life and the only thing I care about in the whole universe,” he proclaimed and I thought about how fucked up life was. How we all just dance around each other, never on the same wavelength, always a little bit disconnected and dangerously unprotected. I caught myself thinking that I wished the heart would have a stronger armour; a shield against deadly heartaches. But then again, if the heart wasn’t fragile, I guess love wouldn’t be magic.

Notering
Cincinnati, Ohio

Tour life

A scary thing about moving from city to city, not staying longer than 24 hours anywhere, is that you are starting to feel like you are becoming senile. Where were we yesterday? What did we do? Where did we go for dinner? How was the shows? Did we have a good time?

Seriously, I am not kidding.

Although the answer to the last question is most likely always yes. After all, we are a bunch of friends riding around the country with nothing to do but having a good time, doing what we love to do.

Just to give you an idea of what life on a tour bus can be like, I’ve listed ten facts about our life right now.

#1 We basically live on chips, toast and salsa. Occasionally we’ll have a burger along the road or a proper meal if we’re stopping in a city, but mostly, it’s Doritos and hummus on the menu.

#2 There is more whiskey and Coca Cola on the bus than there is water (at least until morning).

#3 We watch the same movies and tv-shows over and over again. Whatever we can record or get a hold of. Almost Famous is one of them.

#4 There is one bathroom. We’re ten people.

#5 We quickly learn to appreciate a proper shower, since there can be days without nothing more than a sink (no workouts on these days).

#6 We wear the same thing every day. Pick an outfit and roll with it.

#7 You don’t own anything. If it’s on the bus, it’s public property.

#8 You never wake anybody up. God knows when they went to bed.

#9 There is no privacy outside your bunk. Maybe not even there.

#10 We treat coffee like gold.

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 Can you tell I have a thing for sparkling things.

IMG_2653PCincinnati was like any other place so far, cold and snowy.

IMG_2655PThere was basically a main street you could walk up and down.

IMG_2654PNot a lot of traffic but lots of traffic lights.

IMG_2656PI wasn’t joking when I said chips is our main food source.

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Sometimes, there are also doughnuts.

IMG_2664PAnd oh, sometimes we use vinyls as plates.

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Notes

You let out a sigh, closed your eyes and told me you were tired. So tired of never being enough. ”I try so hard, why can’t I make you happy?” you asked and made me feel like a heartless monster. ”I know, I try hard too,” was the only thing I could answer. ”It will be better tomorrow, it is always better tomorrow,” I promised and you took that promise, because what else could you possibly do. The next day you told them the story about how we met; how you had served your heart on a silver platter, hoping the woman you loved would accept it and want to keep it forever. ”If it’s the right woman, you are constantly wooing,” you explained and someone called me stupid. Wanted by everyone but the person you wanted the most, wasn’t that how you used to put it. Isn’t that just love’s pitiless irony.

Notering
Columbus, Ohio

Night animals

If there is anything I would change about this trip, it’s the fact that a majority of the cities we have been to are absolutely covered in snow. The freezing cold temperatures have forced us to stay inside most of the time, and if we’re ever going out for a meal or a look around, we are basically hiding our faces behind scarfs and under hats, half-running everywhere we’re going to make the pain as short as possible.

Every now and then though, the wind isn’t too bad and it is actually possible to stroll around and explore new areas.

Columbus, Ohio, wasn’t one of those times.

IMG_2488PThe first thing we care about when we come to a new city is getting hot food. Quickly.

IMG_2448PI’m not exaggerating when I say there’s snow everywhere.

IMG_2461PThe boys soundchecking.

IMG_2485PI see a lot of these; backsides of venues.

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Think I’m set on books for a while.

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Indiana, Indianapolis

In and out

I can’t have stayed longer in Indianapolis than twelve hours. Maybe three or four of those awake. I met up with my friends on the bus we are riding around the country with at a parking lot in the dark somewhere downtown, and a night’s sleep later, we we’re on our way back to Ohio.

Even now, we have already moved on from there. Currently enjoying a day off in Chicago (a day off for them, that is. Their days off playing concerts are actually the days I get the most work done, since we’re often at a hotel instead of piled on each other on the tour bus).

Below is literally pretty much what I saw of Indianapolis.

And it is all from either the plane or the airport.

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Notice the miniature people.

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People actually sat in these.

IMG_2491PLike dust of glitter.

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