Endless Caravan: A Stereotype-Dispelling Tour of Texas

I think Texas gets a bad rap… at least it did for me. Every state tends to negatively stereotype tourists from a different specific state, and growing up in Colorado… we constantly picked on Texans as they would come up to go skiing because they were clearly out of their element. However, one of my goals for this #EndlessCaravan trip in Nest is to help break down the barriers that stereotypes create by getting an intimate view of life all around the United States. Well, my journey through Texas did just that for my personal misconceptions that had formed over time. Previously, my narrow view of Texans mostly consisted of rednecks in cowboy hats driving around in pickup trucks blasting Garth Brooks. But after visiting Austin, Marfa, Terlingua, and Big Bend… that vision was shattered.

Austin has always been described as “the least Texan place in Texas.” Since I’ve visited Austin many times before, I decided I needed to explore some areas I hadn’t seen before, and I made my way out to one of Austin’s most beautiful swimming holes… Hamilton Pool. I’ve traveled to a lot of beautiful places in my 28 years on this planet, but Hamilton Pool ranks up there with the best of them. About 45 minutes from Austin sits this insane pool of natural blue water surrounded by a limestone dome.

It looks like something that must have been man-made, as this breathtaking grotto just appears out of an unassuming landscape. I spent a couple hours here, mostly just sitting in different places around the pool taking in the landscape and the people. You have to make a reservation to visit the pool, but that’s actually for the best as it limits the amount of people that can be there at once. It was a bit chilly that day, and started drizzling, but I knew I needed to get in the water. So I made the plunge, and once I adjusted to the water temperature, I simply floated on my back in the middle of the pool staring up at the stalactites dripping water from the ceiling above. This place opened my eyes to the beautiful nature that I didn’t even know existed in Texas.

For years, I’ve wanted to check out Marfa, a tiny little Texas town that has turned into an arts hub. This wave of creativity was initiated by the artist Donald Judd who started the Chinati Foundation, an old army base that he converted into a exhibition space to showcase indoor and outdoor installations. From there, a ripple effect happened throughout the town giving birth to a unique artistic community, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Everything in this town was created with an aesthetically-inclined eye. The firehouse was even considered, a pink building with the words “Central Fire Station” hand-painted in a perfectly selected font on the outside.

While there I was able to park the Nest in the parking lot of El Cosmico, an adventurer’s dream “hotel.” El Cosmico is comprised of everything from tepees, safari tents, yurts, and a plethora of colorful retro trailers sprinkled throughout their property. If you happen to be traveling with a trailer, you can pay $20 to park in their parking lot and have access to their beautiful facilities. Marfa opened my eyes to artistic underbelly of Texas.