Welcome to my blog! I’m glad you found me. Now you can get inside my head and experience what I experience when I go on adventures. Luck you… 😉 I thought I’d write about a recent trip Austin trip I took 2 weeks ago as my first post.
So it all started Once Upon a Time when my good friend from high school, Liia, invited me to see a Borns concert with her. For $30 tickets and for Austin’s sake I said, “Um, hell YES.” We both requested half-days off work and left in on a Friday afternoon and made a 6 hour drive down to ATX.
We arrived at our venue right as the first act was playing. The concert was held at Stubb’s BBQ amphitheater and the weather was nice for February: a little chilly but bearable as there was no wind. A security guard overheard us talking about food and told us we had time to eat since the second opening act hadn’t even gone on yet, so we went inside and grabbed us a table.
I looked over the menu and the “14-hour slow roasted brisket” caught my attention. I ordered a glass of wine to quench my thirst from the long drive and they filled my glass to the rim, how very Texas, but my brisket turned out to be a little cold and alright tasting, very not Texas. But it was a place worth checking out and something I can cross off my newly imagined Texas BBQ list.
We moseyed on outside and came across a large field that housed about 300ish people which was quite a large area for downtown Austin. I scavenged all the outdoor bars until I found a booth, only one booth that served wine. But, of course, they were out of reds and only had canned Rosé to serve. Really, ‘Murica?
I reluctantly bought the canned wine expecting the least satisfying drink of my life but I took a sip and almost shouted, “Oh, shit!” It was one of the best tasting wines I’ve ever tasted. I whipped out my phone and did a quick Google search to learn that the winery – The Infinite Monkey Theorem – is based in Denver with an “urban” winery located somewhere in downtown Austin. You know it’s a legit product when Denver & Austin decide to get married.
So I got my canned Rosé on, then Borns takes the stage and the crowd goes wild, screaming, “Awhh my gawd, I love you, Borns.” (I might’ve been the one saying that.) He was quite entertaining to watch but I was ready to hit the sack by the time it was over, beat from the week and because I’m not 21 anymore.
(Here’s a picture of Borns in his leather pants which I’m certain he wears to bed every night.)
We leave downtown and head East to our Airbnb, which ended up being NICE. I took a pic the next morning just to make sure I wasn’t imaging it.
The inside of this house was decorated sophisticated like West Elm but with an urban/rustic flare to it. We tiptoed inside since our hosts were supposedly asleep and made our way to our bedroom. I should probably state that my friend and I decided to share a room to save money. We agreed to swap sleeping on the floor on altering nights. She’s happily married but her husband couldn’t make it down for the weekend and our friendship has been plutonic and will always be plutonic. Our hosts however thought otherwise.
As Liia and I unpacked our stuff our hosts emerge into the hallway, in the light, carrying their helluva cute dog. We’re all surprised to see each other and exchange greetings. They’re super nice people: beautiful, African-American, a lesbian couple, kind hearted, and they each had different personalities that complemented each other. So after telling them why we’re in town and them telling us their favorite spots in town they take off and let us be.
I tucked myself into my sleeping bag and the main Airbnb host, Alessandro, peeks back into our room and says some stuff then tells us that if we ever wanted Netflix and chill we were more than welcome to do so. Wink, wink. Liia actually didn’t know what this meant at the time and ironically happened to tell her that we were friends and that’s why she saw the sleeping arrangement that she did, but Alessandro brushed past this and emphasized 3 times that we had the option to Netflix and chill if we ever wanted to. I just smile at her, ready to pass the fuck out, then she left and I snored off into a deep sleep.
I awaken the next morning to hear rocks running through a tunnel which turned out to be rain running through a gutter. A small storm had rolled through town. Since I was up I decided to go for a walk ’round the hood. I stepped outside and took in the moist and fresh air. I admired all the old and new houses on the street and eventually came across a pavement that led down into a riverbank where there was graffiti all over the walls. I wanted to crawl down and take pictures but wanted to see the rest of the hood first and made a note to come back and take pictures. I should’ve taken pics because I ended up getting stuck in an area that had no thru-streets and I thought that if I keep going left I left there will be one. Well I went far left enough that I completely circled around the riverbank and finally ended up at our house, being too hungry to go back and take pics.
With Liia up, we decided to go in search of food. I wanted to check out south Austin so I whipped out my phone and did a quick Google search and we found Bouldin Creek Cafe, a local favorite. The restaurant was pretty small on the outside but large on the inside. One of the walls by the bar was filled with nothing but fliers of all the cool events going on in town. A lot of them unfortunately weren’t happening that weekend.
