Keep Austin Weird

“There is a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.” Willie Nelson

Keep Austin Weird and Chuy's t-shirts

As soon as I heard that Austin’s slogan was ‘Keep Austin Weird’, I knew I’d love the place. I wonder what that says about me 😉

Apparently, the phrase was coined by Austin Community College librarian Red Wassenich and was intended to promote local businesses – and it quickly caught on. I saw the slogan referenced in and around the city – and on plenty of souvenirs and t-shirts (I guess, like everything good, it quickly becomes commercialised).

But I still loved it – and, of course, I now own a ‘Keep Austin Weird’ coffee mug and t-shirt, lol.

My t-shirt also says ‘Support Local Music’ and I think that is what I loved most about Austin. They do support local businesses and encourage creativity. I saw lots of quirky bars and restaurants. I saw artwork adorning walls and buildings. I heard local musicians performing; the music spilling out onto Sixth Street. I tasted plenty of delicious southern food; including Tex Mex at the historic Chuy’s, and slow-cooked meats at Franklin Barbeque.

I also sweltered in the HOT weather (38-degrees Celsius/100-degrees Fahrenheit) for the five days I was there. But it didn’t matter. I was so happy. I’d fallen in love with Austin.

Here are some of my favourite photographs… and some descriptions of the places I most enjoyed spending my time 🙂

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Bloedel Conservatory (aka Heaven’s Garden)

Sam: “This is Heaven’s Garden?”
Dean: “It’s-it’s nice… ish. I guess.”
Joshua: “You see what you want to here. For some it’s God’s throne room; for others it’s Eden. You two, I believe it’s the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. You came here on a field trip.”
(Supernatural, Dark Side of the Moon)

Bloedel Conservatory

Bloedel Conservatory is located in Queen Elizabeth Park, at the City of Vancouver’s highest point. It’s a lush paradise with more than 200 free-flying birds, and 500 exotic plants and flowers that thrive within its temperature-controlled environment. The Conservatory was constructed in 1969 after a generous donation from Prentice Bloedel and his wife Virginia, who resided on the property from 1951 until 1986. Bloedel was dedicated “to a better appreciation and understanding of the world of plants.”

But, for me, this place was ‘Heaven’s Garden’ – the beautiful setting of a pivotal scene in season five of my favourite television show, Supernatural. I gazed up at the domed roof and imagined myself listening to Sam and Dean’s conversation with Joshua (an angel who talks to God) in the episode Dark Side of the Moon. “This is Heaven’s Garden?” asked a confused Sam.

Sam and Dean meet Joshua in heaven's Garden

Bloedel Conservatory aka heaven's Garden

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Not all those who wander are lost

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” Jack Kerouac
 Live travel adventure

Yesterday, when I decided to reconnect with my blog, I was looking for a new sub-heading and landed on ‘life is an adventure’, even though I wasn’t quite sold on it. I had played around with the words ‘live, travel, adventure’ but couldn’t make up my mind.

Today, when I was looking at a travel blog I’d recently discovered (Adventure in You), I saw this quote from Jack Kerouac and it made me laugh. I don’t remember ever reading it, but I’d almost recreated it yesterday.

I do love the words of Jack Kerouac – many could be applied to me and my way of thinking.

“Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.”

But, then I remembered a quote that really works for me. It’s one that I used to have pinned to the top of my computer.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R Tolkien

As a bonus, it also makes me think about my wonderful Dad and I smile because we shared a love of the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and many other things. This quote suits me … it inspires me. It might be my next tattoo 😉

Life is an adventure

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller

journeys tattoo

It has been almost six months since I posted a blog. I’m not sure what happened, other than I temporarily lost my desire to write. I think it’s partly because I had this self-imposed rule about my blog being purely about travel, which is kinda crazy when you think about it.

This is my blog; no-one is paying me, so I can write about whatever I want to write about.

Earlier this year, I got my first tattoo. For most of my friends and family, this was a bit of a surprise. But I had been thinking about it for a long time and finally had the courage to just do it. The word journeys evokes a lot of meaning for me, but it’s not just because of travel.

It’s about life’s experience. It’s about learning from mistakes. It’s about friendships. It’s about making the best of the time you’ve been given. It’s about overcoming struggles (and that’s the #AKF part of my tattoo, which means Always Keep Fighting).

As clichéd as it may sound, life is a journey…

And, with that in mind, I’ve decided revamp my blog and approach it like it’s a brand new project. I have no doubt that travel will still feature prominently, because that is my passion. But I don’t want to restrict myself on those occasions when I want to write something random (like today).

So this is a blog about the things I love and the things that inspire me!