Tiptoeing Back into Traveling: Post New Orleans Ramblings

In the past few months, while being jostled around by family reunions and summer vacations, I’ve been greedily collecting ideas, plans, maps, and dreams. Rather than a fire burning or a star bursting, I’ve been feeling like a box inside of me was shrinking, and I was stuffing more into it:

things I wanted to discuss in a coffee shop

projects I wanted to start now

phrases and ramblings and pictures.

These ideas, not being unleashed, were beginning to feel stale.

I’ve learned the only solution this is to stuff a bag full of clothes and notebooks, and head to somewhere fresh.

I spent a blink of an eye in New Orleans. I was able to wander through the cemeteries and fall in love (again) with a city that demands your attention to experience both an otherworldly presence and very real history. From the moment I walked into the Museum District, the soft pain and spooky intrigue of New Orleans that I had fell in love with while reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles last summer jumped in front of me like one of the many blaring saxophone solos I jumped for on Frenchman Street.

The words in Chronicles that defined New Orleans for me faded away and I replaced them with discussions, stories, and permanent words scribbled into a notebook over a French market crepe or quiet moment at Greenwood cemetery.

(Backpacking stories, hostel whisperings, local and tourist recommendations alike.)

These stories are not familiar, and the words become rearranged in every city you visit.

Hostel residents tend to tell the same story, but with a new twist every time. Where-you-headed-next and where-have-you-beens were exchanged, and as usual, I felt the simultaneous groan and a smile that comes from adding a new destination to my mental bucket list (this time, Costa Rica won out as the top dream.)

Quick run-ins and small chats brought your world in close with a tight squeeze and shrunk your story to a quick flip of a few pages.

The bartender at the shack whose name you hear whispered through the grapevine will tell you your future, finally humoring you until you’ve exhausted the thoughts that have been tumbling in your head about where to move and the pain you’ve felt looking at the artists giving it a go in the corners of galleries around the city.

The tarot reader in Jackson Square will tell you what she sees in your face and what you’re aching for in your bones. You’re hit with a smack in the face once you pop out of the bubble of introversion to discuss her cards, realizing your future is yours to write anyway, you don’t even remember her name.

 . . .

I write these words as I sit on a Megabus seat bumping through Texas. I’m reflecting on my trip, my gratitude, and I feel my energy being restored. Anyone who asks me if I’m an introvert while in a crowd of people will see the bashful answer on my face before I say, “Oh yeah.” I have to be alone to fill up. I opted out of my reserved seat on the Megabus today (a loss of a whole $1) to find a spot where I wouldn’t be surrounded by people. As I flew through the jobs on my to-do list (giving me the illusion I was flying through Louisiana,) I felt restored back to full.

My assignments for the day are done. My time in New Orleans has drawn to a gentle close, like finishing a good book with a long exhale, putting it back on your bookshelf with great care and knowing that in the future, you’ll revisit it once more with fresh eyes and a great yearning for a different interpretation of the story. It’s time to head back to “real life” now, with a clear mind and a refreshed determination to finally build my “what’s next.”

Finding Balance in the Windy City

Revisiting Chicago has always been something on my travel to-do list and luckily, I have an excuse to go whenever I want. My lovely sister lives in Lincoln Park, and she was moving into a new apartment when I went to visit.

Best sister ever, right? I flew over 1,000 miles to help her move.

I was able to get back into the travel groove with an old vice: art museum hopping. And guys, Chicago did not disappoint. I managed to check out the Museum of Contemporary Art the day before “Surrealism: The Conjured Life” ended its run. (If you’ve heard me talk about my trip to Figueres, you’ll know I’d go to any lengths to immerse myself in some good Surrealism.) My sister led me through the Art Institute of Chicago, which may have bumped a museum in my Top 5 out of its place. Hearing how much my father and grandmother enjoyed this museum when they visited was also super sweet.

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I also took a trip around Lincoln Park and played around with my travel camera! This is my favorite shot from the week.

