Some of you already know that I've started my traveling journey on November 4, 2016 with my first official solo trip to New Orleans (check out my first blog on that *wink*).On the brink of a total burnout of everything in my life (your girl was going through!), I was in dire need for some sort of outlet. I said to myself, "I need a vacation, I need a vacation...then, I will be refreshed and alright." Well...during my away time, I felt like I was in my element...an indescribable amount of peace and assurance filled my spirit like never before. Afterwards, I thought the feelings would shake off and I go back to my normal, but......I couldn't faze it out. I've become entranced by traveling.....the mere word gives me shivers. Yes, ice cold lol. This fascination turned from a quick trip into a possible career. Yes, A CAREER!
Now, how did I come across this conference? Well, let me tell you how 'cookies' work in technology. In my term, cookies are little trails that keep accounts of everything little thing you do online, especially what you search. Since I look up things related to travel, I will have ads on the side of the window that tells me about Expedia flight deals, Hilton Honors Rewards perks, etc. On Facebook, an ad popped up on my newsfeed for the Annual Women's Travel Fest hosted by Go! Girl Guides. Of course, I clicked it....duh lol! The fest is a travel event just for women that consists of travel tips and support from well-cultured travel vets! Not only is it a place where I would meet like-minded women (cuckoo crazy about travel!) but it was held in one of my favorite cities, NEW ORLEANS!!! Ahhh!!! Yes, I'm screaming!
I'm not going to lie...I was not sure about going there. Knowing me, I made a very, very last minute decision at 10:00 at night to leave around 3:30 A.M. to be there on time for registration at 10......I know, I'm crazy and I'm proud.
I was so inspired by all of the speakers, vendors, and my new travel sister community. There was great tips on traveling solo as a woman, building a business in travel, getting the editor's attention in travel writing, how to make money from Instagram, and so..much..more. I was like a kid in a candy store, cliche but true. I've met great speakers like Deidre Mathis (the first African American to have a hostel in the U.S. and it will be in HOUSTON!), Kelly Lewis (founder of the fest), Shannon Kaiser (international motivational coach and bestselling author), and many more. I've even connected with other travelers from all over the world....London, New York, you name it. They were there representing!
Yes....I took freebies *cheesing* and bought a book from Ms. Deidre (make sure you check out her hostel, Wanderlust, if you are in the Houston area. It should be open around summer time!).
I felt the need to share this because this is starting to become more than just a blog to share my experiences and my emotions. This is the beginning of something great and powerful in my life to fulfill my purpose in this world.
Enlightening women and men that you can achieve your dreams, only if you apply yourself and help others along the way. You can do this!
Thanks for reading, loves 🙂 Spread love and travel well.
As promised, I said that I was continuing my Austin experience with you all...and here we are. Sorry for the delay, I've been tired, lazy yet wired up all at once because of (my latest addiction) the Iced Vanilla Coffee at Chick-fil-a that I chug almost everyday til 10 p.m. *little voice whispering* Help!... Like, I do need help, but it's sooooo good! This explains why I'm typing this blog entry throughout the entire weekend, all hours of the morning. I am going to finish before 8 TODAY *fingers crossed*.
Ok, picture this: There is a warm glow from the sun filling the room to wake you from a deep slumber. You start your early morning with a brisk, peaceful hike within central Austin trails. Afterwards, you enjoy a flavorful french toast, fruit, and eggs at a local restaurant with a cool glass of freshly-made orange juice.
Sounds great right? Well....it didn't happen.
