Greetings From Austin, I Love You So Much

Written on a green wall of a pizza restaurant are the words, “I Love You So Much.”

5 Words that means everything.

It’s a mural turned into a tourist souvenir photo spot in Downtown Austin.

Artichoke and Margherita Pizza with ice cold Lone Star Beer at Home Slice.

Time with Friends sharing the most delicious food and unlimited Nespresso everyday, “I Love You So Much.”

A visit at the Capitol, the American Flag with its Stars and Stripes flying glorious and brave across the sky, “I Love You So Much.”

Mindfulness to yourself first is not selfish. It’s survival so we become mindful to others, second. I was raised to see Love as sacrificing self. The idea of “I Love You So Much” to self has never crossed my mind till the damage has become too great that living seems more of a struggle. Living shouldn’t feel like a battle. Living shouldn’t be so hard. Living shouldn’t force a person to choose one and loose another. Living should be natural, generous and free.

Lady Bird Lake Kayaking at Zilker Park with the Austin City View above, and the emerald clear waters below, “I Love You So Much.”

I should be seeing all Sunsets when it is unfolding before my eyes, and not when the heart only feels like seeing them on a good day.

Texas generous Outdoors, Sunsets and Roadtrips, “I Love You So Much.”

It was more beautiful on our second visit. I discovered something new that wasn’t there before.

Hiking McKinney Upper Falls, “I Love You So Much.”

I asked him to sit at the Upper Falls so one day, he could look at this very photo and say, “I was there.”

We hiked further excited to see the Lower Falls featured at the front page of the Texas Parks Brochure.

We can’t be missing out on our own Life just because that’s what Society and People who have hold on us wants. We can’t go back for lost time. We can only begin from the time of awakening, that is if we choose to be awaken.

My heart sunk when I did not see the Lower Falls. Instead, I saw countless potholes. Most are dried up. Few deep ones still have small water in them.

This used to be covered by water. Earth is dying. What we enjoy now may be gone in another 10-20 years. The climate change caused by Humans is irreversible. I feel bad for my Son and his generation. It’s not fair to them.

I kept walking, the rest stayed either under the tree for shade or watching the mother turtle and her young turtle resting on a log.

The heart never forgets a love that is selfless.

I heard a faint sound of a Water Fall. As I point to its direction, I shouted, “Guys, the Seconds Falls is down there.” I wasn’t really sure, could have been an auditory hallucination.

Discovering the last remaining part of the Lower Falls, “I Love You So Much.”

Stillness of Seasons. Calmness when among true Family and Friends. This is one of the most relaxing and happy trips I’d ever been. No stress. No COVID worry. I felt so alive and free. Lake Austin past Sunset.

Whether it’s a vow, a promise or a happy moment, “I Love You So Much,” sums up unforgettable travel memories, places and experiences one shares with people.

After a 4 mile hike, we took a refreshing swim at Steiner Ranch Community Pool. I was in charge of the bag with our towels and sunblock, which I left at our friend’s kitchen table. Oops. I never said I was reliable.

By themselves, the isolated words sound lonely, empty, even self absorbed.

Bigger Hugs and Fun Together. Greetings from Austin Mural Postcard, 1720 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704. Any Zip Code can create a mural that will draw friends and family to turn wasted time to priceless moments. A living postcard is always better because it stays with us forever.

Together, “I Love You So Much,” becomes a meaningful selfless expression of love, generosity, kindness, connection and community.

Food Trucks Food Court. Son said the Lamb Shawarma was very good.

So, I’m choosing Together and passing it on.

At first, I took a vacation to escape everything that’s burning me out.

The past week, I am rediscovering and reconnecting to many parts of myself that I used to love so much.

Give me peace. Give me solitude. Give me back the wholeness of self and heart. Our Why’s need to be stronger than the weight of the world we choose to carry. So, those vacations have always been more than just vacations.

I hope it’s enough to face work, people and life differently when I come back.

So much food. So much love. So much happy tummies both from deliciousness and crazy laughters. What happens in Austin, it’s To Go.

Escape was never the answer. Loving, understanding and forgiving myself are.

Everything is useful. Everything can be home to everyone. We just need to be in it 100%. Not about size, material or location but all about the Love. No Love, No Home Sweet Home. Picture taken outside a Radish Food Truck.

I look at our Austin pics and I see a stress free happier me. I look at my smile and I notice it is not forced nor fake. I look at my face and my wrinkles are hardly visible not even my many months of daily topical glycolic acid use can erase. My anxiety is gone. I’m in a beautiful peaceful and calm surrender for 7 days.

I used to take the lead when we Kayak. That day, I let him take the lead as I try to enjoy the Lake Austin experience in its entirety.

The contrast is striking. The difference? Feeling and looking 10 years younger. That in itself is a gift and a miracle.