Chicago was also a test of sorts. Since I can write for my job anywhere (with Wi-Fi), I wanted to see how I could manage working and traveling. I also tried to squeeze in as many yoga classes as I could, and shows, visiting friends who happened to be in Chicago, touristy food spots, buying stuff for my sister’s apartment…

Picking my “real life” up and moving it to a chilly, windy city was a little jolting. I was trying to live the working life while playing tourist and also big sister. At times, I couldn’t find the right balance and felt like I was letting myself or my sister down.

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Sneaking into DePaul’s library to finish assignments and grab Wi-Fi was actually quite lovely….

Shit really hit the fan when I went to a yoga class that I did not vibe with, at all. It wasn’t a bad class by any means; there were different poses and sequences that I really enjoyed! But here I was again, caught finding the perfect balance of separate lovely and stressful experiences. I felt wobbly. Not a good feeling when you know you’ve got to head into tree pose.

To ride out the tipping scales, I found myself going back to a little nugget of yoga knowledge that I’ve heard in various ways the past couple weeks: accept the pose. Whether you’re in a passive child’s pose or an excruciating chair, you’ve got to accept it. You’re here. I found myself using, “This is where I am” as a mantra in yoga, and throughout my day. In a bagel shop, on the train observing Chicago’s beautiful buildings, or enjoying some quality time with my sister, “This is where I am.”

It makes stressful moments bearable and sweet moments even more enjoyable.

Chicago was a learning experience and a great trip; I became more confident in my ability to balance work, travel, and life simultaneously. For now I’m back in Austin, but stay tuned for where I find myself next…

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Bonus Picture: I spent two days working at this coffee shop called the Bourgeois Pig and gushed with a barista over Father John Misty because what else are you going to do at a place called Bourgeois Pig?

Detached and Attached Again: How Traveling Questioned My Connections

“How long are you staying?”

I find myself becoming attached to Austin. Places and events, usually. I feel an overwhelming sense of dread when it comes to leaving this city but I’m also plagued with stomachaches, ravenous desires to backpack and move again. I couldn’t think of pursuing yoga teacher training in another city, for example, and I can barely handle missing class on Wednesday nights. I’ve got a favorite drink at a favorite bar. SXSW, I can’t leave Austin before another SXSW. But every day I look in the mirror and tell myself I can’t stay here for much longer. I fantasize over plane tickets. I shy away from year-long leases.

I traced the roots of my tug-of-war on a Saturday night, around midnight. I’m exhausted by the idea of developing deep personal connections, but the lack of these friendships or relationships just fuel the fire that only a plane ticket can put out.

I constantly feel alone, and I blame it on staying in one place. I rely on and long for the romance of single-serving friends, you know, the ones The Narrator mentions in Fight Club before meeting Tyler Durden? The Polish women at Open’er who cackled with me and my friend over Italian men and flip cup. An Australian in a Madrid hostel who told me about a great website for finding hostel jobs. The girls in my hostel room from Brighton who met up with me at a bar after a Tinder date. I couldn’t tell you any of their names, and they don’t remember mine. Attached and detached, without the obligations or expectations of meeting again.

I harshly and unapologetically place these expectations on myself and others when I’m stuck in one place. As a result, I have always felt permanently detached. In every group of friends I’ve ever had I’ve felt like a visitor, an outsider that was accepted, but didn’t belong. The weight of this old pain is just starting to suppress my breathing again. Rejected invitations, for whatever reason, send me into a tailspin. Sharing personal stories in a group closes my throat up. Single-serving friends…they let me enjoy my time. I breathe easier. I’m free to love and share positive energy, without the grasp of any social anxiety.

Admitting this feels unfair. This isn’t a post pointing the blame on a city or the souls of Austin that have welcomed me with open arms and every opportunity in the book. I place more blame, and do so with nothing but love, on moving from place to place. Especially now, maintaining relationships in one place has been overwhelming because I’ve given and received so much energy with other parts of the world.

Traveling doesn’t detach you from a single place just to spite you; there’s only so much of your heart to spare. For every whisper of loneliness I feel in the quiet moments around my house, I feel a longing to where another part of my heart is resting. I created Horcruxes while backpacking.

