When I first moved to North Dakota there were a few things I learned right off the bat that were necessary for surviving here. If you’re planning on moving to the Peace Garden state, here’s a survival guide of things you probably want to consider having.
1. Proper winter gear
Yes, the winters are pretty cold here. A light jacket isn't going to cut it. You'll need a good insulated jacket, gloves, a hat, a scarf or some sort of ski mask, and even snow pants are a good idea. Some winters are more mild than others when it comes to snowfall but it definitely will be cold!
2. A good, trusty pair of boots
I'm not talking fashionable boots. I'm talking about the tough, proper kind. These will last you through slushy winters and muddy springs and will always be there when you need them. A nice pair of boots goes a long way.
3. A vehicle to get around in
North Dakota is a big state and everything is fairly spread out. Unless you are living in the very heart of the downtown areas in the bigger cities, you aren't going to be able to walk, bike, or take public transportation everywhere. A reliable vehicle is a must!
4. An ability to adapt to all sorts of weather
It's cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. Sometimes it snows in May, sometimes it floods in spring after it goes from 15 degrees every day up to 60 degrees within the same week. The summer storms can be a little scary, as tornados are certainly not unheard of here. But when it's nice out, it really is nice out. The day after a storm in August is probably going to be a mild 72 with a light breeze and sunshine. Be prepared for anything, good and bad, when it comes to North Dakota weather.
5. Friendliness and openness to everyone
A lot of North Dakota is comprised of smaller communities. It's not the type of place where you mind your own business and never give anyone a glance as you're passing by. If you're walking by someone on the street, you smile and give a little nod - no exceptions. I'm pretty sure this is the only state I've been in where someone has struck random conversation with me in a place like a fast food restaurant. Be friendly, or at least be prepared to have people be friendly and open to you.
6. A secure hat or at least something to tie it down with
We don't have all of those wind turbines in North Dakota for no reason; it IS windy here. The wind is pretty consistent over the whole year. Some days are better than others, but there are definitely times when I was worried my house might just blow into the air and I'd see a creepy old lady on a bike flying by my window.
7. Bug spray in the summer
Mosquitoes and ticks are most definitely around in the summer. If you want to have a nice day out at the lake in July, make sure you take a can of bug spray or three. As soon as the sun sets they'll be on you in an instant, so be prepared.
8. A love of wide open spaces
If you have agoraphobia, or the fear of large spaces, then North Dakota may not be for you. If you like more confined and cramped cities you might want to consider elsewhere - North Dakota has over 70,000 square miles of space. Now, if you like being out in the open and free from crowded areas, then North Dakota is perfect! You can still get a good balance of both in the larger cities, too.
9. Good manners and politeness
Being rude will not get you very far here. 'North Dakota Nice' isn't a term that just popped out of nowhere - people are certainly nice here and expect you to do the same. If you go by the golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you, then you'll do just fine.
For you North Dakotans, what other things would you add on to a survival guide for living in this state?