It’s been 125 days since we left our comfortable lives in Houston and set out for adventure, eyes bright with the prospect of a semi-nomadic, blissful future touring the States and creating a life of our own pace and choosing. Russell’s IT job would be loosely based in New York City, allowing us to experience a New England summer and autumn before returning to Houston for winter and then, who knows? Florida? Leaving my corporate job behind in Houston, this was finally my chance to pursue photography full time and begin expanding into different markets around the country. The sky was the limit and, though we knew there were plenty of adjustments ahead, we vowed to meet them head-on and were determined this would be the turning point we’d chased after for so long. The new chapter was finally here!


This is the story of how those visions quickly fell apart, leaving us marooned and disillusioned.

I’ve been all but silent for the past few months because of the constant chaos and upheaval. I’ve written a bit about the hellish week-long relocation itself but, once we got up here, the bad news kept rolling in and I was loathed to post anything too negative. We effectively removed our support system and unwittingly threw ourselves on the mercy of the wolves. Russell’s job was continually promising to convert him from a contractor to an employee – first it was a 60 day waiting period, then a 90 day period. In January, they said March 1st, then March 9th (the day we were scheduled to leave Houston). We waited and followed up…and nothing happened. In the meantime, no medical benefits, sick leave or vacation.

The story was an ever-changing party line of corporate run-around and miscommunication. When March came around, there was no stopping the move which was already fully underway. So, we packed it up, sucked it up and drove across the country with zero financial assistance from the company (over $1K in gas and $3K for my wrecked transmission) while they also refused to pay him any salary for those days spent relocating. Our Iceland trip was scheduled for the day after we finally arrived in New England and, yep, you guessed it, he wasn’t an employee yet due to their procrastination so, no pay for that week either.  So we actually moved at quite a deficit. Rainy day funds were pretty wrecked at the end of all this, but we were sure things were bound to improve.


We were wrong. The first blow was discovering just how hostel the greater New York area is towards RVs. We cross a toll bridge, they count the axels, and we’re slapped with a $46 toll. We also learned that RV parks in the New York area lack even basic amenities and offer NO wifi, which is critical for both of our businesses. It then came to light that the two or three parks that do exist have a two-week-in-two-week-out policy. This means we would have to relocate between these crappy parks every two weeks, crossing toll bridges and navigating streets that no mobile home was ever meant to traverse. This was simply not a sustainable option so we searched until we found a park two hours away in Matamoras, Pennsylvania that would fit most of our needs while still being close enough to NYC so that Russell could take a four hour round trip bus ride in once or twice a week as needed.

The second blow came shortly after. Russell’s company suddenly decided to revoke their semi-remote policy and began requiring all employees to be physically in the office five days a week. The office in Times Square. The office that is a nightmare to get to if you don’t live in Manhattan. This meant 4 hours of his day (and $350 a month) would now be allocated to just sitting on a bus on either side of the 8 hours actually in the office. Days easily began to stretch to 14 or 15 hours if the bus was delayed or west coast clients scheduled late meetings. He would leave at 6am and return by 8 or 9pm, utterly exhausted. We began to see very little of each other and realized we were completely and utterly living the antithesis of the life we made all of these changes for in the first place. To add insult to injury, when the company heard where he was now living, they decided to delay employee status and benefits again, this time citing that he ‘might get tired of the commute and get a job at a different company.’ We knew something had to change, yet again.

This is the first part of a 4 post series:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

4 comments on “The Scenic Route Part I – Not All That Glitters

  • This is surely depressing, especially after all the effort to condense your years of collecting, vacate your beloved apartment, and travel that hellish move. Can’t wait for Part 2. Things must improve!

  • Sad to hear of all the lows but proud of the fact that you stood strong. And moreover you write really well…continue writing. Best wishes, looking forward to the next one

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