How to Move to New Mexico

New Mexico is a unique state and, if you've never lived in the American Southwest, moving there might require some major adjustments in both your attitude and your daily habits. Follow these steps and you'll be much closer to discovering why it's called the Land of Enchantment.


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    Be laid back. If you're coming from a fast-paced city like New York or Los Angeles, you're in for a culture shock. For the most part, the people of New Mexico are laid back. There's no rush. This might become most obvious to you when driving--the person in front of you might be waiting to make a left turn, get the left arrow, but not see it until it turns red again and then you have to wait for another round. Don't honk, don't yell, don't slam your palm on the steering wheel. It's not going to change the way people go about their business; it'll only make you seem uptight and obnoxious.
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    Learn Spanish. Knowing how to speak Spanish is not essential, but it'll certainly make life a little easier for you because there are plenty of people in New Mexico who don't speak English. Even the people who do speak English use Spanish phrases, and might speak to you in Spanish even if you don't look it. Remember that many people are descendants from Spain and may not look obviously Hispanic to you, especially if you're moving from an area where most of the Hispanic people are dark-skinned.
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    Leave your stereotypes behind. Even in diverse cities like New York, people still tend to align themselves along cultural lines. In New Mexico, this is not the case. Individuals mingle regardless of race or cultural background. The main ethnicities are white (either descending from Spain, or from another part of the US; there are also many Germans), Mexican, and American Indian (and yes, the term of choice there is Indian, not Native American). It's not uncommon to see mixed race couples. What might be less common is a same-sex couple, or a pairing between a cowboy/rancher and a city person, but overall, New Mexico is a welcoming place with a live-and-let-live attitude that's rare in other parts of the country.
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    Get a car. New Mexico is mostly desert. Public transportation isn't something you'll want to depend on, unless, perhaps, you live in Albuquerque. Fortunately, the cost of registering a car in New Mexico is relatively low, and there are no inspection requirements. You'll observe this when you see rusty pickups with headlights hanging off. And you might feel left out if you don't drive a truck. A big truck.
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    Bring lotion. New Mexico is notoriously dry. Your skin will feel it, as well as your lips. Get lotion that will also protect you from the sun, or else your skin will eventually turn to leather. It can also get very, very windy in New Mexico, so protect your skin.
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    Appreciate your new home. At first, it may take getting used to, especially if you're coming from a green or bustling place, but New Mexico is an amazingly peaceful and striking area. Visit ancient cliff dwellings, extensive caves, and white sand dunes. Explore the local history - the churches, Billy the Kid, Geronimo, and Smokey the Bear. Eat some prickly pear and yucca, or maybe even some prairie chicken (rattlesnake)!


  • Bring a jacket. It's the desert, but what most people don't realize is that deserts are cold at night, even in the summertime.
  • Keep in mind that it will be very dry, possibly a major transition from your current home.

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Categories: United States