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My daily drive home. It's actually terrible.

My daily drive home. It’s actually terrible.

Today marks the last day of January, and uhh…where did the month go? On my ’24 things I want to do before I turn 24′ list, I said I would write 2 blog posts per month and I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, very doable. I write content on a daily basis.” Sike. It’s the end of the month and I’ve written one blog post, and that one was a given considering I write a “birthday post” every year. As I frantically type to make my quota for the month, let me see if I can provide some purpose…

This month has been a whirlwind. There are days that I vividly remember due to the severity of the situation; and there are other days where I’m at a lost.

Work has been a major learning curve and adjustment for me, to say the least. When I say “due to severity,” I meant that in the sense that I have been having major anxiety issues at work. So much anxiety that it has poured into my personal life. I won’t go too much into it, but I’m learning, trying, and adjusting. First job problems, right? On a lighter note, the company I work for moved into a new, larger office space and I’m super stoked. Maybe the level of my anxiety will balance because we have more space and a patio, let’s feel optimistic (because I’ve seemed to have lost some of that too..)!

Going back to Austin (twice) was a blessing and a curse. It’s like putting salt on a wound. It’s like seeing an ex that you’re still not over. It’s like finally finding French Toast Crunch to learn that General Mills will be discontinuing it yet again (don’t worry, this has not happened..). I’m trying to convey the pain, frustration, and sadness I feel toward not being in Austin. …It’s pretty bad. To my friends and colleagues who still reside there, relish in it…and never leave if you don’t have to. Also, thank you for housing me when I visit, I owe you loads of tacos.

Why do Austin skies always look like Bob Ross painted them?

Why do Austin skies always look like Bob Ross painted them?

So basically that’s it. Work, Austin, and then work again. Everyone has their escape right? Mine happens to be my second home, best city in the world, Austin, TX. The feels are real, you guys.

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I sit here tapping on my phone screen as my friends wade in the pool in front of me. We have a few more hours until it’s time to hop onto another plane and travel back to BKK.

Yep, I’m in Thailand and I have some idea of how I got here. Mostly whimsy, and some of “I’ll-never-get-this-chance-again.” What I’ve learned is that you learn along the way, and how you spend your money is really up to you (more on that later when I have a proper computer). I wanted to write a bit to check in with you guys…so that you guys know that I’m alive and getting by, ha! Thailand has been beyond what I’ve expected, and I have so much to say about it. It’s a big* country. I will always remember Anthony Bourdain saying that travel changes you, and international travel changes you in a big way. Maybe I’m taking too much in, maybe I’m not taking in enough. Regardless, there is a missing for home and a hunger for more. What I realize is that it never ends. My thirst for travel grows more, my nostalgia for home and friends is never-ending, and my budget gets smaller and smaller. Luckily in Thailand, if you know the right places, you ask the right questions- you’ll be okay. I think. This is more than I planned on writing, but I’m a writer by nature.

Here’s the baseline of it all: Thailand, same same, but different.

Until next time when wi-fi is free,
Thu

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haymaker austin texas

Day-drinking @ Haymaker with the bestie

I’m going to say it: I do Austin day trips pretty well. I’ve only taken one, but…
If there was an award for “Best Austin Day Tripper,” I’m 100% a nominee.
I lived in Austin for 4 years and if I learned anything: Austin knows how to do Austin best.

If I were to write in an application that further detailed my day trip, it would go something like this:

Day-Tripping in Austin, TX 101:

  1. Head to Pieous for lunch. You’ll never go wrong with a pizza and a plate-sized cookie. Why am I even telling you guys, this place is the best and I don’t want it to get huge and have to wait 3 hours for bbq–I mean pizza. No, I’m okay with sharing this gem with you guys because I want other people to support them like I do.
  2. Go down 2nd St. District for a specific shopping mission. Don’t go to dilly-dally, that’s dumb. Our shopping mission? Flash Tattoos. I planted the seed for the tattoos and before we knew it, we weren’t going to walk away until we found some. We went to Luxe, Hemline, Langford Market, UO, Toy Joy– we came up empty, but we made a commitment and were going to stick to it. Finally, we found some at maya* (bless maya*).
    Sidebar: by this time, I was DYING at the fact at how much I missed this dumb city.
  3. Get caffeinated with LOCAL coffee. You can’t miss this opportunity and if you go to a Starbucks, you’re going to have to give me a damn good reason as to why you went. Caroline is a Starbucks Gold Member…and I made her go local. This time, we headed to Jo’s on 2nd St. because we were in the neighborhood.
    Fact: They now roast Stumptown (and not Cuvée *tear* both are great roasters though)!
  4. Day-drink. Since it was a Tuesday, Haymaker had $3 Texas Pints and Texas Liquor. This included ABW Pearlsnap and I was a happy girl. More missing, more nostalgia, more pints. Haymaker is in a good neighborhood, has a good crew, and good design.
  5. Go to a show…we are the World’s Music Capital after all. This time around, I didn’t come for a music show. I came for the No Filter Show ft. Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, & Grace Helbig (+ Chester See). If you don’t watch YouTube, you’re missing out. If you do, well…bless you. It was a fantastic show. If you have an inkling to go, take your YT-watching best friend and go.
  6. NEXT MORNING: Have breakfast. At Cherrywood Coffeehouse. Breakfast is the best and spending time with friends is cool too. Cherrywood Coffeehouse allows you to have both.

