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Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture, Travel

The Time I Went to Denver, Ate Edibles and Lost My Mind

Back in February, I pulled a Maureen Dowd and completely lost my f’ing mind on (legal) edibles in Denver, Colorado. (I emphasize ‘legal’ for my current employers and any future employers. Hi, guys.)

Let me start by saying: I’m weed ignorant.

I believe this is how many stories begin when someone loses their shit on edibles.

“I didn’t feel anything so I started eating more…”

Homer eating

I guess when my boyfriend and I nervously bought the THC-filled cookies from a dispensary in the hip Highlands part of Denver, our knees shaking as we giggled like senior citizens who had just watched a porno for the first time, we must have missed the part about waiting an hour to feel the effects. We were too busy feeling like scared ass clowns.

Instead, about 30 minutes into eating the cookies, my boyfriend proclaimed that the skunky-tasting treats were defective, so we decided to go for a second one. And then a half of a third.

And for another 30 minutes, nothing.

And then we met Continue Reading

Austin, Travel

Austin Day Trip: San Antonio Missions Hike & Bike Trail

San Antonio's Missions Hike & Bike Trail along the San Antonio River is probably one of the best trails I've ever been on. It is a beautifully paved & groomed path that is suitable for all ages and abilities. This 16-mile roundtrip trail takes you to four of San Antonio's missions, and you can continue on to the Alamo if you'd like. You walk next to countless wildflowers, old ruins and happy people on the trail, and the missions are just incredible! If you've never done the trail, do it! It's truly a Texas gem.

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I was flipping through the latest issue of Texas Monthly, the Newcomer’s Guide, and was surprised to learn of the San Antonio Missions Hike & Bike Trail. This 16-mile roundtrip trail runs alongside the San Antonio River and stops at four of San Antonio’s famous missions: Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, Mission San Jose and Mission Concepcion.

How had I not heard of this trail before?

As an avid walker- we have our own walking group called The Christopher Walkings- I couldn’t believe I had not known of this close-by trail. I later found out that I had not heard of this trail because its completed development is relatively new, or at least not widely publicized in Austin (San Antonio is only 80 miles away, yet Austin and San Antonio are VERY separate cities). I asked my boyfriend if he was game for the journey, and the next day we headed down to ol’ San Antone to check out the path.

First of Continue Reading

Travel

Hipster City Travel: Is Denver the Next Austin?

“Denver is Austin five years ago,” we heard from no less than five Denverites during our recent trip.

“There are so many jobs.”

“There is so much construction going on.”

“The traffic is insane!”

“Look at all these condos!”

Sound familiar?

We heard these statements over and over as we talked to friends, acquaintances and complete strangers on the sidewalks of Denver.

At first glance, Denver looks nothing like Austin. Though ATX is home to 200,000 additional citizens, the skyline and downtown streets of Denver feel like that of a bigger city. It isn’t until you dig into the individual neighborhoods that you discover the quirkiness that lies within. The DIY attitude and outdoor spirit are alive and well in the Mile High City. And as a recent NPR story pointed out, Denver is the no. 2 fastest-growing city behind Austin, and much like its counterpart, the foodie scene is booming.

It is in public transportation and walkability where the two cities begin to differ, Continue Reading

Austin, Pop Culture, Travel

Ten Free Venues to Check Out During SXSW Music

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park, Texas; 6 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via National Geographic)

Bandelier National Monument

 Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico; 11 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via me)

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas; 1 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; 6-hour drive from Austin via Most Beautiful Pages

Padre Island, Texas

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas; 4-hour drive from Austin (via me)

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona; 12 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Geoff)

Saguaro National Monument

Saguaro Nation Park, Arizona; 13-hour drive from Austin (via Geoff)

Monahans sand dunes

Monahans Sandhills Sate Park, Texas; 6-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas; 5 1/2-hour drive from Austin (via Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Sabine Nation Wildlife Refuge

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana; 4-hour drive from Austin (via U.S. Fish & Wildlife) 

Travel

The Beauty & Destruction of the Texas Gulf

Life is interesting.

