Interview with Austin Influencer, Exploring Amanda

We have a special Austin influencer guest interview with Amanda from Exploring Amanda. She is an Austin, Texas local with some great insider’s recommendations on what to see, eat, and do in Austin. Amanda is truly bringing us a locals guide to Austin whether you’ve been a million times or it’s your first time in Austin, Texas and you want to hit the highlights.

Amanda is also a travel coach and helps people better work with tourism organizations and properties to travel for a living. Amanda has so many great tips and she is an absolute pleasure to speak with.

Austin Influencer – Episode Transcript

3 (54s):
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we have a very special guest. Her name is Amanda Nelson, and she’s from exploring Amanda. She’s going to be giving us her local’s recommendations on exploring the weird city of Austin and telling us more about her life as a traveler and travel coach.

2 (1m 12s):
Three years ago, Amanda packed up and left the north east for Austin, Texas. Now you can find her exploring the hidden gyms of Texas and staying at some of the coolest properties throughout the lone star state.

4 (1m 23s):
Amanda travels in search of showcasing the best unique destinations for her followers. She has stayed in yurts, shipping containers, buses, and all the way down to luxury boutique hotels. Amanda is known for taking her own photographs and videos along the way, utilizing her iconic tripod and inspiring independent travel.

1 (1m 44s):
Amanda has been featured on Texas tourism boards and is a valuable and trusted source for Texas travel. So guys, we’re just going to hop right into it.

2 (1m 54s):

1 (1m 55s):
So Amanda, I was wondering what your connection to Austin is. How long have you lived there? Is that your favorite place to travel from? So are you doing local travels from Austin? Mostly. Tell us a little bit about that.

6 (2m 6s):
Yeah, so I, I do live in Austin and I do tend to explore the city a lot when I am the home. But the connection to Austin to answer your initial question is my husband and I were vacationing here several years ago and I just completely fell in love with it. And I love its character, its charm, its weirdness. And it’s very much my style. And so we were living in DC at the time and I was like, listen, we need to move to Austin. This was like before the, like everyone started moving, I was like, listen, we received a move there. And he was like, you’re crazy. We can’t just move without jobs. So which I agreed. Right. So we ended up waiting a couple of years ago and he was able to transfer with his job and I was working remote at the time so I could really go anywhere.

6 (2m 49s):
And so we’ve been here in Austin for about four years.

4 (2m 52s):
Well I know on your website, you list that your husband was active duty military. So I initially thought like, oh, you moved to Austin. Cause that’s where maybe he was stationed on base or something to that effect. So it sounds like you visited before and just fell in love. Have you ever experienced any other city that really said like, legitimately I want to move here and actually have done it because of that or is it just been, I’ve traveled through places, but now you’ve seen Austin and just, you fell in love and had to live there.

6 (3m 21s):
Yeah. Great question. And so he was, he was active duty. Military has been out for several years now. And with that, I mean, we’ve moved around to a lot of different places, mostly all on the east coast, but there never has been a vacation where I just completely fell in love and said, okay, so we need to move here and been 100% serious. Like I was with Austin, Austin just had something different that that really just spoke to my soul. And so it had never happened before. So I’m glad that it did cause that feeling is, I feel lucky to have felt that passion.

7 (3m 51s):
I know exactly what you’re talking about because I just went to Austin for the first time in September and I feel the exact same way. I love it. And I’m trying to move there next year.

6 (4m 2s):
Yes. Okay. Where do you live now? That’s so exciting.

7 (4m 5s):
We all live in San Diego right now. I’ve been here for six years. They’ve been here for a little bit longer, but oh my gosh. I just fell in love with it. Just like you did.

6 (4m 14s):
Yeah. That’s incredible. I hope you get to do that then

7 (4m 17s):
That will definitely be getting in contact with you again for more tips and advice when that time comes around.

6 (4m 22s):
I’m your girl. Let’s go.

1 (4m 25s):
So Amanda, what is your favorite thing to do in Austin?

6 (4m 28s):
Favorite thing? Can I have more than one?

7 (4m 32s):
Oh yeah.

