• Countries Visited: 17
  • Travel Wishlist: Japan, Argentina, Norway
  • Locked down in: Vermont, USA

“I look forward to living and paying taxes in a country where its people unite against this pandemic instead of calling it a hoax,” 

My wife and I began planning our move to the United States in 2016. Alex is from Boston, Massachusetts, and I am from the UK, and we had been living in New Zealand since 2012. It felt like the right move to be closer to both of our families. We moved to the US in May 2019. After a long and arduous immigration process in the United States, our application was granted in December 2019.

I have spent a lot of time in the US, through the summers of 2009 and 2010, working at Camp Nebagamon in Wisconsin. I have visited multiple times to visit my wife’s family, and always enjoyed everything from rich culture, great scenery, food, and people. There’s always an experience to be had and a story to hear.

My Green Card took over six months to be granted. I passed the time gardening, hiking and fishing. In February 2020, I accepted a position in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the beginning of March, I started the 4 day drive from Boston to SLC. Once I got to Pennsylvania, I was on Interstate 80 heading west for the next 3.5 days. I remember day three, driving through the heart of Omaha when I got a COVID-19 notification on my phone. I knew at this point things were about to get rough. I carried on driving, eventually reached SLC, and started work the following day.

Three days into this role, I came to the conclusion things were heading south fast, and I needed to hit the road. The day Alex’s company in Boston shifted to remote work in response to COVID, my new company was hosting a 50+ person pizza party as if the virus did not exist. Our plan had been for Alex to finish her notice, and fly to Salt Lake the following month, but we had to pivot quickly. She retracted her notice, and I drove back ahead of a full on lockdown, or being potentially laid off. I made it back to Massachusetts in 4 days. We were lucky enough to spend the next three weeks quarantined in Becket, Massachusetts. I passed the time applying for jobs and fishing. Within two weeks, I landed a job in Vermont and now work as a Digital Content Strategist for a health insurance company. We moved to Vermont and rented a tiny house. (This was not intentional, nor is it instagramable or romantic, it sucks). Alex has not managed to find a job in Vermont, therefore we travel to Boston every few weeks when she is required to be in the office.

Although I had spent over a year in the US before making the move in 2019, I never fathomed the difficulty of everyday life here. Before the pandemic I was becoming disenfranchised with our decision to move here. Things I had taken for granted in the UK and New Zealand like hopping on a train, logging into my bank account to make a payment via an app, or going to the accident and emergency room became huge expensive events.

At the time of this writing, the pandemic has run rampant for 9 months,40 million Americans have lost access to their health care, 281k have died and 84 million unemployment claims have been filed since mid-March. Americans have purchased 17 million guns since March, mass shootings have increased, petty crime is rising and homeslessness is growing exponentially. Vermont is the one of the safest states in the union second only to Maine. However, there is always a price to pay, there are few well paid jobs and living expenses are high. Vermont is an aging state, with a stale economy and has the third highest tax burden in the country.

My wife is now applying for grad school in New Zealand and Canada. I came to the US with high hopes and an open mind however, the current political climate alongside the pandemic has soured the grapes, the world can now see what lies within and it ain’t pretty. My days living here are numbered. I am of the opinion this is the beginning of the end for the US as we know it. I understand my privilege in having the opportunity to move and am thankful I do not have to live here long term. I look forward to living and paying taxes in a country where its people unite against this pandemic instead of calling it a hoax, help each other up instead of kicking them when they stumble and living in a country where its government spends money on infrastructure, its people and fixing their problems opposed to allowing their people go without healthcare, homeless, hungry and rot whilst the wealthy reign supreme.