Analysis

During the last month I have been creating content and publishing it to my social media in order to direct traffic to my site. I have noticed some differences in the tools I have used. When I first decided to try promoting my site on my Facebook page I noticed that I received up to three times the amount of visitors to my site, compared to when I promoted to my Twitter page. This all makes sense because I am not very active on Twitter and I do not have much of a following. However I am significantly more active on my Facebook along with the friends I have on that page.

If I could improve anything on my site I would have better written content. Writing is not my strong suit and so therefore it is not the best. Pictures are my thing so personally, I would have had a more visually centered blog. This experience, keeping up with a blog and creating content has really challenged me and pushed me to be more well rounded and become more creative in my writing. This has also helped me with my future career, it helped me think outside the box and helped improve my writing and communication skills which are pertinent to any career.

My most popular day was June 18th, which created my most popular week. June 18th is when I first posted the link to my blog on my Facebook page and I got 14 visitors. The post that did the best throughout my whole blog this month was one of my most recent posts “Amarillo on the Weekend”, that post did so well because it was one of the articles I posted to my Facebook page. What surprised me most about my stats was the fact that I had people visit my page from other countries, I had views from Austria, Ireland, and Australia!

This has been a great journey and I hope to continue adding content to my blog and gaining more followers!

 

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Population Density

People I have met down here in San Marcos tend to think that Amarillo is a small, dinky, one horse town with tumbleweeds blowing through. Although some of those things might be true, Amarillo is a sizable town with a population of over 200,000, servicing a wide area of people. Amarillo is the biggest town, with the most resources, for hundreds of miles around. The majority of the panhandle is comprised of small towns that cannot even support a local Walmart, which means that Amarillo is the place to go. People come from all over the surrounding area to go shopping, find entertainment, go on date nights, attend conferences, buy a new car; you name it Amarillo is the place with everything you need.

The hill country is packed full of people and cities. The difference here is the fact that the population is much larger in a much smaller area. Driving from one town to another here in the Austin area does not involve never-ending stretches of empty fields with no sign of even a gas station for miles to come. When driving from San Antonio to Austin on I-35, the entire drive is filled with businesses, restaurant, movie theaters, car dealerships, fast food and everything in between. However, when driving on I-27, the sole highway between Lubbock and Amarillo, there is not much except the occasional oil derrick and windmill.

With higher population density comes more traffic. Living in Amarillo there is not many issues with traffic except for the consistent construction projects left incomplete. Traffic takes on a whole new meaning in Austin and the surrounding areas. At any given point in the day there will be traffic stopped in  a complete standstill. With more people come more cars on the roads which is what creates such awful traffic. Austin has a population of almost 1 million people, compared to the 200,000 people living in Amarillo. Population creates a huge difference in the way that a city functions.

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A Glimpse Into Life in the Panhandle

 

 

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This slideshow I created gives a small depiction about what life in the panhandle is like. As mentioned in my previous posts the panhandle is home to lots of unique terrain and geography. The panhandle is filled with canyons and a desert like landscape. The two largest and most popular canyons are Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Caprock Canyons State Park. These parks attract lots of people who love to hike, camp and enjoy nature.

Amarillo is known for its beautiful sunsets and wide open skies, there is a reason there are so many country songs about it. Amarillo and the surrounding towns get some of the best sunsets in Texas. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade filmed it’s last scene where Indiana Jones rides off into the sunset, in Amarillo, TX, which goes to show just how jaw dropping they can be.

Agriculture is also a big part of the landscape in the panhandle. Most of the land is used for farming, which is a way of income for a lot of people. My father went to college in New Mexico to get his degree in Agriculture, he went on to pursue his career in agriculture, landing in Amarillo where he started his family.

These are all only a few of the things that are unique to the panhandle, and why I think it is so amazing down here in the hill country.

Amarillo on the Weekend

Amarillo offers a very typical variation of activities for people to do. Being a city with a population of 200,000 people Amarillo has the standard options for entertainment, including things like movie theaters, restaurants, coffee shops and parks. Going beyond that Amarillo doesn’t have much else to offer for entertainment besides the occasional speaker or band passing through. A lot of entertainment for kids and high school students is to be involved in a sports team, participating in different sports keeps them connected with their peers.