6 (4m 33s):
Okay. Great. My favorite thing to do is I love Barton Springs, which is a really, really large natural spring, right in the heart of downtown Austin. And I love going there in the mornings to watch the sunrise. I will admit diddly say that I haven’t been able to do it a lot this year, but just going there before it gets really crowded and just submersing your body into this natural body of water and watching the sun come up over the buildings. It blows my mind every time. And it’s such a great way to start your day. And I will also say I am not at all a morning person. So for me to say that is a serious thing. And then I also love there is a really old honky tonk place called the broken spoke where you can kind of go as a tourist.

6 (5m 20s):
Or of course, if you live here, you can go as well. But I like to take people there to go to stepping. Cause I think it’s just, I mean, Austin is so weird and unique and really not known for like being country at all. And I think that that’s such a nice, hidden gem in the city too, whether you like country music or you don’t, it’s just a really fun experience. So I mean, my husband and I will just go sometimes and we don’t necessarily, we’re not showing people around where like you just want to go to stop and like we’re not really great at it. It’s just a fun environment. So I would say both of those things and then also eat Austin has really good food.

4 (5m 50s):
That’s one of the things that I’ve actually heard is that Austin has one of the best food scenes in the United States. So in terms of restaurants, I mean, what are some of the best ones or are they more geared towards food trucks and things like that? Or what would you recommend or is there a little bit of everything in that sense?

6 (6m 8s):
There is a little bit of everything. I mean, you have your pockets of, you know, food trucks and eclectic foods. And I will say, especially coming from DC, you, I mean in DC, it was just a melting pot that you could have Ethiopian next door. You’re gonna have Chinese and the next door it’s Italian. I wasn’t really expecting Austin to be that or emulate that at all. I just thought it was barbecue and it’s not really the case. So there are definitely a little pockets of cultural foods that are maybe not the norm, maybe not your typical like hamburger joints, but two things that really stand out to me. One is of course the barbecue, the brisket specifically is what we are known for here in Austin. It doesn’t really need to come with a lot of sauces or be prepared with a specific type of wood.

6 (6m 49s):
Although you do have your two types that are pretty prevalent down here, it’s just personal preference. And then Migos, which is like a breakfast taco. And I had never even heard of Amigos in my life until I came here. And it’s just the Amigos in the, in the barbecue all day long. Sign me up. It’s fantastic. I can’t

1 (7m 8s):
And wait to try. Amiga I’ve never even heard of that, but count me in because I love breakfast burritos.

7 (7m 12s):
Brittany’s favorite. Barbecue is brisket. She goes crazy for it.

6 (7m 17s):
You guys perfect? Yeah. Come back, come back to us.

4 (7m 20s):
Well Brittany’s sister lives in Dallas, so whenever we go visit, we always go get Texas barbecue. And obviously brisket’s always on the list, but I’m assuming you’ve been other places in Texas, but would you say Texas barbecue in Austin is something unique or it’s pretty much all the same, but they just have really much better locations in Austin because it’s famous for the food scene.

6 (7m 40s):
I think Austin, it’s more accessible because there are so many per capita. However, the question that you need to ask yourself is how long are you willing to wait in line? And then that answer may depict where you actually end up going. So I’m, I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard of Franklin’s barbecue. You have to wait in line, starting at 6:00 AM and then they sell out and it’s a whole thing. A fantastic, I mean a lot of people knock on it. I think it’s worth the wait personally, but there are a lot of other really great places. Valentino’s love barbecue. Terry Black’s there’s so many different ones in Austin, but again, how long are you willing to wait in line is the question.

7 (8m 15s):
Well, it is the longest time you’ve ever waited in line for barbecue.

6 (8m 18s):
I went to Franklins when we were actually on vacation before we even decided that we were going to move here and we were the third ones in line. We got there. I believe it was around 5 45, 6 in the morning. We brought books and kind of kept ourselves entertained. And I believe they opened at, I want to say 10 or 11, but 30 minutes prior to their opening, they came out through the line. They got your order, but then they also served beverages. So I remember so vividly having it was a mimosa and a can and I’m like, I’ve never listened so ideal. Right? I’m just drinking early in the morning. I’m on vacation. I’m really good barbecue. So it was, it was a few hours. But again, I’m telling you it’s worth the wait.

