We don’t go to many RV shows or rallies to promote Boondockers Welcome. But when RVillage.com founder, Curtis Coleman, invited me to be one of three Masterclass Speakers at his third annual RVillage rally in Florida, I knew we had to attend. It was the main reason Florida became our winter destination this year. Once the decision was made, we figured we might as well go all out.
We brought the entire Boondockers Welcome team to the event – all three of us! My daughter (Boondockers Welcome co-founder), Anna Maste, flew down, and Carrie Andress (our Community Support Specialist) and her husband drove down in their RV.
The rally dates were Wednesday through Sunday and one of our “official” duties was manning our vendor booth each day. Our booth seemed exceptionally busy with a constant flow of both current and potential members. With four of us (including Randy) to cover shifts and Carrie’s husband, Alden, to run errands for us, we were able to schedule much-needed breaks.
Since our platform is all about hospitality, we hosted a happy hour. We did it on Valentine’s Day so our theme was appropriate: Showing our love for BW members. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we were extremely pleased with the turnout (approximately 70 people) and grateful for the many who agreed to wear an “Ask me why I love being a member” sticker. We signed up many previously-undecided new members the next day.
Our other official act was my seminar. With a standing-room-only crowd in attendance, I compared the various websites and apps that are available for finding free RV camping. As my talk closed, and I welcomed questions from the floor, several Boondockers Welcome members came forward to rave about the positive experiences they’ve had using Boondockers Welcome. It felt like a bit of a lovefest!
Our evenings were our own. Although Carrie has been working with us since June, and we have regular video meetings, this was our first opportunity to meet each other in person. We enjoyed most evening meals together and had a variety of entertainment to choose from. We attended karaoke, listened and danced to amazing live bands, and spent hours mingling with 2000 other RVers around “The Firebirds”. The evenings were cool and the entire crowd gathered around these six giant metal art structures to listen to the music and keep warm.
It was an unbelievable five days. We were completely humbled to meet so many of our amazing members – many of whom told us how much they appreciate Boondockers Welcome. More than one grabbed and hugged us unexpectedly to say the platform has “single-handedly changed their lives and the way they travel”. A few even told us they attended this rally just to meet us. Oh my – we’re not used to this. A lovefest, indeed!
Don’t worry – it hasn’t gone to our heads. As my next post will show, as soon as the rally ended we quickly came back to earth – which is where we feel most comfortable. Two feet and four wheels on the ground once again, and our trip continues.
- Total days on the road this trip: 25
- Total camping costs to date: $0