Tales of a Digital Nomad: How I Spent Three Months Living in Austin, TX
Updated: Aug 4, 2022
Originally published on hellolanding.com.
As a digital nomad, I’m traveling from city to city every few months. After living in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, I set my sights on Austin, Texas. Though I’d never actually been there before I was drawn to the allure of a growing city with an amazing food scene, fun nightlife, and community of accepting, loving people. And believe me, the city’s reputation exceeded my expectations. Here’s how I spent three months living in Austin, TX.
Eating All the Local Food
Austin is known as a foodie’s paradise, so I knew I would be going out to eat often. But I had no idea just how much…
From food trucks to authentic Tex-Mex dishes to fine dining, I enjoyed it all. I even traveled all the way to the original Terry Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart to get their famous brisket and pecan pie which were beyond delicious.
One of my favorite dishes in the heart of Austin was a casual brunch at Snooze. I got their Benny Duo with one habanero pork belly benny and one smashed avocado benny. The combination of benedicts were creamy, sweet, and salty—the perfect meal combo to start any day.
Another one of my favorite meals was brisket rangoons from Anthem on Rainey Street. Imagine crispy crab rangoons but filled with juicy brisket and drizzled in sweet & sour sauce. They were straight up heavenly.
While living in Austin, I ate more tacos than I can count. Seriously. The homemade tortillas, the authentic salsas, and the kind smiles from the hardworking employees kept me coming back for more, and more, and more. For a breakdown of all my favorite taco spots, check out my article Where to Find the Best Tacos in Austin, TX.
When I occasionally did cook for myself, I made hearty, healthy meals with all the local goods from farmers markets, Central Market, and Whole Foods (which was started in Austin back in 1980). Because of the climate, there’s an abundance of fresh, local food in all kinds of variety all year round. It’s so easy to eat the whole rainbow!
Shopping for my own food was such a treat. I was able to find the freshest local produce, marinated meats, and healthy snacks from small businesses. I would also just wander through the grocery aisles to admire the various types of mushrooms, fresh baked breads, and vast assortment of cheese that were always on display.
The food scene in Austin is really unlike any other I’ve experienced, and it’s going to be tough to live without it!
Drinking All the Local Drinks
In addition to the amazing food, Austin is rumored to have an incredible, ever-growing beer and wine scene. So of course I had to indulge myself and learn more. How else could I discover what all the fuss is about?
Taking a trip out to Texas’ Hill Country, which is only about an hour and a half drive west of the city, a friend and I explored several wineries. We had to keep ourselves in check, because we could have stayed out there all day and night, sampling wine from any of the 50 vineyards. Believe it or not, Texas Hill Country is ranked as one the top 7 U.S. wine regions to visit in 2022, right up there with others from California and Washington!
In May, I set my sights on beer. I bought a Barks for Beers Pawsport from Divine Canines that allowed me to try dozens of beers at local craft breweries. Nearly all of the breweries had tons of outdoor seating, dog-friendly patios, and food trucks serving up delicious bites to go with every pint. Some of my favorites included Jester King Brewey and Pinthouse Brewing, but read my article The Best Craft Breweries in Austin, TX to find out which breweries made my top 10 list!
Soaking up the Sun
Moving to Austin in April was a complete shock to my New England blood. I’m not used to 80-degree weather every day in the spring. Better yet, I’m not used to 100+ degree days in May. According to locals, the best way to cope is to stay inside in the air conditioning or get outside and into some cold water. I’m not traveling the country to stay indoors, so I found plenty of opportunities to go swimming, kayaking, and boating all over Austin.
One of my favorite spots was on Lady Bird Lake—a body of water that runs right through the city. No matter the time of day, you’ll always see kayakers and paddleboarders gathering in the middle of the water to drink, listen to music, and soak up that hot sun. It’s like spring break every day of the year there!
Another great spot I visited throughout my time living in Austin was Lake Travis. Located just a 30-minute drive from Austin’s city center is a beautiful, crystal-clear lake that welcomes all boaters, kayakers, and wakesurfers (a very popular sport in Austin). I got to cruise around with friends while getting a break from the humidity.
