Finding a place to live is one of the main goals of this trip. Recognizing the importance of place to our personal well-being, David and I determined that we would actively seek out a location in which to live – possibly finding jobs afterward (though we’re still applying to jobs as we go, which ever comes first – job or place – will ultimately determine our landing site). As a result, we’ve spent many driving hours debating the kind of place we’re looking for. City vs. small town is a frequent topic. Many times city doesn’t make the cut because of pavement (bad for running), lack of access to nature, and too many people.
Yet, Austin, TX stole my heart. If the growth rate wasn’t so high (120 per day move into the city), the people were a bit nicer (only one person said “hi” to me), and the summer wasn’t so hot (110!?) then I would seriously consider living there.
Zilker Park was the kicker. Especially for people like David, non-paved running paths are important. Austin is a land-mine of them. Zilker has the greenbelt (and running/hiking trail) and the bike path (an unpaved trail around the river). It also has a public pool made out of the river! And don’t forget the kayaking, canoeing, and paddle-boarding. These add to Austin’s sum total of 206 parks, 12 preserves, 26 greenbelts and more than 50 miles of trails. Exactly what every city should be. I was impressed.
NOTE: I also can’t neglect to mention that Austin is on track to be carbon neutral by 2020 – they’re home to Austin Energy, one of the nation’s top renewable energy companies, so I wouldn’t put it past them to succeed.