Introduction

RV there yet?” Anonymous

Once full time Miamians, we are two women now living a simple life in an RV far away from the city. My name is Connie and my wife’s name is Vivian. It’s through our personal ambitions; mine – nature photography, Vivian – fishing, and our love of traveling and learning that we let go of our city life and began living the RV dream.

Vivian
Vivian with a snook.
On-the-islandresized
Connie with her camera and canoe.

For years up to now, we both had full time careers. We worked very long hours with very long commutes in Miami traffic and when we were not doing all that, we were immersed in photography and fishing with every ounce of energy on every weekend or summer vacation. Of no surprise, my primary purpose for RV traveling is to explore the United States with my camera and Vivian’s is to cast a line in every pond, stream, river or lake she encounters. That’s it. Simple.

Miami commuteresized
A view of a Miami commute.
Sunday Bay
A view we much rather prefer!

Most of the time, our home on wheels is parked on an RV lot on Chokoloskee Island, Florida. Chokoloskee is a 150-acre island in the middle of the Ten Thousand Islands of the Gulf of Mexico and surrounded by Everglades National Park. It is located on the far side of the bridge to nowhere. It’s exactly where we want to be, when not traveling.

bigview
Chokoloskee is connected to Everglades City, seen here in the foreground by bridge. Otherwise, it is totally surrounded by wilderness.

Our respective passions for photography and fishing were born out of the Everglades, both a physical place and a way of life for us. Being avid Everglades canoe and kayak paddlers, our dream has always been to live on that island. The RV made that dream happen. The RV also made another dream come true and that is to travel the United States while taking our time doing it.

The Cameo
Our first RV, a 2005 Carriage Cameo 5th wheel.

With no previous intention, three years ago we purchased an RV lot and the 2005 32-ft Carriage Cameo 5th wheel that was parked on it. At that moment, we began an RV lifestyle of which we knew nothing. Through trial and error and asking a lot of questions, we learned the ins and outs, and ups and downs of RV maintenance and what makes an RV tick. For over two years we drove between Miami and Chokoloskee to spend most of our weekends “living” in the Cameo. We made so many mistakes and learned so much!

Meanwhile, back in Miami the week day commutes and long work hours became more challenging as we plotted to get out of that lifestyle and make our dream happen. The Cameo made us realize that we could afford to live our dream. Finally, we held each others hand, closed our eyes and took that giant leap of faith and quit our jobs. We basically chucked it all by downsizing to a fraction of our normal space and starting a fixed-income lifestyle.

Salt water intrusion
This is what happens when an 8-ft storm surge fills your RV with salt water, compliments of Hurricane Irma.

On June 1, 2018, we moved into a new 5th wheel, a Grand Design Reflection 303rls and became full time residents of Chokoloskee. Let me back up; on September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma blew an 8-ft storm surge over the entire island. Sadly, we lost our 12-yr old Cameo to the salt water. Consequently, we purchased the new rig in December 2017. Shortly after that, we sold our 1600-sq-ft Miami condominium, retired from our jobs and said good bye to Miami.

The new rig
Our new full time home on wheels.

Going from 1600-sq ft to 300-sq ft, we gave away most of our possessions and kept only the essentials. Somehow, we found room for everything we needed so that all that we owned would be with us as we traveled. It’s a bit scary, but mostly comforting to know our home will be where ever we park it. Our journey begins here.

Inside our home
All the comforts of home – A view of our living room, office/dining room and kitchen.