Maria Pedersen

How would you describe your upbringing in Denmark? 

Safe. Safe in every possible way. Denmark is generally a very safe place to live.

It sounds crazy to be thankful for things like the welfare system, free schooling, free healthcare, and that the country is small enough to reach any family member within few hours. But when you see how your childhood could have been if you lived in another country, you become very thankful.

My worst fear and biggest worry my whole childhood has been bad grades and bad weather on my birthday. 

If you could have grown up in any country other than Denmark, which country would you pick? And why?        

I would definitely choose to grow up in a warmer country. In Denmark the weather can bring every seasons weather in a week. Last week we had 22 degrees on Tuesday and snow Friday night.

So, if I could choose a European country I would choose Spain. Spain has a beautiful culture, the citizens are so polite and welcoming. Their food is outstanding and the weather is way nicer than in Denmark.

But I love the English language, I have 3 Cambridge certificates, so if I could live in a warmer country AND speak the English language every day, I would choose California. I have never visited Cali, but If I had the opportunity I would never doubt it.

Maria and her cousins this Easter

We can see from your Instagram that you like to travel. What was your first holiday outside of Denmark? And what are your memories of it? 

I was very little the first time I visited another country. So my first many vacations are impossible to remember.

But the first one I do remember is Greece. I was on holiday with my family in a beautiful hotel on the south coast of the Island. My best experience was visiting the beach Elafonissi. We drove for hours from the south coast to the east coast to get there. The sand is almost pink and the water is completely coral blue. I remember asking my mom whether I was dreaming or not because that view was way too amazing to be true. 

We saw you went desert racing on a recent trip. What is the coolest travel experience you’ve had?

Now the desert race was definitely one of the coolest. I would recommend everyone with love for speed to try this. We went in the afternoon so we saw the sunset in the desert. Incomparable. 

But I have had a lot of great travel experiences such as bridge walking in Porto with my whole class, jet skiing at nighttime in Alanya, Turkey – also I am a sucker for speed and action so me and my family’s yearly trip to Heide Park in Soltau, Germany is always a winner! 

But in the absolute top, we have the Jungle trip we went on when I traveled to Waikiki, Hawaii with my boarding school. We had been walking miles in the jungle until we suddenly came to this huge waterfall in the middle. It was like a movie or an exotic dream. Unreal. We went cliff diving from the side into the waterfall. It might have been a bit dangerous, but none of the use thought about that, we all just enjoyed being together at that dreamy place.

And the worst travel experience?       

This October we went to Egypt some friends and me, which was so lovely! I will be visiting Egypt again! Well… My skin is allergic to insects bites and in Egypt, they have a lot of mosquitoes. It is not that I can’t endure one mosquito bite or two, but 36 mosquito bites almost killed me… What happened was that the bites got big, and when I say big I mean really big. Of course, I had forgotten my medicine because it doesn’t happen that often that I need it.

So I went to the local pharmacy to get some, but when the man working there saw the bites he called a doctor. The doctor came and took me away to the local medical center. Here they gave me 4 syringes, gave me a drop and tested my breathing, heartbeat and so on (they didn’t speak English that well so I was very confused about what happened and I am terrified of needles) I didn’t have any connection to my friends who didn’t know where I was. I was so scared and nervous.

After some hours the liquid in the drop was all in my body and the doctor came back. He gave me tons of pills and explained as good as he could how bad the situation was, but I was free to leave if I just promised him to come back for a check the next couple of days, go to sleep right away, take the pills and be calm. That was a very terrifying experience, especially when you have absolutely no idea about who the people are, what they are doing to you and you are all alone thousands of miles from your home country.

Maria in Egypt: “The instructor told me to slow down a hundred times!”

Tell us a secret about yourself.

I have had an eating disorder twice in my life, and because of that I count everyone’s calorie intake I eat with. I don’t tell people I do it, and it is only my closest family and friends who know.

You have also shared your live music experiences on Instagram. What is your best ever concert experience? 

Definitely John Mayer. He is the most talented musician I have ever experienced on a stage. He managed to play the piano and the guitar like no one else, to sing even better versions of his songs and give the whole audience an experience for life. He is not just an entertainer, he is a musician by blood. If you want not just to be entertained but also to be touched and blown away by live music I would recommend John Mayer any time.

Also, he seems like a very down to earth and welcoming person on stage, so the whole crowd just becomes his little squad. He speaks to the crowd like he was having a cup of coffee with all of us. Outstanding and unforgettable performance and show.

What is top of your list of places to visit? And what do you want to do at the destination?

I have to see Neverland Ranch before I die. So, Santa Barbara County, California must be my absolute must-go-to place. When I was younger my biggest idol was Michael Jackson and my biggest which was to visit him at Neverland. He is not here anymore and the ranch is not open for tourist, but my childhood dream would be complete if I got the opportunity to go there someday. 

And no doubt I would plan the trip so I could go to Coachella too if I visited California anyways. Coachella is like an ultimate girl-dream coming true, which of course is on my bucket list too. 

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