7 (8m 60s):
We’ll have to do that next time we go. That sounds fun. But you mentioned Migos. Is there a place specific in Austin that you would recommend for those?

6 (9m 7s):
Yes, 100%. And I also make this a tradition to anybody coming in from out of town. If I pick them up from the airport, we’re stopping here before we get to my house because it’s that good? So it is a food truck called Vera Cruz and there are several food trucks they’ve grown exponentially just because of the popularity. They make their flour tortillas. And I believe their corn tortillas in house, in the food truck and their impeccable Migos, breakfast tacos at Veracruz. Try them find them on Instagram. I cannot say enough. Good things are so good. I’m getting hungry too. You guys.

4 (9m 42s):
Well, we love our food at the Travel Squad Podcast too. So you’re just getting us even more hungry. Just talking about it cause you’re selling it real real well.

8 (9m 50s):
I know Ken, did you go to any of these places when

6 (9m 52s):
You were in Austin?

7 (9m 54s):
When I was in Austin, I stayed at a hotel that had Veracruz tacos and they serve them. They’re not through a food truck, but they were pretty good. I didn’t have the breakfast ones though. So I miss that. Have to go back for those. You’re really selling them to me.

6 (10m 8s):
Did you stay at the line?

7 (10m 9s):

6 (10m 10s):
I know they have Vera Cruz, but yeah, I get the Migos next time you won’t regret it.

4 (10m 14s):
And I think you touched on this a little bit earlier. I, I may have missed it. How long again have you now been in Austin?

6 (10m 20s):
It’s been about four years.

4 (10m 21s):
About four years. And would you say Austin is easily accessible, like with a good mass transit or is it something like, if you go and visit, you really need a car to get around?

6 (10m 31s):
Great question. And definitely a hot topic here with a lot of the locals, the public transportation is severely lacking just in reference to other major cities, especially even if we’re talking about Dallas or Houston, there are limited options, but there are options. Now, if you are wanting to just explore downtown Austin, you know, we have the scooters, we have Uber’s and pretty much any other major city as well, but there’s like one Metro, I would call it a Metro. It doesn’t go underground and has really limited stops. And then we have buses as well, but just comparatively speaking to other cities, it’s not the best public transportation. A car would be great if you’re wanting to explore outside of the city or some suburbs, but you don’t necessarily need.

4 (11m 18s):
Yeah. And that’s why I asked because you know, from what I see of Austin, you know, just on Instagram, our own research. Cause again, Kim’s the only one who has officially been there. I see that they have a lot of nature areas and parks and then the Wells and things that you can jump into. So are those close to the downtown areas, a bit of a drive out. And obviously if you’re visiting, you would need a car to get to those locations. I imagine.

6 (11m 43s):
So there, there are a lot of natural creeks and Springs that you can jump into and I’m not sure if you’re referencing Jacob’s well where it’s like a really big drop and very blue water.

4 (11m 53s):
That’s the one, I couldn’t remember the name, but that’s the one. Yeah.

6 (11m 56s):
So that’s about 45 to 50 minutes away from downtown Austin and it’s in a town called Wimberley. So you would absolutely need a car for that. But yeah, I mean, I would say rent a car just in case, especially if you want to do a lot of the exploring and maybe some hikes that are not necessarily downtown, just so that you have more options. I would recommend renting a car.

7 (12m 16s):
You have any hikes in the Austin area that you would recommend. We talk a lot about hiking. We have a lot of our listeners love to go hiking as well.

6 (12m 24s):
Yeah. So great question. There is an area called the green belt and there’s the green belt trail where it is really just heavily wooded in the middle of nowhere. And you know, we do get some droughts. So most of the time you’re able to walk on the Creek beds and it’s just really fun. And I would say relatively easy beginners. And then there’s also the just regular old hiking bike trail, which I would recommend, especially because you’re going right next to lady bird lake you’re right next downtown, seeing all the buildings and you can walk and hike and bike and see all of the dogs. And that’s something too that I tend to take first-time visitors to the hike and bike trail, because you can just get really good views of the city, rented a standup paddle board and kind of just get active if that’s your style and not, that’s something that I try to do at least a few times a month.

