Today’s post was supposed to be a “Woohoo, yay for us!” announcement. We were supposed to be on an airplane today, winging over the west to Tulsa, Oklahoma. But that trip’s been put on indefinite hold.
Tulsa Remote is a philanthropic program designed to attract remote workers to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For a period of one year, Tulsa Remote offers a coworking space and a $10,000 stipend to facilitate a move to the city. The only requirements are that the applicant must already have a full-time remote position, and that we live within the city boundaries with a Tulsa address – e.g., not Broken Arrow or the surrounding ‘burbs.
We’ve both lived in the ‘burbs almost all our lives. This was an opportunity to live in an urban setting, and excited both of us. The social, economic, and entertainment options were thrilling!
I learned about the program late last year, and filled out an extensive online application (writing as Shawn, the-one-with-the-remote-job) in February, well before Covid19 became a concern here in the States.
We received a semi-congratulatory email in April, and participated in a video chat interview in late May. We learned shortly afterward the we’d been selected for the program, and started telling a select few friends and family members.
The Tulsa Remote office offers assistance with selecting a residential area and other online resources to make the move. They set up meet-and-greets to facilitate the arrival of new residents. Finally, they also assist with scouting missions, reimbursing up to $500 for (Shawn’s) airfare or automobile travel and paying for a hotel room for 3 days to tour the city prior to the actual move.
That was the trip we were scheduled to make today. For four days we planned to visit apartment complexes, meet new folks, and explore this vibrant city.
Two issues started to sour us a bit on the trip. First, United cancelled our flight, requiring us to add a hotel room on either end of our trip and leave the RV unattended for 6 days instead of 4. This also necessitated more time in the kennel for Elvis as well as more out-of-pocket money for rental car, meals, etc.
Secondly, Shawn received an email from Tulsa Remote just 2 weeks before our scouting trip. The email stated that due to Covid19 precautions, all events were cancelled. TR would still reimburse us for Shawn’s flight, but nothing else would be scheduled or reimbursed. Poop.
Covid19 + Civil Unrest = Retreat!
At the same time, the Pandemic Panic had worsened yet again, and with the uptick in new cases the social distancing shutdowns that were just beginning to be lifted were put back in place. Restaurants and bars were closed again, Tulsa instituted mandatory mask requirements and events were cancelled until at least the New Year. Most of the reasons that had drawn us to living in Tulsa — the entertainment, the social aspects, the possibility of a job for Andrea — were evaporating quickly.
Political tension in this election year has been escalating rapidly, and racial tension has been brought to the forefront with cases of police brutality and profiling. Demonstrations have turned into riots and anarchy in many US cities. We each came to the same conclusion that now is not the right time to move to Tulsa. So we respectfully withdrew our application for this year. Perhaps 2021 will be different and we can re-apply.
Pandemic Impact is Minimal
I really don’t have anything to complain about, not really. Yes, our plans for the summer were upended. Yes, we had to say no to a cool opportunity. Yes, certain food items have been hard to find at the grocery store. Yes, I’ve been missing simple human interaction on a daily basis.
But truthfully we’ve been minimally impacted, especially in comparison to others. We had no changes to Shawn’s pay or working conditions. Neither of us has become ill. We don’t have children to consider. We were able to find places to stay (despite campground closures and capacity requirements), and keep in touch with our friends and family through social media, phones, and the wonderful world of Zoom and video calling. I’ve developed a new hobby. It’s ok, it really is. So I keep telling myself….
We ARE moving to a major metropolitan area for a time, but more on the fringes, and we can leave at any time due to our house on wheels. It feels like a more secure situation.
If anyone is heading through the Dallas area this winter, reach out. Exact dates are still TBD, but we should be on the northwest side of town from roughly October through March.