I have a friend who is killer in all that she does. A friend who went to school to be a nurse and decided that maybe nursing was for her. But, like many of us, she had a fire in her soul that told her to explore. Katie is a bad bish by all definition. Beautiful, smart and adventurous, she brings us her story as a traveling nurse on her first assignment in Austin, Texas.
"After working as an RN in a small town in North Carolina, I caught the travel bug, and since August of 2014, I have been to Greece, Dubai and Australia. Fast forward to March of 2015, when I decided to take a leap of faith, leave my job and join a travel nurse agency. My first assignment is in the lovely city of Austin, Texas. That's when Tangerine contacted me and asked if I would be interested in sharing my adventures. I left my hometown of Northern Virginia, and embraced the 22+ hour drive to Austin, taking time to explore along the way. I hope you find my travels of interest and are inspired to wander yourself, whether it be across the pond, in the US, or even just checking out something new in your current area. Here's to Wanderlust on any level!"
Start your day by having lunch at the Wild Cow, a fully vegetarian with vegan options restaurant. This spot makes sure that all of their ingredients are purchased in their whole form. This means that even the sauces are made from scratch. Try the vegan portabella and cous-cous salad and vegan caesar.
After you've had your fill, shop at The Gulch, an outdoor shopping area with a great Urban Outfitters and little boutique called Blush. This Nashville boutique is great for affordable trendy styles and epic graphic tees. You can even shop online, here.
When you're all shopped out, stop by Broadway Street for all kinds of nightlife and entertainment. From classic country to up and coming artists, this is the place to find live music. This website is an awesome guide for where to go downtown Nashville. Broadway is home to not only live music but also is the home to Johnny Cash's museum.
While in Graceland, have lunch at the Fuel Cafe, an old 1920's service station that now has a cafe and patio seating. Try the veggie burger with ginger carrots. They have great vegiterian and grass fed options.
Drive over to Broad Street for shopping and souvenirs. You'll find lots of local art and events held from time to time on this street. This website is a great resource.
If you're working up an appetite shopping, head downtown for some vegetarian curry at Deja Vu, a New Orleans Creole and vegetarian restaurant. This place has been rated number one place to eat in Memphis on Trip Advisor.
After dinner, you MUST go out on the down for some live blues music. Use this website to filter and find exactly what kind of nightlife you are looking for.
"I fell in love with this city. There is so much to do in Austin, that I actually ran out of time before doing everything I had wanted at the end of my three month contract. Austin is the capitol of Texas and certainly has that Texas feel, but it is also the location of the University of Texas and has a thriving live music and art scene. There is a super chill progressive vibe to it without being pretentious. I advise you to at least do the following:"
- Visit South Congress Street - home to countless restaurants and boutiques. You have to see Uncommon Objects. It's the most fabulous thrift store I have ever seen. Think a curiosity shop on steroids. Also, very close is the "Slackers Village" home to Roadside Rose, 2213 Rear S 1st St. It may be the tiniest but most interesting shop in all of Austin.
- Go to the Congress bridge at dusk to witness one of the coolest natural phenomenon when thousands of bats fly out to delight the spectators that line-up every evening. You could also experience it right from the Colorado River where you can line up on paddle boards or kayaks to watch the bats go out to hunt.
- Sixth Street/Rainey St - 6th street is a bar fly's dream. It is the most popular entertainment district in Austin. Bars along the strip include blues, jazz, rock, hip-hop and of course country. There is an entertaining dueling piano bar called Pete's. There are also countless restaurants; check out Italic for some Italian food. Order an Amari after dinner. Amari is made by infusing grape brandy with a combination of herbs, flowers, aromatic bark, citrus peel and spices. If I hadn't been so full, I would have tried more! Also, don't miss Rainey Street near Lady Bird Lake. The bars here are each unique from one another and sit in a little neighborhood. You'll get the feeling you're at a block party.
- Barton Springs pool and Zilker Park - If the weather permits, head over to Barton Springs, a 3 acre natural pool fed by underground springs right in the middle of the city. For a small entrance fee, this is a great way to beat the Texas heat. Dry off and spend the afternoon at Zilker Park, 350 acres of walking trails, running water and bike trails along the Colorado River.
- Castle Hill Graffiti Park - Located at 1100 Baylor St, the walls of this abandoned building site make canvases for local artists. The walls are painted over weekly so the art is always changing. Wear good shoes because you will want to climb to the top to see it all. Peruse the little trailer that sells small prints of some of the artwork.
- Austin Postcard Mural - No visit would be complete without a picture in front of the Austin postcard, 1720 S 1st St. While you're there, grab a few macaroons or a French pastry at the quaint La Patisserie.
- Enjoy the great outdoors at McKinney Falls State Park or Bull Creek District Park. Both are filled with extensive trails and waterfalls.
- If you time your trip properly, you could be in town for one of Austins several festivals. Austin City Limits and South by Southwest shut down most of the city and attract film and music lovers from all over the world. Another local event is Eeyore's Birthday. It kind of defies explanation, but think drum circles, a costume contest that involves a good bit of nudity where everyone pretty much wins, and donations made to various local non-profits by the Friends of the Forest Foundation.
Keep Austin Weird and embrace the offbeat.
Follow Katie on her travel nursing adventures here: Instagram.com/uplinger
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