6 (13m 12s):

1 (13m 13s):
That sounds really fun. I definitely want to check that out. Like Jamal said earlier, my sister lives in Dallas. So we’ve always talked about going down to Austin to do a weekend getaway or even just, you know, meeting up with her there just to explore a different city.

6 (13m 27s):
Yes. And Austin so active too. And it’s, I mean, it’s just like Dallas in terms of it’s relatively nice. Most of the year right now, it’s not, it’s like a freak thing. It’s like 30 degrees everyone’s freaking out and losing their minds, but you know, yeah. It’s very strange, but most of the year you’re afforded these nice outdoor activities. So absolutely recommended

2 (13m 47s):
It. Is Austin, a big biking city. I know that you mentioned like they have the hike and bike trail, but like how about biking just throughout the city? Would that be a good way to get around?

6 (13m 56s):
Yes. 100%. It’s a huge biking city. I actually have a bike being delivered tomorrow to my house, but they’re all over the place. And there was a lot of, you know, bike lanes. So it’s relatively safe. It’s, it’s actually very safe. I would say my husband has one too. And we both feel really good about, you know, going out and riding

4 (14m 14s):
Well kind of going back to what Brittany was saying too about her sister in Dallas. And we’ve been thinking about going to Austin, are there any good particular day trips that you think are good to take from Austin? And so if someone’s going, they can kind of get a different feel of Texas in a way.

6 (14m 30s):
Okay. I have a few just based on different, you know, lifestyles and what, what different interests you may like. But the first one that comes to my mind is a town called round top. And it is right smack in the middle of between Houston and Austin. So it’s about an hour and a half away from, from both cities and they are known for their antiques and they’re the largest because like the largest antique show per capita in this country. And they do it twice a year, but the town has 90 people population nine zero. And it is just the cutest most quaint town. You can really find a lot of gems, even if antique is not your thing. They have a lot of local stores and craft goods.

6 (15m 11s):
And so I love exploring round top, but if that’s not necessarily your thing, I would say Wimberley, which we touched on earlier. Jacob’s well, there’s a lot of hiking out there. Again, there is a really, really small town called pioneer town. Definitely makes for great photos, not something that you see every day. And it, it kind of feels like you’re in the wild, wild west

1 (15m 32s):
Pioneertown. Sounds like it would be like a Western theme,

6 (15m 35s):
Very Western. Yes. And then lastly, if those two things really just aren’t for you, I would say Fredericksburg. It is the Napa valley wine country here in the hill country region here in Texas. And you can, you know, walk around with a glass of wine and the town and visit a lot of wineries and really learn more about the craft and part of his grapes too, depending on what time of year you go. And so those are the top three that just pop into my mind. And I think it’s nice because there’s something different for everyone too. I mean, for me specifically, I love all of those things, but really just depends on, you know, what time of year, you know, am I craving wine really bad and do I want to go to the winery? So there’s a lot of options.

7 (16m 18s):
The wine region are there tour companies or like excursions that you can get from Austin that will take you there. So you don’t have to worry about the driving.

6 (16m 26s):
Yes, a hundred percent. They tend to be really popular for, you know, groups who are coming in from out of town or bachelor bachelorette parties, but they do it all for you. And speaking of that, that also reminds me that there’s two is a huge thing here. And there’s also excursion, you know, vans who will pick you up and drive you to the Guadalupe river about 40 minutes away. And you go enter tubing all day and it is just the most fun. So I would say that’s a really good adventure too, if you, you know, if you don’t necessarily want to come to Austin and get a rental car, they have transportation that, you know, you can still be afforded these really cool things and have a great day and not have to worry about, you know, drinking and driving. And so huge thing. Obviously we don’t want to do any of that. So yeah,

7 (17m 6s):
So much fun. I want to do that

6 (17m 7s):
So much fun. Yeah.

