In 2004 I had made up my mind about Texas. Being chastised for being a "skinny brunette vegetarian" during a trip by my hosts in Amarillo had convinced me that this was not a state suited for my tastes. However, my trip to Austin in 2007 proved me wrong on multiple counts. My Texas verdict was thus overturned.
Over the years I had travelled to Dallas, El Paso, Amarillo, Lubbock and Houston on various trips. Austin was unlike any other Texan city I had ever been to, but was fast my favorite. Creative and diverse types of people are welcomed to Austin with open arms. You can find cowboys and blond bombshells here as in the other Texan cities, but they are not the only types of people that stand out. Artists, college students, musicians, and typical business people can be found almost anywhere you look. It was refreshing to see such a diverse crowd in Texas.
Upon my first dining experience at an Austin restaurant, I was surprised to see a vegetarian section of the menu. When I commented to my dining companion that I was surprised to see such a thing in Texas, he responded that almost every restaurant in Austin catered to the large population of vegetarians living in the city. What a difference from my other Texan dining experiences where I was laughed at for requesting meatless food.
The live music and artistic scenes that have flourished in Austin are factors that have led the city’s progressive mindset. Almost any type of music one can imagine can be heard in a number of venues on Sixth Street every night of the week. The huge SXSW musical festival occurs every year here in March and the diversity of that festival is reflected in the diversity of the typical nightly music selection and crowds.
Austin has many quirks that allow it to keep to its mantra; "Keep Austin Weird". Among these quirks are the bats that live under the Town Lake Bridge that swarm every Spring evening in a feeding frenzy, UT Austin’s strange owl-building in the middle of town, and the strange-looking eco-friendly residences that are abundant on the outskirts. Capitol buildings and rock-and-roll historic landmarks both exist peacefully within the city limits thanks to proper city planning and open-mindedness of the population.
2007’s trip to Austin might have been my first, but it hopefully won’t be my last. This is one Texas town that might call itself "weird", but allowed me to feel ironically "normal" during my stay. Progressive thinking and fun made Austin home-away-from-home for this girl from Boston.