I have now been in Austin for four days for the South by Southwest conference (a.k.a SXSW) and already I have met some great people, got drunk, got lost and have developed sore feet. All part of the experience! Austin is not like the rest of Texas for sure. It’s exists as a very cool and independent hub in a state otherwise known for cowboys and ranches.
Several blocks of the city are devoted to the Austin Conference Centre, the home of the SXSW festival and as such it’s surrounded by big chain hotels but head up to East 6th Street and you walk into a hipster’s paradise, with bars playing rock music, theme bars (Coyote Ugly anyone?) independent eateries and treats such as The Museum of the Weird. The street is shut off for the duration of the festival to allow for crowds of people to mingle amongst each other and if you’re lucky, like me, you’ll get a lot of free handouts from promotion teams or get to see some amazing fancy dress outfits. Morph suits are in!
Some of the SXSW survival tips I researched before coming here advised on sensible shoes as you are bound to do a lot of walking and already today I have walked five miles, as some of the buildings housing the various talks, panels, meetings and shows are a good walk away from each other.
It’s been advisable to drink a lot of water whilst out walking too and since the sun came out today, after well needed rain on Friday and Saturday, this is a golden rule. There are so many parties and unofficial events happening at the same time that its been hard to stay away from free beer and tacos! I have managed to fufill one of the items from my wish list though and that was to have Mexican food for breakfast. Is not sustainable as you can see from the picture. No one can eat that much food every day surely?
I have managed to meet some other travel bloggers while out here too and we all enjoyed a beer and a brag as we told each other where we had been in the past year that we hadnalways wanted to go to. I got to fly the flag for The Rickshaw Run of course and even slip in a little about the Mongol Rally. It’s really great to see people as enthusiastic about travel and more importantly, supportive of new blogs like Way Out Far! If you are thinking of starting your own travel blog then I can only say that this is a great community who are all very supportive. I didn’t know about the Blogmany that happened in Edinburgh this year, maybe that’s something to attend next year?
I didn’t manage to get to the talk about cat videos on the Internet (a highly productive use of my time of course) but I did manage next best thing and got my picture taken with the uber-famous Grumpy Cat on Friday. If you don’t know who Grumpy Cat is, then you must have been under a rock for the past few months, but she’s a crazy Internet famous meme known for her upside-down frown and moody statements.
That’s all from Austin for now. I’ll report back once I get back with a fuller update on the trip and advice for you if you want to attend the SXSW festival yourself next year. I’m off for more tacos and local Lonestar Beer!