Life Along the Streetcar with Tom Heath from The Heath Team Nova Home Loans

On this week’s show, we’re going to speak with Haley and Monica. They are two sisters who moved to Tucson as part of the Remote Tucson program that was launched about a year ago with startup Tucson and they’re coming up to a big anniversary date on that program. So we thought we’d check in with Haley and Monica on how they’re doing here in Tucson and any of their thoughts on our community.

Today is December 11th, my name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to “Life Along the Streetcar”.

Each and every Sunday our focus is on Social, Cultural and Economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban Core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about. From A Mountain to the U of A and all stops in between. You get the inside track- right here on 99.1 FM, streaming on we’re also available on your iPhone or Android using our very own Downtown Radio app. Reach us by email [email protected] — interact with us on Facebook at LifeAlongTheStreetcar and follow us on Twitter @StreetcarLife

Our intro music is by Ryanhood and we exit with music from Dan Mills, “Something Good.”

Transcript (Unedited)

Morning. It’s a beautiful Sunday in the old pueblo and you’re listening to KTDT Tucson. Thank you for spending a part of your brunch hour with us on your downtown Tucson community sponsored Archinal radio station.

On this week’s show, we’re going to speak with Haley and Monica. They are two sisters who moved to Tucson as part of the Remote Tucson program that was launched about a year ago with startup Tucson and they’re coming up to a big anniversary date on that program. So we thought we’d check in with Haley and Monica on how they’re doing here in Tucson and any of their thoughts on our community.

Today is December 11, 2022. My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to life along the streetcar. Each and every Sunday, our focus is on social, cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s urban core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about from a mountain to the University of Arizona and all stops in between. You get the inside track right here on 99.1 FM, streaming on Also available on your iPhone or Android with our very own

Downtown Radio Tucson app. If you want to get us on the show directly, our email address is [email protected]. We’re on Instagram and Facebook and our URL has all of the past episodes information on the show, our most recent book, and of course our podcast is out there in many different places where you listen to your favorite ones. We now have a new name for the plaza outside of the Tucson Convention Center that runs through the campus there. We used to call it the Ekbo Plaza because it was designed by a landscape architect named Garrett Ekbo. It has now been renamed as of Friday the 9th as the Alva Bustamante Torres Plaza. The Alba Be Torres Plaza. If you’re not familiar with the name of Alva Torres, she is a huge part of the reason why we have as much of Tucson’s history and culture saved from that barrio area as we did. She was actually a big advocate for not destroying the barrios that were ultimately removed so that we could put in the convention center in the municipal

complex over there. So she was

a vocal against the creation of those because she didn’t want to lose the history and culture that we had. And she wrote for the Arizona Daily Star. She was one of the very first Mexican American writers to have a weekly series in a major newspaper. She talked about food, history, culture, her childhood. And as we walk around in the downtown area we have the social Korea house and we have the gazebo out in front of the Flynn and the San Diego house and those things that were spared during the revitalization of the late sixty s and early 70s. In large part we have those there because of Alva Torres. So we appreciate the fact that maybe, I don’t know, 50 50 some years later that we are recognizing her contributions to that. And we now have a plaza named after her and appreciate all that she has done to keep Tucson as vibrant and historically and culturally significant as she has done. So congratulations to her and congratulations to Tucson for making that happen. Our guests today are a little

newer to Tucson. It is Haley and Monica. They are sisters that came as part of the Remote Tucson program that was launched about a year ago. And they’re coming up on a key date here as they were given some incentives to move here for a period of time. And now that they’re approaching that one year anniversary, have a decision to make as to whether they’re going to stay. So I want to get a sense of what they thought of Tucson, how this program worked and what their overall thoughts are of our community. Had a chance to sit down with them just a few days ago at the brand new Tucson Gallery.

So this is kind of a cool thing. We are in a brand new space. It’s called the Tucson Gallery inside of the proper shops in downtown. Just opened this past weekend. And we are testing out the podcasting equipment for the new series we’re going to be doing called Meet the Artists featuring Tucson artists. And I had the privilege of running into Monica and Haley who are part of Tucson’s remote program that was used to attract people here from across the country. We started talking, it’s been about a year. If you remember, we did a show on that about a year ago. So we wanted to catch up and say, hey, what is happening? So let’s do some introductions. Hailey, tell us who you are. Where are you from, where did you move from?

