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Jeremy Puglisi talking RV Business, the RV Atlas Podcast and more [EP 262]

Jeremy Puglisi and his wife Stephanie are publishers and hosts of the RV Atlas podcast and website. Jeremy tells us how they literally stumbled into the RV world, their RV journey’s and the terrific resources they deliver on the show, through the website and books they’ve published.

Show Notes

The RV Atlas

The Idiot's Guide to RV Vacations

Roadtrippers the popular travel app

Florida RV super show

Podcasters Workshop

BooksOutdoor Adventure Guides; See You at the Campground; Where Should We Camp Next

The Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor

Tradeshow Banner– Is it built to last?

Favorite Piece of GearNorth Face Recon

Advice– it's a really amazing time to get in the Outdoor Biz. I think that the next four, eight, twelve, twenty years. Are going to be a fascinating time to work in the outdoor space, whether that's the camping industry, the RV industry gear, et cetera, et cetera.

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Transcript

Welcome to the show, Jeremy. Hello, thank you so much for having me. And I've been devouring your podcast for the last three months, so I'm really excited. 

[00:01:09] Well, thanks. Yeah. Thanks. I appreciate that. It's uh, it's always fun to talk to a listener and I think we were just talking before we hit the mic button, you might be the first RV person I've had on the show. That's pretty interesting. Exciting. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I, we, we did tent camp and we cabin camp. 

[00:01:29] We do a little bit of everything, but we really, my career really very much is in the, in the RV space. And I'm also interested in the overlap. Because so many tent campers become RV owners. Um, so it's, it's kind of an interesting relationship between those two worlds. Yeah, it definitely is. Uh, let's start with, what was your inspiration for all the road tripping you and your wife did before the RV business got started? 

[00:01:54] I was looking on your website. It looks like you guys went on a bunch of great trips before you had kids too, I guess. Yeah. I mean, we were high school sweethearts and we just, I don't know how it started, but we loved road trips. From day one. And I remember calling my wife's, uh, my girlfriend at the time, I remember calling her father and asking permission to take her to new Orleans for jazz Fest with, with her sister. 

[00:02:20] And I was kind of scared to death, but, um, actually pick up the phone and called them and said, Hey, we want to go to jazz Fest and can your daughter come with me? And then, uh, both your daughters. And I was shocked that he said yes, and we did cross country trips. We did a lot of surf trips at that time to Cape Hatteras. 

[00:02:36] So traveling by car was really always the way we love to travel. We really rarely got on a plane. And so when we got married, we continued doing that. And then we had twin boys eventually. And the first year of having twins was really, was really, really difficult to be honest. And I think after about eight or nine months, we both felt so cooped up. 

[00:03:01] And we're just really, really wanting to get out on the road to do a road trip. So when the boys are about maybe nine months or 10 months, we drove from New Jersey to Asheville to visit her parents, which is about an 11 hour drive. And he did it all in one shot, one or the other. Yeah, we did it all in one shot, but one or the other of my sons was crying the entire way. 

[00:03:26] I mean, it was, it was sort of torture. And then, you know, we stayed in the endless house and they were very welcoming and everything, but it just, wasn't easy not having our own space with little kids. So soon after we just got the idea really kind of randomly out of nowhere to get a pop-up camper. And that we are going to start taking the kids, camping, get out of the house, get some fresh air again. 

[00:03:49] Um, my wife always said, look, I'm going to deal with kids crying or a temper tantrum. I might as well do it somewhere beautiful in the great outdoors. And we really made uneducated purchase. I mean, we bought a brand new pop-up camper. We paid too much. It wasn't really the right thing for our family. And we've always said it's like the best decision and worst decision of our lives. 

[00:04:09] Um, it was the worst decision because we totally bought an RV that wasn't suitable for. Yes. And we spent too much, but it got us into the lifestyle, into the culture of camping. And, uh, you know, 10 years later, we both worked in the outdoor industry and the RV industry and it's changed our family's lives. 

[00:04:25] And we just had incredible memories along the way. That's pretty interesting. What were you guys, did you have any occupations that were related to camping or RVs or did you camp as kids and we've grown up. We both were teachers. Okay. Stephanie, my wife's, uh, camped up. Her father was a boy scout when he was younger, real outdoors men. 

[00:04:44] So they, you know, they did, it, did a tent camping or two trips a year to like acetate Island, state park. Um, and I, I can't very little as a kid. So it w it wasn't something that we really did a lot beforehand. Um, but we were both teachers and we both had the summers off. So, so travel was always a real live possibility for us. 

[00:05:05] And, you know, we stumbled upon this idea of buying an RV and, and just absolutely fell in love with the camping culture and taking our kids out to the campground, getting out into the great outdoors. Right, right. That's perfect. Yeah. Did you. So your road trips, when you guys were teaching, did you write about the road trips or was the writing inspired by your RV trips? 