There are a few things that are unique to the Amarillo area. Palo Duro Canyon is located just outside the city limits and attracts lots of people, also sponsoring lots of activities and events. Even a former president has made the trip to visit Palo Duro Canyon. There are many different activities that the canyon offers its spectators. hike, bike and horse trails are popular in the canyon. Another activity special to the panhandle is the Canadian River, which is more of a giant mudding spot for locals to hang out together. The river offers lots of trails for off-roading, people take their ATV’s, dirt bikes, and 4WD vehicles.

The limited entertainment options create a tighter knit community and stronger bonds between people. The fact that there is not much to do in Amarillo forces people to be more creative when deciding what to do for fun. This causes them to create better relationships that are based on quality time together instead of just the activity itself. West Texas might have some cool or even unique activities but the people value each other more than thing they happen to be doing together.

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Palo Duro Canyon State Park attracts tourists and locals alike to hike, bike, horse ride and countless other activities.

South Texas Psyche

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Coming from such a conservative area with a rural mindset such as Amarillo, I was in a major culture shock when I moved down to San Marcos. Being so close to Austin, San Marcos is a very liberal and open minded community. It was shocking when I realized that not everyone down here believed in the same things. I could no longer speak openly expecting people to have the same beliefs as I. I learned to choose my words wisely to ensure that I was not offending someone else’s opinions. Back home in Amarillo, the majority of the population is on the same page on almost every issue. You can make a comment or express your thoughts and nine times out of ten everyone in the room will agree with you.

In West Texas most people attend church on Sunday mornings. It was unusual for people not to be in church/ anywhere else. The people down here are some of the most diverse and open minded people I have ever been around. So many people here believe in so many different things and have so many different views on life. It was very intimidating at first, I felt like I had lived under a rock and inside a church my entire life compared the people down here.

It took me awhile to get accustomed to the different mindsets that people have here. I had to work on being even more open minded than I was and learn to appreciate and respect other people’s beliefs. Making friends down here was a learning curve as well. No longer did my peers feel the same way about religion, politics, and everything in between. I had to learn how to see a person for more than just their beliefs. It took some getting used to but I have now made some amazing friendships with some amazing people. They have taught me so much and for which I am forever thankful for those friendships.

Now I love hearing people’s outtakes on life and how they think about different issues. It is quite intriguing to see how different people can be. I have learned more about life and become more cultured in my three years here than I have ever been in my 20 years living in the panhandle.

 

“The Truth About Moving Somewhere New By Yourself” A review

I found a blog post written by Erin Stephany where she talks about everything that happens when you move to a new place. What really drew me in about this post is how honest it is and how much I can relate to the things she talks about. Everything she says about moving somewhere new is so straightforward and true, that I was nodding my head through the whole thing. I think that it is very unique of her to talk about the ups and downs of moving somewhere new. Most blogs and posts are optimistic and misleading in the way they talk about real life situations. They like to lead you on thinking that it will be a walk in the park. It is rare to find someone who informs you of the good and bad.

“You just know that you need to experience of a new way of living- in a new environment, surrounded by new people, immersed in new cultures, and exposed to new ideas and possibilities.”

Erin talks about how exciting it is moving to a new place, how many new adventures you will have and how all your friends and family back home say how jealous they are. All of these things were very true for myself when I made my move from Amarillo to San Marcos. I was sooo excited to be moving to such a beautiful place. But then … “When there’s an awesome concert playing or a hike you are dying to trek, but find yourself having no adventure companion….It hits you- you are alone.” She spilled a little of the truth behind moving somewhere new. It is not always easy. This was very true for myself as well, I found myself driving around town alone and exploring new places by myself. I went on runs and hikes alone. Being alone and discovering a new place is not as sad and pitiful as it sounds. It was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself and it made me who I am now.

After a while all the newness wears off and you find someone who takes you under their wing and befriends you. They will help you learn the roads, all the places to go and not to go and most of all they will give you a reason for why you made this move in the first place. Then time goes by and you make another friend, and another, until years pass and your new friends seem like the ones you have had your whole life. Until finally, “back home” doesn’t feel like home anymore. There are many ups and downs and twists and turns when moving to a new place but ultimately it is so worth it.

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Visiting the Texas State Capital when I moved to San Marcos in the summer of 2015.

Climate Changes

When people think of the weather in Texas they think hot and humid. Few people realize how drastically the weather varies just within the state lines. Texas is a massive state that encompasses a wide array of terrain and climates, something that few other states possess. Texas has beaches, deserts, mountains, rolling hills, forests, canyons, and everything in between. Naturally, with differing environment comes varying weather patterns and temperatures.

