New Mexico July 01, 2017
14 Things Longtime New Mexicans Wish They Could Tell Newcomers
New Mexico’s stunning
natural beauty snares residents of other states, compelling them to relocate to the Land of Enchantment. Although our population is small, it grew 1.06% between 2010 and 2016, and that doesn’t reflect longtime residents who leave and are replaced by transplants. If you’re thinking of moving here, take a few minutes to read through these 14 things that will help to ease your transition.
1. Don't expect locals to jump for joy when you announce your plans to move here.
This attitude usually has nothing to do with you personally. But we appreciate solitude, tend to dislike crowds, and have no desire to be the new Arizona. And transplants potentially jeopardize that.
2. Definitely visit in "bad" weather conditions to see if you can handle it.
If you're moving north of Albuquerque or to a mountainous region, this may well be your yard come winter.
And in other parts of the state, summer means intense heat. During June and July in Las Cruces, the average high is 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Wherever you choose to make your home, expect the high and low to be roughly 20-30 degrees apart on any given day.
3. Spring is windy.
Really windy. We've invented this fun, new game. It's called Tumbleweed Dodgeball.
4. Embrace dust. Fighting it is useless.
If you're a neat freak, New Mexico may not be the state for you. A thin film of colored dust tends to coat everything from window screens to previously white sneakers.
5. Stop trying to get the roads paved.
Yes, dirt roads contribute to the dust, but we have endless unpaved miles of them and most of us are fine with that.
6. Get used to driving long distances.
It takes time to get from one place to another in New Mexico and we find that empty space around you a selling point. Look! No signs of civilization. Yay!
That being said, always keep some water, a blanket, and food that won't melt in your vehicle. Toss in a hard copy of a map, because you will lose reception.
7. Don't drink and drive.
Yes, we have awesome margaritas but DWI laws are strictly enforced here. Befriend someone who doesn't mind being the designated driver.
8. Slather on that sunscreen.
We have plenty of days of sunshine (isn't that part of why you relocated?). However, that means you really need to protect your skin.
The altitude in New Mexico ranges from 2842 feet to 13,161 feet above sea level. If you're settling somewhere on the higher end of that spectrum, this is especially important. Watch how quickly snow melts under the intense New Mexican sun, then think about what it's doing to your skin.
9. Don't waste water.
Water is liquid gold. Don't hose down surfaces you're too lazy to sweep and definitely don't install a large, grassy lawn. Gravel is your new BFF. It comes in more colors than you might imagine!
10. Be careful with fire.
Thoroughly extinguish your campfire (or better yet don't build one) and never toss a cigarette butt out of your car window. Forest fires are devastating and terrifying.
11. Respect archeological remains.
You may encounter pottery shards, arrowheads or fossils on your adventures - hikers in the Ojito Wilderness once stumbled upon the remains of a dinosaur! It's best not to disturb any finds and it may even be illegal to do so. Just note the location, take some photos, and report your discovery to an official institution like a museum or university.
12. Wear less turquoise.
It's cheaper to just order a T-shirt that reads: "newbie."
13. New goal: increase your ability to handle spicy food.
Sure, you can stay in the Land of Bland but a) you're missing out and b) your dining options at social events will be limited to plain tortilla chips.
14. Slow down.
Manana comes soon enough.
Are you a newcomer or a long-term New Mexican? What would you add to this list?