My heart is broken, but beating and shining, hiding, in different corners of the world. I just know there are stories waiting to be written, between two mysterious, beautiful buildings in Barcelona. Shreds of my heart and a stomachache waiting to happen lay quivering at a bus stop in Edinburgh. I picture my fingerprints on a metal balcony, overlooking Warsaw.  Exasperated energy still lingers in Copenhagen, where I discovered I was just living one big dream. Even the places I’ve never seen – I know there are people to love and things to learn and stories to be exchanged. Where will I leave a piece of me next?

When I think I lack connection in a single city, I remember that in fact, we’re all connected to each other, everywhere, infinitely. This lets me sink in comfortably to my armchair, but at the same time fires me up to fall in love with the next city and the next soul. I’m torn, to sum it up in two words. I have no immediate solution. So I find rest in the words of my good friend, Jack: “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

Where Do I Stay? The Pros and Cons of AirBNB, Couchsurfing, and Hostels

Hello friends! I hope your December is lovely so far! I have a month of work coming up BUT I’ll be heading back to my home of Philadelphia at the end of the month to celebrate my favorite holiday! For New Year’s Eve, my friends and I (10 in total!!) are renting an Airbnb! It’ll be our first time renting an Airbnb, so we’re super excited. For the holiday travelers, I decided to make a pro/con list of Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and hostels…the most popular ways to find lodging on a budget during your travels!

What?

Airbnb: Airbnb is new to the scene. If someone wants to rent out a room, a house, or anything in between (I’ve seen treehouses for rent on Airbnb!), they can! I like to call it a paid Couchsurfing experience, and a little more glamourous. Check it out on Airbnb.com or through the Airbnb app!

Couchsurfing: Need a cheap place to crash? Couchsurfing’s got you covered. Tons of travelers around the world offer up their space for free! I won’t go into too much details, but if you want to learn more, check out my blog post!

Hostels: The hip hotel experience. Reserve a bunk bed, or a few, and move from hostel to hostel around the world. This is the most established and most fun way to find cheap lodging. Websites like hostels.com will give you a worldwide database of places to stay, but a Google search of hostels around  your location will also do the trick!

Cost:

Airbnb: Usually, an Airbnb will cost less than a hotel, but more than a hostel. The most cost-efficient time to use Airbnb is on a group trip with friends. For our New Year’s Eve Airbnb, our group of 10 only ended up having to pay around $35 a night. Keep in mind, this was for a big holiday in a great location. If you decide to choose an Airbnb for the first time, grab $20 off! Use the code MEGANO29 when you rent and you’re golden! Happy travels!

Couchsurfing: Free! While there is a $20 verification fee that lasts for a year, actually staying with your hosts doesn’t cost a dime. I still like to buy a small gift, a drink, or make a meal for my hosts, but it still comes out to a lot less money than any formal lodging.

Hostels: Even a nice hostel in the center of the city can still be pretty cheap. I’ve paid $8-$30 a night for a wide variety of hostels in Europe. It may be even cheaper in different parts of the world! Looking to save as much as possible? Grab larger rooms; 8-20 people.

Location:

Airbnb: Locations will vary within a city. As expected, Airbnbs in the center of a city will be more expensive than one on the outskirts, but you get what you pay for. It’s up to you when it comes to grabbing a place to stay in a certain neighborhood, near public transportation, or for a good price.

Couchsurfing: Unless your host lives in the city center (which, in my experience, is rare), you’re going to have to hop on a metro or two to put your stuff down. Sometimes your host will pick you up, but most of the time, you’re on your own. Grab a map!

Hostels: There are tons of options depending on what city you’re looking in. Booking through a website like hostels.com will let you look in different neighborhoods and will let you know how close a hostel is to a city center. Like an Airbnb, you’ll usually pay more for a hostel close to the city center, but you’ll also usually get your money’s worth for doing so.

Privacy:

Airbnb: Airbnb will provide you with the most privacy of any lodging option (unless you book a hotel room). In some cases, you may not even see the owner of the Airbnb!

