In the past few years, I have adopted Taos, New Mexico as my second home. This is a life event that I definitely would not have been able to predict five years ago. In fact, if you had asked me my freshman year of college if I would ever live in New Mexico, I probably would have been like “lawl why would I live in the desert?” This is because, as a rule, people who grow up in the Midwest and attend stuffy East Coast colleges tend to misunderstand the desert. We think it’s hot and flat and totally barren, not to mention home to scary things like rattlesnakes and scorpions.
So before I launch into all the reasons you should consider living in the desert, let me clear up a few things:
Desert does not equal flat. This, for example, is Death Valley, the driest desert in the US.
Likewise, the desert is not necessarily hot. In fact, because there’s no moisture in the air, as soon as the sun goes down it can get DAMN cold. And if you live in the high desert, like Taos (~7,000 feet above sea level) it’s not even that hot in the summer.
So, now that we’re all on the same page, here are 10 reasons to live in the desert.
1. Sunshine. Lots of it.
Now, growing up in Ohio, I had this idea that if I were to move to a dry climate, my soul would immediately shrivel up and crumble into a million tiny pieces. When I moved to Spain, I intentionally picked notoriously rainy Northern Spain because god forbid I end up in a sunny place and my voodoo-karma-whatchit energy get all out of whack. Like, seriously, how would I deal if I couldn’t curl up with a book and watch rain drip off the gutters while feeling all melancholy and pensive? Recently, I’ve been reevaluating that instinct. It turns out 360 days of sunshine is actually pretty darn nice. It means that, among other things, you can actually plan a picnic more than an hour in advance and you have a 99.9% chance that the weather will cooperate. IMAGINE THAT, PEOPLE.
2. There are NO MOSQUITOES.
Ditto sandflies, gnats, no-see-ums, etc. Now tell me, would you rather have 5% chance of spotting a rattlesnake or a 100% chance of being swarmed by biting insects every time you step out the door? People in New Mexico leave their windows open without screens, just saying.
3. When it rains, everyone gets excited and it smells amazing.
And it does rain in the desert, people. In Ohio when it rains people don’t even notice. Or if it’s been raining for four days straight, everyone’s like “mehhhh.” But in New Mexico when it rains it’s almost required that you go outside and jump around in the rain and shout HALLELUJAHHHH. And desert rain smells incredible, like sweet dirt and freshly cut grass and dry air and basically God’s perfume if God wore perfume.
4. Storms are way more impressive.
Think lightning cracks that look like they are going going to split the sky in half. There is so much sky here that you can see the lightning go from it’s origin all the way to the ground. It’s a little scary, but definitely impressive. The other good thing about having so much sky is that you get to watch storms move in for hours and it is beautiful. Also, walking rain, rain that evaporates before it hits the ground, is a thing.
5. If you do somehow manage to get your shoes wet, they will be dry the next day.
And you can do laundry at the last minute before a trip and not use a dryer. ‘Nuff said.
6. No humidity.
You know how when you go for a run in the east you get those rivers of sweat running down your arms and legs and face? Doesn’t happen in the desert because your sweat evaporates before it can pool up and get all drippy. Of course, this means your water consumption has to be on par with that of a baby elephant, but still, it’s nice to not always be sticky.
Best. Sunsets. Ever. Just imagine how much better your Instagram feed would be if you lived here.
8. As far as yard plants go, the humble cactus is seriously underrated.
I find cactus fascinating, and you can’t deny they have much more personality than a patch of begonias. Before spending time in the desert, I had no idea how many varieties of cactus there were. And cactus flowers? Surprisingly pretty! Also, prickly pear fruit is, if you can manage to peal it without spiking yourself, delicious.
9. Rocks, rocks, really cool rocks.
Red rocks, brown rocks, big rocks, small rocks. Rocks of every sort. As someone who really loves rocks (riding on them, climbing on them, taking photos standing on top of them), this is great.
10. It’s really freaking beautiful.
This is one of those let the photos speak for themselves moments.
Could you live in the desert? Share your thoughts below!
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