I’m from Virginia.


I can’t associate myself anymore with who I was before coming here. I’m in a new era. I have a new mindset. I’m not who I used to be, which isn’t good or bad, just different. Yeah.

I think that’s if you’re moving from Virginia to Tucson, it should be a little different.


And you came with your sister Monica. You came as part of this big project. So tell us a little about Remote Tucson. What caught your eye and how that portrayed, how that played out.

Yeah. So I’m Monica. I am 30 years old. I’m an environmental scientist and a digital nomad. I was living up in the Rocky Mountains up in Colorado for the last two years when the Pandemic started. And I came across a program called Remote Tucson where they were looking for people to essentially just move here with your remote job. And at that time in life, with the state of the world, with the Pandemic, people were willing to change and open to just trying something new. So I felt pretty isolated as a remote worker in Denver and what attracted me here was this word that we use a lot, community. And when I went to the website, there were many perks to living here, but it was all about fostering a connection and something that was really curated and intentional. And I noticed that there were a lot of creatives here and people with an open mind and just bringing together all different walks of life and the culture of the Southwest and Tucson really caught my eye. We’re East Coast girls, so

we we never knew that we were going to come to the desert. So it’s really, as Haley said, like, she’s she doesn’t feel like she’s the same anymore. She’s evolved. I also feel that way. The desert has a way of changing you and your perception in life and making you kind of get still and also just embody what it means to be in the desert.

So when you saw this program, tell me a little bit about it wasn’t just, hey, I’m going to sign up and be part of remote Tucson. There was kind of a rigorous program.

There was no guarantee at first. I read the pilot report from Startup Tucson, the nonprofit that is in charge of the program, and I read through exactly who they were looking for and what they were looking for. There were a lot of families and couples and individuals who were moving. They wanted to move back to Tucson for either the u of a family or they had roots or a reason here. So we had no connection here. But I thought, hey, why not just try and apply? That’s the worst thing that could happen. I don’t work in the tech industry. I’m a scientist. And so I felt like the odds were going to be stacked against me. But even in knowing that, I did not let that stop me from applying, from filling out the application. There was many essay questions that I had to answer. And what really attracted me was that there was a question that said, would you be moving with family or spouse or a partner? And I had two sisters back on the East Coast, and I was by myself as a nomad. And that got lonely

during the pandemic and it’s hard anywhere to make friends. And so when I saw that, I listed my sister’s help before I officially submitted and I said, hey, would you be okay with moving to Tucson if I go?

Avi I was thinking that you got the award and decided, okay, I got to bring somebody with me. But you were part of this decision.

Yeah, it was kind of just like a silly little, let’s do it.

You weren’t with me when I applied.

Yeah, it was just like I was just like, yeah, like, why not? Because I feel like where we were at in that time last year, we were just needing something new and just like, we weren’t in the best head space. So we were kind of just like, let’s do it and see what happens. And now we’re here. And like, now that we’re here every day, I’m just like, wow, like, you’re in, you’re in.

Like, what is this? We so let’s see, we’re like at the nine or ten month mark. It’ll be a year next March in 2023, but we still wake up with this feeling of we’re here, we’re getting settled, and the desert is beautiful, but also like, we really did this.

It’s like, are we okay?

Yeah, because around this time last year, I applied and I was going through the realm. So I was attending virtual info sessions, asking questions, sitting in on meetings, and really doing some research on this, but not getting too ahead with it because there was a chance that I wasn’t going to get picked and I had no backup plan. So when I found out last December, I had COVID at the time, and I flew home to Virginia and I was like, hey, we found out. We’re going to go to Tucson. And so we put the pedal to the metal and yeah, we’re here.

So what was that conversation like? You called the Haley, we’re in and you’re excited or you just like, oh, what do we do?

When she found out, well, we already kind of knew. Like, you knew we were going to get it.

You knew I was going to get it.

She’s that girl. But I think once we were like, oh, she got it. Okay, so what does this mean? Because we’re all at different ages and at different points in our lives. So now it’s like we’re about to live together. We have not lived together since like.

2010 when I was in high school. So there’s three of us, but two of us here in the room. We’re all five and ten years apart. And so I didn’t know that as an adult I would live with my sisters again and have an opportunity to move with them in a new place.

So your third sister came with you as well?

She did. She’s here.

What’s her name?

Her name is Shauna. She’s at work right now. She works off of Craycroft Road.


