February 5, 2023

It’s been a minute since I flew anywhere. I took a few small trips in 2020 & 2021 to the SF Bay Area and the Big Island of Hawaii but for the most part since I returned home from Australia in March of 2020 – I’ve been staying on Oahu. I’m not complaining. I love Oahu. It’s nice to be getting away though.

One of my personal goals for 2022 was to attend at least one conference or event where NFTs were a major focus. Since I’ve been getting more and more involved with PageDAO who are largely based in and around Austin, it made sense to head to South by Southwest.

In typical Vagobond fashion, I didn’t do much planning. I don’t have a plan. I used some accumulated credit card miles to book the flight – which was on United – or is on since it is ongoing. It’s been a few minutes since I flew United. I haven’t missed it. My flight from HNL was a red eye leaving at 10:50 and arriving at a local time of around 6:00 at SFO before a 9:00 am transfer to Austin.

I’m glad I did the red-eye. I’m not rich enough in miles or dollars yet to have not flown economy class and on United, that means being a sardine. My seat was an inner seat in the middle rows and I had a big guy between me and the aisle. Thankfully, I was prepared – with an Ambian. I was already exhausted, so the sleeping pill knocked me the fuck out. I had my sleeping mask and my covid mask on and I was out cold until we were within 20 miles of SFO. I actually feel pretty rested.

United Economy Class doesn’t even include a cup of coffee on a red eye. Such a shitty airline compared with Emirates, Turkish, Alaska, or Hawaiian – the seats were so crowded together but the plane was huge:

Arriving here, I needed a coffee and of course, seeing a robot coffee maker – that was what I had to do.


Now, the big surprise was what popped up on the screen as I was waiting for my coffee –

The next leg was much longer than I’d anticipated. It’s actually about two thirds as far from San Francisco to Austin (1499 miles) as it is from Honolulu to San Francisco (2398 miles). In my rather exhausted state, it felt like much longer – possibly because the plane flew slower. In fact it’s about 4.5 hours from Hawaii to SF and an hour less to Austin – so the distance is considerable.

I shared a row with a nice couple and their baby. The baby was five months old and a wonderful little traveler. Arriving in Austin – the airport to my hotel was longer by Uber than I expected – and I found myself in a part of the city that feels like strip malls and freeways – instead of the cool downtown experience I was expecting. I booked on Priceline and took their mystery booking based on being downtown and 3-4 stars – instead I’m in a pretty seedy Super 8 hotel and it is a 1-2 star at best. Doesn’t feel particularly safe even – but I’m exhausted – so maybe things will appear better. I was also super hungry and walked to a nearby Amaya’s Tacos nearby and on the recommendation of the waitress had the best enchilada I’ve ever tasted and some totally delicious tacos. I felt better instantly.

I had intended to meet up with friends today – but I think I’m just too wiped out. I may need to sleep, regroup, and start fresh tomorrow.

The big lesson of the day? Those Priceline Mystery Deals can really screw you – I’m not going to let it ruin this trip though. I attempted to get a refund so I could book something better but it was non-refundable and non-changeable too- so nothing to do but make the best of it.

San Francisco = Apes and Coffee.

Now it’s nice to be in Texas. Home of Bud Light and Bitcoin. I think that’s it for this first post:

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