When we moved to Austin, everything was unfamiliar. The traffic patterns, the grocery store aisles, and every face on every single person we met. Here are three things that soon became more commonplace and are now known to be things I love about living in Austin!
Truly, I hate to broadcast how great the weather is in Austin. It almost feels like bragging. You know, that kind of bragging that says, “My dad is stronger than yours.” But, boy, do I ever LOVE the hill country weather. Recently, I was exclaiming about the greatness of the it in this way: six months out of the year, the weather is absolutely wonderful — the other six months it’s fantastic!
If you grew up here in the Austin area, you may not know otherwise. If you grew up somewhere else, you most certainly do. You know. You’ve seen other weather. You’ve screamed at the kids to run to the car, every man or child for himself, racing to get out of the frigid wind. Or you’ve listened all night to the attic noises of creaking beams, hoping the wind doesn’t break them loose and send them flying through your neighbor’s window.
We used to drive up and down the streets of our rural development and see whose trampolines had traded yards in the previous night’s windstorm. When our barn was being built one January, a huge piece of metal siding came loose and whipped against the existing structure ALL NIGHT LONG.
Yep, when you’ve experienced another clime, you know when you’ve encountered heavenly weather. It’s here, and it’s definitely one of the three things I love most about living in Austin. (We no longer need a budget category for hair spray, either.)
When I was a dreamy high-schooler, my downtown experience of any kind was not only limited – it was virtually non-existent. Well, I did know all the words to “Downtown – Where All the Lights are Bright.” But I’ve been to a few downtowns now, and I would say that downtown Austin is somewhat atypical. Stylish and sleek condo buildings – check. Texas-sized capitol building – check. Restaurants – the best! Respectful drivers – yes!
A trip to Austin would almost be complete if you did nothing more than rent an Airbnb, walk to Whole Foods and make your way up and down Congress Avenue. It’s the Main Street of Texas, you know. I NEVER tire of the view of the Capitol Building, the coffee on Congress Avenue, or the restaurants within walking distance on this historic street.
A wintry day’s view of the Texas Capitol Building.
Okay, y’all, the traffic is definitely horrible in Austin. Grueling at rush hour, in fact. But is there a silver lining? Most assuredly so.
Mike and I ride together every day in the traffic, and we’ve intentionally found a little adventure in the monotony of it. We’ve learned from podcasts. We’ve listened to Sirius 70’s music, which always sparks great conversation. We’ve avoided rush hour on some days by staying downtown for happy hour.
We love putting our phones on bluetooth and catching up with the people we love while driving, and sometimes we read books to each other.
We recently read this book and really enjoyed discussing it. The author talks mostly about networking in business, but we also took it as powerful motivation to just connect with people in general. When you’re new in town, you have to get out of your comfort zone and connect!
We also listened to the audio version of this legal thriller by Scottoline. It kept our attention from start to finish, and it actually built anticipation to get in the car and be on the road so we could hear what happened next – and find out which one of us had correctly predicted the finish. Don’t you just love a good legal thriller?
What’s been the best thing about the traffic, though? It has forced us to find alternate ways to get where we’re going. Side roads, residential areas, lesser beaten paths. Instead of getting on Mopac with the masses, we’ve dared to investigate other ways to get to our destination. As it has turned out, there’s so much to explore on the road a little less traveled. Hmmm. Let’s go get a cup of coffee and discuss that topic.
What About You?
What about you? Have you moved to an unfamiliar place but found a few things you really enjoy about your new spot in the world? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Encouraging intentional adventure, even when you’re stuck in the slow lane,