Traveling alone is not something I ever thought I would do, or ever really wanted to do. In a past life, I had a job that required a good amount of travel, and I just remember it being really lonely (even as someone who values alone time).
But this past April, I got a chance to go to the Mom 2.0 conference in Austin, TX. All the stars aligned and AJ would be off work, so the child care was covered. Everything about it was out of my comfort zone, but I wasn’t about to let the fact that I had to go alone stop me from missing this opportunity.
I am so glad I took the chance and stepped outside of my box, because I had the best time! I definitely valued the experience of traveling alone more now that I’m a mom than I did when I was traveling for work as a DINK (Double Income, No Kids).
Traveling alone means you get to make all the decision. Usually this is overwhelming for me, but when the only person involved is yourself, the stakes are a lot lower and there’s no whining involved! Then there is an entire hotel room to yourself, which is magical in itself. An entire bed all to myself to starfish in! I got to pick all the places to eat without any second thought about the kids’ menu. I got to see all the sights I wanted and didn’t have to worry about it if was appropriate for kids. It was such a great way to connect with the person I was before I became Mom.
Since I was there for a blogging conference, I was also able to connect to a new path I’ve carved out for myself. When I graduated from college and got my teaching credential, I never imagined I would end up as a small business owner. Even just typing that seems weird, but it’s true. I was able to meet so many online friends in real life and learn so much about the business side of blogging. I definitely felt like a tiny minnow lost in the ocean at times, but the experience was incredible.
What I Did
Austin is a much cooler city than I anticipated. While you definitely feel like you’re in Texas (hello, humidity!), there is a laid back vibe I didn’t expect. Tons of cool murals and definitely a big city, but it didn’t feel like it. And it was really clean!
Lady Bird Lake is right near by too. It has incredible trails that I was really hoping to be able to explore on a run, but that humidity quickly zapped all my motivation. I stood under the Congress Street Bridge for way longer than I’d like to admit hoping to see the bats, but I only saw a few and not the hundreds I had heard about.
I got into Austin a day before Mom 2.0 started and I had planned to meet a friend who lives in Dallas halfway in Waco to go check out the Magnolia Silos. A few weeks prior, my friend’s plans changed and she was unable to make it. I thought about changing my flight, but then wondered when I would ever get a chance to go see the silos again. So I kept my rental car and drove the 1.5 hours to Waco.
I’ll preface this by saying that while I enjoy Fixer Upper and Chip and Joanna Gaines, I’m no super fan. I am a super fan of design, but not necessarily of farmhouse and I can appreciate the movement and destination they created.
That being said, this was not a bucket item for me. I had fun and enjoyed my time there. I think it would be really cool place to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family if we lived locally. There is a big artificial turf patch perfect for a picnic and lawn games to play. Food trucks boarder the area and there is a beautiful garden. But as far as driving 3 hours roundtrip just for that, pass.
If you do find yourself in Waco at the Silos, you have to try the lavender lemonade. And a giant cookie from the bakery. And a fancy grilled cheese from one of the food trucks. Basically, go there hungry.
Everything else is basically just stores. I had fun ohh–ing and ahh-ing at the gorgeous displays, but I was flying so I was limited to what little room was in my suitcase. Plus, everything is available online. I ended up with the tourist essentials- a mug and a magnet.
Mom 2.0 Conference
I had no idea what to expect from this conference. I have been to other conferences as a teacher, but never as a blogger. There was so much information and networking, I felt like I was drinking out of a fire hose the entire time. Being a fairly introverted person, it was both a draining and exciting experience to be around that many people and talking that much.
The highlight for me was definitely the keynote speaker, Brene Brown. Brene Freaking Brown, guys. That in itself was worth the awkwardness of traveling alone. She is unbelievably inspiring and it was an honor to hear her speak live.
What to Wear to Mom 2.0
I stressed about this a ton. I wanted to look professional, but still like myself. Obviously, my usual athleisure wouldn’t be appropriate. Luckily, Bayabelle Boutique came to my rescue. They were kind enough to gift me an outfit of my choice to wear while in Austin, and I’m so happy with what I picked. It was the perfect balance of casual, but pulled together.
Bayabelle was even kind enough to offer our readers 20% one order with code BayabelleLovesOkayMoms. They are located in Lincoln (in the Sacramento area), but they do have a large online stock and ship! I went with Layla skirt, and the Kate ribbed tank. The Jasmine hat (sold out online, but if you’re local, try the store!) pulled the whole look together and had a Texas vibe, without being too cowgirl. Side note: I have loved this hat so much and I’ve worn it every possible opportunity I’ve gotten since. So glad I went against my instinct and got it! Thanks for the confidence, Dawn! These shoes from Target completed the look. I wanted something flat because I knew I’d be doing a ton of walking.
The one thing about traveling alone is that it’s hard to take pictures of yourself. I was able to meet up with Annie Vovan Photography and had her snap a few shots of me. If you are in the LA area, you need to book her ASAP. She is the sweetest human and I instantly felt comfortable with her.
All in all, I loved the experience of traveling alone. If you get the chance, you should definitely do it!
As far as Mom 2.0, I’m excited to share that the Okayest Moms (not the Oak-ies Moms as many people thought) will be at Mom 2.0 next year in Los Angeles! I’m so excited to not only be able to attend again, but to do it with Brittany too! No more awkward solo travel!