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Entries in Texas (11)


Trust Me, I Know How to Party

As seniors in high school, most school’s allow what is called a Senior Skip Day: a day when all seniors have an excused absence from school where they can spend time together at the park, a local museum, volunteering in the local community or – as most of us did – day drinking. For my senior class, our planned excursion was pretty easy to put together. Claiming at least partial ownership of an entire...

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The 19 Hours I Don’t Remember in Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas. I'd only been here a couple times - a few times as a drive through with an ex-boyfriend who has a ranch near here and once as a weekend trip with Natalie to visit her parents ranch just outside of town. All of those trips were spent ranching, and not in the town, so I was excited to get to see actual Fredericksburg. We set our timing perfect and Schmennifer and I showed up at the church about 10 minutes before...

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Crashing a Frat Formal in Fort Worth, Texas

I realized that since I haven't been doing much traveling lately, I haven't had many, well... travel posts. I've had posts about New York, sure, but I practically LIVE in New York. I have a (semi) apartment (situation), I have a job, I have friends who I go out to normal non-traveler bars with. It doesn't really feel like a travel situation. I've moved my blog a lot towards Travel Tips and a lot away from Travelogue. However, this past...

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Nothing like sunset at Oasis

Click Here to see pictures from this trip!Location: Austin, TX

I guess I really needed the sleep... Passed out hard at John's last night after Little Woodrow's. Didn't have much time to sleep in today, had to get up bright and early to get Jeff to the office for some meetings and whatnot.

Work has been slow and choppy today. I'm all over the place, which I hate and would much rather just be working on one or two things, but alas, this is how it usually goes. We did get to go to Madam Ma'ams for lunch today which was GLORIOUS!! Mike wanted Thai, so I suggested we make the extra half mile or so trek down to the main drag rather than go to the Thai place up on like 35th and Guad (yuck!).

After work, Jeff and I headed out to Mark's to go pick up David who was just sitting around watching ESPN as it turned out. Shortly after, Mark got home and we all piled in the truck and decided to take a little scenic drive. Mark lives down near 2222 and 360 and so we drove out down 2222 then up 620 pointing out great landmarks like Steiner Ranch, the Lake Travis Dam, some Dungeons and Dragon house and then this sweet little gated community Mark somehow knew the code to (I don't ask questions). We ended our city tour at the Oasis for a little sunset dinner... or sunset appetizers and drinks, I should say. We spent a good amount of time reminiscing and sipping on brew while discussing the big plans we had for the weekend. Of which we had a lot :)

After Oasis, we dropped Mark and Dave back at Mark's house, since Mark had to be up early in the morning they weren't up for a big night out. Jeff and I headed for Cain & Abels to grab another beer and plot our sleeping arrangements (which had yet to be determined). With the courage of a couple of beers, I texted pretty much everyone I knew in Austin to hit them up for a couch to crash on, and after admitting defeat finally, we went back to John's. I didn't want to overcrowd because the whole famdam was supposed to get in town the next day, but we had no other options unfortunately.


Now playing: Switchfoot - This is Your Life
via FoxyTunes


Hit the border by the morning, let Texas fill my soul...

Click Here to see pictures from this trip!Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Last night was a VERY long night of nothingness.   We drove all the way across California, Arizona and New Mexico before the sun came up and there was NOT a lot going on.  However, as I am speeding along at approximately 95 mph on the beautiful Interstate 10 and blissfully singing along to a mellow tune on my Sirius, I am suddenly BLASTED by a series of blinding flashing of light.  Speed cameras.

I'm telling you, those things are NOT safe.  I screamed... Jeff thought we were being abducted by alients (thought crossed my mind as well) and John was convinced we were being shot or missiled.  No matter what was actually going on, the three of us sprial into a panic of death and it takes about 5 minutes before my heart stopped pounding.  I literally almost ran us off the road.  Disaster.

After the near death experience, we basically lull back into our daze until the sun started to come up just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico.  It was a beautiful sunrise, and we pulled over in a small town just in time to watch it come over the Organ Mountains.  And in true mobile worker fashion, as soon as the sun came up, Jeff and my radar went off.  Realizing my e-mail hadn't sent to Greg the night before, I scrambled to find wifi in Messina (which is an adorable little historic adobe town just outside of Las Cruces).  We ended up bootlegging from some guys house while sitting in our car in the driveway.  Not creepy at all. But we got the job done and it was off to Texas.

El Paso/Juarez was beautiful in a sort of urban destruction, political invasion kind of way.  I was so amazed to see that while driving down I-10 for a stretch, we were literally the closest thing to Mexico besides a fence and a river.  And even more astonishing than that was the incredible contrast between the US and Mexico that was just as clear as a line in the sand.  Even the air was being discriminated against.  You could see a physical cloud of nasty hovering over Juarez while El Paso looked relatively fresh.  We didn't spend much time, just a quick drive-through and continued on for the long haul through West Texas.  About 30 minutes outside El Paso, I get pulled over.  The cop (who was very cute, btw) asks me for my information, tells me I was going over the speed limit and when I ask how much faster, he just winks and says "faster."  That's never a good sign!! But I escape with a warning encouraged with a little flirting and we continue on our trek. 

