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Travel

Hipstercrite Life, Thirty-something, Travel

Tap, tap: Is this thing still on?

Oh hello! Longtime no see, friend.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written here, and I’m currently sitting on the couch, bloated after eating an entire pizza, and thinking, “Maybe I should check in, see how everyone is doing and let them know I’m bloated on pizza.”

So, friends.

How are you?

Me? I’m bloated.

But other than that I’m ok.

I mean, my grandmother died this year.

Any of you who have hung in here with me know I thought the world of that ol’ broad.

A good cry sneaks in every day, particularly when I see a Golden Girls-branded anything (Grandma was my Dorothy) or smell garlic. Shit, pretty much EVERYTHING makes me think of her.
Mothballs (the sweaters in her armoire).
Crumpled tissues (she used to stuff them in her sleeves and drop them everywhere).
Shoulder pads (the woman LOVED them).

My beautiful grandmother.

Grief is a very, very strange thing. Sometimes you can joke about (more…)

Travel

Don’t ever do this, she told me.

Howdy, friends.

I’m going to start writing here again, so here’s my first real post in awhile.

It’s a short piece & it’s about a woman I met on the train from Denver to Chicago.

———

She is tiny, bundled in a faux-leopard print coat, and she is carrying her weight in baggage.

“Can I help you carry anything?” I ask as I step off the train to join her on the platform of Chicago’s Union Station.

A face etched with the lines of a woman who has lived with all of her heart peeks out from under a severe blond bob and black beret. “Oh sure. Here, carry this–“

It’s a guitar case, flimsy with belongings other than what the case was intended for.

“I don’t have a guitar in there. I left it behind in Memphis because I wasn’t sure it was going to work out in Denver.”

She pauses and then turns to me, “Please don’t ever move across the country to live with a man you’ve only known for three months, okay?”

Travel

If You Haven’t Been to Meow Wolf Yet, Go. RIGHT NOW.

 

For almost a year, I’ve desperately wanted to visit Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I finally had the opportunity to do so two weeks ago.

Oh Lordy it was better than I could have ever imagined.

I initially wasn’t going to write about my experience at Meow Wolf because I figured everyone and their mother had heard of it by now; however, I discovered that is indeed not the case. Many people still don’t know what this wacky, wonderful art collective is.

A little background: According to their website, Meow Wolf is a Santa Fe-based “arts production company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling.”

They are known for their 20,000-square-foot permanent art piece, The House of Eternal Return, which opened in March of 2016 and was partially funded by George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones.

The best way to sum up The House of Eternal Return is that there is no way to sum (more…)

Travel

Our National Parks Are in Trouble & Need Our Help

I imagined a National Park Service employee sitting at a metal desk in a one-room office somewhere in small-town South Dakota saying to no one, “F this. I’m going rogue, y’all.”

And when Death Valley National Park tweeted yesterday about Japanese internment camps on the same day that Donald Trump used executive order to build a wall between America and Mexico, I nearly shat myself.

In this case I imagined that all the National Park Service social media managers jumped on Slack or fax machine to share their plans on how to troll Trump. That effort may have led to the creation of the Twitter account @AltUSNatParkService — “the Unofficial ‘Resistance’ team of U.S. National Park Service” — though news outlets are having a hard time confirming if the account is indeed curated by current National Park Service employees. (AltUsNatParkService announced this morning that they’re passing the reins to activists and journalists.)

Let me just say this: I f’ing love our National Parks.

I’ve (more…)

Travel

What I Learned Traveling 20,000 Miles of America

bison yellowstone

The bison of Yellowstone

This year I’ve seen 20,000 beautiful, ugly miles of America.
13,500 from the window of a car.
6,500 from the window of a train.

In 23 states
I saw the endless cattle that feeds us
The horses that serve us
The bison that inspire us
The birds that supply us our daily soundtrack.

In 12 national parks
I saw the bones of dinosaurs
The sacred grounds of the Indigenous
Golden, slithering plains
And snow-capped mountains enveloped by big blue sky.

Across this great, awful nation
I saw families asking to make American great again
Or believing that we are stronger together
Or wanting a political revolution.

Throughout these 20,000 miles
I saw moments of weakness
Of fear
And of hope.

Like the people of Timber Lake, South Dakota, population 443
Who insisted we join them for Thanksgiving dinner
On our way
up to Standing Rock.

Like 84-year-old spitfire Winn Bundy
Who (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Travel

How Traveling the U.S. Made Me F’ing Love Our National Parks

I must admit: Up until this year I didn’t think much about our national parks.

As a person who appreciates nature, but often stays clear of destinations that draws large crowds, the national parks fell roughly between “meeting Danny DeVito” and “petting a sloth” on my bucket list. (Meaning “nice-to-haves,” not “must-haves.”)

That all changed this summer when a I traveled 5500 miles by car across the great United States of America simply because I’m terrified of flying. And when I say terrified, I mean the last time I took a flight — 3 years ago — I had:

  • Two Xanax
  • Three cocktails
  • One activity tracker that kept telling me my heart rate was over 200 beats per minute.
  • The realization that I was not going to die because of a plane crash but because of a massive heart attack.

Ever since that day, I swore off flying and have strictly traveled by car or train. (You can read about my train travels here.)

So when my mother, a citizen of New York, (more…)

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 up with (more…)

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.

.

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 all, (more…)

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, though (more…)

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)