Why I love Texas: KPRC 2’s Owen Conflenti on why he’s been enchanted with Texas since he was child

Owen Conflenti
Owen Conflenti (KPRC)

HOUSTONWhy I Love Living in Texas is a weekly feature where Texans share why they love living here. If you want to submit your story, send a column to click2houston@kprc.com.

Beloved KPRC 2 anchor Owen Conflenti wrote this story amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Let me tell you a secret. I’ve been enchanted with Texas since I was child. Why? It’s hard to pinpoint. Maybe I inherited my late father’s love of westerns. Or maybe it started when I crossed through the Panhandle on my first drive across the country. Maybe it was the fact that my favorite pitcher growing up, Nolan Ryan, was from Texas. Whatever it was, I always knew I needed more Texas in my life! So here I am, a classic case of, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as quick as I could.”

As some of you know, I’ve lived in Houston longer than anywhere else in my life and consider this home. I love our city for many reasons and I also a classic Texas road trip. When people ask me what I love about being a Texan, I usually say, “I love all the wonderful things you can do in Texas and I love the drives to get there.”

Here are a few places I love:

North Padre Island National Seashore. It’s a great place to camp, enjoy the beach, fish, and learn about the sea turtles. There are 60 miles of undeveloped seashore to explore on both the Gulf side and the bay side, only accessible by four-wheel drive. If you make the journey, be sure to bring extra gas and water, along with supplies for your time away from civilization.

Boerne, Texas. This quaint town was my introduction to the Texas Hill Country on a trip to a friend’s land one summer. I’ve been back a few times and it’s always an amazing experience. A true Texas summer experience is not complete without some river floating! With that said, I’d also have to put the Hill Country on my bucket list because there’s so much I still haven’t seen.

Matagorda Beach, Texas. When I want to see sand and stay away from busy Galveston, but, unlike a trip to North Padre, I want to come home the same day. Matagorda Beach is a happy medium. Personally, I prefer beach trips that require driving right up to the water.

Buc-ee’s. While I don’t have to say anything about this Texas traditions, I will anyway: bathrooms and beaver nuggets.

New Orleans. Okay, so it’s not Texas but it’s a benefit of living in this part of Texas – the proximity to one of my favorite cities on earth. A short flight or a not-terrible drive away, especially if you like to stop for Cajun food along the way (I’m talking to you, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana)!

Since there’s always more to explore, here are a two places that are definitely on my bucket list of Texas road trips:

The Big Bend. A friend once told me, there are places in the Big Bend where no human has ever set foot. That’s how massive it is. I want to set foot there. Deserts, mountains, canyons? I’m in.

Luckenbach. Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings are responsible for this one. Everyone says there’s nothing there, really. That’s fine with me. “Baby let’s sell your diamond ring, buy some boots and faded jeans and go away.”

If I asked 10 of my friends what they love about Texas, I’d get 10 different responses. And that’s probably what I love most about this wonderful place we call home – the diversity. In Texas, there’s something for everyone, and everyone for something.