Couchsurfing: Sometimes Couchsurfing hosts offer you a private room; sometimes it’s a couch. Either way, checking out their profile will let you know what you’re in for.

Hostels: Many hostels have private rooms as an option, and if you’re traveling in a group, you can usually find a room that will fit your group’s size. However, if you’re by yourself and in an 8-person room, you’re going to wake up and go to sleep in the same room with a few strangers. On top of that…communal bathrooms. Pack your flip-flops!

Meeting People:

Airbnb: This all depends on the owner of the Airbnb. Sometimes, you’ll spend a night with a private room and hang out with your hosts during your stay. Sometimes, you’ll never see them face-to-face. You’ll usually know what to expect before you arrive!

Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is a great way to meet people without having to awkwardly break the ice. (“Where are you from?” is a strange question anywhere else other than a hostel.)

Hostels: Not only is it easy to meet people in hostels, it’s easy to meet a huge group of people very quickly. Whether you’re just walking into your room and introducing yourself or joining a game of beer pong down at the bar, hostels provide tons of ways to make friends and have a good time.

Hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know in the comments where you’ll be staying this holiday season!

Beat, Broke, Crafting! Bottle Cap Coasters

It’s no secret that I love a good beer. One of my favorite pieces of travel advice is, “Try the local beer.” I tried quite a few while in Europe, and because I’m a hoarder, I kept a few of the bottle caps. Bottle cap coasters are another easy craft for making cheap souvenirs and putting them to good use. These are super easy to make, so let’s get started!

Step 1: Collect Your Bottle Caps!

You all know how to do this. Drink up (if you’re of age. Soda caps work just as well!) Nine bottle caps makes a nice coaster, so collect bottle caps from your friends if you need to!

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Clearly these aren’t from my trip to Europe…

Step 2: Collect Your Materials!

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For bottle cap coasters, you’ll need:

  • Corkboard
  • Knife or Scissors
  • Mod Podge/Glue
  • Tissues/Napkins/Cotton Balls
  • Q-tip or Small Paint Brush

Step 3: Cut Your Coasters

Measure out a square of corkboard. To cover a coaster in nine bottle caps, you’ll need at least a 3 3/4″ x 3 3/4″ square, but you can have fun with it! You can cut it with scissors, but a knife works just as well (better, in my opinion).

Step 4: Apply the Bottle Caps!

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This is the trickiest part, and why you’ll need tissues. To most effectively glue the bottle caps to the coaster, you’ll need to add glue to the inside of the bottle cap (a Q-tip or a small paint brush are great tools for spreading glue to the inside edges). Then, stuff the inside of the bottle cap with a napkin or a cotton ball. The more the better, as long as nothing is sticking out after the bottle cap is applied. Spread glue on the corkboard where the cap will go, and voila!

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Step 5: Let Your Coaster Dry

This will take a little bit. When first glued, the bottle caps may puff up or slide around. Placing a weight on top of your coasters will keep it together while they’re drying.

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And you’re done! Homemade coasters for even more beer, or soda. Or coffee.

Hope you liked this post, give my blog a follow if you did! As always, comments and feedback are welcome! Thanks again for reading!

A Traveler’s Thanksgiving

Not all of the people I have met along my journeys know or celebrate Thanksgiving. Without getting into the twisted history as to why Americans celebrate this holiday, or an explanation of the Black Friday sales that loom over our extended family’s heads while dessert is being served, I’ll say that Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude. Anyone who has traveled in the past year has more than enough to be thankful for. Here’s a few of the things on my list:

Support – From my family. This time last year my father and grandmother were gifting me with a trip to visit my aunt and uncle in San Francisco, a city that has always fueled my love for travel. At the time I was really confused about my next steps. I had many talks with my aunt and uncle about the endless possibilities out in the world. My first big decision when it came to post-grad plans was to buy a one-way ticket to London. When I told my parents, I was surprised they didn’t freak out (ok, maybe internally, but they always supported my trip.) I’m happy to have a family that encourages travel, moving, and growing. Currently, my brother lives in Colorado and my sister lives in Chicago. I have family all over the country, including in Austin, Texas. My aunt and uncle here have been more than helpful in my transition to a new city. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with them today! I feel like I lucked out this holiday season.