So the program there was a commitment, like, you had to be here whether you like it or not for you.

Yeah, you do. So you have to live in Tucson or Pima County for twelve months to receive all of the incentives. And so in a year’s time, it’s a commitment, but it’s also a short amount of time because everything still feels new to us and that there’s so much that we have not covered or people we have not met. And I find myself constantly evaluating what my goals are here or my intentions. I thought I was going to be really into the outdoors here, and I am, but there’s also several other communities, groups, organizations that I never had on my radar. And now I’m like, I want to go for that. I want to do those things.

So I guess then it’s safe to say coming March, you have to make a decision. It sounds like you’re leaning to. Maybe not.

I think we are going to give ourselves some more time here to our.

Future selves, what do you do? Please let me know.

We’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about it since we’ve been here because the plan is not to live with your sibling for the rest of your life. If that happens, cool, because I’m all about just kind of like since the pandemic, being multi generational and sticking with family. No matter where you go, I think we’re all told to get a job, move away and be isolated, and that can be unhealthy sometimes. So I think we’re going to stick around and Haley is going to figure out what she wants to do and what’s good for her in the future and Monica is going to focus on what I want to do or what’s next for me. And I think with a little more time here, that will prepare us for staying or leaving or investing in a house here. There’s lots of opportunity here, some serious there.

How many people were in the cohort that came? Do you know?

So there is ten of us or between ten to 15 people. There were 900 applicants.


So I thought, all right, if it happens, it happens. I made the top 40. Like I said, I attended some information sessions and then I made another round, the final round, and, you know, you’re left on a cliffhanger at that point, like, oh, I’m in the running. And like my sister said, oh, Monica gets everything. Well, I honestly didn’t know because you never know what people are looking for.

Your sister’s new. You just didn’t know. Yes, she started packing as soon as you made the decision.

Probably, yeah.

We’ll be back to the second half of that interview with Haley Monica in just a moment. But first I want to remind you that you are listening to Life Along the Streetcar on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM and available for streaming on

Greetings and salutations, downtown radio listeners. Paleo Dave, your unfrozen caveman DJ, here to spread the good word about the Scrambled Sunrise rock mix happening every weekday morning from seven to 09:00 A.m. Right here on Downtown radio from the earliest days of Psych punk and new wave to 80s college rock, 90s alternative and the ongoing wave of 21st century indie rock. It’s all right here on the Scrambled Sunrise. So tune in via 99.1 FM if you’re in the greater downtown area or streaming worldwide via Downtown

And thank you to Paleo Dave for keeping our drive time Monday through Saturday well, Monday through Friday mornings live with really cool music. Let’s get back to our interview, though, with Haley and Monica as part of the Remote Tucson program, talking about their history, how they got here and want to find a little bit more about the program, maybe some of the other members and how all of it comes together. And we’ll find out at the end what their decision is about. Whether they’re going to stay in Tucson or move on.

Are you in contact with some of the other families and members that came out? Do you get together regularly?

Remote Tucson had a meet and greet. We participated in the Ten West Festival, so I’ve seen a lot of the other people in the cohort. I was also paired up with a great ambassador. Her name is Diana Sharbano. I had a soft landing with coming here, which is great. And I think that that is an opportunity metaphorically. Like if someone gives you a ball and an opportunity and a chance to do something new, take it and run with it, really set yourself up. And it’s teaching me how to meet new people. It’s teaching Haley how to get out there and meet new people. Tucson is like our teacher for Navigating life.



Did anyone else come out with siblings? Have you run into people in that situation?


We are the first sister group, the first family to do the program. So we made history.

I have a feeling you probably made history before. You seem like you’re not afraid of a lot. You just kind of make things happen.

Yeah, that’s us.

But it’s not like we know that we’re doing it.

We don’t know that we’re doing it. I mean, we met you at an event and the hardest part was just showing up and we didn’t know we would end up on this show from just being in the room and making conversation.

It was at Ten West. We were talking and we had talked about Remote Tucson on the show about a year ago and been to a couple of the events and now it’s to the point we’re like, let’s see if it’s having an impact. Do you have a sense of the other individuals, if they’re sort of in the same situation where they’re maybe going to stick around for a while? Or do you think have you had a conversation like, oh, we cannot wait.

To get out of here?

