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A Fun but Useless RTW Journal Watch me RTW in 2 days less than the maximum period I can leave NZ with my loan remaining interest free without spraining my ankle/losing all possessions/becoming a Hungarian farmer's wife. NZ - TX - Chile - Bolivia - Colombia etc

Re-Texanifying Myself All Over Again

USA | Thursday, 9 June 2011 | Views [702]

The last time I wrote, I was impatiently awaiting my connecting flight to LAX which was going to bring me one step closer to Austin, my adopted hometown. Now that I'm sitting in a dreary airport hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida awaiting my flight to Chile tomorrow, I'm happy to say the last three weeks or so in Austin was so much better than I even could have expected. Despite the fact I massively blew my budget - thanks to my 5am drunken decision to change my flights at the last minute, nearly losing my flights to Chile and almost having to sell out $1000 for new ones (thank you very much STA NZ, you saved my bacon)

Having moved around the world so many times growing up, moving between cultures and continents, the sense of belonging I get from Austin is something very important to me. After my exchange year ended I headed "home" to Christchurch, where my parents moved when I was 16 and a place I've been trying to escape from ever since via gap years and university. The friends I made during my one year of high school in ChCh have moved onto different phases of their life elsewhere and up until the very end of my time working for House of Travel, I was the youngest by far in my team. Having come back to Christchurch solely to pay off my Austin debts and save up for more travelling, it was a long, lonely year.

That long, lonely year meant that when I landed in Austin on May 15th, it felt like so much more of a homecoming than going back to Christchurch ever did, and coming back to my favourite people and places made me so happy. My exchange year in Texas was the best year of my life and the chance to relive it all over again only eleven months on was so, so awesome.

I was incredibly lucky that so many of my comrades who had graduated at the same time as me last year and gone off to do much more exciting things than being a Database Coordinator living at home with her parents all happened to come back at the same time; Dana from France, James from LA, Katie from Chile. As well as them, all of my Texas friends who made the trip to see me from exotic, farflung places like Plano, Sugar Land and Beaumont, and all the friends still living in Austin. My fanatical love of Texas is based yes on Austin, and how awesome of a city it is, but mostly on just how fantastic my Texan friends are.

While my planned departure date of June 1st came and went due to my overly emotional drunken panic about leaving all of that behind, having now spent close to a month in Austin I left today happy and satisfied, knowing I've done everything I watned (bar a trip to Seguin, home of the World's Second Largest Pecan, but that's another story) I got to go to the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco thanks to Vanda, the Cathedral of Junk thanks to Jordan and the Greyhound Station thanks to Dana. I've eaten at all of my favourite places, gone to my favourite bars and clubs and discovered a whole new set of Austin experiences and people.

I'm super happy I came back to Texas only 11 months after leaving because nothing stays the same and I know my version of Texas slips further and further away the longer I'm not there.

3 weeks in Austin -  I got drunk heaps, danced my ass off, ate so much unhealthy food my body will probably never recover and had the freaking time of my life.

I am super super super excited about the next phase of my RTW trip. From now on, its all new discoveries and adventures, rather than the nostalgia and rediscovery that characterized my Texas part of the trip. Viva la South America - I can't wait!!

Tags: austin, exchange, happiness, texas


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