Safety – I made it from Philadelphia to London, to 22 cities, to Madrid, and back to New York, all in one piece. (Even after having my belongings stolen.) When the attacks in Paris were happening, all I could do was rack my brain and try and think if any of my friends had posted that they’d be traveling to Paris on their backpacking trips. Anyone I wasn’t sure of, I checked in with. I’m happy to say all of my friends are safe. The world can be terrifying if you start thinking too much. Today, however, for a short moment, I’ll focus on my safety and the safety of my friends.

Facebook – Cheesy. Lame. Technology will be the death of us all, BUT, I got to wake up this morning with messages from friends in two different countries. I’m planning trips all over the world with a friend that I met on Facebook a few months ago. When my phone was stolen, I was able to contact my parents and let them know I was still ok. I’m thankful for the benefits of technology. I’m thankful I can keep in touch with friends from all over the world, (and I can live through those who are still on their travels). The people I met on my trip were a key part in making my travels so special; I’m glad I can still continue those relationships from thousands of miles away.

Actual books – Jack Kerouac ignited the flames in my traveling soul when I was 16. Five hour bus rides throughout Europe were a lot easier when I had Bob Dylan, Irvine Welsh, and Chuck Palahniuk by my side. Bookstores gave me an excuse to strike up a conversation with whoever stood next to me, rifling through the gently-used-fiction sections. Books give me an adventure while I’m sitting on my couch, saving money for my next trip. Call me a nerd, but I’m thankful for books, stories, and words.

Bunk Beds and Couches – My Couchsurfing hosts and hostels were also a key part in feeling comfortable in new countries. Opening up your home to strangers, for free, is sometimes thought as mad. But it allows people to travel easily. Just having a place to sleep at night, even if it was on an overnight bus or in a smelly hostel with snoring Australians, is a blessing that not a lot of people have. 

Patience – The ability to travel at all is a blessing. In 2015, I was able to visit San Francisco, New York, Boston, and 22 cities in Europe, and move to Austin, Texas. I graduated college and opened a new chapter in my life. I still stutter and give different answers when I’m asked what I want to do with my life, and at this moment I couldn’t tell you my plans after my Americorps position. But one of the most important lessons I learned this year is that every day the world opens up more and more possibilities. I have tons of trips to take and stories to write. I’m not going to travel today but when I’m meant to board a plane to the other side of the world, I’ll be ready.
And I’m thankful for all of you who think my adventures are interesting and who read my blog! I hope you all have a lovely holiday season, no matter what you celebrate!

 

Beat, Broke, Crafting! Souvenir Candles

The spring before my trip, I became obsessed with making candles. I had so many glass jars and a disgusting Pinterest habit (still do. Follow me.) I figured if I collected the materials for candles abroad and made them at home, I would be able to save space in my backpack AND save money. Win-win!

Keep those ticket stubs, friends, I have a use for them! And the use smells great!

Step 1: Collect Your Souvenirs!

I knew I was going to make these candles ahead of time, which gave me an excuse to hoard during my trip. I saved everything: metro passes, museum brochures, ticket stubs, festival schedules, maps….

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And this was AFTER I had thrown a bunch of things out in Berlin…AND Rome. I was a walking fire hazard. Peep my US collection in the bottom right corner…I can’t stop.

For the most part, the thinner the better. I glue all of my souvenirs to my candles (more on that later), so paper souvenirs have always worked best for me!

Step 2: Collect Your Materials!

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Here’s what you need for a basic souvenir candle:

  • Glass Jar – of any kind. I’ve used mason jars, old pasta sauce jars, old shot glasses…anything.
  • Mod Podge
  • Candle Wicks
  • Wax – I use soy wax! It’s easily accessible in bulk at any craft store or online. A pound and a half is plenty for a quart-sized mason jar.
  • Pouring Pot – It’s a lifesaver, and a burn-preventer. I got mine for less than 10 bucks online? It’s a great way to keep your candlemaking separate from your other stovetop activities.
  • Brush (0ptional) – It’s my favorite way to apply the Mod Podge
  • Fragrance (optional) – I’m using vanilla. I just like the smell.

