1. We defend being Texan.
I’ve had a lot of stereotypes to defend myself against when I first moved to Japan; usually, the first word out of people’s mouths when I mentioned where I was from was either “Bush!” or “cowboy!”. Texas has quite the reputation across the globe, and it’s saying something that another US state can be recognized while not being a part of the usual settings of Hollywood movies: California and New York. Whether it’s some political news that makes Texas appear ultra conservative, Austin’s reputation as the capital of the weird, or something constantly reinforcing the cowboy image like Walker Texas Ranger, we Texans have a duty to educate others across the globe and set an example. We’re still proud.
2. We play up the stereotype, even if it’s not true at all.
On the flip side, sometimes it’s fun to play to Texas stereotypes abroad. After you’ve established that not all Texans are gun-toting hillbillies, you might try throwing on your best twang and singing “Friends in Low Places” in the karaoke booth. After all, we’re trying our best to stand out abroad, being an inflated version of ourselves to meet new people or impress a date. That’s how I got dragged to a cowboy-themed party in the middle of Phang-nga, eating ribs and listening to country music with Thai men riding horses.
3. We seek out other Texans.
Ok, so this happens with every nationality, but I’d venture to say Texans are more likely to find camaraderie with each other abroad than someone from San Francisco bumping fists with another Californian in the south of Bali. It won’t be long until we’re comparing the local brew to Lone Star and sharing the latest news from Beaumont.
4. We reminisce about Tex-Mex and BBQ.
If there’s one constant across this earth, it’s that very few places have decent Mexican food. Mexico, naturally. Texas and California, of course. I’ll even give New York City a pass for the higher-end restaurants.
But in Asia? Forget about it. After a few weeks (or realistically, days) of not having a steady supply of chips and salsa in our system, we start to seek out, something – anything – that might meet the loosest definition of Tex-Mex. Even Old El Paso – commonly exported cheap brand – might sound appealing after months without proper breakfast tacos.
After a year or two, the need to satisfy these cravings might be the only reason sending us home.
5. We think of everything in Texas terms.
The Lone Star State is bigger than France, ten times the size of Lithuania, and could fill Africa if there were 44 of them. The point is: we’re big, and we have the size to think of the rest of the world in Texas scales.
The drive from Dallas to Austin? About the same as from Seoul to Busan.
Those trucks other people drive? Not nearly as big as Fords in Texas.
6. We learn how to walk.
Granted, this is also an American problem, but unlike the west and east coast metropolises where public transportation is a lot easier to navigate, Texas is still designed heavily around drivers. DART is expanding and Austin may spread the tendrils of the light rail eventually, but nothing can beat the travel time of just hopping in your car and going. We were born to drive and save our walking for the treadmill in an air-conditioned gym during heat waves.
Going abroad means more time on our feet until we’re comfortable talking to a taxi driver or navigating the local transport. And no… we don’t ride horses to school.
7. We inspire others to visit.
After all the stereotypes are debunked and your friends abroad start to see you as an individual with a personality all your own, you can’t help get into the travel mindset and talk up your home state with a passion that can only come from a true Texan. Foreign travellers to the U.S. often make plans for a crazy coast-to-coast road trip, so why not send them through Big Bend National Park for a soak in the hot springs, stopping at the San Antonio Riverwalk for dinner, and visiting mission control at NASA? The Lone Star State has it all, and we are proud of it.