We sit down and I ask our waitress what I normally do when I’m in a new place: Hey, what’s good here? Since she was gluten-free like me I went off her recommendation and got the potato leek hash. Well done. She got an extra tip from me.
I wanted to show Liia the river that runs through downtown so after our breakfast we left trekked the 1.2 miles or so north and as we walked up the street we kept noticing this weird creature on all the lamp posts: it was a creature that had a rabbit’s head that was attached to the body of a snake. WTF, man. The creature was either drawn out on paper or was composed of stuffed animals fused together.
Our best guess was that this was a local legend – the Chupacabra of Austin, or the “Chupacabrit.” I imagined that a rabbit and a snake were fighting near a power plant in the past, WWE style over a piece of carrot cake when a nuclear reactor exploded and fused their bodies together. The Chupacabrit goes around town now and takes revenge on little kids who don’t eat their veggies. It comes out at night and sneaks into kid’s beds and whispers in their ears, “I’ll get you my pretty. Tsshahah.”
Nope. None of that was true. We later learned that this creature was created by some artist who just threw this on a pole for no particular reason and it’s been that way ever since. BOR-ING. Very anti-climatic. C’mon, Austin, you got a reputation to maintain here! Gah, Bob Saget!
Anyways, back to us walking towards the river, we passed by this cool two-story house that was actually a yoga studio. They had a schedule taped up on their windows and we decided to check out a class that began in about 2 hours. Being a girl, she was dressed for lounging around in yoga pants. Being a guy, I was dressed for lounging around in jeans. (I guess I left my flowered yoga pants in the washer again. Damn.) So we decided to find a Goodwill and GMaps pointed us towards downtown, which here’s a pic of us walking downtown. ATX has a booming tech startup scene. See. Voilà.
We eventually come at our destination: GW Boutique, a Goodwill store filled with high-end donations. (I didn’t know that was a thing either!?) I browsed around until I found a cheap pair of shorts that were ironically the same pair of shorts that I owned at home, just in a different color. I paid $5 dollars + some change and we rushed back to the yoga studio (we walked about 5 miles by this point) and make it there just in time.
When I first my yoga instructor I actually liked her. I thought she was cool. Pretty Austin-y. Her outfit was a little interesting, she had these shorts that rode up all the way into her hips and you see the leg flab across the back of her legs but hey, natural is beautiful in Austin and so I embraced it over the traditional yoga pants (though that is my weakness).
We start the class and the instructor tells us she’s going to teach us certain poses of Iyengar yoga, a form of yoga created by a dude named Iyengar. I think, cool, I’m all for new stuff. This turned out to be an hour and a half session of us basically sitting back and watching her do yoga.
We had to watch her do the moves first before we practiced it. At one point I couldn’t remember all the 50+ steps she mentioned and decided to practice along with her and she snapped at me, “No, watch me.” I shrug then watch her perform the move and I subtly try it out and stops her pose, putting a hand out, “No. Don’t. Just watch me.” I almost blurted out “BITCH! Let me be!” But just gave an “alright” look. She was quite the micromanager. Later on she wanted me to move my mat 2 inches away from the wall – 2 inches!?! Like that matters!
It was worse when she talked to us like we were kindergartners. There were a few times she told us to take off our glass, do the pose, then put our glasses back on I almost blurted out, “Beeotch, you’re the ONLY one with glasses!” But I bit my lip. But now I don’t have to, muahaha, I get to speak my mind. Don’t take her class if you’re the area! I’ve been doing yoga for years now and I know that one of the important things about yoga is for you to have fun and let your body loose to channel out energy. If you’re not being playful with your body (and watching someone else) then you’re not doing yoga.
After class we grabbed some grub. Luckily for us there were two food trucks nearby: Torchy’s and Conscious Cravings. Since I’ve had Torchy’s and wanted to try something I knew I settled on CC. My salad was obviously nutritional, and quite tasty, butttt I ended up feeling hungry about half an hour later. Get their wraps, not their salads if you’re hangry.
We stopped by this cool art shop where I bought some aluminum-free Tobacco Rose scented deodorant (probably the best smelling deodorant I ever smelt). Then we came home, rested, played with their dog, then geared up for the evening.
We didn’t want to do anything touristy (sorry not sorry, 6th street) and Liia wasn’t hungry but I was starving! She wanted tea or coffee and I wanted real man food. A quick Google search led us to a place nearby called Sa-Tén Coffee & Eats. They served man food and tea/coffee, the perfect combo.
We head over there and as we’re driving there I start to have this feeling like we’re about to discover something new and unexpected. It’s like a 6th sense I have. Allow me to elaborate. From all of my travels I’ve learned that there’s 2 things that make a trip memorable:
1.) You make a connection with new people.
