Most American understand Buddhism as philosophy rather than religion. Buddhism religion principles far greater than just meditation and karma.
It starts from 1) maintaining Five Moral Precepts (no killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, taking intoxicants)
2) practice mindfulness (start from meditation)
3) enlightenment (doctrine of the Four Holy Truths--suffering, affliction, enlightenment, and Path).
You should know what you are looking for: just seeking peacefulness or seeking Nevada. I suggested you starts find books about Buddhism on Amazon.com.
To become Buddhist, you would need to take refuge, but before you do that, make sure you've made the right choice. Many people become Buddhist without realizing what is involved....it's not a simple religion.
It's not exactly something you can convert to. It's a state of mind rather than a religion. You will have to change the idea of organized religion you're clinging to.