West Texas was... West Texas.  The same thing for about 10 hours.  It really wasn't too bad.  There was a lot to look at.  Lots of fields, oil rigs, strange rocks, small towns and strange people on the road.  It was actually quite entertaining.  The only thing i was disappointed about was that I spent a good 20 minutes looking for the darn football stadium when we were in Odessa and nothing.  Couldn't find it.  After passing about a million more oil rigs and a million more wind turbines, we arrive at DFW airport to drop John off. 

After parting ways and wishing him luck on his attempt to get to Chicago, we turn southbound 35 and head on down the road (sorry, I couldn't help it). It was amazing how quickly this drive went by.  Pulling up and seeing the Austin City Lights was just like I remembered it and I am so excited to be here.  As soon as we got into town, we headed straight to John's to pick him up and grab a bite a Kerby Lane (queso, pancakes and beer - gotta love this place) before making another pit stop at Little Woodrow's (just ONE more beer) and heading back over to John's to pass out.

I'm actually not that tired, although I'm sure as soon as my head hits the pillow, i will be out.  Tomorrow will be fun, I'm excited to see the new digs at the Austin office and to get some actual solid work time in before things REALLY get crazy!


Now playing: Simon & Garfunkel - America
via FoxyTunes


Here I go again

Location: Austin, TX, USA

Well, I have officially planned my first trip!! I guess I didn't really do much of the planning, per say, but I am going to participate. Some of the girls have decided to do a final Spring Break trip to Destin, which should be great fun!!

Things have definitely gotten quieter. The newness of my return has worn off and things are going back to normal. I have deadlines at work, advice to give my new VPF Audrey :) and lots of missed time to catch up on with the friends. Valentine's Day was my first single Valentine's day, I think since I was about 13... but it was definitely a nice change of scenery. Girlfriends, a good bottle of wine and a sappy chick flick at the movie theater were definitely a good fix for a lonely heart. We also had Theta's TwinStar last weekend which was SOO much fun. Mr. Rossman came with me and was the best date I could ask for. We had such a great time!!

So we leave for Destin on the 14th. We're going to do a little Roadtrip with a stop in Houston to hang out w/ Emily's fam. So far it's me, Jennifer, Emily, Laura and Catie. Should be a fun crowd for SURE!!


Now playing: Goo Goo Dolls - Acoustic # 3
via FoxyTunes


Lessons Learned

Location: Austin, TX, USA

Wow, adjustments are crazy, to say the least. I said I would take some time to do a wrap up of the Eurotrip... a series of lessons learned plus some sharing from my personal journal I carried with me while I was there. This post is officially dedicated to Jonathan Locklin (the king of lessons learned). So... here you go :)

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compaire to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (the quote Jen wrote on the inside cover of my beautiful leather carpe diem journal that never left my side while I was traveling).

Things I have realized:

  • 2.5 months is a REALLY long time (12/17)
  • Even though I feel like I have planned this trip perfectly, I am going to get lost, I am going to miss a plane/train/bus at some point.
  • I am all alone.... literally.... alone
  • Pictures will never by able to capture what my eyes are seeing; goes back to the whole idea of taking pictures with your eyes. "Today I finally overcame, trying to fit the world inside a picture frame, maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to lose my way with words." - John Mayer
  • It gets really dark REALLY freaking early up here!! (duh abbey... it's called latitude)
  • The upper deck on busses and trains (and I bet planes too!! note to self - ride on a double decker plane on the top deck) are WAY better
  • Free bathrooms were a really nice thing to have...
  • One good thing about looking like a homeless person is that real homeless people don't bother you for change (12/18)
  • Keeping busy wards off loneliness (12/19)
  • I am moving to Ireland
  • I am an artist
  • Traveling in large groups on trains during the holidays is a BAD idea (12/23)
  • Do NOT ask a foreign taxi driver if 15Euro is enough to get your to your hotel, because that's exactly how much it will cost you when you get there... even if it is only 3 blocks away (12/27)
  • Always know how to get to your hostel from the train station before you get there
  • Prayers of thanks are my favorite. They make me realize how much I really do have to be thankful for (12/29)
  • Everything looks more beautiful when the sun is below 30degrees on the horizon; especially in the morning (and especially in Ireland) (1/2)
  • Before coming back to a country, I should try to learn the language
  • I know WAY more Spanish than I thought I did!! (1/3)
  • Africa is scary... WAY scary (1/14)
  • The stamp in my passport to Tangier was totally worth the scariness and the 50euro
  • I am so lucky to be American
  • Hot chocolate is amazing
  • Beginners luck does run out eventually (1/15)
  • I should always be nice to people who don't speak English and at least try and smile
  • I love Ireland... (1/16)
  • No matter how much I want it to, no person will ever be able to make me feel the way that music does (1/19)
  • I thought that after being in Europe for a month I would learn to be more independent, but I still haven't managed to figure out how (1/24)
  • Everything is more fun w/ masks on (1/26)
  • The sun shines differently in Italy
  • I love Italy
  • Just because Swiss guards with machine guns board your train car and demand your passport, does not necessarily mean you are in trouble (1/28)
  • Not everyone wants something from you (2/1)
  • I am never really alone
  • Nature is amazing
  • Passing judgement is usually pointless, sometimes harmless but always thoughtless
My final "Thing's I've realized" is that "I believe I am addicted to travel." Well, great. One more thing to add to the list of things I like :)

