The Other Wandering Jews


I corresponded with Ayo and Yair for nearly a month before meeting them, on Thanksgiving morning on a side street near the Burbank airport, and I still didn’t completely understand their deal.

I had seen their blog, and vaguely knew they had ditched their city lives, liquidated much of their worldly possessions, and were traveling the country in an RV. Their blog described the adventure as a "well-planned experiment in lifestyle design." So California.

Turns out, they’re both east coasters. They married young, held serious jobs — he at Bear Stearns, she at Deloitte — but something jerked them off that track. Yair was reading blogs about mini-retirement and watching his boss see his dream of becoming a Navy Seal slip away. Ayo was looking warily at colleagues above her on the corporate ladder and wondering if that was what her future held in store.

"I didn’t want to end up that way," Yair said.

So they quit. And hit the road.

Seven months ago, I had done something similar. But it had taken me until age 33 to figure out that the life of urban ambition was not for me. These two, both in their mid-20s, had figured it out much earlier. Part of me envied them.

They’ve been to the Dominican Republic and Burning Man. They spent some time parked in the lot of a Conservative synagogue in Reno (That didn’t appeal to me either, but they seemed to have enjoyed it). For the winter, they’ll be in San Diego, the city with the highest average low temperature in the Lower 48.

At some point, they say they’ll probably return to a more conventional lifestyle — have kids, settle down. But that’s a few years from now. For now, Ayo says, it’s about "traveling, living, having cool experiences."

That’s also something I know a bit about. 

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