Step 3: Arrange and Apply Your Souvenirs!

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My Poland-themed candle! 

I arranged mine by country, with big maps or festival schedules serving as the background and smaller souvenirs in front. This is the most fun part! Get creative.

You can apply your souvenirs in one of two ways! The easiest way is to Mod Podge them to the outside of the candle. Simple! I usually add a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the souvenirs and then another on top, just to secure it to the candle.

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A Rome-Themed Candle with Souvenirs Glued on the Outside!

 

Recently, however, I’ve been experimenting with putting them on the inside of the candle! This method can be tricky, however, as the wax may make its way in between the souvenirs and hide them a bit. However, with the way my Poland candle turned out, I think it adds a bit of an artsy, nostalgic touch. (Check it out later in the post.)

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Poland-Themed Candle With Souvenirs Inside (Pre-Wax)

Step 4: Melt Your Wax, Add Fragrance (optional)

Put your pouring pot on your stovetop and add bulk wax. Turning the stove on low still melts the wax in no time. You don’t have to add too much fragrance, either…a few drops will do.

 

Step 5: Add Your Wick!

This is honestly the hardest part. Straighten the wick out, wrap the end around your brush (or a pencil, or a fork…) and steady…steady….there.

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Step 6: Pour and Let it Harden!

Easy. The candles with souvenirs on the outside are going to look exactly the same before and after pouring wax, but the candles with souvenirs on the inside might be tricky.

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Poland Candle…Completed! 

As your candle burns, the wax melts and reveals the final details of your souvenirs. It’s a slow and lovely reminder of the trip you took and the memories you made.

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Hope you enjoyed this blog post…if you make any souvenir candles, show me!! My instagram is @beatbrokebackpacking, I post pictures of my travels and my blog posts. If you have suggestions for more crafts, let me know in the comments! Thanks again for reading!

Travel Playlist #2: Winter Train Ride

 

It’s time for another travel playlist! These playlists are fun to make, although this week’s playlist isn’t so upbeat and cheery. When I traveled, I spent a lot of time on trains and buses waiting for the next city. Before I left for Europe, I commuted to work every day via train, waiting for the next chapter of my life to begin. Trains are my place to finally embrace my exhaustion and overthink everything. Winter is a season to match these feelings, as you wait for the summer to begin again. So I present my somber, beautiful winter train ride. It gets hopeful toward the end…I picked a few songs for approaching your destination.

Before I show the highlights, I’ll quickly add at link to my short story about a sad train ride, To Pittsburgh. It might be interesting to pair with this playlist.

Missing Someone:

James Bay – Let it Go

Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash – Girl from the North Country

James Blake – A Case of You

Snow-Covered Trees:

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Matt Corby – Winter

The Vaccines – Family Friend

The Next Leg of the Journey: 

Arctic Monkeys – 505

Angus and Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane

Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come

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Austin Update! Including the Austin Film Festival & Fun Fun Fun Fest!

I’ve been in Austin for SIX WEEKS! It’s not a long time, but it’s the first time I’ve been in the same place for more than two weeks in…five months? Even though I’m already planning another adventure, I wanted to give everyone an update on what I’m doing in the Live Music Capital of the World!

obviously having a great time
obviously having a great time

Work: I’ve been working with AmeriCorps for the past four weeks. And yes, I’m doing construction. I’m building and repairing houses. I’m fulfilling four year old Megan’s dream from when she made popsicle stick houses and told people she would be a carpenter when she grew up. The best part of my job is that every day is different, I never get bored. Monday I demolished a bathroom (taking out a closet/bath so we could rearrange it and make it wheelchair accessible). Today I finished painting a ramp. A few weeks ago I finished working on a roof for one of the houses in the Mobile Loaves & Fishes program. I get to work with my hands and learn new skills for the time when I’m ready to build my own tiny house!

