What to Expect When You Move to Colorado

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When you move to Colorado there are a few things that you’ll have to adjust to.

  1. Altitude.  I know this seems simple, but you’d be surprised how much it affects you until you adjust.  There is less oxygen.  You will feel tired much quicker and may even take the occasional nap. After a few months you will be running the stairs like you live at sea level.  That is, unless you’re carrying a laundry basket.  Then you’ll still feel it – no matter how in shape you are.  You may want to cut back on your alcohol intake until you acclimate.  Or at least drink a water between each beer.
  2. Drink lots of water.  You are truly a mile high here and it’s a desert – at least in the Front Range. Your skin, your lawn, the air, absolutely everything will be dry. Invest in good lotion and be religious about it. Lip balm too.  Don’t be surprised if you get a few nose bleeds when you first get here, too.
  3. Water is scarce.  If you want a green lawn be prepared to pay a lot for it.   There are very few natural lakes and their level – along with the reservoirs – vary greatly on the amount of snow we’ve gotten the winter before.
  4. 14ers. I had no idea what these were but people kept talking about them.  They’re the peaks above 14,000′ and its quite a feat to reach the summit.  People make plans to “climb a 14er” this weekend a lot. File this in your memory so you aren’t clueless like me and have to ask what the heck they’re talking about.hiking a 14er
  5. Casual dress.  If you dress anything above athleisure expect people say that you look fancy. Office clothes are usually jeans and a top.  If you work from home you are expected to wear work-out gear all day long.  Example:  I was wearing a six year old ratty sundress with flip flops and someone told me I was fancy and asked if I was going to a party.  Take my advice. Invest in jeans & hiking shoes.  Get rid of all your dresses, heels and maybe keep one suit for weddings. If my husband wore dress pants and a button up shirt to work people asked if he had an interview. PS – This doesn’t mean they don’t spend money on clothes. It’s more likely fleece, ski clothes or pretty much anything North Face or Patagonia.
  6. Subarus.  Not kidding.  They are everywhere.  I heard once that every 1 out of 8 cars on the road in Colorado is a Subaru. I believe it.  Don’t be surprised if you see an old Subaru with a rack on top carrying bikes, kayaks or snowboards that can be worth more than the actual car! They are great in snow, incredibly reliable which is handy when deep in the mountains and have been a favorite of Coloradans for decades.subaru camping
  7. Breweries.  Hanging out at a brewery with your family is very common.  There is a very European feel to it.  People aren’t getting drunk, rather socializing with friends and hanging out as a family.  My kids love to play board games with their friends, drink root beer and be together.  Plan on stopping by your neighborhood brewery after your kid’s baseball game.  Trust me, it’s not weird to have your kids there. It’s a family-friendly environment.  Colorado is famous for it’s microbrews…so if you don’t drink beer, you will.The Old Mine backyard
  8. Everyone has a dog.  If you don’t have one, get one.  Or two.  And plan on taking them hiking, camping and everywhere you go. There are as many dogs as houses on my block alone.  It’s completely acceptable to take your dog into stores with you as well.  I am embarrassed to tell you how much money I spent on my dog’s hiking backpack.  However, your dog is expected to carry it’s own gear & water. Usually we make ours also carry our picnic lunch too!Lola hiking pack
  9. Marijuana/Pot/Weed/Ganja.  Contrary to EVERYONE we know and love outside of Colorado, pot is not being handed out on all the street corners.  Marijuana became legal shortly after we moved here. If you are keeping your eye out for you, there may be a sign advertising it…if you know what to look for.  Otherwise, it’s not any different than alcohol.  You can’t consume it in public, while driving, need to be 21+ to purchase, etc. I still know the same number of people who smoke here as I did living in other states. Other than the media hype nothing seemed to change.
  10. Everyone is FIT.  Not kidding. We are the most fit state in the country…that’s probably because all four seasons are beautiful and mild here. The views are gorgeous, too! It’s easy to see why everyone is outside and doing something.
  11. We love the environment! We all take care of the planet, our wildlife, stay on the trail, pack out our trash after camping and respect nature in general. If you don’t, expect scorn from hippies and yuppies alike.  It’s ingrained in our culture here.save-the-colorado-
  12. Most importantly – your new neighbors will be the friendliest you’ve ever lived by.  I think that’s because the state has grown by leaps and bounds in the past three decades.  Most people are transplants and had to make their families through their friends. Even now, a generation or two later, that’s the case.  People will genuinely include you, invite you and your family almost immediately. After moving my family twice in the last decade I can tell you, that’s rare.  Trust me.

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