With many attempts to wake up around 5:30 for a hike, we finally woke up and left around 12 (so much for that french toast smh). This was my first trail and it was a great suggestion by my coworker, Sara (Hey, girl!). It was at Barton Creek Greenbelt or "The Greenbelt" << local term, just 15 minutes away from our AirBnB and 20 minutes away from Downtown Austin, it is literally in the heart of the city. Little fact: Barton Creek Greenbelt is considered the 7th best hiking trail in Texas (Texas Outside). OooooOooooooo. You can go climbing, swimming, walk your dog, ride a bike, or just walk and take in the beauty of nature. It's a really popular place for locals, so I suggest going early around 6-10 a.m., if you don't want to get trampled by joggers and cyclists every 30 seconds (traffic will pick up around 12, especially on weekends). I found this blog post by Jessica Pino, if you want info on all the access points and great destinations at the Greenbelt >>> http://austinot.com/austin-greenbelt-guide
To be honest, I'm glad we didn't pass out with NO FOOD in our stomach (Does sunflower seeds count as a dietary supplement???) after the almost 2 hour hike. One of my friends told me about a place called Kerbey Lane Cafe and swears great things about it....why not? I've heard great things too. Coming to one of the locations off of South Lamar, the parking lot is crazy full along with the people hanging out the door. It is 2:30 on a Saturday, not surprised. They said the wait was 30-45 minutes....hmmm, yea.....not surprised. There was favor on our side because it didn't even touch 10 minutes for our turn to be seated, yes!!! This location has a modern, cute, retro 60's diner appeal with a sit-down counter service. Again, I love nostalgic-like places! Even though I love all different types of food, I have a deep rooted love for comfort food. I ordered a sweet roasted corn chowder for my appetizer (The best I've EVER had!) and for my main, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli (my fav!). The sad thing was....there was a piece of plastic in my meatloaf, ahhhhh!!! It turned out to be the plastic from the package that the meatloaf was wrapped in before the cooking process. My waitress and the manager were really sympathetic towards the situation....like really. I didn't make a big fuss about it, I just lost my appetite *shrugs*. Again, they are the best customer service team that I've encountered in awhile. I felt nothing but sincere concern and compassion from the whole staff (and I'm not just saying that because I received a food comp *smiling hard*. I will try again soon...but not that meatloaf tho'.
After a much needed shower in that awful, dreadful shower (KILL the visuals, please!), we are getting ready for dinner with one of my coworker's cousin at this quirky, soul food spot called Lucy's On The Fly Chicken. (Hi, Danielle!) I wanted to try EVERYTHING on the menu!! Fried Gizzards, Fried Chicken Spaghetti, Chicken N' Waffle. After that quick daydream, I jumped back to this reality called "Budget City" and "What Money Do I have Now Island?". I decided to get the Deep Fried Deviled Eggs with house aioli (it had fried chicken skin!) and the Tenderlovin' Chicken Tenders (and yas, I was giving it some sweet luv lol). Great laughs, cool brisk weather, good food......we can only top this with a night of fun on 6th Street. Don't worry, no one was harmed or caused any embarrassment to themselves/others lol. It was a great last night with my friends!
I don't know why my last day always seem to be the worst one for me (and I hope that it's not a trend with ALL of my trips).
Quick Recap on some of My Bad Last Day Trips:
Paris: Possible food poisoning and dehydration
New Orleans: Missed my bus to the station and bad Greyhound experience.
Austin: The longest wait for food.....ever. Thank you Gourdough!!
Gourdough's is a food truck specializing in making extravagant burgers, sandwiches, and desserts using donuts! So of course all of us wanted to try it! It took almost 2 hours for food to get ready (and having the food come out was a different story). We sat at the bar being somewhat entertained by a drag queen show (unexpected) and a bar staff full of sarcasm, making nicknames based off my attire (Overalls). Frustrated, we cancelled our order and left the establishment.....worst of all....still hungry. We didn't care where we wanted to eat, just as long as we had something and leave Austin on time.
While my coworkers are getting Whataburger, I still had a kick for something local. Just a couple of feet away from the restaurant is an old school hamburger stand called Sandy's. It has the walk up window service, dipped chocolate ice cream cones, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, custard.....need I say more? I had a cheeseburger and fries, I'm still thinking about it! Old school good food, old school good prices = winning!
The Austin trip had its ups and downs, but it will go down as one of the best experiences of my life and I didn't do it alone. I can't wait to go back for a new adventure (yes, even try Gourdough's again)!
Austin Take Aways!
Embrace what the city offers. Explore the Hope Outdoor Art Gallery like what I did (the featured pic in my overalls lol), trails, and the live music scene.
Get that local food! The places that I've been to is just a small bit of what Austin has. Other places that I've heard are good: Micklethwait Craft Meats, Torchy's Tacos, Veracruz All Natural Food Truck, Moonshine Grill, Whip In, plus so much! Google it!