I think for the others, I think they’re going to stay because they have family here or they attended college here or they got a job here. With my job being remote and we don’t have other extended family here, that leaves the door open for leaving or continuing to stay and build our community here. So with being the first sister group and the first in the program to not have ties to Tucson, it just gives us more options. But you have to weigh those options and really sit with making sure you’re doing what’s right for you. I don’t want to leave so soon.

Yeah, because it just feels wrong.

You’ve said that. You’ve said that multiple times that it just feels good because it’s like, some.

Days I’m like then I’m also just like, no, I’m not ready to leave. There’s still stuff here for me.

Yeah. What we’ve done in our time this year, we’ve traveled to other nearby cities. What feels easy in Tucson won’t feel easy somewhere else. It’ll be more competitive, more traffic, more money. Since I’ve lived in bigger cities and more competitive markets where things feel more transactional and that everyone is using you. I haven’t felt that way here. But I will say it is hard to plant roots here and to make friends because the desert is open. People tend to stick to themselves. It gets really hot in the summer. We experienced that for the first time. We didn’t know what a siesta was. I’m from the east coast. You go, go, go. We were, like, non stop, and then we ended the world. We hibernate in the winter, but you don’t do that here. So it has been a big lifestyle change. And as Haley said, some days are hard, and we recognize that, but the more we openly talk about that yeah.

It makes it like, okay, we’re also feeling this way.

Yeah. It takes years. It takes time.

I’m learning to love it. And some days I’m like, okay, this is what I don’t like, okay, this is what I do like. So it’s like, he’s helping me figure out what is best for me and what’s not good for me. It’s giving me the clarity I need.

Have you done anything like this prior to?


I was in town being depressed. I went to school for art, and I dropped out of school. So then I was at home, just like, I don’t know what to do with my life. And then that’s why I was like, let’s do it.

Let’s do it.

And then now we’re here, and that’s why I’m like my days where I’m like, oh, my God. Did I, like, throw myself into fire? Like, was I not ready? Like, should I have stayed in school? Like, should I just stayed at home with my parents? But then sometimes I’m like, I need this exposure. I need to be uncomfortable and fly to different jobs and then quit jobs and then meet new people and then ghost people, have people ghost me. Like, I need to be in this world. And it’s hard at my age because you guys aren’t at my age. So it’s like, they can’t relate to me, but I’m learning from them. Like, they’re showing me. So that’s why I’m like, Tucson is special. Yeah.

By removing my sisters out of their home environment, we were just, like, throwing paint to the wall. Go see what’s out here for you. And I think for them, because Haley is the youngest, she’ll always remember this. Like, wow. When I was young and I dropped out, of school, I was working random jobs like I lived in Tucson and I’ve told her that whether you stay or go or you want to go back home, you’ll always remember this.

I’m curious to see when that triangle starts to separate where if you all.

Stay, you have to keep tabs on Haley. Where is she now?

In the future, I think all three of you, it’s going to be interesting to see how that changed because the leap that you made is pretty significant. Haley, you also did have the comfort of having family to do that with. I think that’s an important component. You didn’t have to be out.

They keep me sane.

Keep you sane, but also push you a little bit to keep you a little bit insane. Probably.


She’s the first to move cross country because none of us did that at her age. We don’t have that experience. Our other sister, she had moved around a little bit, too during college. She moved before I did. So I thought, did I do the wrong thing? Is she going to get homesick? Is she not going to like it? Is she just going to wake up one day and buy a plane ticket and go back home? That’s why we are just giving ourselves grace and feeling how we feel and constantly evaluating but also enjoying this time.


Your thoughts on the success of it? Do you feel like this program makes sense for us? Tucson, I know it made sense for you, but does it make sense for Tucson?

And that’s a big question because I learned that people weren’t really happy about it in the first coat.

Yeah, some people weren’t.

They were. They weren’t. It’s exciting for some people. I think it it is good for Tucson to bring back those that have ties here and really care about cultivating this community. I also think if you’re a creative or an entrepreneur, this is a good place to start before you try to go to a big city or out of the country.

I think if it can bring the two of you and your sister out here, I think it is a good thing for Tucson.


As long as you keep an open mind and learn the culture and pace of Tucson and show up to things that will set you up for success. But if you come here like I was told, if you come here with expectations or a high demand, that’s going to make it difficult.

Yeah. It definitely made us too self aware of everything. And I feel like with the program, it was a good stepping tool to get us here and out of the mindset that we were in.


