Tips to Staying Happy, Healthy & Surviving Florida winter in the RV

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written, but it’s mainly because we’ve been stationary since October! We’ve had several weddings booked to photograph in Florida, and let’s be honest, it’s FREEZING in the rest of the country right now! I don’t mind some nice breezy days in the 50s, but I’m not super excited to be in any weather colder than that. For any of you that live in an RV, or if you don’t yet and are getting ready to, let’s get something straight….the insulation in these things is sub par at best. We have a great unit (Grand Design Imagine 2800BH) that is rated for 0 degrees and considered 4 seasons, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be frigid when it’s 29 degrees outside and 100% humidity (thanks Florida winter…insert eyeroll)

I’m going to guess that a lot of you reading this have read our recent little blurb in February’s Redbook magazine. Well, that was written a few months ago! A LOT can change in just a few short months….and I for one, have a few confessions to make. I’ve taken on a job! I am first and foremost a self employed photographer, but I have always had a childhood dream of photographing weddings and events at my favorite place in the world…Walt Disney World! It’s not a full-time gig, but I get to book sessions and events with Disney when we aren’t traveling! I’m just getting started, but if you find yourself looking to do a family portrait sesh or wedding session in front of the castle then request me as your photographer! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this…Friday I get to go into the Magic Kingdom at 5am before the park opens for a photo session….inside the kingdom without ANYONE else?!!! Yep, sign me up for that! #childhooddream
If you haven’t seen our wedding and portrait photography, you can check us out: www.AlexiShields.com

Well, back to what we’ve been doing during this Florida Winter…. I can’t remember, did I tell you how much we love Walt Disney World yet? Well, we have a 3 (she’ll be 4 on Sunday!) year old and like most little girls she is Disney and ‘all things’ princess obsessed! So it was natural for us to find a campground near the parks and get annual passes so we can go whenever we want. We actually checked the other day and we’ve logged 30 visits to one of the parks since Mid October! #holymoly I know what you’re thinking…who in their right mind would want to do that many days at Disney? (Or any theme park with large masses of people for that matter) Well, we’ve got it down to a science! We don’t do marathon days…In fact I don’t think we’ve spent more than 5 hours there on any given day. We usually have our few things planned, hop a train on Big Thunder Mountain, grab a Mickey pretzel and hop on out of there to do normal life stuff. (I’m not sure what that is now and I’m pretty sure Ella thinks hanging with Elsa and Anna are normal things to do!)

We needed to either hit the road again or find a new routine for a little bit, which is how I ended up becoming part of the Disney Fine Art Photography group!!! Also, for anyone that’s ever met our daughter you’ll know she is one of the most social children you will ever meet! She’s never shown an ounce of shyness and loves to be around other kids and especially loves the school environment. She has never truly adjusted to the nomadic lifestyle and even suffered from night terrors quite a bit at the beginning of our journey. She’s definitely adapted to being stationary, but she needed social interaction too, so we have her enrolled in part time preschool while we are in the area. We even went as far as to search for a house while we are here, because we are wondering if we should have a ‘home base’. I’m not sure if we will end up going that route or not….I really don’t mind our tiny space and the lack of mortgage payment is pretty nice, but we were Realtors for a while and actually enjoy investing in property, soooo again we start researching the Winter Garden market and wondering if there is money to be made in real estate. Hmmmph…..I guess you can say we are all over the place. Figuratively and literally when we aren’t stationary! Lol!

It’s been just about 7 months since starting this RV journey and we have a better grasp on what we need to have to be comfortable, what you need to maintain health and fitness while on the road, and the few things we splurge on to make us happy and enjoy life!!!

—Things we’ve recently added to our RV repertoire to become more comfortable—

• Ceramic space heater! I recommend a ceramic one with a thermostat. It doesn’t suck up all the dust and in our situation….dog hair! This small investment has literally saved us hundreds of dollars in propane! The furnace only kicks on during those super frigid Florida nights (laugh all you want, I’m cold!).

  • Juice squeezer thingy! (that’s the technical term) This has taken the intensive labor out of squeezing limes into my mermaid juice (vodka and lime lol!) and it doesn’t waste any precious juice!!
  • Nutri bullet – I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s so quick and easy to whip up smoothies and sauce, not to mention it’s a work horse and easy peasy to clean! —this would also fall into my ‘how I stay healthy on the road’ category.

—Staying healthy and fit living in an RV—
This was a challenge for me as I was so accustomed to going to Crossfit every morning, that not having my routine through me off my game. With that being said, this is why I started a Fitness and Food for Nomads Facebook group dedicated to fellow peeps that either travel in an RV or just want inspiration to stay healthy and fit. Here are some things I’ve found necessary in order to do that.

Facebook group: Join us even if you aren’t a nomad! You can still get pumped up to stay healthy!

  • Fitness tools that are small and can be stored easily in an RV – Jump rope, set of dumbells (these come in handy and can be used to weight things down lol), yoga mat, Resistance bands, the stick (miracle muscle massager) ….I have a foam roller too, but it’s pretty large.
  • Instant pot – I actually had sold mine because it was large and I didn’t think I would use it and I didn’t want it to take up too much storage in my RV. Well, I bought a crock pot (sigh) and now I never use that because I don’t typically stay in the RV all day long…therefore, I don’t want to let the crockpot go all day when we aren’t here! Hence the reason I should’ve never gotten rid of the instant pot in the first place! Follow me on Pinterest to see some relish and healthy recipes I’ve saved (and tried!…well, I haven’t tried ALL of them)
  • Find local farmers markets or local farms for your produce! We are in Winter Garden right now and their cool historic downtown area hosts an awesome farmers market every Saturday! YAY! #shoplocal

——BE HAPPY!——

  • READ!!! I LOVE Kindle Unlimited  Best subscription money can buy! $9.99/month!
  • LISTEN TO MUSIC – Try Amazon Prime Music for FREE sign up for a 30 day free trial! 

MINT: the best tool I’ve found to track our money and budget. Not worrying about money is definitely a big part of staying happy in my book!

• There are still some ‘things’ that make me happy, however most are experiences. I’ve fully adapted to the minimalist lifestyle as much as possible. Wherever we are we always check Groupon for local restaurants and cool new places to check out on the cheap! Since I knew we were going to be in Winter Garden for a while I found a groupon for a local gym that offered a super cheap membership for your first month! #AwesomeSauce!

• Disney! Definitely our biggest splurge…but we’ve purchased our tickets and don’t eat there everytime we are there. We usually pack lunches and keep a cooler in the truck. If you’re planning on visiting the most magical place on earth when you’re in Florida, make sure you download the My Disney Experience app ahead of time to schedule fast passes, check wait times and make dining reservations.

We will be exploring some new places starting in March when the rest of the country thaws out!

First stop….Savannah, GA!!! (I still have never been!) WOOT!!!

Happy Travels

~Alexi

PS this post features affiliate links…it helps keep our tank full of diesel so we can journey further down the road…and it doesn’t cost you any extra if you purchase anything through that link!

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