One of the greatest struggles of those of us in the Southwest, is preserving the characteristics and traditions which define the Southwest - open carry and the unfettered right to responsibly carry and own weapons are one of those things (at least for me) - they are rooted in a deeper sense of individualism and self sufficiency; but they serve as both symbol and utility.
There's a lot more, but my point is if you liked what you saw, can get behind our way of life, and you could see yourself here, we'd love to have you.
I am not from here originally. I am from the northeast. I was born there and grew up there and my impressions of the world were formed there. In some ways, I'm the Yankee everyone in the south dreads.
And yet, I moved here in 1999 and within a week I felt more at home here than I ever did in the state of my birth. When I drive out to Ironwood to shoot, I pick up not only my trash, but that of less meticulous shooters as well. Not because I'm a swell guy, but because I actually care about the desert.
I feel protective of this place in a way I never felt about the Garden State. Protective of its natural environment - litterers *really* piss me off, and though not a conservative, I can get on well with the type of individualist self-sufficiency which pervades, especially rural areas.
Much of the Southwest is becoming urbanized. I don't mind cities; they have their uses. The sprawl is miserable, but I don't know what to do or say about that.
It would be nice if people who really understood the Southwest, who understand the sublime pleasure of standing out in the middle of the desert and enjoying the silence, and not minding the heat too much, moved here and helped us preserve the character which makes it unique.
I like to say to people, "I live in Marana. But I think of my locale as Southern Arizona, and my general home as the whole of the southwest." I still feel local in New Mexico.
There are way too many people moving here just because they don't like cold weather. I really wish they'd develop some appreciation for everything else this state - and this region - offers. I've heard people who live here describe the desert as a "wasteland."
I wish they'd move somewhere else.