[00:05:27] So we were both humanities people in our backgrounds, so we both loved for, right. Okay. And then when we started the RV trips, we started a blog called the lively little campers, which is really where all of this, the origin for all of this for us, we started this blog and we would just, we would go on our weekend trips or our week long trips. 

[00:05:46] I'd snap, some pretty bad photos back then. And one or one of us would write a blog post, you know, just kind of documenting the trip. Cause we were having all kinds of, kind of wild, crazy fun adventures with the kids. We were hiking with them in Acadia, national park and stuff like that. And what happened was we stopped, we started the blog. 

[00:06:03] It was like a WordPress blog. You know, this is over a decade ago. And the idea was that our friends could read it. Family could read it, we would read it. But after a year or two, we kind of realized we had some traffic and we were actually, there was people reading this, this blog, you know, we were getting 500 a thousand people reading the blog posts. 

[00:06:22] And we started to, to take that more seriously that maybe writing about our RV trips is something we could do as like a side hustle or something we could do for fun. Right. So at that point, we, um, we started to reach out to some companies and, uh, Jayco and that the RV company Jayco. I think the first company that ever responded to one of our emails and we started writing for their blog and it really, really spiraled, um, from there, you know, it's been quite an adventure since then. 

[00:06:52] Yeah. You guys are started with a little bit. Yeah. I was gonna say you're very prolific and you've got a lot of good info on there too. Well, you know, that was 10 years ago. So it was just a little family travel blog. And a decade later, we published three bucks. We have a podcast with three and a half million downloads. 

[00:07:13] Wow. Um, published broadly in print and digital well, and we both are making our careers in this space, you know, and it's, I don't sit back and think about it that much, but it really has been a wild ride. And the leap, the leap from the blog to the podcast was really pivotal. In our journey. And I know that might be kind of something that interests you also as a podcast, or why do you think that what we were first starting to, we both loved writing. 

[00:07:42] So we got into the blogging. Then we started to sort of monetize the blogging for other companies. So we were writing for progressive insurance, Jay good Sam. And we started to have a small roster of clients for blogging. And I always tell people starting out that, you know, everybody should have a blog. 

[00:08:01] Website, but logging is not a great way to make a living or make or make money. Um, but we'd love to podcasting as well. My wife and I both to this day with listen to tons of podcasts. So very organically in our blog. We're like we got to do a podcast just because we love podcasts. Then there wasn't necessarily a thought of monetizing it or professional or a source of income. 

[00:08:20] We really started it for, for fun. I mean, we sat at the dining room table at night, uh, with a Yeti microphone and a laptop, and started to tell a lot of the same stories that we were telling in the blog posts. And, um, And we, you know, we loved it and we stuck with it. And we, we put out that show every week and we saw the audience grow and grow and grow. 

[00:08:43] And after about a year, we decided to reach out to some of those writing clients and say, Hey, you know, we have a podcast, we have an audience, we have numbers. We can show you. You know, you want to jump on board and actually sponsor the podcast. And that's really how we, um, got some of the first sponsors for the show to kind of take that leap of faith with us because we had been writing for them. 

[00:09:04] There was a relationship of trust and we knew these people, you know, I tell people that are, that are seeking out sponsor relationship apps, or trying to find clients. Um, you know, you're not sponsored by a company you're sponsored by people that work at a company, you know? So to me, we were never sponsored by Cabela's. 

[00:09:22] We were sponsored by Amanda Cabela's right. Uh, so we had those relationships, you know, with all of these different, these different companies and a bunch of them took that leap of faith and became podcast sponsors after, after the first year. And that's when it became sort of a. Apparent to us that there was a business here, there was a business model. 

[00:09:42] Right. Um, and then soon after that, we got an email from someone at penguin, random house asking us if we wanted to do the idiot's guide to RV vacations. And we honestly thought it was like a prank email. I don't remember Googling the name of the app. For like really us. So, um, yeah, we said, sure. You know, let's, let's write a book. 

[00:10:02] Um, so we wrote the book, we finished that manuscript and my I'll never forget my wife's coming to me saying, look, I've got to quit teaching or we've got to stop doing all of this now, like this side hustles becoming very time-consuming and we are doing well with it. But it's time for some hard decisions and I either need to quit teaching, or we need to stop doing a podcast every week and writing articles every week. 

[00:10:30] Um, so she, yeah, so she took that leap. So I was totally supportive. Uh, and frankly, I still had my teaching job with benefits. We had little kids. So she quit her, you know, quit her K to 12 teaching job and took over the RV Atlas and turned it into a viable family business over the, over the course of five years. 

[00:10:52] That's cool. And you guys are both doing it now, right? I mean, you quit your jobs. Yeah. So she quit her teaching job about six years ago and ran the business for for five years while I taught full-time. And co-hosted the show. And I was involved in a lot of selling the advertising, the freelance writing as much as I could with my full-time job. 

[00:11:12] And then last spring, she was offered a position as a VP at Roadtrippers the popular travel app. Which is owned by Togo RV, which is owned by Thor, the largest RV company in the world. And it was a real dream job for her real security, great position, really in her wheelhouse, because she loves content creation. 

