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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Visiting Texas

Visiting Texas

Martin E.
user 110705022
Orpington, GB
Post #: 1
Hi there, I'm not sure if there's a better place to post this question so if you have any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them.


I currently live in the UK but I'd very much like to move to the US at some point and from what I can tell I think I'd quite like Texas. I've never actually been there though. So I'd like to come and visit in the near future to see what it's like there but, Texas is a big place and I don't really know where to start. I don't want to spend too much money on multiple trips and I can also only stay for about 10 days at the most.


So it occurred to me, to get the most out of my visit it would perhaps make sense to try and time it with an Objectivist meet up. That would dictate exactly (one place at least) where in Texas I would visit and also would help me meet the best people to get the most rational advice about the realities of living in Texas.


If there's no meet ups planned for the near future does anyone have any suggestions or advice at all anyway on the different parts of Texas like political trends for instance. I'd very much like to live in a place that's more right than left wing. Also job availability. That's not a concern on a short visit but if I'm actually able to move to the US long term then that would be a concern as well.

Sorry, I realise that this is all a bit vague but I'm just trying to make a start on this somehow.
Old T.
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1,224
“Howdy,” Martin,

We are glad to hear from you, including your interest in moving to US, possibly Texas. And we are very glad for your interest in Objectivism, of course! If you give us good time to plan, we would be glad to coordinate a few meetups here in the Dallas area during your visit.

I happen to have spent a couple of years as a teenager in UK, so I may understand a bit of your perspective. So I will offer a few thoughts on the US and Texas in particular. I would also be glad to talk with you on the telephone in more detail.

Some people like to think of Texas as a whole other country from the rest of the US, but it is surely not. Probably half of the people in the big cities of Texas are from other parts, now. A popular saying is, "I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I could." Even so, while surely US may seem homogeneous from afar, it has various differences in attitudes and politics. From an Objectivist perspective, Texas is generally better than most other parts in US.

For example, it might be a bit surprising to you, but my understanding and experience is that the US is much more religious—and takes religion much more seriously—than the general attitude in the UK or the rest of Europe. The “South,” including Texas, tends to be more religious than other parts. In addition, the rural parts of the country tend to be more religious than the cities. Demographically, most religious attitudes in the US are rooted in the protestant branch of Christianity. Politically, a lot flows from this. It's known as the "religious right."

Of course, we have a mixture of peoples and ideas here, especially in the cities.

People it the South tend to be very, very friendly compared to other places, even other places in the US. Don't be surprised if they talk to you.

Texas is better than most of the US for jobs and taxes.

People from the Europe tend to underestimate the scale of the geography in the US. They surely can’t imagine the willingness of Americans to drive the distances. Don’t underestimate the driving distances and times, or you will not make it. BTW, Americans tend to describe driving distances in time, not miles. And we don't do that irrational metric units thing. Google maps and directions can help with this.

Even living in a big city in Texas, owning or renting a good car (with air conditioning) is normally a must. Maybe Uber or self-driving cars will change that, but not the distances. A 10-minute drive is a short drive. It can take two hours to cross the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in traffic. Don’t be fooled by things looking close on a map, check the route, miles, and time, and in the cities, traffic. There is very, very, very little public transportation in the US, and even less in Texas.

For your various interests in music, you probably need to consider the larger cities in the U.S. Large swaths of the US are very sparsely populated, certainly by UK standards. Unless you prefer playing for the cows.

Dallas is a nice, big,sprawling city. Broiling summers, mild winters. Not much in between.

In Texas, the largest music “scene” would probably be Austin. Politically, its probably the farthest left in the State (but not as far left as the West Coast).

Don’t underestimate the steamy humidity in Houston. It can be unbearable.

But we don’t live outside in Texas. Air conditioning is not optional. If you try to walk a more than a few miles in the summer, you risk death from heat stroke. When you arrive at your destination, you will reek and be unwelcome. Fortunately, virtually every building and vehicle has AC.

You can walk in the winter, if you really, really must, but you probably will die of sheer exhaustion before you get to your destination, anyway. Be sure to pack a lunch if you plan to walk anywhere.

Most of this kind of information you can probably get from Wikipedia and the like.

I hope to hear from you again. You can also PM me.

--Toad
Jennifer M.
user 32879272
Dallas, TX
Post #: 6
As Toad said, we can work out some events around your schedule. He also gave you a really good picture of the area and ideas. I would agree that rural areas probably wouldn't fit your goals.

It is indeed easiest to find Objectivists, as well as the music industry, in the larger cities. I am sure the coasts are great for the industry, but there is also a lot of extremism when it comes to government controlling private life. I lived in Kansas City (about 2.5 million people). I don't really know any Objectivists there, but as far as cost of living, it's pretty good. It's a mix of right and left, as it spans both Kansas and Missouri. You get both very hot and very cold weather there. It's got a rich music history, thanks to being one of the major early jazz and blues hubs.

I spent three months in the Chicago suburbs and though I know some Objectivists there (who are great people), I didn't like the area. It's one of those uber-left uber-government control cities. It's also in the bitter cold winter regions, though the summers aren't as bad.

As a transplant to Dallas, I am one of those people Toad mentioned (couldn't get here fast enough), even though I had the typical "they're crazy" image of Texas. I hate the heat, but it's something you can quickly learn to deal with. We stay indoors when it gets over 100 degrees F (about 37 degrees C). The winters are like a lovely vacation to me, and in five years I've seen the longest spring and fall seasons of my life.

