Around the middle of the week Gustaff had noticed a mistake we had made while booking our shows in Austin and Tyler, Texas. We had unfortunately doubled booked Friday, February 26. Our only way around this was for one of us to play in Tyler and the other in Austin.
Therefore at 7:30 in the morning on the 26th Gustaff and I left San Antonio towards Tyler. It was only supposed to be a 4 hour drive but add on the traffic and re-routing through the farm lands of Texas and it ended up taking closer to 7 hours! In Tyler I dropped Gustaff off and quickly turned around headed for Austin which ended up taking me about 4 hours. I got to Austin 45 minutes late for my show, but thankfully it wasn’t much of an issue for the guests. They had just started eating the potluck feast that was provided by everyone, and I quickly joined. After food was done I played, alone for the first time of the trip, for a nice small crowd of around 15 adults and a few children. I also shared some stories from my time spent in the cave in the Bahamas, and a few others from my travels. Exciting to note was that a dear friend of mine, who actually met me while I was living in the cave and got to see it herself, showed up while I was performing my songs. Afterwards I got to socialize a bit more and catch up with my friend from the Bahamas, but I was struggling to stay awake by the end so as soon as everyone was gone I went quickly to bed (thankfully I was performing at the house that I was staying in).
The next day Gustaff and I worked on our best option to get him to Austin. After a failed attempt to catch the Greyhound at 3:45 am he found a ride to a town called College Station. There I picked him up and together we drove back to Austin, taking around 5 hours in total. Back in Austin we went straight to an Ayyam-i-Ha celebration at the Baha’i Center where we got to join in with another musician for one of his songs, and then gratefully sit in the audience to enjoy the rest of the program. Still feeling exhausted I stayed quiet most of the night. Afterwards however, I planned to meet up with an old friend of mine from my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She met me at a local coffee shop called The Buzz Mill, where most of the property is outside, with a stage for a band that looked like they had just finished, a bonfire with benches to sit around, an art exhibit going on, and a ton of friends hanging out, playing board games, dancing and chatting. It was such a cool vibe, and for me, since my friend is deaf and all her friends there were deaf as well, it was a great opportunity to practice my sign language again. Although I thought I was absolutely terrible she and her friends said they were pretty impressed with how much I knew. I still think they were just being nice. We had some Hibiscus Tea and caught up with each others lives. It was so nice to see how happy we both were in the direction of our lives, and also how uncertain we were about the near future. I left feeling my spirit uplifted and inspired to remain positive and faithful.
The next day, with no plans to perform, we spontaneously decided to go for a hike at McKinney Falls State Park. It was only a 15 minute drive, so together with a couple friends we headed to the southeast of Austin for some hiking. The hike to the falls was so unique to me, a landscape I have yet to see. I felt like I was walking on the surface of a foreign planet. As we broke through the trees the ground turned into slick rock that stretched miles. We were walking on what is sometimes the bottom of Onion Creek, but the water levels are low right now so we weaved our way around the craters to the edges of the falls where the water rushed through the cracks down into deeper water holes. Many visitors were gathered around the water holes to do some fishing or just to take in the sites. None of them were there to swim, but I couldn’t resist so I jumped in while they all watched, probably thinking I was crazy. The water really wasn’t that cold and as long as the sun wasn’t behind a cloud I was nice and warm. Afterwards the fun continued as our group went to our friends parents home for some lunch and a short hang out. From there we headed to the Baha’i Center for a jam session with a few of the musicians we had met the night before. We drummed, played guitar, sang and danced for a solid couple of hours. After that we randomly stopped by another friends house for yet another short and spontaneous, but super sweet visit, then lastly to another local coffee shop to meet up with one last friend to end the day. Although nothing was really planned the day unfolded better than we could have imagined and most of all full of joy and laughter with incredible people. It’s days like these that make me feel in awe of the beauty that exists in this world, and leave me feeling so very grateful for setting off on this journey of mine three years ago from Vancouver Island.
On the morning of February 29th Gustaff and I sadly bid farewell to the loving Austin community, in hopes that we will return again someday. Next stop, Dallas.