Why Austin, TX Is The Perfect Day Trip For Baylor Students

Why Austin, TX Is The Perfect Day Trip For Baylor Students

Here are five reasons why it’s the ideal day trip from Waco.
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Waco may be the perfect college town for Baylor, but every once in a while, I love to take a day trip to other spots in Texas for a change of pace. Last weekend, my roommate and I traveled down to Austin to explore the city as first-timers.

Here are five reasons why it’s the ideal day trip from Waco!

1. The Food Scene

Austin is known for its trendy food spots, and it lived up to the hype! With adorable coffee shops and a huge variety of food trucks, Austin caters to its youthful population, and it is the perfect spot to grab some good eats. I would highly recommend Mañana Coffee, Cafe No Sé, and especially Fareground at One Eleven — a new food market with several unique restaurants.

2. Conveniency

Austin is only a short drive from Waco, usually only around an hour and a half. If you leave early, you’re guaranteed a full of day of exploring the city. Additional bonus- if you don’t have a car at Baylor like me, renting a Zipcar for the day was convenient and fairly inexpensive, especially when the cost is split among friends.

3. Plenty of Places to Explore

Austin is one of the most popular destinations in Texas... and for good reason! There’s plenty to see and explore, especially for out-of-staters like me! Whether it's taking photographs at the graffiti park, checking out shops on South Congress, or picnicking in Zilker Park, there are plenty of activities to fill a day trip to the city.

4. Austin City Limits

ACL is a popular music festival held every year in Austin, attracting big names like Jay Z, Jack Johnson, and the Killers. It’s usually held around Baylor’s fall break, so it’s an event commonly attended by students, and it is a great excuse to also see and explore the city.

5. It's the Capital of Texas

Even if you’re not tempted to visit Austin for any of the previous reasons, it’s the capital of the great state of Texas, and it is, therefore, an important spot to visit! The Texas State Capitol building downtown is also an incredible site to see.

So if you’re tired of spending weekends in Waco, make use of your free time and come visit Austin — it’s worth it!

Cover Image Credit: Bridget Sjoberg

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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I Took A Gap Year Off School And It Was The Best Thing I Could've Done

Pictures and stories from my road trip.

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My boyfriend and I started this trip with the intention of seeing some friends, visiting some family, and seeing some new places. We had cut the trip down to about two weeks so we didn't have to worry about money or taking time off of work. We started with a quick stop at the University of Minnesota to see some friends. The next morning we left tired but motivated.

Wall Drug 80 Ft. Dinosaur, Wall, SD

We drove across South Dakota, through Wyoming, and finally to Utah two days later. The views on this part of the trip were far more interesting. We stopped at Wall Drug but it was a little late so it was closed. The Badlands became a normal part of the scenery throughout South Dakota and as we entered Wyoming the rolling hills became imposing mountains. In Salt Lake City we visited Antelope Island.

Antelope Island State Park, view of the Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island

Antelope Island was about an hour drive from downtown Salt Lake City, even with rain and traffic. After paying an entrance fee to the state ranger at the gate, we drove along a narrow isthmus. As we passed the visitor center and continued on the road to the ranch within the park. We ran into some unexpected friends.

Bison in Antelope State Park, UT

After stopping to take pictures of the bison, we reached the ranch and went to the bathroom. From The Great Salt Lake, we traveled south to Zion National Park.

Rocks and crystals being sold in a town near Zion, UT

We then went past another gate. This time we showed our annual pass and I.D. then we parked the car and boarded the bus to the hiking trails. My camera was charged the sky was cloudy and gray and the misty clouds in the sky translated into chilly conditions to fellow hikers venturing out to the waterfalls. Oh, but what a sight these waterfalls are. There are two very easily accessible waterfalls.

Taken on the Lower Emerald Pools Falls trail in Zion Nationa Park, UT

These waterfalls are clearly gorgeous. Combined with the dreary weather and the fact that it was off season, there weren't very many tourist and very few rock climbers. It was an exciting experience it felt like exploring a new frontier while in the safety and ease of a handheld tour through Utah's unwelcoming geography.

Weeping Rock Trail while mist covers everyone

We were pretty tired and there was a lot of walking, bickering, and picture taking. After this hike, we walked back to the bus and stopped at the gift shop. Jack bought a shirt and I got a sticker then we go back to the car and went to our next location.

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

After a pretty confusing and winding drive to Arizona's border, we ran into a group of the car also looking for hotels and a something to do. We were in Page, Arizona at this point. We decided to park the car and take the bus to Horseshoe Bend which is suppose to be a similar must-see viewing point. We followed other families and couples dragging their strollers and kids up and down the red, rocky path with cameras in tow, of course.

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

We spent the night in Page and got up the next morning refreshed and ready for the Grand Canyon and Pheonix.

The Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon Village, AZ

This drive was crazy. We drove into the first observation point, it was already one of the busiest places we had been the entire week. Every stop had a restaurant, a gift shop and a paved trail to the South Rim. While we walked and people watched it started to rain and we quickly hustled to go take pictures.

CityScape, Pheonix, AZ

We were in Pheonix mostly for business. I went to my college orientation where I signed up for classes and met some new people. That night we went out for dinner with a friend in Tempe and saw the rest of Downtown Pheonix before leaving the next morning.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

The flowers in Joshua Tree were a highlight they were so pretty and they were everywhere. As we drove through the park every five to ten minutes the view would change completely. The park was a mixture of beautiful flowers, strange plants, and sculpture-like rock formations, all of which are set in a desert creating an alien landscape.

Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

The rock formations were abundant and there were lots of places to pull over to take pictures or boulder or hike. I was pretty nervous the whole time. My wrist was in a cast the whole trip which made me trying to keep up with Jack impossible.

Santa Monica Beach, CA

The beaches in L.A. were my personal favorite. We visited several beaches but Huntington and Santa Monica beach were the best. Huntington was very private and the sand was very fine and soft. When we were there, no one was within fifty yards of us. Santa Monica had a lot more going on. The pier is always packed the promenade is clean and has lots of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Isla Vista, CA

Santa Barbra was like a dream. The weather was a little rainy but for most of the time, it was sunny and beautiful. We went to a party at a beach house with our friend from Santa Barbra then went to a concert at this huge outdoor amphitheater.

Arches National Park, UT

Arches was one of our last stops on this trip. It was a two-hour detour give or take but the drive and the hike were well worth it. I would love to be able to explore parks like Arches more fully. To really spend time in them and see the full array of beautiful views they have to offer. We didn't get to Yellowstone or Yosemite which are the next two parks on my list. Also, a little tip for the parks is getting an annual pass. It was about $90 with shipping but it gets you free entry into any National Park which is usually $30 fee.

Anyway, all these pictures and stories are the reason I took a gap year. I think that being able to experience, even for a moment, a life that is fully in your control is so refreshing. That's the best part about vacation, your responsibilities are narrowed and you become caught up in the moment doing something you love. So, why not take a year to learn how to take on responsibilities efficiently and do some stuff I love?

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