July 22, 2023

Often we get asked “Where are you from?” Sometimes we just answer “Texas”, as if Texas is a country. To Americans, and especially Texans, it sort of is. It’s bigger than many countries. Texas even used a slogan for a while that called it “A whole other country.”

Cover of the 2013 official Texas Travel Guide. Yep, “It’s Like a Whole Other Country”.

Texas is well known around the world, mostly for cowboys and, still today, J. R. Ewing and the television show Dallas.

But occasionally people laugh when we say we’re “from Texas” as if it’s ridiculous to expect people to know Texas is part of the United States, or as if we are disrespecting our country. After experiencing this multiple times we switched to answering that we are from “America…Texas”, because, in the end we are still proud Texans.

It is humbling to meet people who aren’t sure where Texas is. It’s not that they are any less educated than us; it’s just not important in their world. I’m willing to bet that most people in the US couldn’t quickly point to Bulgaria on a map or name the countries it borders. It happened in Africa when, after answering that I was from Texas, the gentleman responded, “That’s in Canada, right?”

In hindsight, I think he confused “Texas” with “Toronto”, thinking that I was telling him the city I was from.

It happened again this morning as I caught a ride from the Sofia airport back to Idilevo to pick up the bike. The driver knew Texas was part of America, and knew that it was generally in the middle of the US, but that’s about it. Which is about as good as most Americans could do to describe Bulgaria in relation to Europe.

It’s a nice reminder of why we travel. I love meeting people that share an interest in the world, and enjoy learning about others as much as I do.