4 (17m 9s):
Thank you. Sold me on the tubing because our hometown originally in Northern California, that we’re all from, there’s a famous spot that you can go tubing down. And that’s one of the things, even though we’re in San Diego and by the water, we really don’t have that inland water rivers, creeks, things like that. And so that’s really intriguing to me about the tubing, but I only ask this because I know in California, it’s required by law, but if you go and visit as a tourist, do they require you to have life vests to go down the river because here they do. And if you don’t they’ll ticket you.

6 (17m 41s):
Oh, so they do not here in Texas. That’s really interesting. They’re really lackadaisical when it comes to rules on the river, you know, people have, and you can drink. The only really major role is no glass. Everything else is sort of fair game. People have, you know, their stereos floating and the tube next to them. And there’s this really fun thing called the tube shoot, where it propels you down sort of like natural made, you know, Waterslide, which is really fun and people get out and then they go and do it again. They get out and do it again. And, but no, you don’t have to wear fast, which is really interesting.

7 (18m 12s):
Anybody looking to go to Austin, doing a little research on nightlife, you’re definitely gonna see people talking about sixth street and rainy street. And you mentioned the broken spoke as a good place for two-step and nightlife. Are there any other maybe lesser known or your favorite spots for nightlife in Austin that you’d recommend?

6 (18m 28s):
Yeah. So one of my favorite places to go, I mean, I have birthday celebrations here, happy hours with friends, even work meetings. There is a spot called cosmic coffee and beer garden, and it’s outdoor indoor. They have food trucks, they have fire pits, they have a garden, they have chickens. There’s a lot of different things, but they also have, you know, twinkly lights and MREs because at nights too, right, it still gets a little toasty. They have a lot of frozen drinks and craft beers on drafts and a really good margarita is, and I just love going there. It’s just, it’s not as packed. I mean, it is getting to be a little bit more of a popular spot, but it’s definitely not a sixth street vibe where it’s more controlled, more people probably in their late twenties to fifties and just, just a different crowd, but definitely right up my alley.

7 (19m 18s):
It sounds amazing. And then I have one question that we often get through our listeners on places that we’ve been, I think you’re the perfect person to answer this, but if somebody’s visiting Austin, there are tons of different neighborhoods with different vibes. What neighborhood or neighborhoods would you recommend? They stay in, whether it’s Airbnb or hotel or, or whatnot.

6 (19m 37s):
So I would say east Austin, east Austin has been really up and coming for the past few years and it is very much a hip up and coming murals everywhere. They just put in a target and a whole foods. And they’re putting in these apartment complexes to try to get people over there, but they still have these really unique, hidden gems to where, you know, people weren’t really living there 10 years ago, but there was a comedy club. The comedy clubs are still there and just really unique characteristics that I would definitely recommend a lot of the places that you’ll find on east Austin are going to be Airbnbs or some VRVO or short-term rental. So I would say, definitely look into those versus maybe a hotel right off of the bat, just so that you can really immerse yourself in that east Austin culture.

7 (20m 22s):
Wonderful. And then selfishly, I have to ask, would you also recommend that as the neighborhood to live in?

6 (20m 27s):
So that gets a little more tricky just depending on, well, a lot of things, because our housing is insane right now and obviously the prices are going up. So what does your budget look like? Because for some it is getting to be out of reach in east Austin for buying, but for renting. Absolutely. Right. Just dip your feet in there and see if you like it first. And then in terms of buying, I mean, Austin is growing like crazy. And if you live in north Austin, you probably won’t ever hang out with anybody who lives in south Austin, just because the traffic is insane. Comparatively speaking to people here who aren’t used to necessarily maybe some LA traffic or anything like that. So yeah, it’s, it’s a difficult question to be able to answer, but to get your feet wet, probably renting.

6 (21m 9s):
Yeah. Try out east Austin, if you want to be immersed in that culture and really get the true Austin experience 100%. Yes.

2 (21m 17s):
And how has COVID changed Austin in your opinion?

