I spent the month of November in Austin, TX, staying in a little airbnb house in the backyard of a residence in South Austin.

The center of downtown is about a 10-15 minute drive away from my airbnb though I spent most of my time in South Austin since There were plenty of Coffee joints and beer gardens to keep me occupied and there have been a lot of things to do. 

I had to fly home to NYC for about a week for work to start my visit in Austin and then a co-worker came to visit for another few days so I had a bit of a different experience in this Austin trip and got to visit more bars and coffee shops than I usually do.

Some of my favorite Austin places:

  • Oasis Texas Brewing Company, with a large outdoor deck right on Lake Travis you can come here for the beer and stay for incredible sunsets
  • The Far Out Lounge and Stage, a sprawling beer garden like atmosphere with two large stages and several food trucks in its backyard. From the street, the front of the bar may be a little misleading, it looks like a shitty local dive bar but it offers so much more. I’ve been there to (accidentally) catch a performance by the Vengabonds and to catch the beginning of a Burlesque Variety Show. 
  • Radio Coffee & Beer, The theme to a lot of places here in Austin are places where you can stop by and work all day and then stay and play all night. Radio is another place with a backyard and a number of food trucks but their location and yard space is a bit more modest. The outdoor space wraps around it’s front which is positioned off a street so it was not nearly as relaxing but they host a number of events throughout the week. I stopped by to do some journaling and to catch their weekly talent show one evening.
  • The Little Darlin’, Another beer garden with a lovely backyard with picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and fire pits. This was very close to my stay so I went there a couple of times.
  • Mozart Coffee Roasters, Located right on the water on Lake Austin. Grab a coffee and a dessert and find a chair at a table on their sprawling deck and take in another wonderful sunset. I also went for their holiday light show after Thanksgiving
  • Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden, I was introduced to Cosmic by a local I met on my first visit to Austin and rediscovered it during this visit. I would have been here more often if the parking wasn’t such madness. Since my last trip to Austin a large climbing gym was built across the parking lot from Cosmic and they both share a rather modest parking lot between the both of them. It’s still a wonderful place with coffee, great signature cocktails and plenty of beer on tap. They have a few water features that really contribute to the relaxing ambience, especially when you’re looking to read or just chill in on of their Adirondack chairs. 
  • The Salty Donut, Great Coffee and great doughnuts.
  • Torchy’s Tacos, Hands down my favorite Taco place in Austin. Originally founded in Austin Torchy’s Tacos now has locations in several states. It’s gotten a touch coorperatey but it’s still delicious.
  • Tacodeli If you’re looking for something a little smaller than Torchy’s, Tacodeli is also incredible.
  • Terry Black’s Barbecue – Just a staple of Texas Barbecue, it’s one of my favorite places and a must visit for some Texas Barbecue. Protip: come during off peak hours otherwise expect to wait for a long while.

If you’re ever getting breakfast tacos in Austin get a Migas Taco. Corn Tortilla chips add a crunch to a soft breakfast taco and it’s delightful. 

Nova and I lounging in the backyard of our South Austin Airbnb

Nova and I have been staying at our first Airbnb with a fenced in backyard and boy does it make a world of difference when living with a young, high-energy dog. I’ve been able to just wake up and let Nova roam the backyard to go to the bathroom before starting the day or before I hit the gym in the morning. It was great until a delighted Nova returned from an afternoon jaunt in the backyard covered in mud. I spent half an hour covering the holes she dug in the backyard.

The McKinney Homestead, built between 1850 and 1852 by Thomas F. McKinney. The two-story homestead was continuously occupied until it burned in the 1940s. (Source)

There was also a cute little off-leash dog trail about three minutes from my airbnb. One of the circuits was almost exactly one mile and I had been using it to get back on track with running. My ankle has been slowly getting better since I hurt it sometime between Atlanta and Nashville. I bought some new running sneakers to give my ankle some more support and have been slowly working up my mileage. I only really ran 3 miles at a time so it shouldn’t take long to get there.

I haven’t travelled very far outside of Austin during my month there but I haven’t really had the need to. I am just a few minutes away from Mckinley Falls State Park which had a couple of great trails around an abandoned homestead and across some streams. There also seems to be a couple of great places to swim where two waterfalls pool which would have been delightful in the summer.

One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems that a lot of trails in Austin have creek crossings without much warning going into it. Some of them are pretty technical and its really unavoidable to leave without wet feet. It makes sense now why a lot of locals hike with rugged hiking sandals like Tevas or Chacos. It’s gotten a little annoying to have to take off my sneakers or boots to cross a stream. It’s especially challenging to hop slick and sometimes jagged rocks while dragging a resistant, water-hating pup.

Austin was my first major holiday on the trip. I’ve opted to not go home for any of the holidays and to focus the year on being “solo”. Whatever that comes means. 

I actually didn’t end up spending Thanksgiving alone and instead celebrated with a friend I made in my travels. I’m trying to limit my content about the people I’ve met during my travels, I’ve been wanting to work on a longer piece about the people I’ve met in all of my cities.

“You’re exactly where you’re meant to be” – Back of bathroom stall at The Little Darlin’

The Thanksgiving holiday also means that anniversary of my mother’s death came up in Austin. The anniversary can churn up a wide arrangement of feelings and sadness. Sometimes I have a week of uncontrollable sadness and sometimes I’m too busy to really feel anything at all and am just bombarded on a single day when everything catches up to me.

This anniversary was a hard one, it was the 16th anniversary of the day my mom died when I was 16 years old. That means that every day afterwards I have lived more days without a mom than I have without. It’s a tough and jagged pill to swallow but I was also oddly at piece this anniversary. I had a normal selfcare day, ate healthy, went to the gym to get in a workout, took Nova for a long walk but I felt okay, I felt more okay than I have in a long time. I felt more okay than I have in a long time. I wish I could pin down the cause, I wish I could bottle it for days I don’t feel okay. 

Maybe it’s the travels, maybe it’s being in a new place. Maybe it’s the constant access to the outdoors, and sunlight. Maybe it’s the dog that’s never NOT happy (except when you’re eating dinner and she can’t have it). 

My mom’s anniversary usually stirs up feelings of sadness and loneliness and while I’ve never been more alone thousands of miles from “home.” I can’t say that I feel lonely.

The adventures continue…