“Why are you going to Austin?” For a city that’s become a hot spot, I’m surprised at how many times people asked me this before my Thanksgiving getaway. Almost as if going without a real purpose was not heard of. And maybe it isn’t for grad students, but alas. As soon as my Thanksgiving break started, I was on a flight to Texas.
I went AirBnB on this one, and honestly it became such a great part of our trip. If anybody out there reading this wants to find a good place to stay, I can’t recommend Brad Joe & Erin’s place highly enough. Their pups were also an excellent addition to our trip. I’ve stayed in AirBnB’s before, but I felt like this was really a home base. Perhaps it was tea or coffee every morning and evening, always with the offer for a side of conversation. Or maybe it was the suggestions that helped us maintain a semblance of balance while on the road. Amanda, are you overdosing on barbecue and Mexican food? Maybe you should take a trip to Juiceland.
Before leaving Philadelphia, I’m pretty sure I asked everybody I could think of whether or not we should rent a car. The unanimous answer seemed to be yes! So naturally, Paul and I did NOT rent a car. For Paul it was probably more the money aspect that made that decision - we just don’t usually rent cars! Heck, we barely use the car we have in Philadelphia. For me, I had alternate means of transportation on my mind. Uber/Lyft were 100% suitable for getting to and from the airport, but I like my transportation to be self-powered.
Austin does indeed have a bike share program (which you know I love), but we decided to get a little more permanent. I’ve never used long term bike rental while visiting a city, but I think I’m going to have to start. We found Streamline Cycles and got outfitted with bikes, helmets, locks, lights, maps, and a pannier. And then we cycled EVERYWHERE. As it turns out, Austin is a tad hilly! No word on whether I can legitimately classify it as “hilly” or it is something more along the lines of “Austin has more hills than Philadelphia, i.e. more than two."
Our pit stop to Whole Foods was fairly mind-blowing. I, for one, am not used to a grocery store that has bars set up inside. Nor do my grocery stores have about 50 hot food options, plus a juice and smoothie bar. Paul was not really into visiting a grocery store on our trip, but we made a plan to stop here for lunch to give ourselves another barbecue break. So we just grabbed a sandwich to split and a cannoli. Both of us agreed that 20 minutes in Whole Foods was enough, so we took that to go.
After putzing around town a bit more, we landed at Zilker park for a nice little picnic. And then we ended up staying there for a couple of hours. There were people everywhere. Soccer games were getting intense behind us. Kids everywhere were spinning around until they fell down with not a care in the world (is there something in the water?). And the dogs. Oh, the dogs. Now, Philadelphia has a dog park that I frequent. But it will never ever compare to just relaxing in this park. Dogs ran around everywhere. They came up and said hi to us. They played with each other like they were the best friends in the whole wide world.
It was mesmerizing.
A lot of trips recently have been tinged with “could I move here one day?” I’ve got a list of cities that I want to feel out before I add to the list, a list that contains cities such as Chicago (cold, who am I?) and San Francisco. I won’t be the first (or second) to admit it, but sometimes I can get let a bit of analysis paralysis and it effects my trip ever so slightly.
Not so with Austin.
Perhaps I should stop obsessively thinking, “could I live in this city?” and instead ATTEMPT to live in said city. Therein lies my sought-after definition of slow travel. A cozy home, cycling, and obsessing about dogs in parks. This sounds eerily close to my life in Philadelphia. But somehow, it feels a whole lot different. This, I discovered, is why I went to Austin.
But Paul will definitely tell you he went for the food. Stay tuned.
- Have you ever just felt so at home somewhere? What about that destination or trip helped you feel this way?
Want to stay at this AirBnB? The link to their listing again is HERE! If it’s your first time traveling with AirBnB, you can sign up with this link and we’ll both get $20 credit. And you can use it anywhere, not just Austin. Find your own home away from home!