Texas: Gruene + Austin
We left Canyon Lake the very next day to head to Austin but stopped to wander along a small town called Gruene beforehand. Here we stopped to have a few drinks in the oldest dance hall in Texas. In there I found live country music and cowboys smoking cigars. Amongst the streets of Gruene were houses that had transformed into vintage caves and general stores still standing strong from the early 1920's.
And so we arrived in Austin. The capital city of Texas. This day was hot and humid. We hired bikes and rode along to find a spring fed pool to cool off and swim in. One minute you see the skyscrapers dominate your eyesight from the city and the next there is nothing but clear water and tall shady trees. Afterwards we rode throughout the city, side by side with the traffic of busy cars as we stopped for lunch within a car park full of trailers and even a small school bus which had all been transformed into small cafes serving takeout food. That night we laughed over drinks in the city about a friend asking me if Kieran and I had ran out of things to talk about with each-other yet. The honest answer was no.
The next morning before we left Austin, we made phone-calls home to our family and friends and Kieran read to me for a few hours before heading towards Dallas. As we were driving away, I tried to think of the last time I felt this sense of freedom. In my head I compared it to getting my drivers license when I was 17 years old.
I remember the early morning my Father drove me to go for my drivers license. I passed and he hugged me tight and proud as he handed me the keys to his car and told me to go and pick up my friends all on my own. I will never forget that summer of bliss. I was still so young and life's burdens were still so far from my reach. My family was happy and healthy, my friends were near, and driving around gave me a sense of independence and identity that allowed me to go far and wide.
That is the closest thing I can compare to this. I have quickly learned that as the hard work and responsibilities multiply throughout the years, so does the rewards. That suddenly travelling through suburbs and cities can transform into countries. How all of those years of wrong decisions and repairing broken hearts can ultimately lead you to travel and hold the hands of the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. And how a year of hard work can be replaced by months of freedom as wanderers on the road.