The day before we left Austin, we hiked back to Mt. Bonnell together with our old and new friends. It was so nice. No worries. No problems. We were laughing, sharing stories and just enjoying life…as we all should be. I wish it didn’t have to end.

A new friend who welcomed us at her home in Fort Worth said, “You must be 30?” I told her smiling, “I’m not 30. I’m 50, but thank you. You’re so kind.” She gave me the biggest age discount I have not heard in 4 years.

I didn’t understood what Southern Hospitality means till this vacation, and I lived in the South for 9 years. It took me leaving to realize what I already got. Fort Worth was suppose to be a quick detour, then it’s host won our hearts with generosity and welcome like no other. Son and I never thought we will be swimming but we did. Small world too. The Fort Worth couple helped start the hospital in the city of my childhood.

During the name introductions, she asked our Austin friend, “Are they your children.” My friend laughed, shook her head and said, “Oh, No. They are our friends from California. My daughter is in college, and my son is now working in New York.”

The Journey taught me to follow and travel my own path. It also taught me that I don’t have to do it alone. That more is better when it comes to our life line support systems.

We flew back home last night. I had to hold back tears as I said goodbye to my friends in Austin. They are in every way my extended Family and I’m very thankful.

One of the new friends I met in Austin likes to take candid pictures. I was taking a picture of a lone fallen, old leaf at the edge of the wooden deck surrounded by the deep vast waters of the lake. The leaf and I are no different. Steiner Ranch, Lake Austin.

Something in me change because of our vacation. For the first time, I turned off the T.V. as soon as I heard the same bad, negative repetitive news and content.

“We are more than just a leaf that fell off from its tree. Living is a choice. Dying is also a choice. Being more is a choice. Happiness is a choice that needs constant watering and gardening to thrive.”

Late Lunch at Hula Hut overlooking Lake Austin. Again, the food servings are so big. Full Plate is for 4.

Today, I told my wife to cut off our cable and just keep the internet. It’s $100 savings per month, $1,200 per year. That’s $12,000 in 10 years. That’s a lot of savings both money and work time. Plus, I’m saving myself a ton of toxic negativity.

I didn’t have to go to Hawaii to feel the Aloha Spirit. Austin has it too.

I hope to incorporate in my everyday thinking and living Mindfulness that focuses on happiness, calmness, positivity, courage, contentment, patience and forgiveness.

We don’t wait for someone to bring us a chair to rest and relax. We bring our own chair to rest and relax as often as we need them.

I will invest more on People and Experiences that will help me overcome one by one all the Demons I’m trying to run away from because truth is, there is no place to hide from them. The only way to win, is to face them.

I took time off to rest because I can. So can you. Peace of mind and a rested heart have no price tag. It does however have an extinction date that only God knows when.

Lessons to my story? Take more short travel vacations visiting friends and family. Be generous in giving yourself time off from work and all anxiety provoking drama. Make new moments and memories. Don’t let the fear and anger of others be yours.

X mark is where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at the peak of his popularity in Dallas by a man from the 6th floor. From the window where the shot came from, one can easily spot the shooter from the street. People loved him and his ideas that could have change the World, but that is a no-no to the real power and riches that controls America. Right?

Don’t let your fear and anger consume all that’s good in you. Remember what makes you happier, younger, calmer and do them often. Dream again. Live again. Learn to let go. Trust and welcome God and People into your life again. Start and reset whenever you need it.

Not all who wander are lost. Not all who are lost wander. Which one are we?

Our Life, our choice of how to spent the remainder of it. 10 years from now, we may be extinct. Could be sooner.

Vacations switches on our Life Source to help us restart and light up everything that has been broken and hidden by darkness.

So, we go and take a vacation for ourselves that says, “I Love You So Much.”

Happiness and Mental Health is all about Vacation, Vacation, Vacation.

How do I say a “Big Thank You” in Texan? With a Big Post written with a Big Heart.

I didn’t tell my friends I blog, but someday they will find this tribute to them and our friendship.

Destiny no doubt will find a way when one of us needed to be inspired and be reawakened.

About Island Traveler

Just a Man too curious where his dreams will take him.
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19 Responses to Greetings From Austin, I Love You So Much

  1. Leah says:

    I LOVE this so much!!!! I live in Steiner 🙂 This was an awesome depiction of Austin and your pics are gorgeous! I’m from the Northeast and moving to Austin over a decade ago was the best decision. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Austin is a special place for me and my family. It was our escape from Houston and showed us kindness through our friends there. I wish I chose it instead of Houston but overall, so much blessing every visit. I hope to see Hamilton pool next time.


