map reading

I recently drove from Tucson to New Orleans by myself. Now don’t get me wrong—this wasn’t something I just decided to do on a whim. In fact, I had been actively planning my solo venture for the entire month prior (and had been dreaming of it even longer.) I tried to route my journey strategically so that I wouldn’t be on the road more than 8 hours at a time (mostly because I didn’t want to be driving in strange places after dark.) That’s how I ended up in Roswell. 

Roswell—Not much to see here people, keep moving. I rushed to get here because I knew the UFO museum would be closing at 5p. If I had known just how cheesy this place was I might have stayed a little longer at White Sands. Oh well, you win some you lose some. At least the alien butts were cute. 

San Antonio—The only reason I made a trip through San Antonio was to visit my cousin. I hadn’t seen her since she’d become a mom and I wanted to meet her little chubby bunny. Remember the Alamo? Yeah, me neither. Though it was nice to visit family, I couldn’t wait to keep moving on. Austin was up next and boy was I excited!

Austin—Though I have been here a few times already, I just can’t get enough of this beautiful city. Not only does Austin have some of the most courteous drivers, one very impressive Whole Foods, and kombucha on tap at bars, but there is an energy here that I can’t seem to put my finger on. Have you ever been to Phoenix? It’s like everyone that lives there is one red light away from having an aneurism. Austin is chill yet exciting yet hip yet comfortable and dammit I can’t get enough. 

Houston—This was my first venture into Houston. Though I was only here one night, I can definitely say I was pleasantly surprised. I ate some tasty tacos, drank at some great bars, and went to one of the most beautifully curated museums in my life. I definitely want to go back and explore this city more. 

New Orleans—Though it poured down rain for most of the time we were there, my sister and I managed to see, taste, drink, and dance the best of NOLA. Honestly, if there is one thing that New Orleans has going for itself is all the tasty food options. Whether I was eating a fried gator bite, gator gumbo, or a seafood po’boy, my tummy was so very happy. I don’t think I ate one bad thing my entire time there. 

Atlanta— And here I am in Atlanta until I leave for NYC, then Berlin. I really do love this city. Though they are dealing with growing pains (heavy traffic, high crime) I am really impressed with the growth the city has experienced in the last decade. I get early LA vibes here and predict that with all the cool development going on now, real estate won’t be nearly as cheap or easy to come by in the coming years. You’ve been warned. 

Overall, I was expecting to have a lot of time to be introspective; I thought I’d be writing more, thinking more, feeling more. While my trip wasn’t quite the eye-opening, bone shattering experience I originally thought it would be, it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I got to make new memories with old friends, push myself to new limits, and laugh a whole lot along the way. Here are a few songs that brought me joy while driving across this beautiful country, hope you enjoy!

Nicole Paulus, Nico New Media

Photo Credit, Unsplash

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