Meet the ‘digital nomad’ married couple who traded in their $5,800-a-month apartment for a 40-ft RV


A New York couple who traded in their 1,100 square-foot apartment for a 40-foot motor home have described Manhattan living as ‘good training’ for life in the confines of an RV.

Jess Glazer, 36, and her husband Mike DeRose, 37, followed the call of the open road last fall.

They gave up their $5,800-a-month Hell’s Kitchen apartment and took out a loan to buy a $412,000 Tiffin Phaeton.

Glazer, who described a love of rooftop bars, weekend brunches and Sunday grocery deliveries, said she is shocked that she has now given up her stilettos for hiking boots – her new favorite shoes. 

Packing up their things and moving into the RV was not straightforward: unable to drive the massive vehicle though Manhattan, they found a RV park in Princeton, New Jersey, and hired a truck to move their belongings. What didn’t fit went into storage, at $150 a month.

The glammed-up RV isn’t exactly roughing it. Glazer said that the couple’s $412,000 motorhome is easy to clean and very comfortable – with a fully-equipped kitchen and washer-dryer

Glazer and DeRose took out a loan to purchase their $412,000 Tiffin Phaeton and a Jeep, leaving behind their Manhattan lifestyle in October for the open road of America

Glazer and DeRose took out a loan to purchase their $412,000 Tiffin Phaeton and a Jeep, leaving behind their Manhattan lifestyle in October for the open road of America

Glazer in Manhattan, before she and her husband set off on their epic adventure

Glazer in Manhattan, before she and her husband set off on their epic adventure

Glazer said that she and DeRose knew they were unlikely to settle permanently in New York, but never planned on an RV

Glazer said that she and DeRose knew they were unlikely to settle permanently in New York, but never planned on an RV

Then they set off, driving from October down the East Coast before heading west through Alabama, Texas and Arizona.

Glazer, from New Jersey, and DeRose, from Massachusetts, said their friends and family were supportive of the idea: the couple knew, even before the pandemic, that 2020 would likely be their last year in New York City before moving out to the suburbs.

‘They were super excited for us,’ Glazer told DailyMail.com, who said they bought the RV two weeks after first coming up with the idea.

During the summer the pair were on a networking Zoom call for entrepreneurs, in which the host, who lived in California, described his recent RV purchase and how much he was enjoying his ‘digital nomad’ life.

Glazer, 36, runs a business coaching company, and DeRose is now the CFO and COO. She says working together is beneficial

Glazer, 36, runs a business coaching company, and DeRose is now the CFO and COO. She says working together is beneficial

Glazer worked in fitness and taught at an elementary school before founding her company

Glazer worked in fitness and taught at an elementary school before founding her company

The couple said their friends and family have been 'super excited' for them and supportive of their journey

The couple said their friends and family have been ‘super excited’ for them and supportive of their journey

‘We’ve made pretty quick decisions before – I was an elementary school teacher before quitting and founding my own business. So they weren’t surprised.

‘We really miss our friends and family, but given the pandemic we weren’t really seeing much of them anyway.’

RV life, Glazer said, is in many ways more comfortable than an Manhattan apartment existence – although they miss good Thai cuisine.

The pair have a washer and dryer in their vehicle, plus a dishwasher – neither of which they had in their New York home.

The kitchen has two stoves, and an oven.

There are four televisions, and even a vacuum cleaner built in: ‘You just sweep a little into the corner, and then it all sucks away from the corner,’ she explained. ‘It’s amazing!’

The RV is heated, and cooled, to a perfect temperature: they have seen snow, but are currently in between Sedona and Scottsdale, where the temperatures range between a very comfortable 50 and 70 degrees.

Having the Jeep, which they tow behind the RV, has enabled the couple to explore regions of the U.S. they had never known

Having the Jeep, which they tow behind the RV, has enabled the couple to explore regions of the U.S. they had never known

DeRose is pictured at a gas station. Glazer said that Texas had been a revelation, and they loved finding small towns to explore

DeRose is pictured at a gas station. Glazer said that Texas had been a revelation, and they loved finding small towns to explore

Perhaps the biggest bonus is the Jeep, which is towed behind the RV.

It’s allowed the couple to explore areas of the country they never knew.

‘One of the highlights is having a car again, which we didn’t have in New York,’ she said.

‘It’s enabled us to go on adventures, and hikes. It’s really made us appreciate how big the country is, and we’ve loved the sense of space and freedom.

‘It’s been fantastic exploring little towns in places like New Mexico and Texas. In Texas we hiked through the Big Bend national park, which neither of us had ever even heard of, and it was stunning, with views across the Rio Grande to Mexico.’

Glazer runs her business coaching company remotely, and DeRose, who managed a territory of financial centers for Bank of America, handed in his notice before he left so he could join his wife’s company as its CFO and COO.

Living and working together, in such a confined space, might be expected to cause problems, but Glazer insisted it was working well.

‘He was always involved, behind the scenes, but it’s been great having him fully onboard as he brought a lot of corporate experience to our company,’ she said.

‘There’s been a lot of growth and development for our company, and the 11 of us working there.’

Jess Glazer and her husband Mike DeRose swapped New York City for life on the road when they bought a RV

Jess Glazer and her husband Mike DeRose swapped New York City for life on the road when they bought a RV

Glazer and DeRose, both keen hikers, said that Big Bend national park had been a revelation

Glazer and DeRose, both keen hikers, said that Big Bend national park had been a revelation

Glazer said she and DeRose were loving the freedom of the open road

Glazer said she and DeRose were loving the freedom of the open road

The pair are currently in Arizona, having escaped the snows of Texas. When the weather warms they will head north

The pair are currently in Arizona, having escaped the snows of Texas. When the weather warms they will head north

The biggest issue, she said, has been finding solid WiFi.

‘Getting a dependable service is stressful,’ she said, adding that RV parks advertising Wi-Fi may not have a strong internet connection.

They paid have resorted to subscribing to and installing multiple services and backup devices to compensate.

Glazer and DeRose have found that many people had similar plans.

According to the RV Industry Association, RV shipments rose 34 per cent in the second half of 2020, to 254,000.

RV parks were fully booked, months in advance, and some were reserved for people aged only 55 and over.

DeRose found himself putting parks on speed dial, making call after call until he got through.

The couple have enjoyed a slower pace of life and being able to get outdoors into national parks

The couple have enjoyed a slower pace of life and being able to get outdoors into national parks

But the hassle is all worth it, they say.

As the weather warms they plan to head north, exploring Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

They may come back to the East Coast to settle in the fall, ideally keeping their RV for future adventures, if they can afford to.

‘But we’re not sure yet what our plans will be,’ she said. ‘For now we’re just enjoying this amazing chapter in our lives.

‘We have zero regrets.’



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