Exploring the Journey of a Danish Actress Living Abroad: A Tale of Passion and Perseverance
Traveling always makes me feel so in the moment and alive. I never tire of the process, even today, where I work as an actor and artist, spending a lot of time in cabs, on trains, at the airport check-in counter, in line waiting to board, and, of course, many more hours traveling across the world, high above the clouds, staring down at the airplane version of a mouth-watering TV dinner.
Growing up, we mainly traveled around Denmark, Sweden, and to a few European destinations, during summer vacations or for the holidays, visiting family and friends and exploring the beautiful Danish countryside.
I remember the first time I boarded a plane, a couple of months after my 16th birthday. In the years leading up to that moment, I discovered the idea of studying abroad as a foreign exchange student and set my mind on California. It sounded and looked like a place I wanted to experience.
Thanks to my weekend job delivering newspapers around the local area, I managed to save up money to help cover a good portion of my living expenses and, to my amazement, managed to get matched with a family in Northern California. This year changed my life in so many ways.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself back in Copenhagen with a newly issued M1 student visa, about to board a flight to Los Angeles. My fascination with acting, which developed quite early on thanks to the local community theater, brought on a desire to further my studies, and, after stumbling across an article in a magazine about a Danish actress who spoke about her experience as a student at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, I thought I would audition in hopes of gaining a spot on one of their courses starting in the spring.
I remember exactly how excited I felt, as I opened up the acceptance letter and picked up the phone to share the news with a couple of friends. I can also vividly recall how bizarre it felt just a couple of months later when I found myself at LAX, chatting briefly with the immigration officer and heading towards the first coffee shop I could spot at Tom Bradley international arrivals. I quickly found a phone booth and called up a hotel in nearby Inglewood where I spent a couple of nights, before heading to West Hollywood and the Orbit Hostel.
I remember getting in the cab that would take me to the Orbit and as we drove down the freeway, being offered a job by the driver (not sure what job he had in mind exactly, didn’t ask, and he didn’t say anything further as I declined), pulling up to the Orbit and arriving in the lobby, chatting to the receptionist and entering the first of a couple of the six-bedroom mixed dorms, that would become home for the next little while. I remember being greeted there by a guy who reeked of alcohol. He seemed to be well-known by staff and long-term visitors as a nice guy, who drank quite a bit of vodka throughout the day. Later that afternoon, as I sat down on the outside terrace with a cup of coffee, I noticed the same guy sitting there, chatting with a few Australians. I listened to him talk about LA, the local area, and where to find groceries. He told us to visit the farmer's market down the street and explained how the transport system worked. He also gave us a rundown of areas we, in his opinion, would be wise to avoid at night.
I remember walking along Hayworth Avenue to begin my first day of school. Our teacher gave out recommendations as to what plays she thought we should read right away and I, along with a few other students, headed to Samuel French on Sunset later that day to pick up a few suggested items.
My first experience with Los Angeles turned into many more city trips, visiting coworking spaces and drinking delicious coffees at quaint local cafés around the world. I spent a while couch surfing in Canada (where I also lived for a few years later on), connecting with digital nomads, acting, applying for various work visas, and later relocating to the UK.
I think it’s peculiar how, so often, we hold out on starting a new job, taking up new hobbies, or making changes in some way to our daily habits, and yet when traveling, it feels so good to explore the unknown, discover a new city, a landscape, find new places to eat and meet new people along the way. We look forward to and appreciate the time away from our usual surroundings and for a few days or weeks, forget the parts of our system that otherwise try so hard to keep us safe, clinging to the familiar.