Not your average travel blog
Metaphorically speaking, Carlos and I had been at it like frisky flamingos, trying to hatch plans like we needed a massive brood to take to Texas for their first flight. As close as we were to having kittens, and with Carlos deciding it was time to put a deposit down on a rusty car to get us there, his “life got flipped turned upside down”, with a phone call that said he had work for two months..
As happy as I could be for my age-defying friend, this is how a positive attitude is the only thing that saves a hellish haemorrhage of plans which say “Hey, you there with the great idea – come here while I slap you in the face with this giant salmon!”
Courtesy prevailed and Carlos, after laying down some cash to purchase a banger, called to say that my Texas road trip was off the table…at least with him. I was stranded for a few days and had to re-hatch my own kittens. Thankfully, I pulled through. Denver to Austin was only a sixteen hour drive, and I had found a Texan that desired to drive home.
Some adventures, such as visiting the beautiful and secluded foothills above Boulder, staying with a hedonistic cat that liked to catch birds on balconies in the moonlight north of Denver, and actually enjoying a vegan diet for a while as I couch surfed with a young music teacher with a penchant for spinach smoothies and debauchery in the mountains, will make it into a book this winter, or into bonus blog posts from my detailed diaries.
More on adventures with Carlos, on my delayed time in Colorado, on meeting more hot-tub-loving people in the pot-friendly, apparently large snake-infested state, will be amongst the pages of future reads…
Linsi agreed with me on the feel and sense of community that Boulder lacked, and spending seventeen hours in a car with her was quite possibly the best extended drive I think I have ever been on. It’s the longest time I have spent in a car in one day, and having to spend it with someone arrogant, narrow minded, selfish, careless or with a menacing mind towards British men would have been quite a difficult drive..
My new sidekick however, is as wonderful as a field of flowers in the spring. She smells good, isn’t corrupted by any wind, loves a warming sunset and even though she wouldn’t like me to tell you, probably has a few interesting secrets that the scarecrows amongst the grass would only know about. She is obviously on my “favourite people of America” list, and she doesn’t drive like she wants to kill me (bonus). After a short delay and credit card issue, which Linsi had when collecting her hire car, we were underway. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-pilot, and while sharing the driving, discussed many things such as acceptable underwear, female hygiene, lost trains, yoga, the environment, devilled eggs, future travel plans and the women of America. Broad subjects…but we had seventeen hours to kill!
The drive flew by. We only went the wrong way twice, and stopped twice for a short leg stretch, some hard boiled eggs (sadly not devilled), and a trip into a Texan bar to see if we could “borrow” a few wooden whisky barrels, as Linsi’s mother wanted them for her garden. Unable to acquire any barrels, I helped myself to a fancy seat, and briefly took in the slightly uncomfortable, dry heat of a more southern climate. After I had seen two new states: New Mexico briefly, and a long drive through cattle country and past dozens of oil wells, in Texas, we arrived in Austin around midnight.
One thing I wasn’t expecting to see when reaching the Lonestar State, was the multiple, vast seas of towering wind turbines. They were everywhere, like nowhere else I had seen in America so far. Love them or hate them, and with arguments definitely for and against, I assume Texas is fully aware that their oil supply is not forever. These humming and buzzing, white beasts are hear to stay, covering the flat landscape in massive numbers.
Arriving in Austin late at night, in the dark was unusual. It was only the second time on my journey that I had travelled in the dark. Unable to see anything away from the roadside or footpath was uncomfortable, and I constantly felt as though I was greatly missing out on soaking up the visions into my sponge of memories. Travelling in the dark suddenly felt unsafe, because I was couldn’t relate to the unknown. I knew that either side of the road were expanses of land with more wind turbines, cattle, oil wells and grass land, and seeing the landscape in day light was daunting enough. Not seeing it at all from a dark passenger seat, with a tired driver eating the last of the rationed snacks, was haunting.
I woke up in Austin with yet another small dog licking my face (no petite lady jokes, thanks). In fact of the dozens of people I have met across the country so far, I have only met one household without an animal! Im nit sure what it says about a nation, but pets are definitely high on american’s lists of priorities. Breakfast tacos with hot sauce arrived at the door as my hosts came back from a coffee run, and I had an exciting, full calendar of southern treats waiting for me as my Texas adventure began…
At this point, I’d just like to remind everyone that I’m still succeeding to travel and live on $6 a day. I’m meeting wonderful people, enjoying remarkable hospitality, immersing myself in intelligent discussions, enthusiastic, passionate debate and being welcomed into people’s social lives like a lost, bearded elephant. Only this herd seems to enjoy locally brewed beverages, discussion around their less adventurous lives and reminding me that not only do I say things wrong, but I eat pizza with a knife and fork.
It’s obviously not all plain sailing. I constantly am aware of: making sure I’m safe, not over spending, not breaking the law (i.e. hitchhiking in certain places), not getting stranded more than a few days from food, always having water, not accidentally finding myself in a built up area with nowhere safe, or totally legal to sleep, staying warm at night, and now in the south, cool in the day, making sure the weight in my backpack isn’t too heavy incase I am on foot for a few days, making sure I write everything down, and keeping a level of hygiene and cleanliness that is acceptable if I sit in anyone’s car, or arrive unexpectedly at a strangers front door. My daily concerns list needs constant management.
I am raising awareness and funds for World Land Trust because it works internationally to purchase valuable land, to conserve ecosystems and to protect endangered wildlife. The issues that our natural world faces are global ones, not just the ones I am coming across in the USA.
If you’d like to donate (no money lines my pockets), please visit here
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