6 (21m 21s):
That’s a good question. Austin is a very, very tight knit community. Although it’s the major city. I think that I’ve seen a lot of resilience within the community here, a lot of willingness and a lot of just charitable aspects in people that you maybe wouldn’t expect. And I just, you know, it’s been, it’s been tough for everybody, especially at the beginning, you know, nobody really knew what was going on. I mean, we still don’t really know what’s going on. Right. But the initial shock where people banded together was really, it was great to see just even with, you know, our grocery store workers and people just willing to help out in the community and take things to the homeless shelters really just speaks volumes to Austin and makes me really proud to live here.

4 (22m 5s):
Well, and I know Kim has gone to Austin right now in the midst of COVID and everything like that, but you mentioned some stuff of the nightlife and some honky-tonk I think I heard. So for other people and especially being now a native to Austin in that sense or local, I should say, do you think Austin is still prime to visit during these times in terms of, if somebody goes, they can soak up the culture and really what it is to be in Austin

6 (22m 32s):
A hundred percent. I mean, we, we were one of the first states to really truly open back up, whether it be 25, 50 or 75% capacity, we were one of the first and I think doing it safely, you know, come to Austin, do all the things it’s, it’s sort of back to normal in a weird way, but you know, just be safe about it. But I mean, yeah, I started going back to my gym and doing spin classes and it’s crazy to me to still think that we’re in a pandemic just because Austin is so open up compared to, you know, a lot of other towns that I visited within Texas. And they’re like, well, nothing’s really open here except the bank. And one restaurant, it’s like, oh gosh, you can do anything in Austin. So it’s, it’s wild to see.

1 (23m 9s):
Sounds like Austin’s a good place to visit right now during the pandemic. And how much time would you say you would need to spend in Austin to really get the culture and the vibe and do all of the things that you would want to do as a first time visitor?

6 (23m 22s):
Hmm. I would say four days is probably a sweet spot. That way you can try a lot of different things that may be a complete juxtaposition from the last thing you did, right? Maybe if hiking, isn’t your thing, then maybe the next day we can try something completely different and try, you know, a rooftop bar or something like that. But four days is probably that sweet spot to be able to try everything.

4 (23m 41s):
And does that include blocking out half a day for waiting in line for Texas barbecue?

6 (23m 45s):
Yeah, it does. And then also the nap you’re going to need to afterwards.

7 (23m 50s):
That’s awesome. I also found when I was in Austin, that one of the things I really noticed about the people there was how nice everybody was yourself included, just really friendly.

6 (23m 59s):
So that was a huge adjustment for me too. And I remember noticing it the first time while we were on vacation to Austin before we moved here and I was in the airport and I was in the bathroom and this woman just kind of, you know, accidentally hit me with her bag on the way out. I mean, the apology that she gave me was like the most heartfelt apology. And I’m like, what in the world is happening, right. Coming from like hustle and bustle. Nobody cares like get out of my way, go, go, go. And there, she was like, oh my God, ma’am I am so sorry. And I’m like, are you looking to me? Like, you’re so nice right now, but yeah, everyone’s so nice. And it’s like really welcoming too, because you get those, you get those people who are like, I’ll do anything for you.

6 (24m 41s):
And it just changes your outlook and you’re just automatically in a better mood because of it. So definitely good vibes with the niceness here in Austin.

7 (24m 48s):
Absolutely. I can’t agree more. That’s that’s awesome. So we were looking through some of your Instagram posts on your website and you have a very unique job. You are a travel coach, is that right?

6 (25m 1s):
That’s correct. Yes.

7 (25m 3s):
That is so cool. I would love to hear more about that. What does that like, how do you become a travel coach?

6 (25m 8s):
So it really, it first started during the, you know, at the very beginning of the pandemic, I was just traveling and trying to figure out, you know, I’ve been traveling for about a year now, but wasn’t really making any consistent money with it. So trying to figure out how I could get paid to travel, which was my dream and a lot of other people’s dreams and started really mastering it and consistently been going on trips, you know, two to three times a week in the past several months since, you know, it said, no, everybody said that it couldn’t be done during COVID. And I said, okay, hold my beer. Watch me because I will find a way. And it’s really just trying to, you know, arm people with the same tools that I’ve used to be able to successfully land paid travel.

