Chet Garner

Chet Garner

The Daytripper 

There's no place like home for a lawyer who stepped out from behind his desk into a dream job that takes him on adventures through the state he loves most.

I am a Texan. Born and raised. It’s tough for a Texan like me who makes a Texas travel show to admit it, but there was a time when I was burnt-out on the Lone Star State. However, the wanderlust that inspired me to travel the world is this same thing that brought me back home, hungrier than ever for adventure.

I moved from Comanche, TX to Port Neches, TX when I was six. If you’ve never heard of either, that’s OK. I’ll wait while you Google Map them…or not. With my extended family still living in North-Central Texas, my immediate family became masters of the road trip. We were pretty darn good at it too. Each time we would rip out the back seat of my dad’s Suburban, pile in our luggage and throw a foam mattress on top, leaving just enough room for a few small bodies to squeeze in beneath the sagging, upholstered ceiling. My only explanation for how this was legal is that society didn’t yet care about the health and safety of its children. However, this is how I learned the back roads of Texas.

I can still vividly remember staring out the window at hundreds of miles of pasture, stopping at mom-and-pop diners and getting dragged out into the Texas heat to hear my dad’s creative summaries of remote historical markers. Combine these experiences with my years as a Scout, and by the time I left for college at UT, I had traveled a huge part of this state. And frankly, I was no longer excited about it—been there, done that.

So, as a college-educated adult, I took every opportunity I could to leave Texas, spending gobs of money (which I technically didn’t have) to see the once-in-a-lifetime places we think we must see before we die or else our lives won’t have meaning. Some experiences were truly amazing and others…were terrible. I remember traveling four hours by train to a “swimming hole” that wouldn’t even qualify as a cow tank here in Texas.

After law school at Baylor, the table of life turned in a new direction. I found myself with the money to travel but no time. I needed to feed my travel bug but had no time for distant vacations. Turns out law firms don’t look favorably on month-long gallivants across Europe. So, I did the only thing I could—I started to day trip. I hiked Enchanted Rock. I hunted down Texas’s best BBQ joints. I even picked up a pair of lederhosen. And one day, while basking under the Texas sun, in the crystal-clear waters of Barton Springs, it struck me—“It doesn’t get any better than this!”

It was a cliché thought for sure. But at that moment, it had never rung truer in my mind. Over the next few weeks, I processed this epiphany in my head, and it occurred to me that of all the things I had seen, done and eaten, the things in Texas were just as good or BETTER. The outdoors in Texas are just as beautiful. The people are certainly nicer. And hands down, the food is better (that one isn’t even close).

I started to devour books and magazines about Texas, learning random bits of history usually reserved only for grandpas over the age of 85. I started to see Texas historical markers as stories told around the campfire instead of lifeless tombstones. And what made it all the better is that it wasn’t just random history; it was MY history. The history of Texas. The stories of the people who settled the land where I live. The same mountains and swimming holes that have inspired and refreshed Texans like myself for hundreds of years.

Back at my legal job, I tried to talk about my travels and discoveries with coworkers only to discover that they knew very little about Texas beyond their day-to-day lives. It’s not that they didn’t want to have adventures; it’s that they didn’t know where to look. So, with this simple inspiration, I started “The Daytripper,” a show that brings life to the culture, outdoors and food of towns all across Texas.

Since its inception, “The Daytripper” has been a way for Texans to learn about their home state and be inspired to experience more of it. It shows people what it took me thousands of dollars to discover—vacation doesn’t require thousands of dollars and time off of work; it only requires one to make the decision to escape and go! So I’ll see you on the road. Vaya con Dios Amigos!

Catch an episode of "The Daytripper" on KLRU Thursday night at 8:30pm and Saturday mornings at 10am.