When traveling during rush hour times, you do have to plan to double your driving time anywhere. Find a place to live near your work and social life as much as is possible. I do a lot of driving on non-rush hours, and it's not bad most of the time. Houston was a nightmare to drive through, and I've heard that's normal.

Be sure to look at cost of living anywhere you go. I've found that Dallas isn't really much more than Kansas City as far as goods and services go, and KC is one of the cheapest large cities in the country. Places like anywhere in California and cities like Seattle and New York have very high costs of living, so even a good income doesn't get you as far as it will in the Midwest and Texas.

Those are the areas that I know. Feel free to touch base with any specific questions.
Martin E.
user 110705022
Orpington, GB
Post #: 2
Hi Toad, Jennifer. Sorry for my late response but I haven't received any notifications that you guys had replied to me and when I checked this page on my phone, it must not have refreshed or something because it also didn't show your responses.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to get back to me, it's very much appreciated.

It sounds like Dallas is the place for to me to start with then. I'm aware that the US is more religious than the UK in terms of Christianity but the UK seems to be becoming increasingly over run with feminists, vegans, muslims and a touch of environmentalism thrown in for good measure. Basically lots of emotionally led groups who won't tolerate any questioning of their beliefs. The rest of the population here seems to be made up of people who don't want to hold to any particular values (and have no interest in discussing ideas that force them to acknowledge that there is 'right and wrong' or 'good and evil') and only want to talk about mindless, shallow, trivial nonsense. One thing I've noticed about the US is that it seems much less taboo to at least be able to openly discuss politics and where you stand in the political spectrum?

I drive about an hour to work every day at the moment so hopefully that wouldn't be something I'd struggle too much with.

For now all I need to satisfy my musical interests is my guitar, pc and an internet connection so that's not really a major factor, at least at first.

I'm probably underestimating the heat but living somewhere hot is one of the main motivations of mine for leaving the UK. It's such a grey and miserable country for the majority of the year that putting up with too much sun and heat just sounds fantastic. I realise that the novelty of this will wear off.

Ok well, I'm pretty flexible date wise on when I can come. This will be the first time I've actually travelled this far on my own and it's a bit daunting to be honest. I haven't even looked into the legalities, working visas/permits etc yet but, the purpose of this first visit is just to see how desirable it will actually be for me to migrate to the US/Texas. If I find that I want to enough afterwards then I'll deal with all that stuff later. I think I'd like to avoid the coolest months (Dec/Jan/Feb) if possible but apart from that I can come whenever.

I'm not entirely sure of what I'll be doing with my time there outside of the meet up events so if anyone has any suggestions for activities to do or places worth visiting then I'm all ears. Also if there are any specific places/hotels in Dallas that you'd recommend so that I'm not too far from the meet up events then that could be helpful.

I think that's everything I can think to ask for the time being. Thanks again for your time and input guys!
Old T.
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1,225
Hi Martin,

Sorry for my slow response; I have been busy. Also, I didn't really notice much call for particular response to your last post, though it surely would have been more polite and welcoming for me to answer.

Our message board moves very, very slowly these days. It used to be active, but was essentially replaced as a forum with the rise of Facebook. It saves me moderating efforts and people can defriend each other without my help! I do sporadically post something here that I hope our members might find interesting and to provoke discussion for when we do meet. You can check the box that says "Track this discussion" when you post that will send you an email notice of any response.

Yes, it is possible to have political discussions, of course, but like anywhere else, there is some risk of dispute in doing so. For "small talk," it can be "safer" to talk sports than religion or politics.

I'm not sure what to recommend you do during your visit. Dallas is not much of a place for tourists or vacation, in my opinion. It's a nice place to live. I live here because I am from here, my family is here, the economy is relatively better, I generally like the people here, and I have made some good friends here. Surely, it does offer a few tourist attractions, but that's not what Dallas/Ft. Worth is about. I like to leave Dallas for vacation to the mountains or ocean!

Again, we would be happy to schedule a few meetups during your visit and get to know you a bit. We would need to have good notice in advance of exactly when that would be. Otherwise, I suggest you try to reach out to as many people as you can via Facebook to meet directly with a few people who might be glad to meet you and show you around.

Unfortunately, our Meetup is not as active as it used to be. One reason, again, is Facebook, which seems to suffice for many people instead of in-person meetups. People are busy, and Meetups can be hit and miss for finding people each person likes to spend his valuable time with. I wish I knew how to make our events larger. It's like building castles in the sand. It can be fun, but it doesn't last!

While the people here are generally very friendly, it still takes time to find and make good friends.

I am concerned that NTOS would not be able to fill your days here.

Regarding our meetup locations, they are usually on the North side of downtown Dallas. But the exact locations can vary quite a bit, for example, we can have meetups in the "Uptown" area (near downtown Dallas), or any of the northern side suburbs, such as Southlake, Grapevine, Lewisville, Addison, Richardson, Plano, or even as far north as McKinney or Allen. Again, think of an hour drive. I live in the Lewisville area, but my office is close to downtown Dallas area.

Do feel free to post more here or PM me. I would even be glad to talk with you a bit on the telephone, if you would like.

Toad
Martin E.
user 110705022
Orpington, GB
Post #: 3
Hi again Toad, thanks for getting back to me. Also thanks for offering to chat on the phone, which is very much appreciated but you've already been very helpful and I don't think there's anything else I have to ask you right now.

I see what you're saying about Dallas not being a place for vacation and that is essentially the point of my visit - to come and see what it's like to actually live there. I'll have to think more on how best to spend my time there. I might have to convince a friend to come with me or perhaps I'll even try to get some volunteer work at any businesses I have an interest in for a few days. As I said, I'll think on it.

Thanks again!
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