Sometimes it takes you to the Texas Gulf, on a shrimp boat captained by a man named Mauricio. On that boat is a beautiful woman doing aerial silks. While you watch her, your boyfriend is dressed as a sea captain and is aiming a fake firearm at a fictional person. Two friends are simultaneously filming these scenarios. You and Mauricio stand there staring at all of it; you try to speak with him in your newly learnt Spanish, but he laughs and corrects you. You discover through the beautiful girl, who is filming a crowdsourcing video for her festival to heal the bay you are sailing in, that the water around you is polluted by the plastic and aluminum factories she points to in the distance. All the sea life around you is toxic, and the beautiful woman plans on reducing the mercury levels in the bay by planting oyster mushrooms.

Sometimes life is interesting, and you’re in appreciation of it all.

Oyster men. #TexasGulf

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Yesterday I met Amanda, an environmental activist putting together an event to help clean Lavaca Bay in the #TexasGulf (it's polluted from the local factories). Here she is doing aerial silks on a shrimp boat as part of a a video for the event's crowd sourcing campaign. She's a beautiful soul doing beautiful things. http://www.rockethub.com/projects/52068-wiv-luv-water-fest-with-the-texas-oystermen #savethebay #savetheplanet

Yes, that is a beautiful woman doing aerial silks on a moving shrimp boat. #TexasGulf #yoga #lifeisinteresting

Today my boyfriend is pretending to catch shrimp on a shrimp boat. He knows how to keep the magic alive. #indiefilm

Bye bye, #TexasGulf. #sunset

The director through the director's viewfinder. #indiefilm

Amtrak train
Travel

Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Riding the Train

Over the holidays, I took my sixth domestic train trip. Since my fear of flying creeped on strong about two years ago, my modes of transportation are now the car, the bus and for long distance, the train. (I don’t recommend taking the bus; it can be a sad and disorienting place.)

I’ve learned a great deal about American’s great passenger train, the Amtrak, over these past two years. A lot of friends have said that my journeys have inspired them to take the train themselves, which makes this blossoming rail nerd very happy. In case you’re interested in traveling via the train yourself, here are some tips, tricks and hacks for getting the best out of your Amtrak adventure.

1.) Spread yo’self out
During the slow season, you can easily claim yourself two coach seats and sprawl your fine ass out during sleepy hours. This is not frowned upon. However, if the train car does fill up, you gotta give up that extra seat. Don’t be the dick that pretends to be asleep when someone is looking Continue Reading

train travel
Travel

Stories of Strangers on the Train: The Christian and his Gay Daughter

I can’t remember how our conversation started, but we talked from 8AM to 10:15AM. He was 60 years old, a truck driver. His daughter bought him his first smartphone, and he asked me if I could download a few apps for him. I was surprised how relaxed he was giving me his phone and personal information, but the train has a way of making you feel comfortable. I find myself sharing stories of my own life to strangers.

While I was downloading the apps, he began talking about his daughter who gifted him the phone. His face lit up when he spoke of her. “She’s an artist, a poet, a rapper. She’s cool,” he said. Many years went by where they didn’t see one another, and when he saw her again, he noticed that she had a very beautiful “female friend” with her. “You know, my daughter likes members of her own sex,” he told me. He mentioned God once or twice in our conversation, so I wasn’t sure where the conversation was headed. “She was afraid to tell me that she liked women,” he said. “Everyone Continue Reading

Travel

A Love Letter to the Land of Enchantment

New Mexico ghost town

When I tell people that New Mexico is my favorite state, they ask why.

Why that grizzled old state? 

If they have ever visited the Land of Enchantment, they end their conversation with, “Santa Fe and Taos are beautiful, but the rest of the state can go.”

Even as non-New Mexican, this comment cuts at my heart like a steel blade. You see, many people just don’t understand New Mexico.

