SXSW 2013: Austin. TX. Music. Beer. Bacon. sat·is·fac·tion.

I LOVE travel; but, when you can’t travel for whatever reason (time, fear of clowns, money, stuck cooking a rack of lamb), the most satisfying remedy is a “staycation”. Call it snobbery. Call it a blessing. Call it lucky. Call it True (or False?). Call it whatever you want; BUT… I’m calling Austin, Texas one of my Top 10 Favorite Cities in the World! And, if you haven’t already guessed by the title of this blog (Austin GlobeTrekker), I live here and I’m LOVING every minute of it! By the way… is “snobbery” a real word? Or did I just make that up? Well, it’s a word now.

Austin, TX - City Skyline from Mt Bonnell
Austin, TX – City skyline from Mt Bonnell

The funny thing about Austin, is that you rarely actually meet somebody who was born and raised here. When you do… trust me, they’ll proudly let you know. And why not? The rest of us got here and stayed. My parents moved to Austin in 1991 while I was in college. I moved here in 2000. I think that gives me the right to call Austin my “home town”. You see, there are levels of “PRIDE”. Level 1 – PROUD to be an American. Level 2 – Proud to be from Texas. And then there’s Level 3 – Mach 5 with your hair on fire yelling and screaming while jumping out of an airplane strapped to the back of a great white shark – PROUD to live in Austin, TX!

T E X A S  2 0 1 3
T E X A S 2 0 1 3

I’ve recently discovered (thanks to Lesley CarterThe Most Interesting Travel Woman in the World!) that there are a LOT of people around the globe probably reading my blog for the 1st time who may (or may not) know anything about Austin, TX. For those of you who dare to venture deep into the heart of Texas – Austin Photo Book answers that ever looming question… Why do people LOVE Austin so much? (photography by my friend Peter Tsai @supertsai).

Austin Photo Book - photography by Peter Tsai
Austin Photo Book – photography by Peter Tsai

Last year, I wrote a blog called SXSW 2012: I LOVE Austin, TX! (Please… don’t move here!). And to steal some sentences from myself (well, I guess it’s not plagiarizing if I wrote them) I especially love Austin during the month of March, when Spring Break comes to town, and South by Southwest (SXSW) showcases the best in indie film, music and interactive from around the world. Last year’s highlight was spending time with my friend Kate (aka Cinnamon, aka K-Bone) and discovering artists like – Of Monsters and Men (Iceland), Team Me (Norway) and Ed Sheeran (England). Did I mention I also saw Jay-Z at Austin City Limits Moody Theater earlier that same week? But, I digress. The fact of the matter, it was GREAT to be in Austin, Texas! I remember thinking… I’m really happy I live here. If my memory serves me well, I think the night I dropped Kate off at her house, she turned from her front porch and yelled towards the car “Hey! Same time next year?”. Oh hail to the yeah! The only question was… How are we going to top 2012? That’s the beauty of Austin, Texas. You just never know!

SXSW 2013: Breakfast @KerbeyLane with Kate - The "tradition" begins!
SXSW 2013: Breakfast @KerbeyLane with Kate – The “tradition” begins!
Kerbey Lane Cafe - Austin, Texas USA. When you've just gotta have a good breakfast!
Kerbey Lane Cafe – Austin, Texas USA

I’m not sure if doing something for 2 years in a row is considered a “tradition”; but, for argument’s sake, let’s say that Kate and I have started a “tradition” because our 2013 Friday SXSW Experience began the same as our 2012 Friday SXSW Experience, with breakfast at an Austin culinary staple – the original Kerbey Lane Cafe on Kerbey Lane. Now don’t be fooled. There are other Kerbey Lane cafe’s; but, they’re not actually ON Kerbey Lane, so in my book… you’re not really at Kerbey Lane. Ok, that’s enough Shameless Free Advertising about Kerbey Lane. Go to the original. You’ll thank me later. I highly recommend the french toast with bacon. Cuz everything’s better with bacon. In the movie business, that would be called a “teaser”.

SXSW 2013: Tumblr + Gap's SXSW FILTER On Rainey Showcase [Friday, March 15, 2013]
SXSW 2013: Tumblr + Gap’s SXSW FILTER On Rainey Showcase [Friday, March 15, 2013]
Tumblr + Gap's SXSW FILTER On Rainey Showcase
Tumblr + Gap’s SXSW FILTER On Rainey Showcase

We really only had one requirement for SXSW 2013. Get to Rainey Street and enjoy the day of live music with our friends from Filter Magazine Showcase. They served us well last year, so keeping with tradition, that was our assignment. Mission Accomplished. I’m not sure what time it is socially acceptable to consume alcohol; but, let’s just say that when we hit our 1st venue on Rainey Street, we were the only souls at Craft Pride that didn’t actually work at Craft Pride. So what is this place? Well, the name says it all. Craft Pride is a local Austin bar that proudly (and exclusively) serves craft beers made and brewed in the State of Texas. I think “made” and “brewed” is the same thing; but, let’s just leave it alone. One of the coolest aspects of Craft Pride is that 90% of the interior’s wood was reclaimed after knocking down the previous establishment. I was feeling that Texas Pride!

