Howdy! If you’ve been following me on instagram, then you know I just got back from Austin, Texas earlier this week. Overall I had a really great time on this trip! Unfortunately on the second day my wallet was stolen! When I realized what had happened my stomach dropped and stress overwhelmed me for a bit.
But in the end it worked out, and I even grew a little bit from the experience. I know something like that can usually ruin your trip and damper your mood, but I found that everyone around me really rallied to help out. Their support and kindness made me fall in love with the city just that much more. And I promise to post more about it another time, but for now, let’s move onto the cactus & queso!
For Austin, I decided to take the trip solo. Earlier this year I posted about what it meant to travel alone, and how it can push you through some difficult times and nurture your spirit to blossom. Well I think this trip did just that. At the beginning I wanted to invite other friends and loved ones, but when everyone backed out, I decided I had to go anyway.
So when I was booking a place, I chose to rent a single room of an Airbnb listing, so I could meet local Austin-ites. I happened to find a great group of creative roommates who were renting out extra rooms, which was a great way to go. My hostess, Sarah helped me navigate Austin and feel right at home (even when my wallet disappeared). She is also a super-talented photographer and we talked a while about freelancing, creative life, and basically things that nourished my soul.
My Airbnb was in East Austin, which is a newly semi-gentrified neighborhood that still has some growing to do. There’s plenty of the original culture that makes the area feel authentic. But with a growing number of artists and creatives migrating there, it’s evolving into quite a unique little community.
Ok, the queso y’all. Austin definitely excels at any food that revolves around tacos, queso, or salsas. After I dropped off my luggage I hopped over to Torchy’s Tacos for a quick lunch and… wow! I had a fried avocado taco and it totally changed how I see tacos. It was creamy and crunchy, served with flavorful refried beans and pico. And their sauces?! Amazing. Seriously.
Oh, also make sure you get the queso.
Besides Torchy’s, Easy Tiger was also one of my favorite spots I tried out. A bake shop & beer garden, it peaked my interest. It’s such a great spot off of 6th St, since there’s plenty of sausage, mustards, pretzels, and beer to choose from.
Walk right in and head downstairs where you’ll find plenty of great community style tables or a bar top to choose from. I walked in by myself and was shortly adopted by a community of Austin techies on their lunch break who were in a chipper mood despite all the rain. I would love to come back and really spend a night sitting on the patio with a bunch of friends.
While in Austin, I also made sure to check out South Congress for some shopping and exploring. The street was a very cute area full of quirky shops and unique places. It’s a continuous road of boutiques, so it’s perfect to pick up a cup of coffee and walk around. There’s a mix of vintage thrift stores, antique oddities, modern western ware, and touristy trinkets.
My favorite place had to be Uncommon Objects. While most antique stores are a mish-mash of items and genres, Uncommon Objects has a very clear picture of what kind of items they collect. Everything from vintage matchbooks to metal french cafe signs, there’s a little bit of everything – but all with the same sense of aesthetic. I love that they break up areas of the stores into genres of era and style. I could’ve spent an entire day exploring there.
Plus, I almost bought that ‘terms cash’ sign.
Austin was a strange and beautiful trip. I’m usually the put-together, independent, responsible party, so when my wallet was stolen and I was forced to depend on others completely, you could say I was outside my comfort zone. I found it both very challenging and really good for me as a person. Not only did my friends in town rise to the occasion and make sure I had a great time, but my Airbnb hostess also reached out and showed me such kindness and consideration.
Her small gesture opened up the door to a conversation which led to mutual creative dreaming. We talked about the far-flung travel of our pasts, the winding road of life, and the current struggles and dilemmas of creative entrepreneurship. It was one of my favorite days – and probably would’ve never happened had I not lost my wallet.
While the trip started as an unsure step into the unknown, took a sharp turn for the worse, it still ended with a feeling of peace. At the end, I left Austin feeling lighter, more centered, and creatively inspired to pursue my bigger dreams.
Not too bad if you ask me.