How do you uproot your life more than quitting your job and living in different cities for 2 months at a time? You live in four different places within that city for two months! Sounds terrible, right? Yeah well, I made a lot of mistakes in Austin.
I had originally planned to be there from November through December. After having trouble finding affordable temporary housing, I decided to stay in Nashville for an extra month. At that point, I knew I'd be going home for Christmas so I decided to bounce around AirBnB's in Austin for December and most of January.
I quickly realized that it wasn't at all the experience I had been hoping for. Not only did I not get to know the city as well, but it was way more expensive. I'm grateful to have been able to experience so many different neighborhoods in the city, but I never fully settled into any one of them. In the end, I learned a lot from this two month stint.
If I can't find solid housing for two months, I'm just going to visit the city for a few weeks.
It's not worth it (financially or experience wise) to cobble together two months in a city just to say that I did it. This is where that flexibility I was talking about comes into play.
I can in-fact live out of a carry-on size suitcase for two months. This one scares me a bit. By the time I was preparing to fly home for Christmas, I had consolidated the clothes I would need to just the suitcase I would fly with. When I returned from MA, I never unpacked it. I just brought it with me from new house to new house. It was much easier than unpacking my car to get my whole bin of clothes and it made getting dressed a breeze! Sometimes, it pays not to know anyone anywhere you go. You get to wear your favorite sweater at least three times a week.
It's imperative that I have access to a kitchen that I feel comfortable using. This seems like a no brainer. It makes no sense to eat out every meal for two months. But have you ever stayed at an AirBnB where you are sharing the house with the person who lives there? It's pretty hard to feel normal putting food in their fridge and making a mess while trying to cook a "healthy" version of swedish meatballs (this isn't a thing by the way.) The stress led to eat out way more than I should've.
Not knowing anyone in a city you live in for two months is hard. I thought this part would be more glamourous than it actually was. I was really lucky in Nashville to have a few contacts that acted as ambassadors for the city and for friendship! I gave myself too much credit in thinking I would get out more in Austin. It felt like there were too many variables. I was never in one place long enough to feel the deep boredom that it takes to get me to interact willingly with strangers. I'm going to keep this "city ambassador" idea in mind as I decide on my next stops.
Overall, Austin taught me a lot. I'm not convinced it's made the list of places that I'll return at the end of this, but you never know. I never did got those damn boots!