Points North
on May 24, 2013 in Travel

Austin – The First Weeks

Here are my random updates, thoughts, and notes from my first couple of weeks in Austin, Texas!

THE FIRST DAY: So I just landed here in Austin, renting a studio that’s on the backside of a house that’s a short walk and even shorter bike ride from the heart of downtown Austin. The owner of the house and the condo is the most awesome person ever. When I arrived late last night she and her husband and their little dog greeted me. This evening my only plan was to wander around and find a good place to eat. I’m so new to my surroundings, I haven’t yet had time to get my bearings and map everything out. She texted me and said she had an extra ticket to see James McCartney play at The Saxon Pub.

Of course I said yes! So we went there and met up with a good friend of hers, who is a lover of the music scene and considers himself to be a music connoisseur. After introducing myself and telling a little of my story he says “the drinks tonight are on me.” To which I replied graciously “thank you,” and thought to myself secretly “damn I wish I wasn’t such a lightweight!” But maybe its good that I am.

How did they know that I LOVE live music, especially anything with the unique harmonic strum of an acoustic guitar? I got lost in the rhythm and voice of James McCartney, and very deep thoughts of “wow, I’m in Texas… how did this happen?” This was immediately followed by a sense of calm and gratitude, so thankful to be meeting good people so early, to see the connections and goodwill that exist in all of us. So far I’m off to a good start in Austin!

THOUGHTS ON TRAVEL: My travels, my journey, my adventure, are shaping me into the person I already was. Into the person that exists inside of me and is shining like the rays of the sun gracefully through parting clouds in the vast sky. That moment that makes you stop and also takes your breath away, where your only words are “how beautiful…”

How I feel in this moment: Calm in my situation, Secure in who I am as a person, and Confident in my purpose.

THE NOTION OF BEING RIGHT: Give up this notion that you always have to be right, or that everyone must know that you are right. What a heavy burden to bear unnecessarily. Instead of worrying about being right, how about you just be?

REFRESH AUSTIN: Last night I attended a Refresh Austin seminar downtown, where I mingled with some darn good tech professionals and entrepreneurs, one who also up and traveled/lived in various places at a time before settling in this city to help keep it weird. So great to be connected to such awesome people.

Following this I walked a block down to this after party for the Artifacts Conference, which attracted some amazing tech and design professionals from all over the country. I learned a few things about shuffle board (like, I need to practice…a lot…), and met a couple folks who were familiar with some of the latter cities on my list to live in, happy to offer advice on where to go and what to see.

After meeting some grand new folks and getting synced up on Twitter and other means here, I felt very comfortable with calling it a night. Definitely loving my time here, especially the stories of how people end up in Austin. I’m looking forward to what happens next.

SELF REFLECTION: Now are times for self reflection and growth. For being honest with yourself. For asking questions like “what can I work on?” and “what can I do better?” And also for truly celebrating the person you are today. My how far we have all come.

AUSTIN FOOD BANK VOLUNTEERING: 3 hours of food sorting at Austin Food Bank. WOW! We got a lot accomplished and there was a high school group there that organized a Senior Volunteer Day. They were a fun bunch and had me thinking, geez did I really look that young at one point in my life? It was cool to hear about what they were doing after school, where they were going and what they were studying. AMAZING just to think of how their perspectives will change as they progress to the next phase of their lives.

Just had a great lunch with a new friend I met at Refresh Austin a few days back, and now I have the pleasure of spending the afternoon at Capital Factory, a sweet coworking space downtown.

PAYING IT FORWARD: I just did something I LOVE to do when the time is right. I had a fabulous lunch in which the server was AWESOME. Aside from making great food recommendations, I forgot to ask for no cheese on the side salad, and taking note of how I modified my main dish to be dairy free, she went ahead and made sure my salad was cheese-less.

She checked on me as I ended my meal and the food was so good I told her, “oh, I’m in that happy place right now, have you been?” And she said “oh yes, I know that place…” LOL

I gave an 80% tip because I thought she was awesome and the service was FABULOUS! I also included a little note on the receipt that said “this is for more happy places” and drew a happy sun and clouds around it.

I love to pay it forward!

A GOOD LIFE METAPHOR: Maybe life is a lot like treading water. There are times when you think you’re treading and you’re like “yeah, I got this,” only to put your feet down and realize the water isn’t deep at all and why are you working so hard?! And there are times when you’re doing your best to tread; you have the tired arms and legs to prove it, but for some reason you’re not staying afloat (hint: investigate that reason!).

Then there’s that moment when you are perfectly balanced with the water, and treading looks effortless, almost as if you are doing a dance with the elements of the world around you. This is the moment I live for.

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