When i first found out that I was moving to Naples 13 years ago, I went kicking and screaming. I didn't want to go! I heard about how snooty the people were and how expensive it is to live there. Heck, the place we had in Port Charlotte was TWICE as big for HALF the price!! I didn't get it - why is this place so expensive? My first day on my new job, I had someone call me, yelling at me, saying, "Do you know who I am?? I am calling you from 5th Ave!? Well, I didn't know what that meant, but I knew I was already ready to go back to Illinois.
It didn't take long, though, to realize what an exceptional place Naples, Florida is. And I've met the most amazing people here. People who have changed my life. People who have made me the person I am today. I've had the privilege of working and socializing with millionaires, billionaires, famous authors, actors, athletes, CEO's - some of the most intelligent and accomplished people in the world. I've learned more from these people than anything I could of ever learned in school!
I must admit, when I first moved to Naples, I was pretty overwhelmed by the prestige of it all. Where I grew up in Illinois, we said a prayer every time we tried to start our beat up old car. In Naples, the high schools are filled with Mercedes, Lexus, Porches, Hummers and BMWs. When our school went to State, we took the pep bus. When a Naples school goes to State - they take private jets. People pay cash for a $10 million dollar house in Port Royal - then tear it down and build a new one.
As it turns out, the people in Naples are not snooty, as I had heard. They are some of the most generous people on the planet. Last year's Naples Wine Festival charity event raised over $14 million dollars - in one weekend!!! During the holidays, if you try to volunteer at a homeless shelter to serve dinner, chances are they may not need you because they already have to many volunteers. Naples has a real sense of community, and when needed, the residents step up and help one another.
Even after almost 9 years of selling real estate, and selling properties over $7.5 million, I am still in awe of the beautiful luxury homes in Olde Naples, Aqualane Shores, Grey Oaks and Estuary at Grey Oaks, just to name a few. I don't care how many luxury properties you show, it's still fun and exciting and I still act like I'm on MTV Cribs when I'm bored at my open houses!!
Now, I can't imagine a time when I didn't want to be in Naples. It truly is paradise. People save for months to be able to spend a week here on vacation - and here I am, just a minute from one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, having dinner at a restaurant next to one of the most successful CEO's in the country! Lucky me!!