Craft Pride - SXSW 2013 in Austin, TX
Craft Pride – SXSW 2013 in Austin, TX

Beer Flight @Craft Pride - Austin, TX [SXSW 2913]
Beer Flight @Craft Pride – Austin, TX [SXSW 2913]
Craft Pride # 61 Rainey Street in Austin, TX [SXSW 2013]
Craft Pride # 61 Rainey Street in Austin, TX [SXSW 2013]
I’m absolutely God awful about picking out wine, and unless I use Google, I couldn’t tell you a merlot from a pinot, or chardonnay. I thought I knew beer. Boy, was I wrong! Craft Pride has 50+ Texas brewed beers on tap. Stouts, lager, Scottish Ale, and my favorite… IPAs. The thing I loved most… as soon as time permitted for us to legally be served, they took the time and courtesy to truly educate us on their selections. You can’t help but fall in love with delectable talents of a well made beer. I would highly recommend 667 Neighbor of the Beast IPA, Deep Ellum Brewing IPA, Thirsty Goat Amber, and Jester King’s Wytchmayker  IPA. Sister Kate tasted a few; but, I think she was a fan of Texas Honey Ale, and of course 667 Neighbor of the Beast and Devil’s Backbone Brewery.We started out the day the right way! So, if you’re ever in Austin, TX head on down to Craft Pride at the Southernmost end of Austin’s historic Rainey Street, ask for Russell, and tell him Cookie sent ya!

 Russell @Craft Pride - Austin, TX [SXSW 2913]
Russell @Craft Pride – Austin, TX [SXSW 2913]
Mmmmmm.... Beer! Craft Pride - Austin, TX [SXSW 2013]
Mmmmmm…. Beer! Craft Pride – Austin, TX [SXSW 2013]
What's on Tap? @Craft Pride - 61 Rainey Street [Austin, TX - SXSW 2013]
What’s on Tap? @Craft Pride – 61 Rainey Street [Austin, TX – SXSW 2013]
While we were at Craft Pride, we met a couple from Boston. Low and behold, they were “just visiting” Austin (because they heard it was a cool city) and had no idea it also happened to be SXSW until they arrived. Once again, I love travelers who take the time to ask for the “local recommendation”, so I helped where I could. Grab a cone at Amy’s Ice Cream; spend Sunday afternoon at Ginny’s Little Longhorn for Chicken Shit Bingo (or any of the dive bars on Burnet Road – La La’s, Buddy’s, C-Hunt’s, Poodle Dog Lounge); 2am Breakfast at Magnolia Cafe where the sign says “Sorry We’re Open”; stand under the rotunda at the State Capitol Building; check out the shops, bars, restaurants and food trucks on South Congress; Get a good view of Lake Austin and the city skyline from the top of Mt Bonnell; eat some real genuine Texas BBQ at the original Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX; take a short road trip for Sunday Jazz Brunch at Nutty Brown Cafe (Dripping Springs, TX); but, first and foremost, you’re already doing the #1 best thing you can do in Austin, TX… experiencing SXSW in the Live Music Capital of the World!

Texas State Capitol - Austin, Texas USA
Texas State Capitol – Austin, Texas USA
Texas State Capitol Bldg in Austin - "Don't Mess With Texas!"
Texas State Capitol Bldg in Austin – “Don’t Mess With Texas!”
Amy's Ice Cream - Austin, Texas - "A True Frozen Dessert Experience!"
Amy’s Ice Cream – Austin, Texas – “A True Frozen Dessert Experience!”
Magnolia Cafe - Austin, Texas - "Sorry, We're Open" - late night pancakes with my friends Robyn and Jaime
Magnolia Cafe – Austin, Texas – “Sorry, We’re Open”

I can’t remember the rest of the conversation with the Bostonians, because Kate came running back into the bar to tell me “You’ve GOT to check this out. They’ve got a BACON food truck on the back patio!”. She had me at BACON.

