Sometimes you just need to go and be someplace that’s not right here.

Austin20130830_026I spent Labor Day weekend, and a few days before, in Texas. After other travel plans failed to evolve, I decided I needed to go somewhere, anywhere, that I needed to not be in town for a weekend I was supposed to be someplace else and after a mostly stagnant and occasionally painful summer, it was time to buy myself some plane tickets and leave.

So I did.

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Austin20130902_071I picked Texas because my grandmother moved to Houston over a year ago from Northern Virginia and I miss her terribly and because my uncle and his family live there and also because Abby, blood of my blood, lives there too. By going to Texas, I could do the family thing and the friend-I-don’t-see-enough thing, get into some lady friend shenanigans and soak up some family time too. It seemed like a perfect blend for feel-betterness.

And it was.

I don’t think I knew how bad I needed to get away until I actually got away.

Austin20130830_016I flew into Austin, because it was WAY cheaper than flying into Houston and I’d always, always, always wanted to visit Austin. I had an absolutely incredible flight and made a friend (more on that later), and then Abby came up to spend Thursday night with me so I could have a friend to explore (and drink) with and that’s what we did. We hit happy hours, discovered $2.50 whiskey drinks, $5 nachos and $3 margaritas, checked out the bats (BATS, YOU GUYS!) before finding our way to a speakeasy hidden behind a sliding bookcase.

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IMG_4129 I got up early the next morning, tried to drink enough water to nullify my margarita and beer-induced mini-hangover and then I set out for a little run, because that’s apparently the sort of person I am now, the sort of person who never, ever travels without a pair of running shoes, who plans vacations around running endeavors and regrets ever visiting a city without checking it out with a pair of running shoes tied to my feet.

IMG_4142Post-run, Abby and I set off in search of breakfast. I kept hearing about this whole breakfast taco thing that happens in Texas, which I was immediately fascinated by the minute I heard that such an incredible thing exists because, in case I haven’t been clear, I really, really like things like tacos and nachos and I tend to eat both nearly weekly, and I believe, in a very real sort of way, that tacos and nachos have magical healing properties and they, along with mac and cheese, of course, are my comfort foods in a very real and often-craved sort of way.

So we went to Jo’s and I had a delicious chai latte with almond milk and they even spelled my name right, which, you know, NEVER HAPPENS, and so then, in that moment, I fell in love with Austin. And then there were breakfast tacos, or rather, BREAKFAST TACOS, which are basically just breakfast sandwiches, with eggs and bacon or maybe chorizo or potatoes, wrapped in a tortilla. IT’S MAGIC, I TELL YOU. MAGIC.

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Austin20130830_009And then we wandered. We visited the capitol building, cooed at dogs, cursed the heat, hit up a few thrift stores, acquired some goods and then headed to Houston.

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Austin20130830_028Turns out, I needed a drive, too. There’s something about the open road, especially in places I’ve never been before where the speed limits are higher than any I’ll find in Virginia, something magical and relaxing and reflective and, in all my treks back and forth from Atlanta to where Andrew is in Alabama, I’ve learned that I really like driving, that long drives are the perfect time to sort through things that don’t make sense at any other time or that I can’t focus on during my normally busy days. So the drive was nice, as I figured it would be.

I got into Houston Friday night, stopped for a quick visit with my grandmother before heading out to eat some of the most ridiculous nachos I’ve ever encountered.

IMG_4159Five meats, y’all. FIVE. MEATS. And a center filled with queso. AND a whole sauce bar sort of thing with ranches and salsas and jalapenos. FOR SERIOUS.

Saturday and Sunday were primarily spent IN the pool at my aunt & uncle’s home.

IMG_4178My aunt is a top-notch hostess, and she kept Abby and I satiated with margaritas and sangria by the pool, along with an array of snacks, including vegetables that tasted fresher than rain forest air after the Great Nacho Gorging of 2013.