And there you have it, my day in Austin. Holy guacamole, I’ve missed this place. I had to blog about it, because who knows when I’ll be back? (Spoiler alert: next week and hopefully forever [again].)

Now that I’ve told you all my secrets, the least you could do is Follow me on this blog, right? Share your favorite place in your city? This is my call-to-action, I’m not very good at it. BUT WORKING ON IT.

 

#NoFilterShow, get yourselves educated.

#NoFilterShow, get yourselves educated. They are my heroes.

marfa big bend day 5

Day 5
Destination: Marfa, then Big Bend
Mileage: ~98 miles
Time: ~2 hours
Temperature: 60/95F (Low/High)
*Prepare for wind. This is not an understatement.*

How could I possibly describe Marfa and Big Bend together? They were two completely contrast places. One had electrical outlets and Wi-Fi at the palm of your hand, the other had Mexican Black Bears and mountain lions. Well, I guess I can start off with the morning in Marfa.

Morning in Marfa means…

  • Free coffee in the lobby of El Cosmico, stock up your body.
  • Electrical outlets and Wi-Fi. So, Instagram and charge all of your shit.
  • Taking a shower. Maybe do this first before coffee or whatever, it’s your life.
  • Packing up and timing yourself. We started timing ourselves breaking down and setting up our tent to see our progress. Camping makes you do crazy things like time yourself setting up a tent. It took us 10 minutes to break down on this day.
  • Having breakfast at Squeeze Marfa. Every out-of-towner will be there as well.
  • Going to the Chinati Foundation. If you have the time, do the tour because without the tour…you don’t get to see much. My favorite was the camera obscura though, it was at the Marfa Ice Plant. The installation was called 100 North Nevill Street. It was REALLY COOL. Art can be cool.
Breaking rules in Marfa, TX

Making Hannah break rules in Marfa, TX for the sake of (my) art

Glamp Curry, The Window, & Shiner Ruby Red

Glamp Curry, The Window, & Shiner Ruby Red

Afternoon in Big Bend means…

  • Paying an entrance fee at the front of the entrance and driving to Chisos Basin Campground and paying a campsite fee.
  • Discovering that your neighbor is a classical guitarist.
  • Finding another Prius, finally!!! And of course he brought his bike.
  • Chatting with Reggie, our National Park ranger, who definitely told us to take out our camera phone if we saw a bear. My homie.
  • Cooking curry for dinner because that’s glamp.
  • Hiking the Non-GMO Window Trail to “The Window” and guessing how far the drop-off could be. PRO Tip: It took us less than 2 hours and we suggest going at around 6:30pm if you don’t want the sun to hit you.
  • PRO PRO Tip: Have a cold beer and/or chocolate waiting for you back at your campsite. After a hike, it’s the best reward.
  • Preparing (but not enough) for a night in Big Bend Chisos Basin Campground.

fort davis and marfa

Day 4
Destination: Fort Davis, then Marfa
Mileage: ~195 miles + ~36 miles
Time: ~3 hours + ~.75 hours
Temperature: 60/94 (Low/High)

[This isn’t like the other posts, not many PROTips to give except to go to McDonald Observatory!]

We woke up that morning in El Paso struggling to leave. It felt homey, there was coffee ready for us, and Whataburger was comfortably around the corner. We kind of liked El Paso, but when we started driving into Davis Mountains, I was like, “El—what?” The Davis Mountains are beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I was playing Bon Iver in the car (obviously). Located in the Davis Mountains? The McDonald Observatory.

mcdonald_collage

And…I didn’t tell Hannah that it was actually The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, but she stood in awe of the massive telescopes (that were founded by some Longhorn and Penn State alum). [ICYMI: Hannah is actually a current Aggie. Why? Idk.]

These observatories are really impressive, and I wish that we could have gone through the [2-hour tour] that let you see the facilities. We did the self-guided tour, watched the crazy, cheesey outdated videos and wandered around where we were allowed. No burnt orange shirt or gear could make me feel more proud of the school I graduated from than this observatory. It might be more inspiring than the Tower!

Another-Me wondered if I should have studied aerospace engineering so that I could have access to resources like this…and then I reminded myself of all of the theories that my brain can’t grasp. I like stars, but I’m better with people. Another life, maybe.

davis_crop

After playing outside of the Davis Mountains and “star-gazing,” it was time to go to Marfa, and I didn’t know what to expect. You hear so much stuff about Marfa and you know what? Whatever you hear, it’s nothing compared to when you’re actually there. It’s Bizarro World.
Our people-watching list goes a little something like this:

  • A boy with a pinwheel hat
  • The mom-crew that wore tutu’s
  • Jess and Ashley as we affectionately called them- the girls who rented separate trailers and have probably never been camping
  • The bachelor party crew
  • The retired crew who came for Marfa lights
  • The very real vagabonds
  • The hipsters (of course)
  • The couple who probably share the same wardrobe and wore socks and sandals
  • The lone artist man
  • The longhorns ( I saw a ton of people who were repping UT. Figures.)
  • Us

The Get Go Grocery in Marfa is cool, and I think the only grocery store around (?). It felt like Quickie Pickie in Austin sans a restaurant part and beer-on-tap (something I miss very much). That night, we grabbed a pack of Shiner Ruby Redbird, some chips & salsa, and headed back to camp. A campnight in Marfa seemed pretty tame… a ‘wild’ tabby cat to greet us in the next morning.