Another great way to cool down on Lake Travis was by ziplining straight over it! Lake Travis Zipline Adventures is actually home to the longest (2,800ft) and fastest zipline in Texas, and it’s got stunning panoramic views throughout the whole course. The tour also ends directly on top of a bar, so it’s the perfect spot to cool down, grab a drink, and enjoy the view.
One Saturday, some friends and I made the short drive to San Marcos so we could float down the river all day. It’s a great, lazy way to spend a hot summer day, and it’s basically a rite of passage for Texans. We just brought floats, snacks, drinks, and plenty of sunscreen, and let the water take us away. We drifted down the river for hours before swimming at the final watering hole. It beats sitting in an air-conditioned room any day!
Embracing the Austin Weirdness
It’s no secret that Austin is known for being weird. And to me, being weird is way better than being normal or ordinary. Once I moved to the city, it was clear why it got this nickname. The locals are all so welcoming and free-spirited. They aren’t afraid to hide who they really are in a city that truly accepts them for their best selves.
When the Fab 5 crew from Queer Eye toured Austin, they were welcomed by the kindest people who loved each of them for who they really were. In return, they gave makeovers to ten lucky souls in the city. I was fortunate enough to meet Terri White (Season 6, Episode 1), the owner and dance instructor at The Broken Spoke. Terri was a loud-mouthed, unapologetic force wrapped in southern charm, and I wouldn’t want her any other way. She taught my friend and I how to dance like real Texans, even recreating the same routines she performed with the crew from Queer Eye. If you’re in the area, definitely make a night out of this one-of-a-kind honky tonk!
One other Austin ‘weird’ staple is—literally—The Museum of the Weird. When I say that I spent hours in this small museum reading every bit of history that accompanies each piece that’s on display, I really mean it. The museum is full of all things weird and creepy, like ancient mummies, mysterious creatures, and famous movie props. There’s even a whole wax museum that delves into the classic monster movies like Frankenstein and Dracula, and I got to learn all about the history behind the films and the actors themselves. This is definitely a certain type of weird that only some people will relate to, but it made my weird heart sing.
Meeting All the Doggos
Many cities across the country are embracing our sweet four-legged friends, but Austin is clearly one of the most dog-friendly cities I’ve ever visited. Since the climate is warm all year round, there’s endless patios and outdoor dining areas that welcome all the pups. I even saw owners bringing their dogs into cafes and grocery stores!
My love for dogs, and the overwhelming acceptance of them in the city, inspired me to start fostering pups in need. I was quickly matched with a three-year-old sweetheart named Roman. He was a mix of Catahuola Leopard and some kind of hound (that’s our best guess), but clearly 100% a good boy.
I almost immediately fell in love, and it became harder and harder to picture my life without him… Needless to say, I foster failed. Roman became Bo, and he has found his furever home traveling with me and my cat, Blink, all over the country.
Together, we went on long walks to places like Mount Bonnell and Pedernales Falls, went swimming at Barton Springs (AKA Barking Springs), and worked at outdoor coffee shops like Lucky Lab Coffee Co. and Merit Coffee.
We’re continuing our digital nomad journey together as we venture out west. Stay tuned for more travel stories, and tips on the best things to eat, drink, and do in the cities I visit!
How Am I Living This Lifestyle?
In my travels, I always get asked, “How are you able to do this lifestyle? Do you have to rent hotels everywhere? Do you need to buy and sell all your own furniture? Do you live in a van?”
My answer is simple: I live with Landing.
Landing allows me to stay in beautiful, furnished apartments in any of their 350+ cities. When I’m ready to move on to the next city, I just give Landing a two-week notice, and then I choose a new spot. It’s seriously that easy. Their customer service is always there for me to text, call, or email with any questions or concerns, and they get back to me right away.
It’s hands down the easiest way to travel as a digital nomad. Check them out today!