My weekend in Austin for the first annual Blogger Interactive was pretty cool.
I did miss Maya tremendously– more than I imagined I would.
I stayed in quirky studio cottage off of South Congress, complete with a friendly cat and chickens. Coming straight from the desert of Nevada, my brain nearly short-circuited from sensory overload. I haven’t been enveloped by so many brilliant greens, vibrant flowers, singing birds, and a general in-your-face abundance of life in quite some time.
After our BI speaker session with Julian and Chiara, who are crazy driven and creative, I decided to stroll down to the Capitol building to snap a few shots. Lo and behold! the Texas Book Festival was in full swing. Glory be.
Keep Austin Weird? Yes, please. Here are a few random shots throughout the weekend. I wish I would have taken more.
One photo that I’m going to enlarge and frame for Maya’s room:
Down to the meat: Blogger Interactive. As some of you are already aware, I was reluctant to hop that plane and put myself in the midst of it all. I wasn’t the only one. After reading other BI views on our meet-up, I realized that most of us who attended the event are a bit (or a lot) introverted, but we had the balls to just do it. I am so thankful that we did because not only did I get to meet the people behind the blogs I read, I also met new people who help expand my personal universe. I can’t wait to bump into all of you again!
Honestly, if I could go back and redo the weekend, I would have put on my big girl panties and opened my mouth and asked more questions. Not been reluctant to put myself out there, because no one was scary and no one was judging anyone else. At least, not that I’m aware of. All the horrific, embarrassing stuff that could happen, like that awful nightmare where you epically face-plant in front of a lot of people, didn’t happen.
OH WAIT. YES, it did.
Let me begin by saying that I am a klutz. You know that movie Good Luck, Chuck where the gorgeous Jessica Alba is the biggest goofball and trips, walks into stuff, inadvertently injures others and herself… Yeah. That’s me, minus the uber-hotness factor. So by the time BI rolled around on Friday night, klutzy me was running on THREE hours of sleep since Thursday morning. Add to that three sangaritas (half margarita, half sangria), very little food swimming in my belly, and an unfamiliar dark nightclub, and you have the proper ingredients for an EPIC face-plant. I smashed into a step (fabulous hematoma still colors my shin) and nearly took a stranger down with me. Poor Kirk had no idea what he was getting himself into when he allowed me to follow him and his friends around like a lost puppy. Had he known… I’m sure he would have filmed it. However, this is par for the course in a night out with me, so should I return to Austin (and I will- especially since Allegiant Air is now offering supa-cheap flights direct from Vegas), I’m guessing someone will have their camera ready. Along with a first aid kit.
I was blessed with this opportunity to travel to Austin for BI weekend. I saved and stayed under my budget (and good thing because my car brakes decided to quit working the day after I returned from Austin). I know a lot of other people wanted to attend, but were unable to make it, so I feel lucky. I hope that next year the BI group expands exponentially and we are all able to connect with other like-minded individuals. It is an uplifting experience.
Speaking of uplifting… I had an odd experience on the flight home…
So, I wandered about the South Congress area in the morning before my flight. It had just finished raining and the intoxicating scent of wet earth and green was heavy in the air. I had a cup of coffee and ate a breakfast burrito at Jo’s, and walked away with a fat cinnamon roll to eat as I watched the chickens one last time. However, as I walked up the street, there was a homeless man who had pushed his wet belongings to the side of a building and was wearily leaning against them. He politely said hello and I replied the same as I passed by him. Then I thought about that scrumptious roll and how I could get another one any time I wanted– in fact, I could turn around that very moment and buy five or ten more if that was what I desired. It was unlikely this man could buy one. So I offered mine and I swear his eyes lit up. Made me feel so good that I walked around a bit longer than planned. I had the intention of showering before I boarded a plane with more than a hundred other souls, but I lost track of time and decided that I didn’t smell that bad, plus I would be home shortly and could shower then. I was only flying, for Pete’s sake. What spectacular event could occur that would make me wish I had scrubbed and fixed my hair and put on mascara?
Tall, dark, and handsome walking down the aisle toward the back of the plane. Seat next to me empty. I swear, my luck is never so good as when I look like death warmed over. He sat down beside me and I instantly, inexplicably wanted to touch him. Weirdest thing ever. I had to literally sit on my hands so that I didn’t pretend he had something in his hair and I was just trying to get it out. We chatted about Game of Thrones; he’s reading the book. He’s a musician. Educated. Respectful. Funny, but not in that in-your-face-look-at-me sort of way. Sweet. He’s so damn nice– in a way that you can tell it’s embedded in his core. And, as usual, I was not on my game, and the bizarre urge to cuddle into him did not dissipate as the flight continued. In the restroom, I swore I was going to go back out there and act more interested, because I was. However, he settled into a movie, so I settled into Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. And that… was pretty much it, unfortunately. We talked for a bit near the end, but… *sigh* I had to literally run to my next plane and he was home. And I don’t know. Maybe he was flying home to a girlfriend or wife (not all men wear rings). However, it was the only time I wished for a long layover because he’s exactly the kind of man I’d like to get to know better.
It hit me that you guys exist. You extraordinary men with good hearts. You’re out there and you sit right down by us when we least expect it. And next time, I’m going to find out more about you.
Wonderful friends, new friends, remarkable men, and great food and drinks. Lovely weekend in Austin. Thanks to our sponsors, and thanks to all of my fellow BI attendees for making it a great weekend!
During Year Two, I want to see YOU there! And maybe you, too, can watch me fall flat on my face.