Whenever possible, we leverage our business trips to do a little personal travel.
Hey, if we’re going to be in X city anyway, might as well do some sightseeing and save a couple of bucks in the process.
On our recent trip to Dallas, TX for FinCon 2017, we arrived a few days ahead of the conference to see what Texas has to offer a couple of outdoor enthusiasts like ourselves.
Here’s the thing…
We didn’t plan ahead…at all. So on the plane ride, I started to write a future mega post on how to plan ahead and travel frugally to inspire us to prepare for future excursions. HA!
Be that as it may, we still had a fabulous time simply going where the day would take us. With perfect weather, we had the opportunity to be outside for much of the time, which we took full advantage of.
First stop was Fort Worth, Texas where we had a chance to walk around downtown and hang in Sundance Square where kids played in the fountain (I think that’s the right term for this) and we sipped a smoothie.
Since we didn’t plan ahead for the personal trip ahead of FinCon, we were without lodging. As night drew near, we found ourselves searching Google for a nearby Hampton Inn or other Hilton property, Garrett’s preferred hotelier.
As luck would have it, a new Hampton Inn opened just two days prior. We were so impressed with the room that we shot a video, which we’ll use as inspiration for the shipping container home we build in the distant future.
While making our way to the hotel, we stumbled across Fort Worth Fountain Gardens, home to some of the most interesting water features I’ve seen in a public park. If you’re ever in the area, bring lunch. It’s a cool place (no pun intended).
On Sunday, we landed in Stockyards Station, a neighborhood of Fort Worth. We had a TON of fun on the walking tour, watching the cattle drive, and learning about the history of the region. Joel, a recently retired history teacher, patiently answered my many questions about farming.
Did you know that Texans have farmed as many sheep as they have cattle? Who knew!
After lunch at H3 Brothers, we continued our journey westward to Abilene, Texas and discovered a hidden gem: outdoor sculpture garden. I LOVE outdoor sculptures because I get to appreciate art AND be outside.
I could only upload 10 photos at a time to Instagram, so enjoy these selection of random photos from Abilene…
After spending a day and a half exploring Abilene (and eating cornbread to my heart’s content), we continued to head west to Spur, Texas.
A couple of days prior, we realized that we’d be within a couple of hours, so we made arrangements with local residents to get a taste of the town.
If you aren’t familiar with Spur, it’s become a haven for tiny housers.
Related Post: Tiny House Conference 2017
Spur has lots and provisions that allow for tiny houses to be moved in and “permanently” placed or constructed. Not only that, but they have public utilities and fiber Internet. They had me at fiber.
Spur really does welcome you. Everyone was super friendly!
One of the residents, Tom, took us on a tour and talked about the plans the town had for revitalization, the people who moved into town, the people who plan to move in, and all the possibilities. We toured some building lots as well as commercial buildings that were for sale. Neither of us pictured living in Pennsylvania for the rest of our lives, so we’re making a list of places for relocation and Spur could be on the short list.
After our tour, we got a chance to hang out with one of Spur’s tiny house residents and she is AWESOME! For privacy reasons, I won’t say who she is, but she knows who she is. 😉 We learned what it was like for someone who had moved from NY to FL to TX, someone used to the comforts of city life, which was important feedback. Lancaster is by no means a big city, but stores are close by, prices are competitive, and our utilities are cheap…none of which is true for Spur. But even with all that said, this resident felt it was worth it to downsize and relocate.
After spending the day in Spur, it was time to start heading in the direction of Dallas since we were more than four hours away. HA!
For our not-so-frugal personal trip to Texas, we spent $1,124. While most of the activities were free, hotels are not and that’s where we spent the most. We are not travel hackers (yet), but Noah and Becky at Money Metagame have inspired us to figure out how to get started in the travel hacking arena.