Contrary to popular belief, Arizona does not just have deserts.
On a geographic note, it should be noted that Arizona sports a surprisingly diverse landscape. The state’s northern section features big forests while mountain ranges can be found in Humphrey’s Peak. And if you enjoy skiing, resorts can be found in Alpine and Tucson. That’s snow skiing, by the way, although taking a snowboard down a desert dune would be awesome, too.
But if the landscape doesn’t sound like a good enough reason to move there, consider a few other facts about Arizona.
For starters, living in Arizona means being in close contact with Native American culture. Native American reservations make up almost a quarter of the state, the Navajos and Apaches among them. No other state in American has as many residents that speak a Native American language, and their art and culture will be on display throughout the state.
Something else on display throughout the state? The occasional dust storm known as a haboob. Of course, calling it a dust storm would be like referring to a desert as a little sandy or a hurricane as a heavy rain storm. Haboobs can come out of nowhere and, depending on the watcher’s vantage point, look really cool or really scary (think the clouds just before the alien ships arrived in Independence Day).
Experiencing a haboob might also make one appreciate not living in California, where earthquakes tend to be a regular occurrence. Also, a ten-minute haboob can be infinitely preferable to a tornado, mostly because the haboob will not cause as much property damage or possibly transport you to the Land of Oz.
Should you find yourself outdoors when one occurs, take cover immediately. If you’re driving a vehicle, the Arizona Department of Transportation recommends pulling over, turning the lights off, and setting the emergency brake before waiting for the storm to pass. Don’t try to drive through it, and definitely don’t try to record it on your phone until you’ve pulled over.
While this shouldn’t be a surprise, roofers and air conditioning specialists enjoy a high work demand in Arizona. Yes, engineers and doctors always have a place in any state, the need for a solid roof and air conditioning can’t be understated. Also, regardless of what your profession, if you need to go to an office, you will have to own a car. While the cities due offer public transportation, the state favors the car approach to getting from Point A to Point B.
You would assume that, being in an arid location with little rain and 100-degree temperatures, Arizona’s climate would be all summer heat, all the time. This is only partly true. While the desert areas have recorded temperatures over 125 degrees, the night temperatures can bring on freezing cold.
In other words, don’t throw out your jackets and jeans when planning a relocation to Arizona. You probably also won’t need that Lawrence of Arabia costume for the work commute.
THINGS TO DO
Let’s just get this out of the way: the Grand Canyon is not the equivalent of a really big backyard sink hole. You don’t have a mile deep, 277-mile long gorge running through a state and not make a big deal about it. You can bet if the Grand Canyon was in Virginia, the tourist vendors wouldn’t hesitate to slap “Virginia is for Lovers in Deep Ravines” on a tee shirt (though it wouldn’t be as funny as changing South Dakota’s slogan to “Great Faces, Great Places, Great Holes”). There’s a variety of ways to explore the canyon, including by walking tour or helicopter, and few things can match the wonder of looking over the edge and taking in the natural beauty of the flowing rock formations.
But if the canyon doesn’t seem very exciting, consider the joys of the Arizona wineries. Rivaled only by the neighboring wineries of California, Arizona boasts the Sedona Wine Adventures or the Verde Valley Wine Trail as just two of the options for exploring and enjoying the local wines. And if watching the Arizona Diamondbacks or Arizona State University teams play ball seems unexciting, there’s also the live shows, competitions, rides, and livestock of the Arizona State Fair.
While it may not seem obvious, the American hot dog does not have single style of serving. Much like pizza and barbeque, how a hot dog gets prepared and served varies depending on the region, leading to such fine ballpark favorites as the Rockie Dog, the Fenway Frank, and the Texas Dog. And in Arizona, the locals have something called the Sonoran, a bacon-wrapped hot dog served on a bun and topped with pinto beans, chopped onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos with either mustard (YAY!) or mayo (EW!).
If the idea of pinto beans on a hot dog seems a bit obscure, remember the locals also like to use cactus in their food. Yes, cactus. Like the spiny plant you have to water with a spray mister and the best argument against weeding the flowerbed. Don’t be alarmed when you discover things like cactus jelly, mesquite honey, and prickly pear margaritas; just roll with it and give them a try. You may like it.
Also, if you order a drink at the bar and it comes garnished with a cactus, it’s acceptable to send it back. The bar tender is being a jerk.
The music scene in Arizona has provided some of the best bends ever to be blared out of a radio, including the Gin Blossoms, Jimmy Eat World, Alice Cooper, and Linkin Park. The state also features a ton of music festivals featuring local and international acts, so anyone relocating to Arizona for a change of scene will have their choice of music available throughout the year.
Speaking of the year, Arizona has the distinction of being only one of the two states that currently don’t observe daylight savings time (the other one is Hawaii). In other words, moving to Arizona means never having to remember to change the clock and deal with the springing forward/falling backward/losing an hour/gaining an hour/whatever-I’m-going-back-to-bed dilemmas of daylight saving time. And you’ll never have to fix the clock in your car again, although sitting through a haboob would give you the opportunity to do so.
GO WEST (OR EAST IF YOU’RE ALREADY WEST)!
Starting to like the idea of moving to Arizona? Or does the whole “move to an arid region with dust storm” sound a little intimidating? Don’t be scared. If you need help, Colonial Van Lines has you covered. With decades of experience, Colonial Van Lines can help make your moving experience stress free. Call a Colonial Van Lines professional and find out how easy a move to Arizona can be.
Go west! Unless you’re already west, in which case you should head slightly east-ish.