What You Haven’t Read about SXSW

Here’s what you haven’t read about my trip to Austin, TX for SXSW so far…

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending seven days in Austin, Texas. Not only was it great being in Austin, but it was also a pretty popular time to be there. South by Southwest (or SXSW) is the interactive, film, music, and comedy festival that completely takes over the city for almost two full weeks. As part of the completion of my interdisciplinary degree at Columbia College, I was able to attend the festival as part of the AEMMP Digital Distribution & Promotions Practicum course. For my project in class, I was able to incorporate something I was planning on doing down there, anyway. I got to write about all of the bands (good and bad) that I was able to catch, and it was published over on Atwood Magazine. If you’re interested in the music portion of my experience, click on the day-header for those ramblings. This post will serve more in the nitty-gritty of the trip, and what you won’t find on a publication. Thus, “What You Didn’t Read about SXSW Already”

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Casting Complete!

Another trip to Atlanta is in the books — this time around, for the final audition camp of the 40th Anniversary Season for Spirit of Atlanta. I’m incredibly excited to say I’ve solidified my contract and I’m so humbled to be included in this casting under our fantastic new staff. But that’s not all — this means that the next time I’m boarding a plane will be to Charlotte, South Carolina, to spend quality time with one of my best friends before we move in for the summer with the corps.

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Katie and I after rehearsal

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ATL Weekend Getaway

I hate being in one place for an extended period of time. That’s one of the reasons I love drum corps so much: we’re constantly on the move and seeing different sights. That’s also the reason why I jump whenever I get the chance to go somewhere new. Although it’s comforting to be settled in a place for a bit; to have my running route and go-to places for food and other essentials, I can get a little stir-crazy.

So it probably won’t surprise those of you who have been around with us that after I found some mega-cheap round-trip flights from Chicago to Atlanta for the weekend of the February camp for Spirit of Atlanta, I made sure I could volunteer, and booked the flights immediately. (It came out of my budget plan for Europe, so I was good for the funding).

Not only did I get to escape Illinois, after being grounded for just under a month (I was recently in Europe?? Catch up on those adventures here), but it was a chance to see some of the people who mean the most to me, and an opportunity to start the biggest project I’ve ever embarked on: an audio documentary… or something along those lines.

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Dublin Running

The act of running is pretty mundane. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes that happens at a quick pace, sometimes it’s at a steadier pace, but no matter how “fast or slow” someone might be, it’s all technically the same. Maybe a variation in the distance an individual goes, but overall… similar.

In major cities, such as Chicago, we have a number of running organizations, clubs, and stores to support people who enjoy that fast-paced “one foot in front of the other” sport. The same goes in Dublin, Ireland. After wandering around the Temple Bar area of Dublin, you’ll probably stumble on Runlogic, a cross-roads running store owned by Ash Seynik. At the shop you’ll not only find your running necessities, but also a gait analysis area, and a cafe. I found another similarity between Dublin runners and Chicago runners, and that’s how we define ourselves. Here’s Seynik:

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On Being Alone

Some realizations and learning outcomes of the Covering Europe experience: J-Term 2016 with Columbia College Chicago

I spend a lot of time on my own. I’m not saying that to get pity, or as a statement of “I don’t have friends,” because I do. I sure do. I have some of the best friends in the world. The only thing is, they’re scattered around the United States, or in even worse cases, across the globe. When I registered for this trip, the last thought on my mind was how close I’d get with this group of strangers; but at the same time, I didn’t think about how valuable I’d find walking around in a foreign country by myself. I’ve always treasured the times I’m around people I love — that’s why I make a point to go to Georgia every year for New Years. I never realized how much I treasure some of the times where I’m alone, too.

Maybe this is crazy, but we live in a world where romance is overly-romanticized. There’s an entire film franchise for it, there’s a holiday for it, and one of the online communities I frequent (Tumblr), has an entire section of blogs dedicated to wishful quotes and pictures of couples doing random things together. If you’re not careful, it’s pretty easy to slip into a mindset that the only thing that matters is companionship. Likes on your Instagram pictures; followers on Twitter; photos of you and your life companion splashed across Facebook.

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Last Full Day [Ireland: Day 13]

I spend a lot of time on my own. I’m not saying that to get pity, or as a statement of “I don’t have friends,” because I do. I sure do. I have some of the best friends in the world. The only thing is, is that they’re scattered around the United States, or in even worse cases, across the globe. But I’m going to stay on topic, that’s a different story for a different time. When I registered for this trip, the last thought on my mind was how close I’d get with this group of strangers; but at the same time, I didn’t think about how valuable I’d find walking around in a foreign country by myself.

And that’s how I spent my final day in Dublin. I found a few more gifts for friends and family back home, grabbed some sushi for lunch, and then proceeded to wander around the city. It was a different experience than before when I took off on my own, because at this point, I recognize landmarks. I know how to get back to Camden Court without having to rely on a map. I walked through one of the parks in the middle of the city — Stephen’s Green — which amazed me how quiet and peaceful it was, especially for being surrounded by busy, working lives and the low-rise buildings that litter the city.

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St. Stephen’s Green

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Cemetery & Gelato [Ireland: Day 12]

With only two full days left in Dublin, I decided to start to try and insert some more normality back into my life, and dragged my butt out of bed early to get a run in at 6am. All things considered (my ankle is still a bit sore, but definitely doing better), I was happy with my slow 10K. I haven’t really ran in about two and a half weeks, so I’ve gained a lot of my mile time back. As of right now, I am planning on running in the F3 Half Marathon this coming Saturday, and scheduling a doctor’s appointment as soon as I possibly can once I get back into the city.

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Runfie on Grafton

After the run, we grabbed our typical breakfast, and then had class at Griffith College. The interesting thing about this school is that it used to be a jail, and I couldn’t help but imagine how many jokes the students there must make about it being a prison. The grounds were beautiful, though, and our speaker was incredibly inspiring.

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Griffith College

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