Ask locals. I say this for anywhere you go! Who knows better than the people who live in the area that you are visiting?!
Start your day early. Spread your day evenly to enjoy the scene that you're in. Enjoy an early morning stroll, have breakfast in a cozy cafe, brunch outside, an afternoon of local attractions, and so forth! Take it all in!
Well loves, until next time.....Spread love and travel well.
Leave your girl some love and feedback! If you want more advice on food, travel, or just some support on taking adventures head on...let me know! Plus, I have the notification tabs below on every post below the comment section to let you know, if you want to stay tuned on every new post!
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist….that is all.
Experiencing where you are can bring a new perspective to your world. Usually, when you decide to travel the world, you want to go far away from your surroundings. In my case, Western Europe (France, UK, Spain, etc.), China, Indonesia, Japan, and Africa. I want to create great experiences in my world travels like my 2-hour hammock resting and yoga in Bali, life as a monk in a monastery and sushi making in Japan, and so much more!
I get so caught up in all the hype, that I forget about my own backyard. Shucks, I’m ashamed of myself, the U.S. is truly beautiful and each state possess their own unique qualities.
For instance, the great Lone Star State…..my state….TEXAS! In my 27 years of life, I’ve only been to Austin ONE TIME previous to this trip. It’s only 2 hours away from Houston, buuuut I didn’t go alone. I went with my awesome coworkers from my job, which made it twice as fun! My short-term narrrow mind didn’t know that I could take such a beautiful picture of a flower tree (flower unknown to this day) on a hiking trail in central Austin………Ta-da! >>>
Eclectic Food…Live Music…Hiking…SXSW…Chill People…Cool Vibes… Austin is the total opposite of the stereotypical Texas (cowboys, horses, etc.), which is why we ‘Keep Austin Weird’.
More like half a day….didn’t get there until around 8:30 and I didn’t eat ALL DAY! First things first…BBQ. We go to the U.S. famed, award-winning The Salt Lick Barbeque, known for the All You Can Eat Ribs, Brisket and Sausage and the not-so-ordinary BBQ Sauce. It was really good, not great. Meat is one thing for me, but sides are my favorite! Unfortunately, they only have 3 sides (beans, coleslaw, and potato salad). I had the brisket and sausage plate with double potato salad and beans, I haaaaaaaate coleslaw. The sausage and the potato salad was the best thing on my plate. I prefer my meat to be a bit more cooked and smoky from the pit. The beans was the worst ever…..it was just beans on a plate. I’m telling you…onions, bell peppers….shucks, even salt and pepper can go a loooong way with those beans. Yes, I’m a palm tree, I’m shading. Besides my disappointment with the beans, the golden yellow barbeque sauce was amazing to me, the original and spicy recipe, was A1! ……No wonder why they sell it worldwide.
What made the night go even more lovely was our beloved, cozy accommodation (sarcasm included). The property is cute, quaint, and very “homey’. Now, the inside is a whole different story. (Brace yourselves, graphic descriptions. Well, for me, I remember VISUALS.) The door…..the door is rachet as heck broke. Our AirBnB host left notes and texts about the door with ways on how to open the door and lock it. Ugh. The studio can only fit 3 people in my opinion, not 5 as listed. It had a kitchenette, bathroom (open razor and soap in shower, dirty!), and a queen size bed (that broke down 3 times, which states I’m fat lol plus stains on the sheets, DIRTY!). I rate the place 2 out of 5, the 2 stars is for the property being 5 minutes from Downtown, besides that ZERO. You get my point. Notes on picking the right AirBnB: LOOK AT REVIEWS, location of the property, don’t depend heavy on pictures (pictures can be manipulated, not people), and money does weigh in with quality. If you want a 5 star, penthouse in a downtown area, be ready to spend a little more.
One thing that I fell in love with was the old school gas heater (I’m a fan of nostalgic things).
Now, since Day 2 consists plenty of info (a full day!)…..I will make a PART 2 of my time in Austin. So, stay tuned with that!!
To end this post, I leave you with a beautiful video of me ATTEMPTING to properly light a gas heater. Enjoy! …..and no one was harmed during the taping of this video.