But I just feel like sometimes we can’t relate to the program or that we can’t relate to people here. And I feel like we are so willing to learn about the culture here and the people here and what tucson is, but I feel like they’re not willing to understand us and like who we are and what we need. So it’s like kind of like it’s not reciprocating energy, but it’s okay. People aren’t going to get it and that’s fine.

I’ve enjoyed participating and giving it my all and being one of the more so engaged members of the Cohort. I’ve also leaned into focusing on my own career aspirations at my job and then also in my free time and start up Tucson. And this remote Tucson program afforded me that opportunity and I used it to the max. But I do agree with Haley because we have such a different mentality and mindset and we look so different than everyone else, it can be hard to feel like people want to understand us.

Well, I appreciate you coming and helping explain that because when I met the two of you at that event, my first thought was, oh, my gosh, they fit in so well. They’re so adjusted. It was amazing to me that you’d only been here for a few months because you knew everyone and everything was sort of centering around the two of you. It was surprised that you had only been here for a few months, but I appreciate you taking time to explain your story. I’m sure we’re going to stay in touch.

We are.

And probably have an update in March.

Maybe they can okay, that sounds good.

Happen and do the countdown and then we’ll start the campaign of where’s Haley now?

Where is Haley?

I have no idea where she’s going to be, but she’s going to be okay.

Well, that’s what we need to know. No one knows where Haley’s going to be. That’s the beauty of it.


Thank you for having us.

Oh, absolutely, my pleasure.

It was my pleasure. Haley Monica were really wonderful people to have on the show and get it’s nice. Oftentimes we get to interview people that have been here for a while and have all these historical perspectives and then every now and then we get someone who’s brand new. We had, you know, Maryland from visit Tucson that had just moved from Philadelphia months before and now we’ve got nine months with Haley Monarchs. I think it’s always good to get that fresh perspective with out a different set of eyes that aren’t integrated with all the beauty that we see every day. They bring a different lens to it and their input is always so, so important to keeping Tucson great and making it even better. My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to lifelong the streetcar in downtown radio 99.1 FM and available for streaming on

You’re listening to Ktdt, Tucson, Arizona, 99.1 FM, downtown radio. I’m brother Mark, host of a show called radio Club Crawl that airs every Tuesday at 03:00 p.m.. We try to focus on most of the bands that are coming through Tucson and we give you a tasty taste of their music. You want to check out what’s happening around Tucson? Check out Radio Club crawl. Tuesdays, 03:00 P.m. Right here on Ktdt. Tucson, Arizona. 99.1 FM. Downtown radio.

Thank you very much. Enjoy your evening. Bye bye.

All right. Hard to believe, but we’re wrapping up another show, and we’re quickly wrapping up another year here. Lifeline Streetcar has been on the air for over five years. This is episode number 229. Oh, my goodness gracious, how time flies. Thank you again to Monica and Haley for spending some time and got to do that interview at the Tucson Gallery. So I’m going to probably do a few more there. We set up a podcasting station because we’re going to be doing meet the artist events at the gallery. This, you may remember from our episode a few weeks ago, talked about the proper shops. We have a lot of local artists in there with original work and some reproductions and a little bit of merchandise. It’s a small space, but we’ve put a lot into it. And the podcasting area is set up so that probably in January, we can start doing interviews with these artists and inviting their fans down to maybe even be a part of that podcast. But in the meantime, Life Along the Streetcar, which is not going

anywhere, by the way, we’re not replacing that. That’s just an additional podcast. Life along the streetcar remain a radio show here on downtown Radio 99.1 FM. And I’m just happy to be a part of this lineup with all these other great DJs and volunteers that run shows and keep the station running. If you want to learn any more about the station, make a donation, check out our schedule, head over to You can just randomly click on any one of those, and my guess is you’re going to find something you like. If you don’t, it’s okay because we’re very eclectic. Click on something else. But I would doubt that it’s going to take you more than two clicks to find a style of music that you’ve never heard before or that you haven’t heard in a while and get a really knowledgeable DJ telling you all about it. Well, in honor of Haley and Monica, we’re going to leave you a little music today that’s just talking about where they landed here. It’s a song by Dan Mills from 2017 on an album

called Something Good, and it’s Tucson, Arizona. My name is Tommy. I hope you have a great week and tune in next Sunday for more life along the Streetcar.