2.) You do something new and unexpected.
If you plan out a trip then you’re anticipating your planned events and are really living in the future. Even when those events pass you have a tendency to live in the past. But, if you’re doing something completely new and unexpected then you’re forced to live in the present and can just enjoy the moment. This is the heart of my wanderlust spirit and how I always travel.
Back to the car, I was secretly hoping that #2 would happen, just wishing and praying that it would with ever fiber of my being. We drove past this cool looking rock climbing gym that had a huge turnout of people. A radio deejay was outside, strobe lights were flashing, my guess was that this was a launch party of a line of new products from the rock climbing company. I thought, “This is it! This is that random thing that we do that’ll make our trip!” Turns out this wasn’t it.
We arrive at our destination and pull into a loading dock looking facility that was filled with graphic design offices and Sa-Tén. We walk up to the front doors of Sa-Tén and I get this strange feeling and gaze off in the distance to see a warehouse with white halo lights hanging outside and girls standing at a wooden spool table folding up pieces of paper. I nudge Liia for us to check it out and we gravitate towards it. I hear music inside as we get closer and I think, “This must be a rave. Like, an actual rave.”
We arrive at the entrance and the girls look up at us. I try my best to act cool and shit.
Me: “Hey. Sup.”
Girl #1 (a chill surfer’s voice): “Heyyy. You guys ready for the event?”
Me: “Uh, yeah, we’re totally ready.”
Girl #1: “Um, okay, cool. We’re not quite ready yet but will be in a few minutes.”
Me: “Right on, right on.”
At this point then Liia asks, “What is this?” and I cave in and confess that we’re from out of town and have no idea what this is. The girls are surprised and excited to tell us that we’re at an art show called Natural Forces and that all kinds of artists across town are doing interpretations of issues in society speaking through their unique pieces. I glance at Liia and we exchange a look that says we’ve got to do this.
So we tell the girls we’ll be right back after dinner. Sa-Tén ended up being a really cool place. Designed like Austin by Austin. There was an old TV set that was converted into a fish tank.
So we rush back to warehouse and walk into a semi-dark building filled with all kinds of unique exhibits. Every piece there was interactive, you were either crawling inside something or using your senses to experience the piece, like sticking your head inside a box filled with mirrors. It was pretty fun.
My favorite piece ended up being the smallest piece at the gallery: rolled up vases hanging on the wall with little pieces of paper tucked inside each of the vases. I learned that it was an exhibit where people wrote down their inner most wishes – like, the spectators at the gallery were writing down their wishes! I read them all. I was expecting something silly but they were all pretty deep. The majority of people wished for more love and understanding of other people. My favorite one was from a guy who wished he could be closer to his brother:
“I wish my brother & I were close again. We’ve drifted apart and haven’t been close like we used to be. We got together the other night and shared a bottle of whiskey. That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I wish we had more moments like that.”
I could totally relate because I’m an identical twin and growing up my brother was my best friend, like all identical twins. But we drifted apart after college and are now more so strangers than anything else. I wanted to wish for this man to be close to his brother again, but then again I didn’t want him to be close. I wanted him to get lost, so lost that he would have to find himself the way I had to find myself…
We left the main exhibit and waited around for the deejay to arrive, which would be another 40-ish minutes. I was curious by the chance of us discovering the next Steve Aoki and was convinced he or she was living in Austin.
As we waited around the place became packed real fast. All these underground artists and Austinites emerged. We people-watched hardcore. And for awhile I began to imagine myself living these people lives… I imagined myself wearing dark clothes, boots, joggers, a leather jacket… meeting up with my artist friends on a weekly basis talking about the food trucks and Netflix and chill, you know, the usual Austin stuff…
Then I snapped out of my fantasy and told myself that even if I lived here my wanderlust spirit would kick in and I would ultimately image myself living someone else’s life in another place. Guys, you have to remember the grass is never greener on the other side. The grass is what you make it.
Eventually, the deejay arrived and performed. While she wasn’t exactly the next Steve Aoki, she had a cool Latin style to her mixing and I enjoyed the music and wished the placed turned into a dance floor, but the line was so long and stretched out across floor that it if that did happened it wouldn’t be for another two more hours when they finally cleared some space. We weren’t prepared to stay much longer and left.
As we were driving home I had a smile on my face. I thanked the universe for realigning things in our favor and giving us that experience.
Austin was a great trip and I can’t wait to do it again. 🙂
That’s it, friends. Thanks for reading my first post! Feel free to comment and tell me about your own rules when you have traveling. There are no wrong answers. Everyone is unique and that’s what makes our world pretty damn special.
Till my next adventure,