gita IRLL: Claudia Rico Hernandez

In–Real–Local–Life

A Q&A with gita owner Claudia Rico Hernandez, Project Manager at Connected Nation, living the local life in Austin, Texas.

Neighborhood: The Triangle in Austin, Texas

Longest gita trip: 4 continuous hours

Favorite place to bring gita: Natural Grocers

Times per week using gita: ~twice a week

Nickname for gita: AmiGita (a play on words from the Spanish word “Amiguita,” meaning “My little friend”)

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What do you love most about your neighborhood?

What I love the most about living in the Triangle is its convenience. The Triangle is a trending area in Central Austin, with a very favorable location that allows you to reach any part of the city, North or South, in only 20 minutes. The Triangle is a combination of residential and businesses, housing mainly young professionals and couples.

You can find everything from groceries, restaurants, and coffee spots to spa treatments in this area. Also, the Triangle is surrounded by great neighborhoods such as Burnett, Hyde Park, and Rosedale, with countless small businesses.

My neighborhood is located 5-10 minutes from downtown Austin, so I’m in the middle of all the action without the agitation of living downtown. 

What first intrigued you about gita?

I had a bad injury in an accident a few years back, so I live with chronic pain. I was attracted to gaining more freedom having a “tool” to support me with challenging tasks, such as carrying groceries. 

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What are your favorite activities to do with gita?

Since I got gita, I stopped driving to the grocery store. She carries my groceries from the aisle to the cashier to my home. Not only is this great for my health, but also the environment. I put the produce directly into gita’s bin without any plastic bags.

How many times a week do you use gita?

It depends on work, but I usually take her out twice a week. Especially when I’m working from a coffee place or any remote location, I load her with books, papers, pens, laptop, headphones, chargers, and we go to any walkable location to get a break from home. 

What’s your favorite feature about gita?

I love the way gita communicates. Her sounds and lights work perfectly to attract my attention while we are walking in the street. 

What do you like most about gita’s design?  

I like her minimalistic design. Her functions are not apparent to anyone, so I get stopped numerous times by people wanting to know more about her. I'm constantly socializing because of gita. 

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What are some things you think everyone should know about your city?

Austin is one of the most outdoorsy cities I have lived in. You’ll find people riding bicycles, running, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking at any given time. Austin has something for everyone. The accessibility to sports, cultural events, and music attract a big crowd of new residents year after year.

Austin is very diverse and active in social media, helping newcomers integrate into the city and find their space in the city. A simple search on Facebook reveals hundreds of groups assisting people in getting together. Also, Austin has excellent broadband access within the city limits. Great for digital nomads.

Austin is exceptionally pet-friendly! Pretty much every business with outdoor spaces allows you to take your dog with you, and there is a wide range of living spaces that offer pet-friendly housing. 

How has gita made your daily living easier? Has it changed the way you move about your neighborhood? 

Yes. For example, now I walk to get groceries each time. It’s very convenient not to think about parking and how to transport my groceries from my garage to the apartment. 

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If more people lived the gita lifestyle (i.e. walking rather than driving), how do you see that benefiting communities? 

Reduction of traffic, pollution, stress, a more healthy routine. Money-saving including gas expenses and parking expenses (premium in a city like Austin). 

Claudia’s Favorite Local Austin Finds

  • Garden Seventeen: This is a local greenhouse and garden. Not only do they have a great selection of plants and gardening supplies, but the business is LGBTQ and locally owned, representing the best of Austin.
    Instagram: @gardenseventeen

  • Mezze Me: Turkish cuisine. This little restaurant is a jewel in Austin. The food is fresh, healthy, and delicious. It has a pleasant small outdoor space with a fountain view. This is my favorite place to spend some time by myself and with friends.
    Instagram: @eatMezzeme

  • Central Market: While I'm a big supporter of small businesses, I couldn't leave out one of Austin's most iconic gourmet grocery stores. Nothing is more Texan than HEB, and Central Market is HEB's Gourmet branch. What I love about Central Market is not only that I can buy all kinds of food that allow me to prepare my favorite Colombian meals, but every Friday there is outdoor music, people dancing, and children playing outside the store. It looks like an image of your favorite Hallmark movie.