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Everything’s Bigger in Texas – SXSW 2012

South by Southwest is an annual film/music/interactive festival that overtakes the beautiful city of Austin, Texas every March. I’ve attended for two years now because it’s an incredibly cost-effective vacation that provides two things I need on a regular basis:

  • A smooth blend of relaxation and chaos
  • Interesting and intelligent people to meet

It’s essentially a few thousand sponsored parties, shows, and events all designed to make you have a good time (and usually remember a brand or an artist). For the common man it means enjoying free food, open bars, live music, and creative people for twelve days.

When combined with CouchSurfing/staying with friends and airline miles it gets even more affordable. Just don’t buy an official badge. You don’t need it.

A few things I did at SXSW 2012:

  1. Ate heaps of burgers sourced from local, grass-fed beef
  2. Drank loads of Tito’s vodka, Lone Star, and Dos Equis
  3. Learned about truffles and truffle oil (and truffle fries)
  4. Watched at least 30 live music performances
  5. Saw a fight at a local grocery store
  6. Became jealous of Austin’s Car2Go service
  7. Watched the Austin Music Awards from the third-tier VIP section and saw Bruce Springsteen’s surprise performance
  8. Met dozens of incredible personalities from Austin, New York, Mexico City, and Toronto
  9. Consumed massive amounts of free BBQ and tacos
  10. Saw a concert in a church at midnight
  11. Personally returned a lost wallet
  12. Won a Sphero at a tech party
  13. Saw a mobile Occupy SXSW street movement and the police response
  14. Watched Jeff Who Lives at Home at an Alamo Draft House – my new favorite theater (you can silently order food/drink with little slips of paper during the film)
I highly recommend checking out Firehorse – the live performance gave me goosebumps.… Read More
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The End Is the Beginning Is the End

Current Location: Louisville, KY, United States of America
Current  Weather: 32°F (feels like 24°F)
Days Gone: 201
Days Remaining: Zero
Home provides its own type of chaos. Perhaps the chaos and uncertainty craved by the traveler is really just a craving for simplicity. Unknown means no planning. It means your time is yours and yours alone. For me, unknown is easy. With too many variables, calculation becomes impossible. You can’t suffer from analysis paralysis if you can’t analyze the situation. I’ve said before that the present is all we have. Well, it turns out that while traveling the present is the only thing worth considering. Even for someone like me, a person who considers every option and almost subconsciously plans for every consequence, travel makes careful planning impossible. With an unwieldy trip such as this, the possible futures which cascade outward from every event are so multitudinous and varied that I can actually allow myself to not think about them. Mental peace.

But home is where I am now. I’ve been breathing cold Louisville, KY air since early December. My trip was cut short suddenly when I received an email that my grandfather was in the hospital for what would be the last time.… Read More

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How to Get to the Other Side of the Planet

Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand – Khao San Road
Current  Weather: 91° F (feels like 104°F)

Days Gone: 2 
Days Remaining: 213

I’ve had a hell of a time getting to Bangkok. My route was supposed to be Louisville-Chicago-Tokyo-Bangkok and my total travel time was supposed to take about 24 hours. For those curious, the flight was purchased from for $1160 (pretty cheap to get to the other side of the planet) and, of course, was non-refundable and non-changable. After a delayed flight out of Louisville (SDF) caused a missed connection in Chicago by approximately 73 seconds – I was told I would be stuck in Chicago for the night at my own expense (weather-related delay). The next flight out was the following day at the same time, 24 hours later exactly.

So, I needed a few things. First, a place to sleep for the night. Second, food to sustain me. Third, something to occupy my time to maintain sanity. Keep in mind that I am now in backpacker budget mode, a terrible mode to be in while still inside the United States. But all was not lost, I managed to stay fed, sleep in a hotel, and contact home for under $20.… Read More

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Wanderlaunch – The Legend Begins (in 7 Days)

Current Location: Louisville, Kentucky; United States
Current Weather:
75° F – Sunny

Welcome to Wanderlust! This is where you can read the constantly unfolding story of my adventures backpacking through Southeast Asia. That’s right, in just seven short days I’ll embark on a seven month journey from my landlocked home state to the Far East and back again (I hope). This means you now have the exciting opportunity to watch, from the safety and comfort of your own home, as I battle everything from language barriers to giant spiders to Traveler’s Diarrhea

If that last line disgusts you, you might want to reconsider visiting. There are times when it’s going to get rather sweaty and unpleasant around here. But that’s just one side of travel. If you are intrigued instead of dissuaded, you will undoubtedly be rewarded with colorful tales wrought with peril and a smattering of tasty foods. You will even get to view the results of my attempts to photograph things of exquisite beauty. 
If all this sounds pretty cool to you, feel free to read a bit more about me, learn about my journey, what I’m carrying, and maybe have a few questions answered while you’re here (like why I’m going in the first place).
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