Farewell, Indianapolis.

17 09 2012

The time has come…

The time has come for me to say goodbye – for now – to the wonderful city of Indianapolis and many of its incredibly awesome inhabitants who I’ve had the honor to call my friends.

Yes friends, I am leaving Indy.

Six years ago I was a budding college freshman from Evansville who had plans of taking over the world, and after a four year collegiate pit stop in Indianapolis, I planned to get the heck out of Dodge to do just that.

But it was during those four years, and two after, that Indy became more than just a place for me to go to college. It became my life, my passion and my home.

Heck, I even got an amazing job that paid me to convince people to visit Indy.

The past two years have been especially amazing. I’ve not only gained amazing professional experiences that will no doubt propel my career, but I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many great people that make Indy an incredible place to live.

While I would absolutely love to stay in the Circle City for many consecutive years to come, an opportunity in the tourism industry came along that I couldn’t pass up.

After two years working as Visit Indy’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator, I have accepted a job to be the Marketing Manager at the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau. With this great position and responsibility, I have another unique opportunity to promote another city that I have come to know and love.

It’s of course sad to leave the life I have built in the only state I have ever lived in for 24 years, but  I am so unbelievably excited to start the cliche “new chapter” in life. I also feel extremely lucky in today’s day and age to have the opportunity to go from one amazing employer to another.

So with this announcement, I just want to say thanks.

Thank you to the city. Thank you to Visit Indy for being such an important part of my life (and for being one hell of an employer).

But most importantly, thank you to every person and friend I’ve met in the last six years – from mentors and colleagues to chefs and tap room beer pourers – you will be the hardest thing to leave.

Now I have two more weeks before I pick up and move to Austin, Texas.

So if you’re one of the people that took time to read this and feel so inclined, call me, text me, leave a comment or whatever you have to do, and I hope to see or talk to you personally before I head south.

But for now I say farewell, Indianapolis and in the words of the great Indianapolitan Kurt Vonnegut:

All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis…If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis.”





Skitch and the Bastard Part II

12 05 2010

We met Andy Bastard, yes Bastard, completely by chance one late night during our stay in Austin.

A slightly inebriated friend gracefully stumbled to an ATM machine that just so happened to be situated right outside the tattoo parlor at which the Bastard worked. Covered in tattoos and piercings from head to toe, the Bastard emerged from the parlor as our friend struggled to withdraw some cash.

“Well, hello pretty lady,” the Bastard spoke as he lit his first, of many, cigarettes.

A snarky response from my friend, an hour and a tattoo later, we bid farewell to the Bastard thinking it was our last moment with the man.

Two hours later, after returning to 6th street from our hotel, we made the trek down the lively street. All of a sudden, we spotted the Bastard in another tattoo parlor, made our way in and said hello. Immediately after I asked him where we should spend our time that night, he stood up, told his boss he was leaving and took us down the street to a bar that somewhat resembled the inside of haunted house.

It should be noted that the movie Where the Wild Things Are was playing on the TVs.

We sat down, the man took a shot of whiskey and one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had began.

Andy Bastard is a professional body piercer who splits time between a few different tattoo parlors on 6th street in Austin, Texas. He loves his lady, his cigarettes, his boy, booze and rock and roll, and if you mess with any one of those things, the Bastard will not be happy.

By day he is a proud piercer of flesh and at night he is the lead rocker of THE BEXAR COUNTY BASTARDS, a rock and roll band that will melt your face.

Bastard is living his dream, and he loves it. He knows what it’s like to live in a van. He knows what it’s like to battle his demons. He also knows what it’s like to change his stars and go from nothing to something.

He’s not a famous rock and roll celebrity living in a mansion, and that’s the way he wants it.  “That’s pretentious,” the bastard exclaimed multiple times.

He likes the little things and he values his passions more than a pay check.

The bartender made the “last call” announcement, the Bastard took his last shot and we bid farewell.

Shortly before last call, Skitch, a friend of the Bastard and a tattoo artist with a face tattoo that made him look like a lizard, walked in to the bar and invited us back to the parlor to shoot the breeze with everyone.

Running in to Andy Bastard and the lessons learned were two things I could not have predicted.  He was a very kind person that didn’t have to be.  He chain smokes, curses like a sailor, is graphic about his exploits, but also geniunely cares about the people he meets, if they’re not pretentious that is.

Every person has a story, and now that I have met the Bastard, I do my best to stop and hear them.





Skitch and the Bastard Part I

30 03 2010

I like to travel.  As a matter of fact, I love and live to do it.  The new places, new smells and all of the new experiences and people that come along with traveling have kept me yearning for more.

