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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DUB -> STN [Ireland/London: Day 7]

Ireland/London Day 7

Our day started at the offices of TheJournal.ie, and a talk with their editor, Christine Bohan. She dove into a lot of what Journalism means in Ireland, and tips to “make it” in the new world of reporting and writing. A lot of what she said correlated with things I’ve heard before in the United States, and even though I don’t want to go into Journalism directly (I mean it’s pretty cool, and I enjoy writing, but radio is pretty much the best), it was somehow comforting to hear that a lot of values translate over internationally. I’m not sure if I’d want to live across the pond, but I’ve found that I enjoy being somewhere that’s not America — and now that I’ve hit a decent amount of countries now… I feel like I’ve got a little more of a grasp on the world. By no means is it correct or accurate or even close to a full view, but for a 20-year-old that was raised in Northern Minnesota, I don’t think it’s half bad.

Snapping in disbelief

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Jet Lag & Turkish Oranges [Ireland: Day 1]

The first thing I saw was a little green box. I rubbed my tired, plane-sleepy eyes, and once I remembered where I was and where we were en route to, I looked out the window. Still about 45 minutes out from Dublin, we couldn’t see much besides the sun and the sky, so I decided to dig into the little green box of Irish Breakfast.

That happened at 3am Chicago time, 9am Ireland time. The six-hour time difference hasn’t been affecting me much yet, but I think the jet lag will set in once I get a few hours of sleep in a bed. I have to thank drum corps for that — teaching me how to operate fully on almost 0 hours of sleep since 2013.

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Here We Go… [Ireland: Day .20)

Pink line downtown, a few hours at work, blue line to O’Hare, and finally, ORD -> DUB. I still can’t believe that today is the day we’re leaving for Europe, and even though I’ve technically been there before, it feels like I’m going for the first time.

I can feel it in my bones how different of an experience this is going to be from Iceland. Not only because I won’t be running around trying desperately to figure out who my sources are / what the stories are going to look like, and trying to finish a blog post with thought-out reviews for bands I didn’t get enough time to listen to beforehand; but because I really don’t know anyone in this class. We’re also going for twice as long, and I’m visiting (technically) three different countries.

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Day One: Traveling (And Basically) A Prologue

When I was younger, I had what you could almost call an undying love for airports. I thought they were just magnificent. Magical. You could buy a ticket, go to this place, and at that place, there was gate ways to other places all around the world. And at all of these other places, they also had a variety of places to go. As long as you met the requirements (like not over packing, the liquid rule, etc.,) you could get anywhere you wanted within a matter of time.

Since then, I’ve spent a couple nights in airports, taken more early flights than I care to name, and I’ve learned enough about the different airports around the US to be able to have a halfway ‘decent’ conversation about which ones I like and dislike. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but it has changed my view on air travel: it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Or even really worth how much you pay to do it.

Today is kind of different though. I’m actually currently on a plane between Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA. Besides LAX, I’ve never been to California. I’m sitting next to my seat partner from this past summer on the road with Spirit of Atlanta, and we’re going to Anaheim, CA for VidCon. (I’m hoping to blog every day in preparation for my Iceland trip this November, but you can read more about that here.) It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a plane for a real vacation that’s more than two days long – in fact, over a year (most recent being the band trip to Hawai’i in April 2013,) so you could say this trip has a different ring to it.


Alright, the day is over. We’ve landed and gotten settled in. I’ve eaten a lot, met people, swam in a pool, layed by a pool, and checked out the convention center at least a little bit. I can tell this is going to be an amazing trip.

We went to In-N-Out Burgers for lunch, after the crazy rush of LA traffic (It’s terrible. The traffic, not lunch.) I’ve never actually seen this place, but I’ve heard/read about it. A lot. It definitely wasn’t anything special, and I kind of feel gross still after eating that burger (I don’t really eat burgers, since I run a lot and all,) but I’m still glad I have that ‘quintissential California experience’ checked off the list.

After lunch, we got all checked in to the convention, obtained our SWAG bags, and headed to the place we’re staying, which is with my friend (Coley)’s family, about twenty minutes from the convention center. We hung around the house and the pool until it was time for dinner, (enchilladas and tacos, home made,) and then we went to this place called BJ’s for dessert. They’re called Pizookis, and it’s a cookie with ice cream slapped on top. Oh my goodness, was it the most perfect thing ever. I still can’t get over how incredible this dessert was, and it was just so simple. Take a look for yourself. 

All in all, pretty solid first half-day in California. I’m beyond excited to get hips-deep in VidCon, and I’m equally excited about being able to relax at the beach, soak in some sun, and hopefully finish a book or two on the trip. Either way, I don’t have my running shoes with me, so my toes have some time to heal, my shins can recover, and my feet can relax. Cali-fore-nigh-yay.