I love pauses - moments where the normal current of your life ceases and you enter a whole new pattern of things. To remove yourself from your familiar surroundings and enter a new place is one of life's greatest perks. It's a reminder that you are still alive and at liberty to embrace your free will.
For four days, I was relaxed. With a smattering of weird.
Austin, Texas was quite an experience and it did my soul some good. Austin's been on my mind as a place to visit and maybe, one day, to live. My friend Jenna and I have always talked about visiting and this year we made it happen.
There's an ease of life and a kindness to the Austin people. It's contagious, filling me such warmth and inspiration to be more genuine. And there's some kind of heat in Austin, but it's a dry heat in which I found easy to exist by the end of my time there (it was a transition).
We walked around the University of Texas campus - a stately tribute to its intellectual halls and southern architecture. We may or may not have spied on the men's swim team as they practiced in the gorgeous outdoor pool area at UT. We caught some live music downtown. The rock music hit you like a concrete wall of indie awesomeness. Covered in sweat and beer, the musician played, his taut fingers and arms flying effortlessly across the strings. Guitar played behind the back and then to the front. To the back and then to the front. And then...played with his tongue? Oh yes, my friends, the man played some sweet tunes using that particular part of his body. And it was incredible to watch and listen.
We drove out on the open road for some local color and tubing down the Guadalupe River. For three hours, my only purpose was to float down a cool river in the Texas heat. Perfect and lazy. Never before have I seen so many Stetsons on water. And let me just add one more visual: thirty tubes tied together, floating down river with almost as many Texas twenty-somethings and their waterproof stereo and woofer. Yes.
We also swam in Barton Springs - a spring-fed pool that maintains the same temperature all year round - and walked through the Zilker Park Botanical Gardens. We grabbed some grub at the Whole Foods flagship store - 80,000 feet of organic food glory. The food chain started in this Texas city. After freshening up, we hit SoCo or South Congress Avenue - the haven for all "weird" Austinites and hipster traffic. SoCo offers a collection of eclectic clothing, antique, and food spots. I was excited by the cupcake truck, which was closed when we went but their menu sure looked tasty! We went for BBQ at The County Line in Hill Country and it was delish! I had some good, ol' baby back ribs and the best garlic mashed potatoes you ever did eat!
It was a great trip. The only downside was the room at our inn lost AC on the second night and we had no choice but to sleep in the inn lobby - can anyone say adventure (and a compensated night)? I highly recommend Austin to anyone looking for a long weekend getaway where you can experience a diverse, relaxed environment. Make sure you rent a car so you can really experience all the area has to offer!