My biggest “Aha!” moments have occurred during some of my most memorable trips and I don’t think I would be the same person had they not happened. Walking the empty, ancient streets of Rome in the middle of the night, talking to a delusional ice cream store owner in Nashville, driving to South Carolina to a beach home with friends only to learn that “money talks” and respectable real estate companies prefer not renting to fraternity brothers- every, single one of these adventures has left a lasting impression.

My most recent adventure to Texas was no different.  In my preparations for the trip, I decided to take a much different approach- I would be a sponge, an observer if you will, and completely take in all that would surround me. 

If I stumbled across a man walking around in a pink wig and thong, I would find out why. If a homeless man asked me to do some PR for his traveling “troupe of artists”, I would oblige him. And if a man, tattooed from head to toe, stepped out of his parlor to strike up a conversation- I would happily listen and learn.

The next two posts are the stories of some of the most interesting people I have ever met.  These are my observations.  These are their stories.

This is the introduction to a three-part series about my reflections of a journey to Austin, Tx.





Hang in there. That’s just about all you can do…

11 03 2010

As I mentioned in the first post of our #wifiwhip series, this trip had very few plans. In fact, there were only two: get to Austin and stay connected the ENTIRE time. Both are coming to fruition.

But the one thing we told ourselves was that we would chronicle our whole journey as it happened, through each of our own perspectives, and that we had to live in the moment and soak everything in.

12 hours have flown by thanks to multiple cans of energy drinks, bags of fast-food and great conversations within the vehicle and with various passersby in different states.

As we entered Texas, we made a stop at a gas station to refuel and stretch, but little did I know it would evolve into a life-lesson, much like the road-trip itself. As I strolled into the surprisingly pristine restroom, a 15-second conversation led to self-meditation and contemplation.

“How are you sir?” I said to a man washing his hands.

“I’m well, sir.” he delightfully replied, “How are you doing?”

“Good, I’m hanging in there.” I responded.

“Well, hang in there. That’s just about all you can do.” the man stated, and walked away.

For some odd reason, that brief conversation struck me immediately and I began to think. The man was right.

I am beginning to realize, through this trip and life, that there are just some things I cannot control, no matter how much I want to. I may not be able to control the stock of Texas Cheesesteak Melts a Waffle House in Arkansas has on hand, the weather or the bladder size of fellow passengers , but I can control my own demeanor and attitude, among other things.

So when you wake up in the morning, don’t worry.  Just hang in there- because sometimes, that’s just about all you can do.

I owe this post to the man in the bathroom, as weird as that sounds.





Road-Tripping: It’s what I do

11 03 2010

I’ve been on many road-trips in my day and I have enjoyed them all- some more than others.  But the key to properly approaching and experiencing this type of journey is keeping the proper perspective.

It’s not about the destination, how many souvenirs you can get for a few bucks or how fast it takes you to get to your vacation spot- it’s simply about the journey.  Living in the moment, to be precise.

Whether you’re traveling a couple of hours away, or like the #wififwhip, traveling 16 hours to Austin, Texas, it’s the moments in between take-off and arrival that need to be treasured and truly LIVED.  The late-night meals at a Waffle House and the soul-spilling conversations that occur between the passenger and driver while everyone else is asleep are the brilliant moments that pump me up and inspire.

It’s during those times I don’t have a care in the world.  I’m on a road-trip, a vacation if you will, so my meetings with Mr. Worry and Mrs. Obligation will have to be rescheduled for another time, because I am at peace.

So what are your tips for surviving those road-trips and long vacations?  What moments inspire you?





1,103 Miles of Pure Connectivity

10 03 2010

1,103 miles. 17 hours, give or take.  Every inch,  every conversation and every one of those hours will be spent in a car during a road trip that will certainly culminate in public relations and technology bliss.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2010 PRSSA National Assembly in Austin TX, so naturally, myself and four other Butler students have opted out of taking the typical, comfy plane ride. 

Instead, Robbie Williams, Maddy Barnas, Emily Elliot and I will be making the road-trip of all road-trips- a 1,020 minute adventure in an SUV that has been completely transformed into a mobile wi-fi hotspot.

Throughout the journey, all four of us will be blogging, tweeting, UStreaming and connecting to the fullest. 

We have no plans.  No itinerary.  Only a destination.

There is no editorial calendar for our posts or concrete outlines of what we would like to write about.  Instead, we will chronicle our journey as we see it, as it happens.

So follow along, try to keep up and join us as we experience 1,103 miles of pure connectivity.

Please feel free to chime in at any point in our trip, give us advice, the location of the World’s Largest Frying Pan and other oddball attractions, great food stops and PLEASE keep us awake!