30 Bananas a Day!

I'm in the process of debating universities right now, and trying to figure out details (pros/cons) to help make the big decision. My top two out-of-state choices (so, if I can afford them / decide to take out a huge loan) are UC Berkeley and UT Austin, but I'm also considering CU Boulder and UO Eugene and Warren Wilson College (North Carolina). Does anyone / has anyone live(d) in any of these cities? If so, can you tell me a bit about them and how they are and aren't good places to live, especially for a young fruitarian?

For example, how is fruit availability and cost, is the overall cost of living high, are there lots of nature trails, what kinds of things are there to do, is it bike and runner friendly, what kind of people live there, what's the overall vibe, etc.

Valuable information like this is greatly appreciated! 

Thank you bunches,

Shannon

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Austin is a really fun little city, they have tons of great parks with hiking/walking and several awesome swimming holes. Barton Springs is amazing, Zilker Park and all the trails around Lake Austin (the river that flows through downtown) are amazing. All are very close to the heart of the city. There is a giant Whole Foods downtown, and lots of really great smoothie shops all over also. Population is very young and hip, great music scene. Lots of weirdoes there too, but hey, Austin is weird. 

Thanks! That's just the kind of description I was looking for!

And Austin is actually the only university I've been able to visit at all--I loved it! I totally got the "weird" vibe, even though I only got to stay for a few days, and I absolutely adored the trails and all the cycling and the swimming spring we visited. :D Right next to Berkeley, it's my dream school. Plus, it has the best (to me) Sustainable Architect program, especially for undergrads!

California is such an amazing place to live and fruit is everywhere. And i'm so not kidding... I go to about 6 different grocery stores every sunday just so i can get such fabulous deals. I use to live in Chicago, IL and man was that so difficult to get fresh fruits, but here, absolutely no problem. The people here though i may warn you about. Some people are the sweetest and most genuine people you will ever meet and they will become a huge part of who you turn out to be, but they're is also a lot of snotty b***hes and dou*** bags(: Berkley is also an amazing school and has a great campus. I am not to sure about the raw food restaurants around the campus but they're is actually quite a few places that you'd be surprised might have some raw juices or smoothies. Just make sure you ask because that's how i found out haha. Anyway, I've never been to Texas so i could'nt really compare the environments. Overall California is a great place to live but i would advice you to come out here and figure out how you like it opposed to Austin(: Also housing is pretty damn expensive here just fyi, im sure you could find some roomies or something though! Anyway goodluck, Hope i helped!

Thank you for all the information! I wish I could afford to (or even have time for) a trip before May 1st, the deadline for enrollment, but sadly I cannot. :/ Anyway, unless I find somewhere to house, Berkeley is way too expensive--which makes me sad, because I would love the fruit availability! Not totally into having to deal with snobs. (; Austin is a better bet as far as out-of-state goes, even though I'll still have to take out a big loan (just not as big, over the long-run!). Good to hear someone else's experience, though! 

Having lived in Austin, TX; Denver/Fort Collins, CO; traveled to Eugene, and now living in the Bay Area...  My vote goes for Berkeley.  Yes, it's probably very expensive, but the bay wins hands down.  Austin was fantastic though.  If you can handle the heat and the fact that you're so far away from the coast then yeah.  Vibes are awesome and SXSW rules.  Zilker Park, Campbell's Hole, Hill of Life, and Barton Springs!  Having grew up in the South, I was ready to leave the humidity.  Colorado is beautiful,....and also very ugly skies for days on end in the winter.  When you look out and all you see is white on the ground and grey skies, it's pretty easy to lose motivation.  Very cold and extremely dry.  My skin was crying.  Produce availability/price was great though.  Eugene...eh...I love Oregon, but prefer not to live up there as I enjoy the sun too much.  I have very little experience in the Carolinas, but it's definitely the South and extremely humid.

Been in the bay area for 2 years and am smitten.  I recently traveled back to my home state and realized how blessed I am to be here.  Berkeley Bowl anyone?  DR actually dropped Berkeley Bowl as being one of his favorite markets ever visited...I believe? 

Ah, I am a bit worried about the dryness and winter in Colorado. I love snow (lol Florida kid), but not so much that it prevents me from doing some of the things I love, like running. (Although, snowboarding, anyone?) I'm surprised that produce is readily available, but supply & demand explains it--all those crazy Boulder health nuts. (; Ahh, man, Berkeley sounds amazing! Arghh why does Cali have to be so dang expensive? I'll have to think everything over some more, with all these personal experiences given to me. Thanks for the input--it's much appreciated! This is a really difficult decision, and I really needed some outside input.

I've been in the Bay area for 4 years and I definitely say Berkely. Austin is cool, but regarding a broader spectrum of your lifestyle, like traveling to nearby areas and stuff, definitely pick Cali. :) 

Yeah, Austin is awesome, but it is in the middle of Texas. Ha.

There are lot of fruity people in the Bay Area and a Fruitluck group! Meetup.com/fruitlucksf Berkeley is awesome. I will be moving there when I get back from Thailand.

Awesome! Good to know that, if I go there, there will be plenty of fruities to hang with! :D

Hey! 

I live in Houston currently, but I have lived in Austin and I have a house there. I'm also familiar with the bay area too. Those are my two favorite places to live! I also considered going to Colorado and North Carolina for school.. but I really just love warm weather so I didn't end up doing that. I'm planning on moving to Austin soon, possibly next semester or the following. I'm also interested in a sustainable architecture program.. did you say that's at UT, or Berkeley?

I can tell you that Austin is going to have a much lower cost of living. They have amazing farmer's markets and such fun people. You'll love it! Texas has some of the greatest cities in my opinion. They are kind of far away, but Houston and Dallas/Ft Worth area have a lot going on too. 

I love the bay area though and if I found a good program and school there then I would consider moving there. I just love that in Austin though, you have a lot more summer weather and can spend more days outside soaking up warm sun than you could in Northern Cali. 

I was at TCU last semester (In Ft Worth, TX) and ending up leaving bc i didn't like any of the programs.. i'm looking into schools that have alternative approaches, so if you have any suggestions let me know. We seem to have the same interests! 

Keep me updated on what your choice is! If you end up coming to Austin and need help with housing/room mates let me know! I'd love to be friends with another fruitarian! 

Feel free to message me with any questions!

:)

The sustainable architecture program is at Austin AND Berkeley! :D The biggest difference in the two, though, is that Austin's is much more intimate (only 22ish students accepted per class) and offers the five-year bachelors program for professional accreditation. Berkeley's is also sustainably-centered, but they have the four-year liberal arts undergrad program, which you have to follow with another two years of masters to gain accreditation as an architect. BUT Berkeley is obviously a very well-respected school.

That, and the fact that Austin is quite a bit cheaper over the long run, makes it the best candidate at this point. And 105 degree weather aside (not as humid as Florida, so I can probably handle it just fine!), I do love the city (not that I wouldn't love Berkeley just as much, if not more). You should look into both the schools, and see which one you like! 

I will definitely keep you (and all on the page) updated! I'll be making the commitment soon--I just have to talk my parents into letting me take out a big loan (otherwise, I'm stuck in-state with a second-rate, not as sustainable, program!). Let me know what you decide on for school, especially since I'd love to room with you in Austin! 

Thanks for the friendship, by the way. (:

Love,

Shannon

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