My aunt & uncle’s backyard is incredible, with a pool and a hot tub, a basket of beach towels close at hand and little tiny lizards skittering nearby, and it had been far too long since I’d allowed myself to do nothing and, aside from a run on Sunday morning, I spent my final full days in Texas doing little more than floating in the pool, talking with my family and Abby and downing margaritas. We even managed to convince my grandmother to don a bathing suit and get in the pool for the first time in a long, long time and when I looked around on Sunday I realized how happy the weekend had been, how great I felt, how happy I was knowing that there are people who love me and are there for me, even if they’re not very close.

Austin20130830_046Monday morning I woke up early, packed up my things, including Armadillo Cat, got kolaches and donuts with Abby and then set off to have lunch with my grandmother before heading back to Austin to catch my flight home.

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IMG_4185It was, in the end, exactly what I needed and I returned home late Monday night feeling better, better than I’d felt in a while, better than when I’d left and just simply better. The vacation high has carried me through the past week and my time in Texas allowed me to readjust my frame of reference. I didn’t know I needed to leave until I was gone and realized how good I felt. I love my house and my critters and the wild things that my home seems to attract, but I don’t take a lot of time for myself when I’m home, not really, so leaving and doing just that proved to be exactly the sort of catharsis I needed.

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 So thanks, Texas. I promise I’ll be back.


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15 thoughts on “Sometimes you just need to go and be someplace that’s not right here.


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    The amount of jealousy I have that you got to hang out with Abby and eat those nachos knows no bounds. also i miss you! (and sex panther)


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    I have A LOT OF THINGS to say about this trip (which will inevitably necessitate its own blog post) but I am going to tell you that you are forever my pool, nacho, and margarita buddy — blood of my blood. Also, I miss you and our Armadillo Dance.


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    I have never met you, Terra, but I know your mom (though I have never met her and Michelle either) and the joy and pride I felt reading this blog was overwhelming. It’s probably just a mom thing, all moms want their kids to be happy. In my head I kept whispering “move there, move there” because I just wanted a fantasy ending. More importantly, I’m so glad that you have the strength and independence to follow your dreams and that you got on that plan. The trip sounded magical, we all deserve a little magic in our lives. So happy for you. Laurie


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    Um. Those nachos. Next time you go to TX may I come with you? They look divine. And time with you would be totally awesome and stellar, of course (that goes without saying). Glad you got some time away to clear your head. Thinking of you daily! And if you ever need another getaway? There’s lots of fun in STL and I promise to be a kick-ass hostess =)


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    Ash

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    Sweetheart, my heart is so full of happiness and Love for you! I’m so glad you went, so glad you got to have time with Grandma and your aunt and uncle and neice and nephew, and that a trip was just what you needed, and that you found both relaxation and re-connection with family. And Love, T. There is and has always been Love and support for you in your family. Your uncle has been very concerned about you, and of course your Grandma, too. We are all here for you, all cheering you on, all hoping for the best, and all amazed at everything you manage to accomplish. You make us all so proud, T.
    Love you to the Moon and back!


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    I have beyond happy that you had a good weekend. Thinking of you love.


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    I’ve never been a pool person, but this sounds like such a perfect weekend. Pooltime, nachos, margaritas, and shenanigans?! 🙂 Miss you, Terrabear!


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    So happy you got away from it all! It’s amazing how restorative it can be for the soul. Miss you and wishing you nothing but continued happiness and adventure, my lady friend.


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    this just looks like the best, most happy vacation ever. seriously now i want nachos. and to go to texas. and to hang out with you. and yes, this was the happy my day needed.


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    Margaret

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    Excellent !!!!


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    Please give me all yer Austin nachos & basically everything else from this post, too. This sounds perfect.


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    Glad you had such a great trip. Taking time for yourself is so, so important. Hugs, lady!


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    So glad you had a great trip to Texas! I *love* Austin and that shop – uncommon objects – is probably one of my favorites!


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    So glad you had a nice getaway. I was sad that we missed each other – of course we swapped parts of the country that weekend! Next time you are here, it’s ON. Fantastic pics, lady.


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