As you know we recently traveled back to our home state of Minnesota and while we had an amazing time, we agreed Austin is home. Here are our top 5 reasons we're glad to be back in ATX!
1. Food. We drive I-35 literally from our front door to Minneapolis with rest stops approximately every mile. Located at every stop: McDonalds or Subway. Gross. Next time we will plan stops around decent places to eat. Shame on you, Iowa. All of that farmland, and I found myself eating instant mashed potatoes, canned gravy, and other processed crap. Not to mention a barrage of heavy meats, rich casseroles soaked in Mayo, and mounds of sweets flying at us from every direction the entire trip. We ate like kings, yet never before have we so appreciated our proximity to amazing produce, and the healthy, foodie, culture of Austin.
2. Non-conformity. There is a vibe here in Austin that you should "do your thing." No one bats an eye at any display of unusual behavior. In fact it would not be labeled unusual here. People dress like they want to dress, ride unicycles, paint their houses purple, howl at the moon, and generally wave-their-hands-in-the-air-like-they-just-don't-care. This suits us just fine, thank you.
3. Small businesses. Everywhere. Why get Starbucks when you get Thunderbird, Kick Butt, Epoch, Corona, Flight Path? People take their small businesses seriously here. Yes, the usual culprits are still here, but the little guys can hold their own.
4. General family-friendliness. We've often felt quiet tolerance when you drag a rowdy three year old and a bouncy, drooling baby into an establishment in other parts of the country. Here in Austin, its perfectly acceptable for Ruby to wander up to a table in a restaurant, introduce herself and tell everyone at the table about her dog/princess dress/dragons. To be fair, she always says, "Tescuse me" when she interrupts adults. We are friendly and casual, but we still have manners, ya'll.
5. Openness. Is that a word? My spell check says so. Most people are very friendly and polite and go out of their way not to attract attention or offend anyone. As you travel south, somewhere around the Kansas/Oklahoma border, people get a little bit chattier, linger a bit longer, until finally by the time you reach Oklahoma City, people leap over your suitcase, grab your baby out of your arms, and tell you their whole life story. It was disconcerting when we first moved here. Now it feels normal.
Just some of the many reasons we fit right in here in Austin. Keep it weird.
All photos by me.