Life Lessons Learned from "Eat Pray Love"
So... Right before I left, Natalie gave me the book "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm telling you, this book was 90% of the reason I got through the first week. She is an incredible writer and I am forever grateful for her solid advice and incredible personal insight.

  • "I was speaking to the creator of the universe as though we'd just been introduced at a cocktail party. But we work with what we know in this life and these are the words I always use at the beginning of a relationship. In fact, it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work'"
  • "I am the planet's most affectionate life form (something like a cross between a golden retreiver and a barnacle"
  • It's ok to ask for things when you pray... Petition the universe
  • "I'm bad (or rather, lazy) at researching a place before I travel, tending just to show up and see what happens. When you travel this way, what typically happens is that you spend a lot of time standing in the middle of the train station feeling confused." Oh man... so true.
  • "Dio i l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle"
  • "That's the thing about human life - there's no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if nay variables had been changed."
  • I wrote in my journal, "I need to start talking to myself on paper" - to which I wrote in reply to myself... "who are you telling that?" Haha...
  • "We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege."
  • "When he's really tired, he'll sigh and say, "Maybe 85 today," but when he's feeling more upbeat he'll say, "I think I'm 60 today!" Perhaps this is as good a way of estimating age as any - how old do you feel? What else matters, really?" - I'm 22... no really... I am
  • "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it."
Things that made me happy today
This was my favorite part of my journal to fill out every day.

Hitting my internal snooze button at 7 AM -- The ocean -- That zebra rock on the beach -- Not carrying my backpack -- Gaelic -- Hanoverians -- Ok fine, all horses -- Freedom -- Silence -- the beauty of what I do not know -- Something as old as golf was born somewhere; it began -- Nerdy boys -- Large scale French paintings -- Music -- Children who speak French -- having an entire train compartment to myself -- Cute English couples -- Sun rises -- Cold sheets -- Crepes -- Ok... desert in general -- naps -- English -- Water -- Africa -- Ponies -- Soraya -- kisses -- Warm showers -- Orange trees -- The windmill on the hill -- galloping, like REALLY galloping -- the beach -- Spanish techno -- wobbly chocolates -- Tuna sandwiches -- my boots -- safety -- Toilet paper -- Religious freedom -- the medeterranean Sea -- Looking at Europe from Africa -- Hibiscus Mint Tea -- Sunrises -- Cafe con leche in a MUG -- Irish accents -- Chinese food -- My cell phone -- bars that stay open until 6 AM -- Old friends -- Being 22 -- Being ALIVE! -- Soccer in the street -- Olives -- Tuscany -- A 4Euro bottle of AMAZING wine -- Gelato -- Being on top of the world -- Dates (and the free meals that accompany them :) -- Parlo inglese? Haha yes, actually I that's all I parlo :) -- Bologna -- the alps -- good friends -- being liked -- the sun -- being on a runway (outside the plane) -- Snow -- The grand canyon -- Free drinks on a plane (a luxury around these parts) -- individual beer taps -- kafers and mackers (FULLER!) -- Safety -- Nutella -- Making smart decisions when inebriated -- my faith (it pretty much rocks - "I'm so jealous, I wish I had that!" -Barry) -- Saying "See you later!" -- Carpe diem -- History -- the trevi fountain at 4 AM -- Moving on -- Mt. Freaking Vesuvius!! -- People who form their own opinions -- the pope -- Sunny days -- Red gatorade -- My friends back home -- John Paul II -- Egyptians -- Preservation of History -- Dates -- Great Italian Food -- Moving to Rome -- Italian kisses -- Staying up all night

I think that's enough for now... I'll possibly post more thoughts as they come to me. For now though, I would like to announce that due to popular demand, I will NOT be stopping my travel, or my blog! I'm not sure it's going to be quite as exotic as Europe, but I will post everytime I take a new trip around these parts. So, get ready!!


