Why did you become a host?
I became a host because two of my employees at the time were about to embark on their full-time adventure and I was curious about the lifestyle and where they would stay as they were young and "poor" at the time. They told me about BLM lands and Boondockers Welcome as inexpensive options for camping. I signed up as a host hoping to see different rigs and meet people who were already living the life. I'll name drop, the employees were Kyle and Olivia Brady of Drivin and Vibin. They have been amazing friends and mentors on our way to becoming full-timers.
What value did you receive as being a host?
I learned so much being a host. I wasn't sure about the type of rig, class A, B, C, fifth wheel, or trailer. After the first 100 guests, I had a very good idea of what would work for us based on discussions with our guests, most who couldn't wait to show me their rigs and set up. Of course, I got a three-year crash course about everything that could and would possibly happen on the road. Fortunately, most were kind enough to send me emails, spreadsheets, and checklists so I wouldn't forget.
Why should other non-RVers join as hosts?
Wow! I truly can't think of many reasons you wouldn't want to, especially if you live in a town or city or county that you are extremely proud of and love to show off. I worked so many years in the hospitality industry that I have always had a spirit to serve and make guests happy and meet new people. I had probably only met five Canadians prior to becoming a host, I have now met well over 80! I'm not really sure I can measure the value, it is so great.
What's one of your most memorable guests?
So many great guests. In fact not one "bad" experience at all. I met most if only for a minute but got to spend a good amount of time with most. However, the most memorable is a couple that stayed with me three different times over the years. We really got to know each other. Their first trip was early in their fulltime adventure and they didn't have a tow. They were with me for several days and I offered my personal vehicle because I truly wanted them to see my town of Fairhope. After a little encouraging they took me up on my offer. They were so grateful and I was so happy they enjoyed my town. Well, they came back two more times over the following years and with a tow! They had really "grown" as full-timers and boy had they learned a lot! We plan to meet up when we head out west.
How has your life changed by being a host?
Being a host didn't really change my life as much as it inspired and motivated me to pursue the full-time lifestyle. Although I think we are all changed for the better the more amazing people we meet and experience and as a host I met hundreds of inspiring and amazing people.
You've sold your business and now you're on the road. What are your plans? Anything, in particular, you are looking forward to seeing or doing?
We just recently left. We will spend a week in Top Sail, NC and we will be staying as guests at our first host site in Georgia! We have six host sites lined up on our trip which will take us to Acadia National Park by the end of August. Fingers crossed our reservation won't get canceled due to COVID! We will be back in Alabama for the winter and then we head west! So excited to see the deserts, mountains, national and state parks out west.
Now you get to be a guest! Are you planning to visit some of your previous guests who are also hosts?
We are trying to arrange trips that will allow us to stay with previous guests but so many of them are in Canada and currently we can't travel there. I threatened each and every guest that stayed with me that we would show up announced or unannounced once we hit the road, so they have been forewarned.
Anything else you would like to tell the Boondockers Welcome community?
Thanks to you guys for making this amazing resource available. Thanks to the hosts who are so kind and generous to offer a spot to us RVers, and a huge thanks to all the guests who chose to stay at my site in Fairhope, it was my extreme pleasure and honor to host and more importantly meet you all!