I'm a New Englander who moved here in 1995. No matter where I've been or what I've been doing in the days prior, when that plane approaches Austin's airport, I get a warm peaceful feeling that I've arrived to a great home (not that depressed feeling one gets when a vacation is decidedly over). Yes, I want to get out and kiss the ground.
Austin-specific stuff aside, here's why I'm proud to live in Texas (I'll leave my complaints for another thread):
- Each corner of the state is vastly different from the other, so you get chuhuahuan desert, eastern pine forest, the extreme southern tip of the Rocky Mountains, the Hill Country, hundreds of miles of beaches (better to the south), high plains, oak savannah, blackland prairie, dramatic canyons, etc.
- They may pull the wrong (to me) lever in the voting booth on certain candidates/issues, but to a person Texans are the friendliest, most unpretentious folks around (Dallas notwithstanding). I'll never forget how a team of Bush-loving ruggers from Midland took in the gay rugby team from Austin and showed them a good match and a great party afterward.
- Easy to network here. Be passionate about something and you'll find a person or group to help you realize your dreams. It's actually a rather "pay it forward" sort of place.
- The almighty chili pepper and, by extension, the cuisine.
- Toobing (floating lazily for 4 hours down the river in an inner tube, with an extra inner tube to hold the packed beer cooler).
- Warm weather.
- Violent storms.
- Increasingly, I'm loving Texas music. Most Texas musicians eschew fame for staying put and doing what they love without the tabloid press ruining them. We often get our great musicians all to ourselves.
- The vague sense that you're in a wild, anything-goes kind of place, which keeps you on your toes, keeps you open minded, and basically provides a mild sense of being on a lifelong adventure (probably just a transplant mindset).
- Real estate can be found cheap, but still in good neighborhoods.
- Strong identity. People still consider it practically another country.
- You can keep your suit and tie in storage. Super-casual.
- The guys. The fucking guys. Damn.