Austin Cityscape from the river

Keep Austin Weird: 10 Unique Things to Do in Austin, TX

Austin’s famous unofficial motto is Keep Austin Weird. Established by local businesses, it’s an effort to encourage individuals to buy from Austin-run businesses and grow the local economy. BFF hates it and dislikes when she inadvertently (inevitably) describes something in Austin as weird. I kind of love it, however. To me, it embraces that which makes businesses exist there and not elsewhere and experiences you can only have in Austin. But it also expands beyond the businesses to the people themselves. Austin welcomes that which makes us unique as humans. And that’s pretty cool.

With BFF and family living in Texas, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Austin. During my summer of travel, I got to experience a month of Keep Austin Weird and break away from the traditional tourist items on lists on this topic. Everyone knows about the Museum of Weird or the Cathedral of Junk. I wanted to find things a bit more “local” that might not be on lists as frequently. So here are my 10 recommendations for distinctive, Austin activities. Continue reading

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Woman crouching to take pictures of flowers

Ireland, we have a problem out here…

There’s no way to talk about the rest of the summer without talking about a not-so-slight hitch that occurred the first Friday night of my trip. And that requires some background, so bare with me.

3 years ago, I graduated from my master’s program jobless, recovering from a stalker ex-boyfriend, and completely unsure what my next steps should be. I knew that in a few months when my apartment lease was up if I didn’t have a job the smartest choice was to move back to CA and live with my mom to avoid a rent I couldn’t afford. But while I love CA, I also love DC and so I kept searching for something that would reasonably keep me there. And as I tried to figure out that part of my life, I knew I had to get over the fear my ex had put in me. So I went on a few dates because I figured the chances were high I’d move across country and therefore I didn’t have to fully make myself vulnerable because I don’t think long distance relationships can work.

And then I met a guy who changed that. Continue reading

The Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Ireland Week One: I brought the sun!

Landed in Dublin mid-morning on Sunday. I actually had great flights. The middle seat on both the flight from SF to London and London to Dublin was empty. Huzzah! I managed to nap a bit on the long flight, but the real trick to beating jet lag is to STAY HYDRATED. Every time the flight attendants come by with water, have a glass.

My sibling, Tall One, picked me up from the airport (so nice) and after dropping my super duper heavy suitcase off at the apartment, we had a lovely brunch at Angelina’s. I was skeptical about the quality of avocados being from CA and so far from where they’re grown, but I ordered an avocado toast and was most certainly not disappointed. Continue reading

Empty chairs at an airport with a plane in the background

Let the Adventure Begin…

My parents instilled a sense of wanderlust in me (and my sibling) at a young age. I was barely 6 months old when I traveled to a different state by plane – Hawai’i – and I was 7 by the time I traveled to Europe for the first time.

So I’m always up for a travel adventure. I enjoy skipping about different cities and countries, some times in style, sometimes not. Exploring the touristy options as well as finding fun spots off the beaten track thrills me. Recently, I kept seeing advertisements for Remote Year on Facebook and thought how cool it would be. A year might be a little much (my work does host a huge conference, after all), but the idea of spending months working remotely and staying in places long enough to feel like you lived there sounded like a dream.
Continue reading