A map with our chores and interests and the distances we cover in our routine driving. Texas is big, y'all.
I live in a small community of about 500 people, as we say "during fishing season". Tow, TX is located on Lake Buchanan in the chain of the Highland Lakes area in Llano County, right in the middle of Texas. The core population is about 350 full-time residents, but some homes and cottages are used as vacation homes and rental cottages.
Texas is big. Unless you live in an urban area, much of the reality of life is tied to its size. Driving time has a big influence on lifestyle, in fact many Texans don't judge distance by miles, they mentally convert distance to driving time. Except in the urban areas, Texas has no public transport worth mentioning, so having at least one working vehicle at all times is crucial. Many people have a primary vehicle and a backup of some kind, for hauling stuff and as a backup 'just in case'.
The nearest small towns to me are at least 20 minutes away. That means stores, restaurants, schools, entertainment, auto repair, clubs, etc. aren't just 'down the street'. I feel lucky that we have a convenience store with gas pumps in our little community. From my location in the middle of Texas our largest cities; Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas are anywhere from 1:45 to 4 hours driving time away.
This has the effect, at least for me, of being potentially isolating and at the same time promoting emotional self-reliance. You have to make a concerted effort to connect with people outside the obligations of work and school. These physical realities of place have a significant effect on our perception of the space we inhabit. Since I come from another state, Florida, I've been able to observe here in Texas how physical place has an effect on your conception of your place in the world.
My physical place in a small community has affected me deeply, in a positive way. If I had to describe my personality, it would be that of an Extroverted Introvert. I can and do like to socialize, then I don't. Alone, I can indulge in reading, working on and producing art and music, taking online classes, internet activities in relative isolation. Then, when I want to socialize, there are opportunities in the nearer small towns and in the closest large city of Austin.
My husband's and my band works in the neighboring towns, providing a little added income and a lot of friendship and community. When I started painting a couple of years ago, I yearned to hang out with artistic people so I joined the Llano Art Guild and Gallery in Llano, TX. They are welcoming and inclusive. I've formed many close friendships there and have participated in meetings, events, taught and taken classes and have a venue for my work.