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Summer Workcation Road Trip. 9 States, 14 Days! Part 1: Austin to Dallas.

The morning sun just began to peek over the rooftops of our Austin, Texas neighborhood. You could almost hear the tangible buzz of anticipation, the air crackling with it. It was the kind of day you remember years later - the start of our grand Workcation road trip.

As the appointed hour arrived, we made our way to the robust Mercedes GS500 SUV, a 7-seater beauty that would be our cocoon of comfort and chaos, fun and food, music and memories for the next few weeks. This wasn't just a family road trip, oh no. This was a wild adventure across nine states, a fusion of work and vacation, a balancing act only a family of seven could pull off.

Before we'd even hit the road, the first family ritual kicked off the trip. Each of the kids received a special package: a whiteboard with dry-erase markers for spontaneous bursts of creativity and heated games of tic-tac-toe, a unique Matchbox car, the starting pistol for a trip-long game of 'spot your car,' and of course, a smorgasbord of snacks, the most trusted ally for any parent on a long drive.

Grandma Mamoo and Great Aunt Nissa had ensured the spending money for souvenirs, postcards, and unexpected treasures was equally distributed among the kids. Their faces lit up with the prospect of the endless possibilities these funds held.

First things first - we needed fuel for the journey. So, we stopped at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Alamo Coffee. You might think it's all about the caffeine (and some days, it might be), but it's also about grounding ourselves in the familiar before the day’s adventures.

From there, it was straight up north to Dallas on the I-35, the road stretching out before us like an open invitation to the unknown. We were heading to The Hub in Allen, a playful eatery run by my good friend and former 'frenemy', Matthew Baizer. We'd been rivals in another life when he was the COO of Flix Brewhouse, and I was the CPO of Alamo Drafthouse. But today, we were just two families enjoying delicious burnt ends, a round of hide and seek, and making new memories.

The evening found us nestled into a cozy Courtyard Marriott, with an irresistible pool that became our private oasis for a few joy-filled hours. If there's one road trip hack I've learned, it's this: a pool can turn even the tiredest traveler into a splashy, happy otter.

Night fell, and with it came a feast from El Pollo Loco, a cherished SoCal favorite of mine, delivered to our doorstep by the magic of Uber Eats. As the kids drifted off into their well-earned rest, their dreams undoubtedly filled with the day's adventures, I prepped for the work part of this Workcation – an early morning training session with a client, Six Flags.

This is just the first leg of our 14-day adventure. Stay tuned as we navigate through bustling cities and quiet backroads, all while juggling work, play, and everything in between. Our crew? The dynamic duo of me, Tara, and my husband, Justin (lovingly known as Justey), and our band of lively kiddos - Nico, our 8-year-old guitar-playing troubadour; Vinny, 10, the jester of the family; 11-year-old Luke, an old soul in a young boy’s body; and the six-year-old twins, Luna, our pint-sized boss lady, and Stella, the sweet ray of sunshine in our lives.

This road trip isn't just about reaching our destination; it's about the journey, the stories we’ll tell, the laughter we’ll share, and the memories we'll make. So, buckle up as we gear up for the wildest Workcation of our lives. It's going to be quite a ride!

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