I was headed to Austin, Texas for the first ever TravelCon, a convention for travel bloggers based all over the world. Despite my constant travels, I hadn’t actually connected with any bloggers in real life. I wanted to meet like-minded people who do what I do, and who do it successfully. When the opportunity arose to go river tubing in Austin, Texas with one of my blogging idols and 50 other travel bloggers, I couldn’t turn it down. We signed up with ATXcursions and paid $54 for a day filled with day drinking, tubing, networking, and hanging out with Kiersten Rich who is better known as The Blonde Abroad.
The day started with a short 45-minute bus ride to the river. On route, our lovely guides gave us the run-down of the day. I have to admit; these were some of the funniest guides I’ve ever had. Their advice went a little something like this, “We just need about 5% of your survival skills today. If you look like you’re going to run into something, get those little ice cream scoops of yours in the water and paddle yourself away.” We made a quick unplanned gas station stop to load up on more alcohol. I’m pretty sure we bought out most of the store as a hoard of mostly girls rushed in and out like a hurricane.
We finally arrived at the river where we were given our coolers of beer. Karen, our guide, told each group to choose a bartender who would be tied to the tube holding their beer cooler. Justyn volunteered for our group. “Make sure it’s someone you trust with your beer. If you’re the type of person who gets distracted by a twig in the water, maybe you need to admit to yourself that this might not be the best job for you.” Justyn lowered her head and relinquished her role. We all laughed, and I was picked as the most responsible person in the group since I don’t generally drink.
We all started out with our feet hooked on the cooler, but soon all madness broke out, and we got separated. We’d find ourselves collecting stragglers and reforming new crews with those who strayed from their own groups. We’d wave at friends who flew past us or laugh at ourselves as we got stuck on rocks. Every once in a while someone would scream, “Butts up!” if a rock might puncture our bums. Some people had radios with music while everyone had at least one beer. It was probably the most relaxing and fun thing I’ve done with a big group.
We took a break to stand up and eat some snacks and all got hit with how drunk we really were. The bobbing up and down on the river had disguised our normal signs of drunken swaying. Then, the drinking games started. If you’ve never heard of the game ‘Slaps,’ YouTube it. We had so much fun trying to count to 21 while following the rules of the game. After way too many tries, we finally succeeded. I’m pretty sure half of us lost our voices while screaming “What’s the name of the game? …SLAPS! Why do we play it? …TO GET F***ED UP!” Clearly, we kept it very professional.
Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad was the most down to Earth person I’ve ever met. She runs the most successful female travel blog on the planet, and is extremely well known in the travel community. She’s pretty much my idol, and there she was standing next to me, just as drunk as I was, screaming the words to the same drinking game as me. What is this life? Talk about goals right there.
The trip was so much fun and well worth the money. I’d gone tubing in Asia before for much cheaper, but this experience was top notch. I’d highly recommend it for groups, bachelor or bachelorette parties, birthdays, etc. I can’t wait to do it again one day with my girls.
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.