BACON Food Truck at Craft Pride on Rainey Street - March 15, 2013 [Austin, TX]
BACON Food Truck at Craft Pride on Rainey Street – March 15, 2013 [Austin, TX]
SXSW 2013: Javelina - 69 Rainey Street [Austin, TX]
SXSW 2013: Javelina – 69 Rainey Street [Austin, TX]
The day continued with us walking aimlessly northward on Rainey Street. As mentioned previously, our intent… attending the Filter Magazine Showcase on Rainey Street (presented by Tumblr + GAP). The afternoon at Clive Bar was filled with music by Vacationer, Ducktails, Peace, Shout Out Louds, and Ra Ra Riot. I can tell you that before that day… I had never heard of ANY of these bands; but, there’s just something special and cool about chilling with friends and music lovers from all over the world in your home town. I couldn’t of been happier. And then it happened…

SXSW 2013: See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil
SXSW 2013: See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil
SXSW 2013: Chillin' with the LA crew on Rainey Street [Austin, TX]
SXSW 2013: Chillin’ with the LA crew on Rainey Street [Austin, TX]
SXSW 2013: Without ME it's just AWESO
SXSW 2013: Without ME it’s just AWESO
SXSW 2013: Live Music in Austin, TX
SXSW 2013: Live Music in Austin, TX
SXSW 2013: Tumblr + GAP - Filter Showcase on Rainey Street
SXSW 2013: Tumblr + GAP – Filter Showcase on Rainey Street
KATE! SXSW 2013!
KATE! SXSW 2013!

I was talking with my friends, snapping pictures (like I always do), laughing and joking around with a group of folks from Los Angeles. I put the camera in my bag and slung it over my shoulder whilst turning to take my beer back from my friend Marie. During the process, I accidentally bumped into the guy behind me. I sincerely apologized with an “Oh man, I’m so sorry bro.” He said, “No worries, it’s cool”. I started making small talk with him, and then my friend Marie says to me “Errr… Jason. You know this is Usher, right?”. To the surprise of many, black people blush. Well, at least I did! I was just having a conversation with him like it was nobody’s business. He laughed, we shook hands, and then did that brotherly hug thing. He was beyond cool, calm and collected. Just enjoying Austin, Texas and listening to some live music at SXSW. It was like meeting 007. Just cool.

SXSW 2013: It's good to be the King! (or Queen)
SXSW 2013: It’s good to be the King! (or Queen)
SXSW 2013: Enjoying life w/new friends from LA
SXSW 2013: Enjoying life w/new friends from LA
SXSW 2013: The crowd is hopping!
SXSW 2013: The crowd is hopping!
SXSW 2013: Enoying the music....
SXSW 2013: Enoying the music….

We talked for maybe 5mins longer, and then he was discovered. I politely told him it was a pleasure hanging with him. Then I realized WAIT… this is Usher! Nobody will believe me! So, I asked. Can we get a picture? Because nobody will believe me. In typical Usher fashion, he said “Of course!”. Now… the problem with handing over your Nikon D7000 DSLR camera for people to take a picture of you and Usher… there’s ZERO time to give them a crash course in using the camera. Needless to say, I took what I could get which is Photo 1 with Usher blinking. Photo 2 with my head almost getting cut out of the picture; but, between the 2 photos… you get the idea. So for my “Are You Kidding Me?” award, the recipient is none other than Usher. Buy his albums, name your kid Usher, watch The Voice. I don’t care. Whatever you have to do… support that guy, because he is truly a class act and I’ll forever be a fan.

Usher & Me (Austin GlobeTrekker) - Tumblr + GAP - Filter Showcase on Rainey Street
Usher & Me (Austin GlobeTrekker) – Tumblr + GAP – Filter Showcase on Rainey Street
Usher - SXSW 2013: Austin, TX
Usher – SXSW 2013: Austin, TX

The afternoon turned to evening, and the music progressed, as did the capacity of the crowds. After a fun-filled day of excursions on Rainey Street at places like Clive Bar, Icenhauer’s, and The Bungalow, it only made sense that we venture back to where it all began at Craft Pride. It was time for a Deep Ellum IPA and a BACON sandwich (which just so happened to have a piece of grilled chicken on it).

SXSW 2013: Craft Pride - 61 Rainey Street [Austin, TX]
SXSW 2013: Craft Pride – 61 Rainey Street [Austin, TX]
Taps at Craft Beer
Taps at Craft Beer

sat·is·fac·tion (s t s-f k sh n). As we made our way out of the downtown scene, reflecting on the unlikely series of events our day unfolded, my olfactory senses were on fire with the carnival smell of funnel cakes doused with powdered sugar. My partner-in-crime launched herself from the vehicle as I sat patiently awaiting her return. As Kate jumped back into the car with a white paper plate bursting with funnel cake, we smiled (actually giggled) and I could only think of 2 words to sum up SXSW 2013. bad. ass.