6 (25m 50s):
And it’s a win-win because I’m helping other people, but most importantly, I’m helping those properties in cities and destinations and those mom and pops who got really crushed at the beginning of COVID and sort of just took them back and I’m able to bring them bookings. And so I’m arming people with that same knowledge in hopes that they can go out and do the same thing and ultimately bring properties, bookings. And it’s just been, it’s been a whirlwind. And I didn’t think that I was going to be a coach up until a few months ago when people were literally knocking down my door, like, how do you do this? Can you teach us? So it’s been a learning curve, an amazing lesson. And I’m, I’m really grateful to be helping people.

7 (26m 28s):
That is amazing. That’s definitely what some people would say is their dream job to travel for a living.

6 (26m 33s):

7 (26m 34s):
What are some of the coolest places that you traveled to through work purposes? I saw one recently you did, it was this hotel shaped like a, some kind of a unicorn or

6 (26m 48s):
Yeah, so that one is, is actually west of Austin. So about 20 minutes from the city of Austin, it’s called the blue house and that one was incredible. It, yeah, the outside is, there’s no straight lines in the entire structure and it was built in the seventies to try to mimic a man’s relationship with nature. And so how it ebbs and flows. And it’s just a lot of different organics, worlds and lines. And that was a complete dream for me to be able to partner with them and work with that property. And it’s, I mean, if it’s unique, I’m there. So sign me up. And so that one was definitely unique. And then let’s see where else there was one about right outside of Waco, Texas.

6 (27m 28s):
So about an hour and a half away from downtown Austin and it was a ranch and they had cabins, but you could also swim with otters, which was the coolest thing. Cause I mean, it was just so cute. They have zebras there and it’s, it’s an animal and wildlife sanctuary, so no animals are harmed and they take care of them. And it’s just really great to see and interact with, well, the ones that you can interact with of course, but it was just so peaceful and serene to be there. And so anything that makes a property, you need sign me up, but there has to be that special feeling when I get there too, that really makes it a top property for me and for me to want to promote as well.

7 (28m 4s):
Absolutely. And you know, Austin’s theme is keep Austin weird, but it sounds like there’s a lot of weird even around Austin too.

6 (28m 11s):
It’s it’s trickling out. It is. It’s trickling out.

7 (28m 14s):
That’s so cool. And you said you use Instagram to find some of these properties. Is there any other way you use to find unique properties to stay up?

6 (28m 22s):
Yeah. I use a lot of different, I created sort of like an Airbnb hack that I teach my students short-term rental hack because unfortunately you can’t, I mean, you can’t just message them on the, on Airbnb. It’s very heavily encrypted and you’ll get in trouble and Instagram has a major way also. How do you filter Google search? Just really utilizing any type of social media platforms doesn’t necessarily have to be Instagram, also word of mouth, talking to property owners that I’ve worked with in the past and asking if they know of anyone that could use my services, that’s been really fruitful and getting some, some paid travel deals. Yeah.

7 (28m 55s):
That’s wonderful. And do you typically just work with properties or do you ever partner with tourism boards or other types of businesses?

6 (29m 2s):
I have I’ve, I’ve partnered with tourism boards in the past. I spent an entire month on an island here in Texas. It’s the only tropical island in the state. And that was incredible. And through that, I was able to, you know, get some sponsored activities and restaurants and shopping experiences. And then, you know, when I’m, when I’m traveling with specific towns, I’ll do my own outreach and try to find things that make sense for me to do in terms of activities. So whether that be horseback riding on the beach or, you know, shopping and trying to find some fun antiques, it definitely varies. And it differs, but I would say yes to all of that.

7 (29m 40s):
That’s so exciting. I bet the thrill of doing the research and the outreach and hearing back is, is part of the fun too.

6 (29m 45s):
It is. Yes, it is. It’s definitely all a part of it. It’s, you know, I was saying today, I worked at 12 hours a day and you’ll never work, you know, harder for anybody but yourself, which is very true, but the reward and the outcome is worth it every single time.

7 (29m 59s):
Absolutely. And then you, as a coach, you teach other people to do this for themselves too. Is that right?

