Jerome Braga and his wife, Jennifer, are professional photographers whose talents can be seen in many of the images used by Go RVing and the RV Industry Association. Under the name “Our One Chance,” they serve as RV ambassadors and regularly contribute to the Go RVing blog. The Bragas have a different spin in chronicling their RV adventures as they focus on traveling with a child with food allergies. While many people might think that having a child with severe food allergies would hinder traveling, the Bragas are thriving. They have committed their lives, full-time, on the road with their two daughters and dog Cole by means of their fifth wheel.

Here, Jerome reveals more about his family’s story on the road. Check it out:

It was never supposed to be like this. Our first jump into RVing life was supposed to be filled with family time, games, laughter, s’mores, memories and relaxation on weekend getaways. We had really high hopes when we picked up our first travel trailer and headed out to Cape Cod for a long weekend.   

Bragas_b2(Photo courtesy/Jerome Braga)

We said to ourselves, finally; after a year of trying to figure out how to enjoy some sort of safe vacation with our severe-food-allergic daughter, we were presented with a reality we just weren't ready for. We had unrealistic expectations as to what an RV could do for us, I suppose. The hidden truth about RV ownership was something we never learned from a dealership brochure or website. We had no idea that we would feel so liberated, so completely fulfilled, inspired, energized, and most surprisingly, instantly addicted to traveling!  

Fast forward four short years, we went from spending a few weekends away at local campgrounds to living full-time in our third RV and traveling through 32 states, 24 National Parks and captured well over 200,000 photos. I’ve walked with our girls in the Rio Grande, woke up to herds of deer sleeping under our awning, stared at the brilliant night sky with zero light pollution, been in ancient caverns 1,600 ft underground, slid down majestic sand dunes, ridden bicycles on paths lined with 10 ft alligators, and photographed more sunrises/sunsets than I could have ever dreamed.

Bragas_b(Photo courtesy/Jerome Braga)

No matter where we find ourselves these days, we always keep ourselves safe and educate ourselves about two things: Research which county we are staying in and locate the nearest hospital from our campground. We are lucky to only have a couple of terrifying stories about food accidents and allergic reactions under our belt. As fortunate as we are, they do occur despite our best efforts.

One Saturday morning, we were exploring a local farmers market in California and ultimately ended up at the emergency room. At that market, we came across a “nationally branded” food truck that sold only fruit smoothies. Although they promised they don’t use any dairy in their vehicle, (and despite our reluctance to buy anything that we don’t make ourselves), we took a chance. It was supposed to only be pineapple and banana, but after 20 minutes Shayla started vomiting and had hives appear on her skin. In an instant, I lifted her to my hip, Jen took to the GPS for directions, and we all took off running to the truck. A quick 10-minute drive to the ER got us immediately seen and with some careful monitoring and medication, we were able to keep her from falling into a full-blown anaphylactic reaction. We never learned which allergen was present in her smoothie that day, but, needless to say, we learned a valuable lesson that day. For this and so many other reasons we are eternally grateful for our RV and its mobile kitchen.  

Bragas_b3(Photo courtesy/Jerome Braga)

As I write this and reflect on our numerous journeys, I also think about how much more there is yet to see and do.

As a food allergy dad, professional photographer and adventurous husband, I couldn’t be any more thrilled than I am these days. I'm excited most of all for a healthy family, and for having this precious life and gift of RV ownership. I know our story sounds unbelievable and a bit fanboyish, but when we were handed a bowl of lemons with our youngest daughter’s life-threatening food allergy diagnosis, we struggled hard to find the best way to turn those lemons into a delicious lemonade. Ultimately, our RV life allowed us to skip right over the lemonade all together and make an entire four-course meal with all the trimmings! I couldn’t be any more blessed than I am at this moment in our lives.  

With our fully appointed mobile kitchen, we travel at will and keep our daughter safe with clean, healthy, allergy-free foods, everywhere we go. To be able to explore as well as adventure, all the while staying healthy and happy has not only made me an RV fan for life, but it has indeed become a part of my personality, if not a moderate addiction.

You can follow Jerome and Jennifer's family adventures and photography on their blog or on social as @our1chance.