I also got rehired at Lush! Two jobs may be a lot to handle during the holiday season, but all of those extra savings (aka travel funds)? I’ll sleep in 2016.

Austin Film Festival: Despite doing manual labor from 9-5 every weekday, I’ve managed to get my butt off the couch in the evenings, usually to volunteer somewhere else. I enjoyed volunteering at Austin City Limits so much that when I saw volunteer applications for the Austin Film Festival, I figured, “Why not?” Even though I’m not as passionate as film as I am about music and other media (There are tons of classic movies I haven’t seen yet), I figured AFF would be a great way to meet new friends and see some cool new movies. I didn’t even know that James Franco would be at the festival until after I started my shifts; I kind of signed up on a whim.

film passI worked one party, two registration shifts, and spent Monday-Wednesday of the festival working at the Paramount Theater and watching the movies that were being shown that night. The movies were fantastic, and I was lucky enough to get a film pass to catch a few on Halloween! Oddly enough, I volunteered with people from Philly and met some friends who had also just moved to Austin a month or so ago. Volunteering has been the most effective way to meet people in Austin. I learned about a sci-fi film festival happening in December…I may just have to put that on my list of things to check out!

Fun Fun Fun Fest: Wednesday was my last volunteer shift at AFF, Thursday was my volunteer orientation for Fun Fun Fun Fest. Again…I’ll sleep in 2016.

Fun Fun Fun always has a killer lineup, and this year’s did not disappoint. Wu-Tang Clan, Cheap Trick, Odeza, Grimes, Joey Bada$$, Jane’s Addiction…plus a bunch of skaters, comedians, and pro wrestlers. Yeah. Not your run-of-the-mill music festival, for sure. Despite a rainy start on Saturday, the festival had great vibes, a good space, (gorgeous people), and awesome sets from rappers, rockers, and everyone inbetween. I volunteered in the mornings Saturday and Sunday, which left evenings (and the amazing nite shows) open.

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The highlight of the weekend was definitely The Growlers’ nite show at Cheer Up Charlies. I had been waiting for over a year to see The Growlers and I had heard good things about Cheer Up Charlies; both exceeded my expectations. The surf/pysch-rock group had everyone outside bopping around and sharing love. At one point, I looked around the crowded space and watched girls dancing on benches, groups of friends sporting crazy costumes, people grabbing cheap beers and discussing the day’s shows.

It’s not the most professional picture of post-grad life, but it’s exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday. growlThe past six months (it’s been SIX months since graduation!) have been a whirlwind, and the next year is a complete mystery. Today, tomorrow, last Saturday however…Austin’s where I want to be. It’s where I want to spend my weekend. It’s where I want to explore until my next big adventure. It’s all good.

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I’m pumping out another playlist and I’m going to be focusing more on holiday traveling in the next few weeks. As usual, any suggestions, comments, questions…post away!!

Travel Playlist #1: On the Road, On the Run

Hey friends! Hope your November is wonderful! I’m currently spending my weekend at Fun Fun Fun Fest (more on that in my Austin Update…I’ll post it on Thursday!) so I figured I would create a music-themed post this week! I make playlists for everything, so I don’t just have one travel playlist, but multiple travel playlists! They’re separated by mood and mode of transportation. I based this first playlist off of my next adventure: a good old fashioned road trip! On New Year’s Day I’ll be driving from Philadelphia back to Austin with my friend/coworker, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how it goes! Here are some highlights:

For Cruising on the Highway with Your Top Down:

It’s Nice to Be Alive – Ball Park Music

Hold Back the River – James Bay

4th and Roebling – The Districts

Classics:

Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones

I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

For Running from Your Troubles (In a Totally Bad-Ass Way):

The World Ender – Lord Huron

Bad Kids – The Black Lips

Short Change Hero – The Heavy

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Let me know what you think of the playlist, what songs you would add, and what playlists you want to hear in the future! Also feel free to give this playlist a follow, as well as my blog 🙂 Thanks again for reading….cheers!