Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why I heart Austin

Last year, when my husband was chosen to lead a work project that would require him to go to Austin, Texas for a conference, the first thing I did was decide to go along (uhh, after I congratulated him, of course). I love to travel, and I'd never been to Texas before, so it was an easy decision to make.
It has to be said that I'm not much of a city person. Oh, I enjoy visiting them as much as the next person, but usually for me, the city scene gets old quick. Too many people, too dirty, too many sketchy neighborhoods. Noise, crowds, traffic. I know the suburbs and the country can be boring, but on an average day I enjoy the peace and quiet of my rural northern Virginia town, and wouldn't want to live anywhere else (besides maybe the beach). So while I've never had a real inclination to live in a city, I'd always told Jon that if for some reason his company needed to send him to live in, say, San Francisco for a little while, I'd be on board with that. Mild weather, proximity to the coast, and the unique scene is what draws me to love it there despite the typical cons of city life.
So for years, San Francisco has held the top spot on my 'List of Cities I've Visited and Liked Enough That I Could Live In". But Austin, oh, Austin, how you've taken hold of me... and the top spot. Yes, that's right: Austin has actually surpassed San Francisco as my number one city that I could, but probably won't ever, live in.
I can't even pin down why. Maybe it was the artsy/unique scene of South Austin. Maybe it was the fact that it's a smaller city and even being downtown didn't feel so smothering (hello, New York City). Maybe it was the fact that Austin is bike and pet friendly (oh seriously, there were dogs everywhere). There was just something, a vibe, if you will, that made me feel right at home from day one. I don't like riding the DC Metro, and I don't think I'd ever ridden a bus or the T alone when we lived in Boston, but I was out and about on the Capitol Metro buses in Austin like I'd done it for years. I hauled my cookies up to the campus, down to South Congress, and walked (alone) just about everywhere in between.
Of course, I have to quell the fears of our family and friends reading this: no, we're not really considering moving to Texas. I just wanted to profess my newfound love for Austin before I got on with my tour. There's just something about this city that I love, and I already can't wait to go back and find out what it is.
On second thought... it's gotta be the dog thing.

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