When Jess Glazer and her husband Mike DeRose traded their Manhattan apartment for a 40-foot motor home last fall, they imagined crisscrossing the U.S., camping by peaceful lakes and mountain streams. Last week, via Zoom, Ms. Glazer showed me the Arizona RV park where they’ve been stationed since the start of the year.
“It looks like a parking lot,” she said, surveying the vast expanse of gravel crowded with hundreds of motor homes. “Well, it is a parking lot.”
Like many young professionals, Ms. Glazer and Mr. DeRose fled Manhattan during the pandemic for greener pastures. Only in their case, the new location can change weekly or daily. After leaving last October, the self-described “digital nomads” motored down the East Coast before heading west through Alabama, Texas and Arizona. And life on the road is nothing like what they envisioned.
RV life has many advantages over Manhattan life, they say. It’s cheaper, for one. They were renting a 1,100 square-foot two-bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen for $5,800 a month. Now, they’re paying $2,000 a month on a loan for their $412,000 Tiffin Phaeton. Even factoring in insurance, fuel and site fees of about $700 a month, their expenses are roughly half what they were in New York City. “We’re saving a lot of money,” Mr. DeRose says.
While the motor home is about 450 square feet, they’ve shared small apartments in Manhattan before, so it doesn’t feel like a squeeze, they say. Plus, the RV includes features their city digs never had—a washer and dryer, heated floors, a central vacuum, and four built-in televisions. “It’s so silly!” says Ms. Glazer. “We don’t even watch TV.”
They enjoy their revolving cast of new neighbors. Living in Manhattan, they didn’t know who lived down the hall. But RV folks are friendly and chatty, they say, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation about someone’s license plate.
What they most enjoy, of course, is the freedom to travel and explore. They’ve taken their Jeep, which they hitch to their RV, off-roading on the beach and in the mountains. They’ve explored obscure Texas hamlets, national forests and Arizona ghost towns. “Now my hiking shoes are my favorite shoes that I have. It’s so funny—I was little Miss Stiletto,” Ms. Glazer says.
To see where the rest of this story goes, check out the full article from the Wall Street Journal here.