Embracing American RVing

Juan and Johana Oropeza's Colman RV at night with twinkle lights.

Juan and I moved to South Florida from Venezuela about ten years ago and quickly put down roots and to start our family. We bought a home, had two beautiful daughters and started our own companies, immersing ourselves in the American way of life. With the USA being a vast, diverse country, we wanted to explore as much of it as we could. In the past ten years, we’ve visited Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, Alabama, Louisiana, and a huge part of our home state, Florida.

We have always loved traveling. When we got married, we would book plane tickets to countries like Mexico, Argentina, Finland, Norway and more; we even took long motorcycle road trips down through Venezuela and Colombia. Now, as Mia and Maia grow, we want them to love traveling as much as we do, and to experience a variety of different people, places, cultures and attitudes along the way. But like a lot of people, the older we get, the more responsibilities we have, and the harder it becomes to travel as much as we’d like.

Making Memories in a Trying Year

Then 2020 came around, and like most people, our year was crazy. We were lucky to have a lot of work, but between working from home, remote learning, and the stress of current events, our mental health took a hit. We had cabin fever, and everybody needed to get out of the house. So, we planned a weeklong resort at a cabin in Cleveland, Georgia, where we would spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve making a magical experience for our family .

The beginning of every new year is always a little slow for our businesses, so we wanted to extend our trip as much as we could. With the girls doing remote learning anyway, we figured we could take advantage of the flexibility and prolong our journey by staying with some family and friends after we left the cabin. (With all the appropriate safety measures, of course.)

As we planned our trip, we started chatting about RVs. Juan loves to take solo trips, and he uses his time alone to focus and finish creative projects, for himself and clients. But there weren’t a ton of safe options during the pandemic that could give him the freedom and space he was looking for––except for RVs. We knew an RV could be a good option for his solo travels, while also offering us a comfortable way to travel as a family. I admit, I was unsure at first. The idea of towing a trailer was intimidating; we’d never done it before and it made me nervous. I knew there would be a lot to learn about how to maintain and care for an RV, as well as how to hitch, tow, set up and camp safely.

But once Juan gets inspired by an idea, there’s no going back. He started looking online at travel trailers, and it made him so excited, I started to get excited, too. He was looking at a lot of great used travel trailers, but I suggested we look at new models, partly as a way to manage my own nerves over jumping into such a big decision. When we found the Dutchmen Coleman trailers, we fell in love. In Venezuela, the Coleman brand is huge. We both grew up in a culture that prizes spending time outdoors, hiking, swimming, camping out on beaches, you name it. Coleman products had always been there with us, as coolers, lanterns, tents and more. It was a brand name we trusted, so the Dutchmen models really caught our eye.

Trying Something New

When we discovered the Dutchmen Coleman Lantern LT, which had every feature we were looking for––and a bonus fireplace!––we knew we’d found our perfect model. It was so lightweight, we could even tow it with our family van, no new car needed. So, when we traveled to Georgia for our trip, I fell asleep in the car and woke up at Valdosta’s Camping World. Juan said, “Let’s just see it in person,” and, “I just want to run the numbers.” You know how this story ends by now. It was love at first sight. Suddenly, my anxiety about towing a trailer was gone, replaced with the excitement around dreaming up future trips with a home on wheels.

Our weeklong vacation in Georgia was amazing, and as we plotted how we could extend our travel longer, Juan found photography gigs in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. On January 1, 2021, we hitched the Dutchmen Coleman travel trailer up to our van and hit the road. For three weeks, we traveled all over the south, saw some snow (a big deal for Floridians), had a ton of fun with our girls and learned how to peacefully live together in a small space. We had perfect moments, and lots of learning opportunities, too. Figuring out how to back into a campsite with the trailer was stressful, but our newfound freedom made even our worst moments worthwhile.


Maia, our three-year-old, calls the RV “Casita .” (Casita means little house in Spanish.) And even though we have a beautiful house in Florida, Casita is our home away from home. Juan takes it on solo creative getaways every few weeks for work, and we’ve taken it on lots of short trips around Florida this spring. Juan and Mia recently traveled to Tampa to see their beloved baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, and then Maia and I joined them for a weekend at Busch Gardens.

When we tell our family and friends about camper life, this is how we describe it: You get to have more adventures, with the advantage of being with your whole family. Juan says our trips now are a lot like the motorcycle road trips we used to take, only we can all join in. That travel trailer is the best thing that’s happened to us as a family, because it made our bond stronger, and has given us incredible memories. Our daughters are growing up so fast, and every moment together as a family is precious. Our only regret is not having purchased an RV ten years ago!

The girls love going on frequent adventures. They make new friends easily, zipping around the campgrounds on their electric scooters (with some help from Mom and Dad). On top of their remote learning, Mia has become an avid photographer, shooting beautiful images of our travels that we’ll keep for life.

We’re even dedicating a new season of our podcast and a new series on our YouTube channel to our RV adventures. We want to share our newfound love of RVing with the rest of the world, because maybe there is someone else out there like us—wondering how to travel more and spend more time with family, feeling nervous about learning how to tow, or how to back up with a trailer. Maybe they are wondering how to get started RVing and where to go first. Our story is for those people. Because if we can do it, so can you. Here’s to your next big adventure!

Juan and Johana Oropeza travel in a Dutchmen Coleman Lantern LT.

Find Your Perfect RV

Whether you're new to the world of RVing or you're ready to narrow your search, we're here to help you sort through it all and find the RV that's right for you. Explore RVs based off of your lifestyle and the features important to you.

Find Your RV
An travel trailer RV parked in a green field.