6 (30m 5s):
That’s correct. Yeah. Where it makes sense for them. So I work with them one-on-one and we customize everything to try to find out what their specific niche is. Right. Because not everybody is necessarily a tripod traveler in the state of Texas. And so you could be, you know, a mom blogger or blog about national parks or not even have a blog at all. So we’ll kind of walk through that, but yeah, in a, in a nutshell, I teach them to do exactly what I’m doing, but in their own unique way.

7 (30m 29s):
That’s amazing. I bet that’s really rewarding for you too.

6 (30m 32s):
It is. Yeah. It’s just all about, you know, helping, helping other people and feeling that reward at the end of the day, because I’ve, I’ve owned different businesses in the past and it has never had quite the same impact in terms of helping people. And you know, you hear people say that all the time, you know, if you’re not really helping anybody or making a difference, it’s not going to matter. And I know that to be true within my own life. So it is very rewarding right now to be able to see all of that come to fruition.

7 (30m 57s):

2 (30m 58s):
It’s so nice. Like when you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, like everything just falls into place and it doesn’t even feel like work, even though you know, that you are working.

6 (31m 6s):
I know it really does. And it’s nice to hear people say that too. And especially, you know, your, your family and your friends that you’ve grown up with your entire life and they look at you and they’re like this, this is what it was supposed to be all along. And so we’re so thrilled for you and it’s just extra validation on my end.

2 (31m 23s):
That’s so nice. Yeah.

4 (31m 25s):
Well, I think we have one more final question for you and I’m going to ask it and I know Kim probably wants to know this, but I’m going to steal the question from her, but what are some of the most Instagram worthy places in Austin? Like if somebody’s going and making an Instagram statement, Hey, I’m here. Where should they go? And what photos should they take for the,

6 (31m 45s):
Oh man. A great question. All right. For the gram. So, Ooh. I would say a couple things. So stand up, paddle boarding, you have the skyline behind you. You’re on the water and that’s like, hi, I’m in Austin, Quinta central. Right? So that’s always a really good one. I would say there is this new restaurant that popped up six or seven months ago. If I’m not mistaken, it’s called Taqiyya mucho and the entire place it’s pink, everything is pink. The drinks are pink, the pink phone booth outside. And it is been very hot with the Instagram moments here in the Austin community. And then lastly, because we have nice weather pretty much all year round, you are afforded really nice rooftops.

6 (32m 25s):
So any rooftop, any rooftop bar in Austin, especially there’s one called the handlebar and there’s a Seesaw on top of it. That is a very Instagrammable moment.

4 (32m 35s):
It sounds very nice. And we love a rooftop bar with the Travel Squad Podcast. I could tell you that. So,

2 (32m 42s):
Oh my gosh though, but I can’t even imagine the picture. Like if you’ve had a few drinks and you’re on that Seesaw on the rooftop bar, I can have so much fun with that.

6 (32m 50s):

4 (32m 53s):
Well, Amanda, we do appreciate you coming on sharing all of your information about you and about Austin, but before we let you go, why don’t you tell our audience where they can find you online? And if you have any other final thoughts, if you want to share them with us right now and with our audience?

6 (33m 8s):
Absolutely. So you can find me pretty much on any platform at exploring Amanda. Also the website is exploring amanda.com and if by chance, you are interested in learning how to get paid, to travel and want to be one of my students. Please let me know that and mentioned that you’ve heard me on this podcast and I will throw a little discount your way, but pretty much exploring Amanda on all platforms. And thank you again so much, guys. I really do appreciate the time and the amazing and well thought out questions. And yeah, this was fun.

2 (33m 35s):
We’re so happy that you were able to connect with us and that we were able to have you on the podcast. So thank you

6 (33m 40s):
For your support.

3 (33m 41s):
Thank you so much, Amanda, for being on the podcast and thank you all for tuning into this week’s episode. Keep the adventures going with us by following us on Instagram and subscribing on YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast, tag us in all of your adventures and send us in your questions.

2 (33m 56s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please make sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too.

4 (34m 3s):
Please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (34m 8s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you. Woo.

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