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Most People Don’t Get Paid $10K To Move to a New City

Most people live life in a certain order. Go to college, get married, have a family, work for 2-4 decades, then retire.

But I have a problem. I just can't be most people. Maybe it's a middle-child thing, but I've always wanted to be different. I drove weird cars. I listened to unpopular bands. I never got into team sports or hunting.

Oh, I tried being most people. I went to college. Got married. Started a family. And took a corporate job. All in that order. Then layoffs came. Most people kept their jobs. I wasn't one of them. I started an online business. We were already homeschooling our kids. After a few years, we realized our lifestyle was portable.

I moved MsBoyink and the kids into an RV and set off on what was supposed to be a one-year homeschool field trip. The year went by, and we kept RVing. Full-time travel became our new normal.
We were definitely no longer most people.

We joked that we took a partial early retirement. Doing so let us experience living:

  • On a goat farm
  • On an animal rescue ranch
  • On houseboats
  • In small rural towns

Eight years later, the kids were now independent adults. MsBoyink and I found ourselves in the empty-nester "third-act" stage of life where most people do actually retire and travel.

But we kinda did that already. And financially, we still need to work for a while yet. So, what do we do for our third act?

Our answer was Tulsa Remote (TR). 

The program: 

  • Paid us to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a year
  • Plugged us into an active community in the middle of a vibrant city with a busy music, arts, and culture scene
  • Provided a membership to a coworking facility
  • Organized multiple events every month

Our year in Tulsa Remote is now up. 

How did it go? I'll answer using some questions that TR asked us:

What made you decide to take the leap and move to Tulsa? 

We ran a local newspaper in Missouri. I was the Managing Editor and MsBoyink was the Advertising Director. We were deeply integrated in the community. I knew the Mayor, Police Chief, Fire Chief, the aldermen, and the school board members. We engaged with the community at local events, when they made a birth announcement and when they needed an obituary.

We worked for a third-generation owner/publisher and had a great relationship. Then she retired and sold the paper. The new owner wasn't someone we wanted to work for. I found a remote writing job in the software industry, and we both gave notice.

My new remote job suited me better, but we were no longer involved in the community where we lived. It wasn’t just that we had left our jobs. COVID-19 also killed many existing social options. Most nights, looking at screens was the only thing to do.

We started looking for our next act. Could we be lighthouse keepers? International pet sitters? Hunting ranch caretakers?

Some other RVing friends had gotten off the road through TR. They recommended the program. We checked it out, applied, got accepted, and moved here in early 2023.

What were you hoping to accomplish here and why? 

We had a few goals:

  • We wanted a richer nightlife that would get us off our screens.
  • We wanted to build a more diverse community with like-minded people.
  • I wanted to establish a better professional network and find ways to encourage or mentor other content professionals.
  • I wanted to explore nighttime urban photography.
  • MsBoyink wanted to return to the workforce.
  • We wanted a walkable, downtown, apartment-based experience in a bigger city.

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Me (far left)  and my wife, Crissa (far right) enjoy a Tulsa Remote event with some fellow members. Image provided by Michael Boyink. 
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View of the Arkansas River from Tulsa's Riverside Trails. Image provided by Michael Boyink. 
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The rooftop view of the historic Mayo Hotel. Image provided by Michael Boyink. 
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Exterior view of LowDown, one of Tulsa's live music venues. Image provided by Michael Boyink. 
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LowDown is our favorite Jazz club. Image provided by Michael Boyink.

 

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Tulsa musicians Victoria Ellington and The Leon Rollerson Legacy performing at LowDown. Image provided by Michael Boyink. 

 

How did you navigate building a new community, and what does that community consist of for you?

When we were full-time RVers we found it was easy to build friendship and community with other families doing the same thing. The shared experience of wanting a different life, selling houses, and getting on the road acted as a fast-forward button to friendship.

We find a similar fast-forward button in the TR community. We all made an intentional decision to end one phase of life, move to Tulsa, and start over. Outside of TR, we've found community by:

  • Building connections on LinkedIn
  • Getting to know the staff at our apartment complex
  • Getting to know local musicians
  • Attending library events
  • Joining local writing or journalism groups
After transitioning to Tulsa, what were a few things that met your expectations, and what were some surprises? 

Somehow, we missed the fact that Tulsa was such a musical city. We've been to New Orleans, Nashville, Portland, Austin, and other music hotspots, but we didn't know Tulsa should’ve been on that list. I can’t count the number of concerts we’ve been to - from jazz jam sessions by local musicians to national headliners.

And it’s more than just music. From art walks to theater performances to bike races to large ethnic festivals - the events in Tulsa are non-stop.


So what's next for you? 

Most people stay in Tulsa after their year in TR. For once in our lives, we’re going to be most people. We’ll be here for at least another 1-2 years. 

MsBoyink is re-entering the job force, so our next phase is figuring out day-to-day life with one remote employee and one local employee. 

How is the now (Boyink) different from the (Boyink) that joined the program a year ago?

Have you ever edited a bland photo, giving it more vibrance and saturation to make the colors pop?

That's what Tulsa Remote has done for us. Our life in Tulsa is richer, more vibrant, and more diverse than it was before.

Michael Boyink
Michael Boyink
Michael Boyink is an alumni of the Tulsa Remote program. He moved from Ava, MO, in February 2023 and is the Managing Editor for a global IT services company. He is also a writer, photographer, and occasional artist. See more of his work at Boyink.com.

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