“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”
– Earl Nightingale
Texas has us and will not let us go…
After arriving to Austin last week, we were tired, delirious, and to be honest, completely over it.
We couldn’t find a couch surfer to host us, and so, our good friend Damien saved us.
Damien put me and Forrest up in a motel for the night and ordered us pizza that was delivered to our motel room.
Forrest met Damien a few months back when she was hitching through Texas. He is a lovely man, who, like us, believes in an ecological lifestyle to better ourselves and the world. We spent some time with Damien whilst in Austin, he took us out to local hot spots for breakfast and lunch, and even ended up driving us from Austin to Dallas, yesterday morning, leaving us at a truck stop (this god forsaken truck stop!) so that we could try and hitch a ride to Arizona.
Jiffy, Forrest’s friend, showed up at our motel door step a couple of hours after we arrived. Forrest and Jiffy met in Arkansas where they were both Wwoofing at the same farm. He stayed with us 2 nights in Austin before heading into Mexico, where we will be joining him shortly.
After a good nights sleep we woke up to numerous couch surfing hosts accepting our requests. We picked Patrick, an American sweetheart attending the University of Texas. We arrived at his apartment, which he shares with 3 other boys who attend UT, dropped of our things, and headed out to explore the city.
We spent the day walking around and busking outside of Whole Foods, trying to earn cash for our lunch… We made around five dollars.
Austin was a bit of a shock to my system. After being amongst the mountains, living simply, Wwoofing, hiking and exploring nature, entering Austin, a concrete jungle, made me feel uneasy and even worried that I wouldn’t enjoy my time there as I felt I needed to be back in the mountains. Of course I had an excellent time.
Jiffy was on his way the next day, and me and Forrest spent our weekend with the other couch surfers Tom, another Australian from Melbourne, Finn, a California native, and of course our couch surfing host and his friends. It was a great city to spend my birthday weekend in.
Naturally, always surrounding ourselves with Australians, I got to spend some time with an old friend from home, someone I know through my brother. Geordie, who has been living in Austin on a green card, had me and Forrest over for dinner one night, and the next day, my birthday, had us over for home made chai, and then took us to an absolutely excellent vegan restaurant (THANKS GEORDIE AND BIRDIE).
On the night of my birthday (Saturday) we set out on 6th street to create some trouble, we succeeded in that.
I paid not a cent the whole night, every where we went drinks were handed to us as soon as I said it was my birthday. Sixth street delivered the goods! We found ourselves back at Patrick’s around 3am, and spent the rest of the night (and morning) sitting on the rooftop with the boys discussing life, and in the morning greeting all who walked by.
After sleeping a couple of hours in the middle of the day, Forrest and I walked to wholefoods to buy ingredients to make a family dinner for everyone on our last night in Austin.
That night we made delicious Dahl for 8 people, we sat around the table and went in a circle telling each other what we loved about the day.
We then worked on some crafts, and got ready for bed, I fell into a deep sleep the second my head hit the pillow.
Damien picked us up early and took us to breakfast before heading three hours north to Dallas, to drop us off at a truck stop on the highway.
And so begins the start of our way out of Texas, though we are still here after 28 hours, lost in transition.
The drivers here are friendly and willing to take us, however they are always heading in the opposite direction.
After 2 hours of waiting patiently, we found 2 men who were heading (or so we thought) to California, which would get us right on the 40, leaving us 2 hours out from our destination in Arizona.
We went to put our bags in the truck and chill out whilst they did some things at the truck stop. Lucky we hadn’t started moving, when we over heard one of the men on a phone call, saying they would be in Florida by the morning. Apparently we had misheard them, and they were heading to Florida first, then heading to California. We were not willing to back track a day, so we got our things, and went back to sitting with the other truck drivers outside the gas station. Five hours later and still no luck, it was almost midnight and exhaustion overcame us. We called it quits for the night and went to pitch our tent on the grass next to the trucks.
We woke up around 6am to continue our search for a ride west. At around 10am we found one! Two hilarious men heading to California, they took us to breakfast and we were on our way… for around 15 minutes, the boys then got a call from their boss, stating that they in fact needed to turn back and wait until tomorrow to leave, when they will then be heading East instead. So that was that, back we went to our little truck stop. By this time, we have in fact become locals, drivers from all hours of the day and night walk past us asking us how it is we STILL haven’t gotten a lift out of here yet.
We meet a fresh face, who tells us he is leaving at 5am heading north to Colorado, dropping a load of there, then heading straight through to Arizona. He gives us his drivers pass to use the gas station’s bathroom facilities for us to shower (thank god), we get clean and walk back outside in a much better mood. We sit and keep chatting, and a Canadian trucker who we had met the night before walks over to us with two huge vegetarian subs. “I assume you hippies are vegetarians”, he says as he hands them to us. We cant help but to hug him with gratitude, and he gets a kick out of watching us thoroughly enjoying our first bites.
And that’s it. Tomorrow we are off again, FINALLY. Texas has tried to swallow us whole, and keep us for itself, but we keep our minds open and our eyes on the road ahead of us.
Sometimes it’s all about the journey, not the destination… Yeah right, tell that to those stuck at a gas station on the side of the highway for over 24 hours! Ah well, all in good fun!