The Most Interesting Travel Woman in the World!

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about a blog; but, if you are ever so lucky to be inspired by somebody who aspires to fulfill the travel dreams and goals you have in life… then why the heck not? My blog is pretty freakin’ awesome (just kidding); but, if you aren’t already following my favorite blog – Bucket List Publications well, then it’s time to come out from that rock you’ve been trapped under.

Aoraki [Mt Cook] from Pete's Lookout, New Zealand, South Island
Aoraki [Mt Cook] from Pete’s Lookout – New Zealand, South Island
On my other blog – Hey Cameron! We have a few awards that we give out on a regular basis – “Are You Kidding Me?” and “Cameron’s Shameless Free Advertising”. Sometimes, the Are You Kidding Me Award isn’t the award you want to receive. Because it’s typically for something that you shouldn’t have done. For example, my Dad got the award one month, because he wasn’t paying attention and our son (18mos at the time) was gnawing on a bottle cap. Then he tried to cover by saying “No worries. It will sharpen him teeth mon” (my Dad’s Jamaican by the way). I mean really… Are you kidding me? As my wife said… “He’s not a wolf!”. Of course, sometimes you can get the “Are You Kidding Me?” Award for things like zip lining through the treetops of a Costa Rican rainforest. Now THAT was fun! By the way… I still need to write a blog about that experience in Guanacaste, Costa Rica (May 2006). Sorry for the tease.

Gulfo de Papagayo, Costa Rica [May 2006]
Gulfo de Papagayo, Costa Rica [May 2006]
Cameron’s Shameless Free Advertising is just that. We don’t get paid to talk about them, and we aren’t skeered to share our knowledge and experience about the recipients of this prestigious award. Past recipients have been Target (LOVE Tar-jay!); Team in Training – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (1st class organization that is doing sooooo much for the cancer community); Movember – an awesome charity organization that I’m a part of that is changing the face of men’s health. Plus, we get to rock a wicked awesome mustache (Mo) every November; but, most of the time, it’s for our favorite restaurants and family road trip destinations. How cool would it be to award entire countries (like Slovenia) for their fantastic and highly underrated beauty and wonderful people?

Sunrise - Lake Bled, Slovenia [May 2011]
Sunrise – Lake Bled, Slovenia [May 2011]
I think you see where I’m going with this. Since I really don’t have enough material from my own travels to always talk about myself… I’ve decided to add a new dimension to my blogging experience and highlight people, places and things that resemble the epitome of my Austin GlobeTrekker slogan – TRAVEL | EXPLORE | DREAM | DISCOVER.

So, without further ado (what a stupid saying), the recipient of the Austin GlobeTrekker 1st ever “Are You Kidding Me?” AND “Cameron’s Shameless Free Advertising” Award goes to Lesley Carter – Bucket List Publications.


And here’s why… My favorite travel quote is “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”St. Augustine. Trust me… I’m trying to read as many pages as humanly possible in this book we call life; but, often I get in my own way to accomplish the dreams and destinations I want to fulfill. Fjord Region, Norway; experiencing the Serengeti from a hot air balloon, jumping with the Masai tribesmen in Africa; feeling the sun rise AND set at Machu Piccu; Switzerland by train; hiking to Base Camp of Mt Everest @17,000ft; standing on the Charles Bridge in Prague; Bali – just Bali; or watching the Maori perform the Haka in New Zealand. Wait… already done that. HIGHLY recommend New Zealand, South Island by the way. I could go on and on. I’ve already experienced a significant amount of joy and happiness in my travels to approx 20 countries; but, travel is like people who get tattoos. You get one and it sticks with you. Then you have an unprecedented desire for more… and then more. I don’t have any tattoos by the way; but, a friend of mine described it that way. As Lesley so eloquently states in her blog…

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”Eleanor Roosevelt

Because of her immense passion to not only travel; but, explore, dream AND discover, she has entered My Destination’s Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List Contest for a chance to win a trip around the world and $50,000! SIX months, SIX continents, All Expenses Paid, Your Choice of Destinations! AWESOME!

She is not my friend. I do not personally know her; But, I will tell you this… Lesley Carter has more genuine passion and love for travel, people, people who travel, locals, teaching and learning that she is the epitome of this contest. With deadline of March 31, 2013, the 7 of you that actually read my blog have a chance to help Lesley Carter WIN this contest! Here’s how. Watch the video below to see her My Destination video submission on Fiji, and learn more about her. After watching the video, click on logo in my sidebar, or the following link to VOTE –


Right now, Lesley is in 1st Place. Let’s keep her there! After all, she is… The Most Interesting Travel Woman in the World!

Good Luck Lesley! CHEERS!