The Tennessee Tales

Well this entry is a little late, but if you’re reading it in 2025 it’s on time! I have been here in Knoxville, Tennessee for a about a month and a half now. Obviously, it has gone way too quickly, of course I have learnt a lot, but I don’t aim to dwell on the lessons learnt as it’s not as interesting to say ‘remember to do your work to keep your GPA high’ as it is to spread gossip.

Why is it worth the hassle you ask?

The People

They can be amazing and interesting. After 6 weeks of hectic partying and awkward freshers-like introductions, I can safely say I met both legends and weirdos. Whether it was the MAGA loving Texan with an ’86 Ford Bronco and an assault rifle in the trunk, or the acid ravers writing a book about wacko stuff in the study room, they all contrasted each other. Honourable mentions include the guy I traded handrail locations to slide down with, and the local band that sets fire to their guitars each gig. Quite rock ‘n’ roll really.

The new surroundings

Max Patch in North Carolinian Smokies at sunset was about as close to heaven as I’ve ever been, the grassy peak we were sat on turned to gold in the fading sun, whilst the surrounding blueish peaks gently rocked us like waves. Another notable place was Fort Dickerson Quarry, where you can have a cold one with the boys and jump off cliffs into water deeper than your bath. All done whilst sharing the water with crazy locals and aquatic snakes.

Fort Dickerson

The long nights

The parties have been a little epic, from my first ever Frat party on my second night to hopping between downtown roof top bars. If you are in Knoxville at The University of Tennessee, you will find plenty of ways to get sloshy (trollied). One example has been the sorority date party where I dressed in 70’s costume and went to the discotheque. The fact that my date was obliged to buy all the drinks made it perfect. Another example was the time me and my other foreign exchange buddies pretended to be the CIA whilst following a man who had tried to pickpocket me. The Busch Lite we had consumed made it more dramatic. The viewing of the new James Bond the night before also heightened our performance. Amusingly, during our mission we had to mingle with some attractive women to blend in. In the end, the man with very full pockets was chased down the road, never to be seen again.

Tennessee River at night, not mentioned but I just had to include the photo

The Music

Apart from people, places, and parties, I have also formed a better relationship with Country music. Considering Tennessee is the cradle of Country, this was an excellent decision by me. Drinking Problem sung by Midland is a personal fave. If you don’t like Country music, there are plenty of bars with live Rock nightly. I have been lucky enough to procure Bob Dylan tickets for a month’s time, as well as booking a weekend in Atlanta, Georgia to see the Strokes. Music in my opinion is one of the better ways to spend your student loan, don’t be afraid to too!

If you made it to the end of this beautifully crafted blog, I hope I didn’t waste too much of your time, I also hope you have discovered that Tennessee isn’t just Trump supporters and Bourbon, though, if you seek, you shall find.

Until next time,

Alex Bradbury

Max Patch, North Carolina

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