We Did It

We moved to New England.

About a year and a half ago, we toyed with the idea of moving out here when I read a news article about the state of Vermont offering remote workers to bring their jobs in-state for $10,000. We visited Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont in November of 2018 and decided we didn’t hate it.

So we gave up our Bay Area-sized paychecks and a job I really liked in order to relocate. Hands down, one of the most stressful decisions we’ve ever made. We sold a house, went into contract on a new house, sold a good chunk of our stuff, including my car and two motorcycles, quit our jobs, pulled our kids out of school/daycare, left all things familiar to us including friends and family.  Then we drove across the country in our Honda Odyssey.

The Drive

By far, the stupidest idea we’ve ever had. We were ill-prepared for the weather that was beset upon us.

About 15 miles east of Salt Lake City, Utah on I-80.

This picture does not adequately describe the kinds of weather we encountered. Getting through the Sierra Nevadas and Nevada wasn’t bad.  But things went sideways after Salt Lake City, UT.  Snow. We were on “all-season” tires which complicated things, but driving carefully mitigated the light dusting we were experiencing.

Then more snow fell.

And  more.

By the time we hit Evanston, Wyoming, the roads were, let’s just say, sucky for someone who had driven mostly in the warmer parts of California. We stopped at an O’Reilly Auto Parts and bought some tire chains.  I fiddled with them for longer than I wanted, but succeeded in getting them on, and crawled our way along I-80.

We stopped at Little America in Wyoming for restroom breaks and some food. If you don’t know about Little America, it would be unfair to call it a “truck stop”, but equally misleading to call it a resort. It was here where we learned that I-80 east of our location was closed due to snow. We were stuck. Fortunately, there were more than enough rooms to accommodate us. And we stayed — for TWO nights.  This put a big dent in our timeline. We briefly contemplated having to settle in Little America until the spring, but WYDOT saved the day and a window for travel opened up, so we seized the opportunity and lit out of there.

Snow threatened and slowed us all the way through to North Platte, Nebraska. There the weather was thankfully more seasonable for late October. However, on our heels was Winter Storm Bessie, and we were just keeping ahead of it. It was going to hit the Chicago area hard, so we detoured south through Indianapolis to Columbus, and then on to Cleveland with a short trip through Pennsylvania on our way to New York. We traded blizzard conditions for hellacious wind and rain.

Fortunately, leaving New York on our way into Vermont the weather turned much milder.

Minor digression here: do you know why people chit chat about the weather? Because the weather can really fuck with your plans.

Unfortunately, our terminus wasn’t Vermont. It was Lyme, New Hampshire. But happily, even though we missed Halloween on the 31st, it has also been delayed in Lyme due to snow! Lyme turned out to be a wonderful place to make a start in the Upper Valley.

So why?

I’ve lived in California since 1990, part of the Bay Area since 2001, and Oakland since 2010. Without getting into the politics of it all: schools, crime, homelessness, traffic, and population density in the East Bay and surrounding areas all contributed to why we wanted to move. Getting older and having kids definitely has a much to do with it as well. You can tolerate these insecurities when you don’t have children or believe the situation will turn around in the near future.

Trying to enjoy what the Bay had to offer also turned into a chore. We hadn’t been into the City in years. Visiting parks were an exercise in finding parking and dealing with crowds to engage in “quiet enjoyment”.

Long story short: we didn’t like what we saw, we had the means to change our situation, and we executed on it.

I will miss a lot about the East Bay. We loved taking the kids to Chabot Space and Science Center and Oakland Aviation Museum; taking hikes in Redwood Regional Park and Lake Chabot Regional Park; eating at Shan Dong, Trabocco, and even Shimizu. I won’t lie, the food scene in Oakland is one of the things I will miss the most. I will also miss the small circle of friends we cultivated, with whom I only ever get to chat with online now.

Was it worth it? Don’t know for sure yet. But so far so good.