The climate in Amarillo is very dry. The summers are hot and the winters are cold. Winters bring snow and ice that begins as early as November and ends as late as April. Most people get the misconception that Texas doesn’t get cold, much less that we get snow and ice. People in Amarillo are all too familiar with the freezing temperatures and below zero wind chills that winter brings. I grew up walking through the snow and sludge to get to and from my classes in my high school. Randall High School had two separate buildings, forcing students to walk outside to get to their next class. Driving and walking in the snow was a norm in Amarillo.

San Marcos however, has quite a different climate. The first year I moved down here I was baffled at the warmth I felt during the winter months. It seemed as though winter had just skipped over and gone straight back to spring. I loved every minute of my first “winter” down here in the hill country. I am still adapting to these climate changes but I enjoy this area more and more every day.

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Winter snowfall just outside of Amarillo, Texas. January 2015

Texas Terrain

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As you know by now I spent the first 19 years of my life in the Texas panhandle where the world is flat and in a permanent drought. I remember learning in my high school geography class that where we lived was one step up from the desert. If Amarillo received a little less rain than we got we would have been classified as a desert environment. That’s why my move to the hill country was such a shocking and eye opening experience.

For the first time I have experienced what it feels like when your car begins to roll backwards at a stop light. I have learned where my parking break is and how often it can actually be used. Most of all I have a new found appreciation for actually slowing down around sharp turns. Learning how to drive in this new landscape is not the only learning curve that has come with this move.

To this day I am still amazed at the beautiful landscape the hill country has to offer. Day after day I am in awe of all the many, many, beautiful trees, rivers and creeks and streams, and the stunning hills. Being in a place this beautiful has opened my eyes to the world and to how amazing the state of Texas really is. Some days, it is hard to believe that where I grew up is in the same state, as it is an entirely different world down here.

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View from Mount Baldy, near Wimberly, Texas.

My Hometown

I grew up in Amarillo, Texas. For those of you who are not sure of where that is located it is in the very top of Texas. Amarillo is located in the “Panhandle Plains” of Texas which is an extension of the Great Plains. Amarillo and the surrounding area is a flat, treeless area on a plateau surrounded by plunging canyons.

Growing up in Amarillo, there were not many things to do for fun. However, there was one thing my family and I did for entertainment. My family and I would go to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which was only a 15 minute drive from my house, and walk the hiking trails the state park had to offer. Those were some of my favorite memories of growing up in Amarillo. Even to this day when I go visit my family we still go to Palo Duro Canyon for fun.

Amarillo is a part of the Bible Belt that encompasses the southern United States. This means that everyone goes to church, most everyone shares the political beliefs, and people for the most part are closed minded to other beliefs. I personally grew up in a very strict household, with very religious parents who sheltered me from the world. So moving down to such a liberal and open minded area has been a little bit of a culture shock for me.

 

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A spring hike to the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in March of 2016

Self Intro

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Hey ya’ll! My name is Chelsea and I am finishing up my last few weeks of college! I will be graduating this August from Texas State University with my Bachelors in Advertising with a minor in Psychology.

I grew up in Amarillo, TX and moved down here to San Marcos in 2015 to attend Texas State University. I am still very excited to be living in such a beautiful and fun place. I love exploring the hill country each and every day.

I will be doing this blog as a way for me to show how different living in the hill country is from growing up in the panhandle of Texas. I am going to use pictures and links to further explain the major differences and what I love about the hill country. I hope to show all my friends and family back home what I have experienced while here in college and to show all my new friends down here where I came from and why I love the hill country so much.

I have always loved to travel and explore new places. Living in this part of Texas allows me to travel to a lot of different places that are all relatively close. I am still trying to explore all the different areas and landscapes Texas has to offer. I have been able to do a lot of my exploration and travel even on a college budget. I hope to get a good job when I graduate that would allow me to take my curiosity beyond state lines.

I have fallen in love with the hill country of Texas and want to stay here after I graduate college next summer. I am aiming to get a job somewhere in the area that allows me to stay down here and continue to enjoy the south Texan beauty. As graduation quickly approaches I am working to piece together my life after August 10th. Currently I am looking for internships and working hard in my classes to have the best GPA possible. I look forward to what the future has planned for me 🙂