We Toured the Shit Out of Austin, Texas

imageMy New York nephew and I decided to meet somewhere we hadn’t been before, at the halfway point between our coastal homes. We went for the logical choice of Austin, Texas.

I brought my laptop with the intention of writing about an hour a night when we’d get back to the room. But we stayed out late at Comedy Shows (Improv, Stand-up AND Open mic!) or Drag Queen Sing-offs and Voodoo Donuts. By the time we pulled into the Under Construction Motel 6 parking lot, I wasn’t about to concentrate on writing. But I was always thankful that my computer was still safe in our ground-floor end-unit room with a loose door handle while we had been gone 14 hours.

Austin’s “Keep Austin Weird” movement reminded me of the “Keep Leucadia Funky” bumper stickers and t-shirts in my town. We both want to be unique cities with an active, involved community. We want fewer chain stores and more DIY garden parties, board game nights and flag football for adults.

imageAustin made it easy to get on board with their events: they advertised in the free paper. I was an easy sell because the events were often free or cheap and I was on the accommodating schedule of a vacationer. Your show starts at 8? I’ll be there at 7:30 for a good seat and a pre-show drink (mango smoothie, thank you cute barista.)

At home I get into the trap of what I “should” be doing. The 11 tabs open on my computer pester me until I ignore them completely and open Netflix in a new window.

When I’m not traveling, I tend to waste time. Traveling hours get squandered but they never feel wasted. For example, at home I wouldn’t drive slowly down a tree-lined street just to see how people stylize their houses. But I sure did enjoy the edges of Austin and the nook & cranny apartments a few blocks from the density of streetlights. At home I would never stay until the bitter end of an open mic just because “the next guy might be good,” because I have too many errands to do or webpages to investigate. But on vacation I enjoyed watching people hone their craft and try to create something unique. I had nowhere else to be so I could enjoy being right there, cross-legged on a bar stool for 2 hours.

Traveling reminds us how rewarding it is to be curious about our surroundings and to make all our waking hours count for something.image

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