Now playing: Nick Drake - One Of These Things First
via FoxyTunes


At least people speak my language here...

Location: Austin, TX, USA

Well, as you may or may not know... the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind.

It all started with a nice dinner at a cute little restaurant near our hostel. I wanted to make sure it was an amazing meal as it was my last in Europe and thus dubbed the "Last Supper." We went through 3 courses: bruschetta with mozzarella/prosciutto, cheese & mushroom ravioli with mushroom cream sauce, and finally fried shrimp and calamari. The bruschetta was amazing; the pasta not quite as good as what I had in Florence. The fried seafood, however, was absolutely amazing. I kept shoving pieces in my mouth even though I was completely stuffed. The shrimp was so strange in that they had fried the whole shrimp including head, tail, shell, everything. So when you cut off the head/tail and peeled off the legs and shell, there was only a tiny piece of unbreaded meat. It was the most amazing shrimp I have ever had. We also shared a bottle of nice wine and enjoyed the company of a Welsh couple sitting next to us as well as the AS Roma game on the television behind the bar.

The couple we were talking to said they had overheard us talking about riding scooters all day and asked us if it was like the movie "Roman Holiday." Neither of us had even heard of the movie, so we shook it off and didn't think much else of it. After we finished our dinner, we walked back to the hostel and what else was on the TV in the kitchen but "Roman Holiday." We watched enough of it to get what the Welsh couple was talking about, laughed at the irony of the situation and then prepared ourselves for the long night ahead. We drank a bottle of wine each as well as a Peroni for the road.

We walked down to our now usual Irish pub hang out (which we actually got in today) and made some friends. We met quite a few Brits who were all there for the rugby match as well as some other Americans. In line for the bathroom I meet this nice Italian man who then walks upstairs with me and introduces me to his friend (who had the same name as him) and we all stand and talk for a while. When Scholars starts to close, our two new Italian friends suggest that we come with them and go to this discotech north of town. At this point, it's about 3 AM, we both know we have a LONG night ahead of us and being together, we know we can't get ourselves into too much trouble, so we agree and we all trek out together.

These guys were great. We all piled into this tiny little car and drove around Rome. They would pull up to other cars and ask for directions in broken English, pretending to be tourists just to make fun of the other cars' bad English. They drive us up to this discotech which, surprise, we're not allowed to go into for some reason or another. I convince the bouncer to let me and one of the guys in and we go in for a short time, but the other two weren't so lucky so we decided to just head out.

From here, we picked up 2 girls who were friends of these guys (we were in two cars at this point) and we drove back to one of their apartments. I'm not really sure if it's an Italian thing or if we were just really lucky, but this girls' place was fully loaded with Italian late night. She had tons of drinks and plates of little finger sandwiches and pastries. It was amazing.

After chatting there for a while (and quite a few conversations in Spanish for some reason) we had the boys drive us back to our hostel where we sat and had another beer before they left and we were forced to find something to do from about 6-8 AM. Nate comes up with some silly game that had to do with coins and hockey but I'm not really sure what it was or why we started playing it, but it kept us entertained for a good hour while we chugged free cappuccinos and hot chocolate. Soon enough, it was time for me to go grab my pack and head to the train station. Complete success, I actually managed to stay up all night!! I was absolutely exhausted, still a little drunk, but ready for all of my sleeping ahead of me.

I slept on the first train, went through security at the airport, slept at the gate, boarded the plane and then slept the whole way from Rome to NYC. After a 3 hour layover in NYC (and a 2 hour weather delay on the runway) I took off for LA and spent the entire 5 hours... you guessed it! Sleeping! Unfortunately, the nice snow delay in NYC made it impossible for me to catch my connection in LA so I had to leave security, go to the ticket counter in a different terminal, book a new flight, then return to my original terminal and go to the gate. I had about a 4 hour wait until my flight to Dallas so naturally, I went to the bar and met some nice people (a girl from Brisbane, a guy from Ft. Worth and a guy from San Fransisco) and threw a couple back before preparing for my next nap. I slept on the flight to Dallas and then got some reading done during my 4 hour layover in DFW before FINALLY getting on a flight to Austin. 31 hours after I left, I arrived at the airport in Austin and caught a cab back to the Theta house.

Since I got home, I have officially clocked my first hours as a full time employed college graduate. I have also managed to dump my entire pack on the floor of my bedroom (which I'm sure Emily LOOOVES) and had my first meal back at theta (meatloaf and egg noodles... I'm not sure it could have been MORE American - just what I wanted!! YAY!!).

And this concludes my story!!

I will have one more follow up post in a couple weeks to wrap up the trip, but until then, I hope you have enjoyed following my trip. I can't believe I actually managed to update daily!! Anyways, thanks so much for keeping up with me and I can't wait to start my next journey!!


Now playing: John Mayer - Belief
via FoxyTunes