It is the place you drive through to answer your California dreams.

You have a distance relative, Dancing Thunderbolt (not her birth name), who lives in a New Mexican ghost town and sells turquoise. You’ve never met her. A common family dinner conversation is how Dancing Thunderbolt hasn’t shaved her legs since 1976.

You know there is poverty. You know that there are Native Americans.

Maybe you’ve heard of Hatch green chiles or the Manhattan Project or Georgia O’Keeffe.

You’ve most definitely heard of Breaking Bad.

Is the state filled with meth labs?

But mostly you don’t think of New Mexico.

It’s a desert of the ones who were born forgotten and the ones who choose to be forgotten.

It is a ghost state with a population smaller than most major cities.

I’ve fallen in love with New Mexico over the years because its forlorn and beauty are interchangeable.

It’s weird; a loner.

You see, you can stand in most areas of the state and transport yourself to 50, 100 over 500 years earlier.

There are pieces of land that haven’t been touched in years, and there are areas that haven’t changed their appearances in centuries.

The oldest house in America?

Santa Fe.

The oldest church in America?

Santa Fe.

The oldest capital in America?

Santa Fe.

Some of the oldest Native peoples, Puebloans, are from New Mexico.

Look up at the big sky, clean of pollution; look at the horizon, full of color, and know that you’re looking at the same landscape that others saw before you.

Trace your feet along the train tracks; touch your finger upon the adobe structures.

To experience the land, you must stay on the ground.

And you must stop in every lost town, every common destination and every roadside stop.

You must talk to its people.

To know New Mexico is to plant your feet in its red earth.

To let your head drift into the blue abyss.

The Southwest was and continues to be wild and unlike any other.

It is where ancient cultures meet, and progress enjoys lounging in the sun.

Next time you daydream of traveling, do not cross the land of curiosity, bewitchment and beauty off the list.

Give it a chance and let her show you what she has to offer.

Let her show you her flaws, her prized traits and her stoic brood.

Georgia O'Keeffe New Mexico

New Mexico turquiose

New Mexico pueblo dwelling

109 East Palace

Pabst Blue Ribbon Blue Velvet
Travel

Hipster City Travel: Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

Oh, Dawson

Wilmington, North Carolina, is one of those idyllic coastal towns peppered with rose-lined picket fences, friendly neighbors, an old-timey Main Street and, in David Lynch’s version of the city, the occasional severed ear chilling in a field. Located just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, this town of 110,000 boasts a wonderfully weird arts and culture community nuzzled within 19th century storefronts and brick-lined roads.

Cucalorus Film Festival

I first visited Wilmington last year when our film played the Cucalorus Film Festival. Now in its twentieth year, Cucalorus has become an institution in Wilmington. Run by a colorful group of filmmakers and film champions, this interactive fest takes hold of the city for one week, with pop-up screenings featured across downtown. What makes this fest special is its seamless intertwining of the local community with visiting filmmakers. It is quickly jumping the ranks of top regional film festivals in the U.S., and filmmakers flock to attend. By Continue Reading

Travel

Reasons Why You Should Travel by Train

I’ve clocked 125 hours on the train in the past ten months.

Ninety-six of those hours were spent on a single trip from Austin, Texas, to Syracuse, New York.

The train became my preferred form of travel after flying started setting off all kinds of anxiety alarms. The experience of going to the airport and then barreling through the air in a disorienting metal tube forced me to keep my feet on the ground.

After my initial train trip from Tucson, Arizona, to Austin, Texas, where I rolled out of bed from the hotel, walked across the street and straight onto the train, I became hooked. Every time I see the bright, streamlined body of the antiquated trains also sends a small chill through my spine. Even as a little girl, I loved the rhythmic sound of a train rolling along the track. Trains beckon to a time that I dreamt  being a part of.

Though the train is extraordinarily inconvenient if you’re short on time, it’s the people you meet and the new landscapes you see that keep you Continue Reading