  2. My Rollercoaster Journey says:

    Lovely post. I loved reading about your trip. You made me want to go to Austin, Texas. The lake/waterfall you videos is amazing. So are all the pictures. You’re really good at coming up with caltions for pictures. So much wisdom. I was shocked that ur 50. Even though I’ve never seen your picture, I thought u might be 40. But it makes sense because u have a teenage son.


    • The mind and heart is 40. And lately, body is returning to 40’s too like a time machine. Being active and being close to Nature, and yes traveling and discovery are secrets to feeling and looking young. Total No stress life and happy vacations takes away easy 10 years. I didn’t believe it until I saw and experience it myself last Austin Trip. The pictures can’t hide how happy and calm I was. And I didn’t have to photo edit them. So I’m going for more off days to feel better and younger again. Wellness and Health are the secrets to Youth , Freedom and Happiness. Work just pays the bills, Adventures feeds the mind, heart and soul. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Rollercoaster Journey says:

        If no stress makes you younger, then I’m actually 80. I wish I could be chill and go on adventures and vacations. Maybe when my son is older. He is 6 now and I’m 30.


        • What? Basically your 18. Seriously though, stress is the biggest factor in aging quick other than Sun damage and taking health hazards like alcohol and cigarettes. Having a 6 year old can be stressful but also the best adventure there is. Parents kind of mirror their children age and what they are into. When my son was at that age, me and his mom were like his super adventure heroes. And it’s a time of theme parks and outdoors. I hope you get to have your adventures and vacation for both self and family. It is very important to have an escape from the craziness of the World and Routine. Enjoy life while your young ( & not feeling 80). We think we did a lot but 10 years from now we wished we did more. And time can’t it bargained. Thanks.


          • My Rollercoaster Journey says:

            I wish. My husband is a homebody so no adventures for us. However, I went to turkey 4 times, twice of which with my son. It was fun. And sometimes I go out with my dad and take my son. Also, today we went on a picnic with some volunteer teachers I volunteer with. I took my son. Whenever I go out, which isn’t often, I take him.


  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation that changed your perspective on a few things. Those are some great life lessons about making time for yourself, to travel and spend time with friends and family. Let go of all the negatively and just focus on the positivity. McKinney Upper and Lower Falls looks beautiful by the way.


    • Perhaps the heart was just ripe for all of it and willing to move forward in a better, happier , more positive direction. But I’m grateful for the moments and lessons during this trip. It did change so much of me in ways I never thought still possible. Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sara Moser says:

    Great post! I love Austin, I have visited there many times over the years. (I live near Houston) and truly you are right – vacation, traveling, destressing – it brings joy and clear-headedness. I am finishing up a two week road trip, connected with some family and friends along the way but much of it just driving down the road seeing landscape change. There is more to life than cable TV for sure! Lol! Hope you keep traveling and keep writing!


    • Thanks Sara. I’m glad you took a two week road trip. It is very important to reconnect to the outside world and it’s beautiful inspirations and blessings. We are meant to connect in person not via phones or videos. The heart responds differently when we are up close with those that brings out the best in us. It’s been awhile that I hugged people and people hugged me back and Austin was generous of that. It’s Time for all of us to live again.


  5. This is just a wonderful post. I really can feel your happiness and joy being there and making friends. It seems like you had a really relaxing time in Austin, your wonderful images are speaking your happiness. Thank you my friend for sharing all the beauty you have seen and felt.


    • Thanks. It was so relaxing and worry free that I added it in my place to relocate next. It is nice to share a vacation with a group that we have so much in common. We forgot how old we were and the problems around us. For a week, we were young, dreamy, limitless. Even my Son looked so happy and so connected with everyone , and we are more than twice his age. Great Happiness and great fun like great music are universal and knows no age nor era. Texas was a refreshing escape. It’s kind of the contrast of California in terms of covid both in response and mentality. I was actually nice to travel without concern of covid. People were smiling and very friendly. Airport and plane not scary at all. People respected the mask for all when rules needed to apply.


  6. Ab says:

    I love this post very much. Very nice and happy to see that you and your family enjoyed a wonderful vacation and time with friends, nature and yourself. The photos are lovely and wonderful.

    It is very sad to see some of the lower falls be dried up and a good reminder to take care of nature and our planet.

    I like your plan to limit your spending and tv consumption and to focus on travel and wellbeing. Great plan to always reduce the toxicity in your life!

    Hope you have many more fun travels in your family’s future.


    • Thanks Ab. Our world is filled with Toxicity more that ever, not just about politics but people we know at work or friendship or extended family. To be honest , my happiest world with everyone , and everything seemingly in harmony was before 2018. Toxicity was already there even before covid. The virus just heightened them and made people act it out even more. When we needed kindness and understanding, we get the opposite. My wife turned on the news last night while baking. Everything was bad and toxic . Doesn’t show anything good or hopeful. At this point, every person has to be the giver of their own joy, light and positivity. We don’t wait. We make them happen. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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