Our humble 'Bode

Our humble ‘Bode. Glamp.

el paso west texas notes

Day 3
Destination: El Paso
Mileage: ~110 miles
Time: ~1.5 hours
Temperature: 70/95F (Low/High)

So after two nights of camping, we drove right into our first AirBnB experience.
It’s not because we were tired of camping, and as I type this, I actually miss it (a lot). We didn’t know where we could camp in El Paso…and we really wanted to try AirBnB. It seemed pretty timely as they just relaunched their brand and website. Here are a few notes:

Notes about El Paso:

  • It’s stress city. It’s not, but the roads are KIND of stressful. There is a bunch of construction/expansion, GoogleMaps wasn’t updated and it just took us in circles.
  • Montana Ave. is the equivalent of FM 1960/Hwy 6. Multiple lanes, a median, and cars racing in both directions. Hannah and I were really stressed out getting into El Paso. Mostly Hannah, bless her.
  • Most important note: Go to a Chihuahua Minor League Baseball game. It was the most fun baseball game I had ever been to. Maybe it was because their mascot is named “Chico,” or I was just delirious. But it was a lot of fun, and I don’t even like baseball.
  • We went through border patrol. Because well, we were real close to the border.

el paso chihuahua

Notes about AirBnb:

  • I loved it! My first AirBnb experience couldn’t have been better. Our hosts were so, so accommodating, knowledgeable, and friendly. I loved them the minute we met them.
  • It’s easy. I booked from my car the day before we were going to arrive in El Paso, and it was reasonably priced.
  • I felt at home. Maybe it was because any home-esque environment made me feel like home at that point, but I think it was most definitely because of our hosts. I can’t rave about them enough. THEY HAD COFFEE SET OUT IN THE MORNING. Bless you guys, Jonathan and Martin.

AirBnB edit.jpg

If you would like to opt-out, you may do so now because I’m going to commentate on this day as it was the most stressful day of our trip. Getting lost without a notion of the right direction- it puts a lot of pressure, and tests your relationship with whoever you’re with. Are you going to keep it together? Lose it? Go off on each other? This is when you find out.

I remember that I was frustrated. I wanted to resolve this sense of “lost” immediately and alleviate the stress that Hannah was already feeling. GoogleMaps was a piece of crap, and I wished that geography class taught us more about reading maps. What did I draw from this? Find a paper map, because GoogleMaps is not always reliable. Also, bless that this moment wasn’t fatal to our friendship. I knew it was coming, SOMETHING always happens during a road trip that could make it or break it. We made it.

Soooooo within all of that, we had a bit of car trouble. This was resolved (sort of) with the help of our AirBnb hosts and a lovely mechanic with the name Orvil. Despite the stress and realization of how far from home we really were- the people we came across this day were the cream-of-the-crop, great people.

Lucky maybe, but mostly #blessed.

day 2 guadalupe mountains national Day 2
Destination: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Mileage: ~145 miles
Time: ~3 hours
Temperature: 60/99F (Low/High)
*Stopped in Pecos for water/gas/Walmart

Here’s a disclaimer: I’ve been writing these out of order, so there isn’t that much consistency. Yay me!

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I’ve been thinking about it, and I think maybe Guadalupe Mountains National Park was my favorite place on this trip. It was really beautiful, especially the morning. I saw a snake on my way to the bathroom, which wasn’t so beautiful but at least he was chill. I had a great sleep that night, and the view in the morning was the best. I don’t know, every place was different but I definitely want to come back here.

Look. At. This. View.

labeled_guad.jpg

Sidebar: Pecos is kind of the worst, BUT they have Walmart and it’s the closest city (in Texas) that has things you may need. They also have Dairy Queen, but obviously nothing matches Whataburger.

Some Tidbits and PROTips for Guadalupe Mtns. National Park:

  • El Capitan looks awesome. I want to come back and hike the full trail, we only did maybe a third of it?
  • The campgrounds are pretty posh. Numbered and each place has their own area. Tent site #14 was our’s and it was the best spot. There aren’t any showers though so…
  • Check your bathroom amenities. So on the note of bathrooms, check them! Meaning…check if they have showers, we didn’t know and we walked back and forth to each restroom to find out that we didn’t have showers.
  • There are big black raven/hawk-like looking birds. Just saying.
  • Smith Spring Trail is totally worth it!! There is a spring despite how bleak and dry it looks!!
  • If no one has told you, they should have: keep your food in your car. Let’s not attract bears to the campsite, capiche?
smith trail thu texas

Smith Spring Trail