[00:11:36] She's not necessarily in love with, um, the social influencer side of things, the social media side of things, the public side of things. You know, at this point last spring, we had been on television 50 or 60 times, and we were really spokesman spokesman for the RV industry in a lot of different ways. And it just was a sweet spot for her. 

[00:11:57] It was exactly what she wanted to do. And simultaneously by her taking that job, I was able to quit my teaching job. Uh, cause then now she had the health benefits. Right? And so it was a good move for both of us. And now, so I took over the RV Atlas, you know, managing the business side of it last spring. I, I gave him notice that my teaching job in February, about a month before the pandemic hit. 

[00:12:24] And, um, then I spent all of April waking ups, you know, at a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking I made the worst decision of my life. And I'm basically going to take over a business at the beginning of a pandemic. Right. Um, I mean, I actually remember thinking like, well, what do I do if we lose all of our sponsors? 

[00:12:41] You know? And I actually remember thinking like, well, if we lose all of our sponsors, I'll still do the podcast because I love the podcast. Those are the types of the types of thoughts I was having. I could imagine that was like March and April. Yeah. Oh, my God. It just felt like just a historically bad time to take over a small business. 

[00:12:59] Um, but then sort of late April, this whole summer of, or maybe more like may the whole kind of summer of RV vaping thing took off in the media, blew up. As people started to have this aha moment that, you know, you can't hop on a plane, you can't take a cruise. Yep. You might not even want to go to a hotel, but, uh, an RV is practically built for social distance. 

[00:13:24] Yeah, exactly. They were all up here. I live in Bishop and they were all up here in the summer. Had hikers, campers, backpackers, or of viewers. It was nuts. Yeah. So the industry exploded in, in may, maybe late may. And you know, here we are with a podcast, a blog, a couple of books under our belt. You know, we sort of bridge the divide too between, you know, social media following, but also we write for print. 

[00:13:53] We work with magazines and I kid you not like my phone in may, June and July into August was ringing off the hook. I can imagine with interviews. You know, different opportunities. I could really barely kind of keep up with it to some degree. And we had just published our second book on March 2nd. So on March 2nd, we published see you at the camp. 

[00:14:15] See what the camp round. Wow. And to be brutally honest with you, it did, it did. Pre-orders did really well. The first few weeks did really well. And then the book kind of died in the second half of March. First half of April, the sales just. Stopped. I mean, people weren't doing anything, you couldn't even get books on Amazon. 

[00:14:34] If you remember, in other words, massive shipping delays because it was all essential items. And so I, you know, So many awful things happening in the world. You know, Lois, me, my port, the little camping book isn't doing well, but, you know, we had put so much time and effort in, you know, put port on our souls into this book. 

[00:14:52] And, uh, and I literally remember thinking, Oh, we're going to have to relaunch this book next year. Hm. Hm. Like maybe next spring, we'll just sorta do the marketing and pretend it's a new book. And, but then again, the kind of the summer of our being picked up and, you know, the wall street journal is covering our being and then all the channel, you know, Fox news is covering or being that the book took off and did well again last summer. 

[00:15:15] So, you know, it's, it's a weird time because it's an awful time, you know, in so many ways. Uh, but it, it is a good time. For our industry in a sense, the industry is really growing and exploding. Yeah. It's um, I think it's, and also I think these downturns, I don't, whether it's, I mean, it's sounds sick to say, don't let a good pandemic go to waste, but don't let anything, you know, downturn like that in business, go to waste. 

[00:15:43] It's a good time to start things and get going. So, yeah. And you know, it's, it's been a good year for our business. I, I would. I wish it never happened. I wish there was no pandemic. I made it might've been a great year for the RV industry. Anyway. I mean, the RV industry was, was heading in a really good direction, but, um, you know, it's, it's this amazing time to work in the outdoor space and to work in, in the, you know, the great outdoors. 

[00:16:09] It really is. That fast, that historical time. Yeah, it is. Yeah, you're right. We had, like I said, there was people up here, you know, the trails were all busy and the parking lots were all overflowing and everybody was freaking out about the poop everywhere. I remember that was a big deal this summer and, and it was, but it was great to see people out, you know, that was the cool thing. 

[00:16:26] So, yeah. Yeah. I mean, you had this certainly in the RV industry in July and August. So something like 37%, almost 40% increases in sales. So there was the flood of, of newbie, RV owners and new newbie campers, which I guess from a business perspective is great, but certainly, you know, creates all kinds of other problems and you have campgrounds are filled to capacity. 

[00:16:50] Um, the infrastructure, the infrastructure for our state and national park campgrounds is, is, is poor to some degree. Uh, hopefully we'll see that change with the great American outdoors act. Yeah. Hopefully. I mean, that's the thing, you know, the, the poor worker bees that were, you know, keep all these places functioning and we're just overwhelmed and it was, we gotta do something. 

[00:17:09] And th and these things haven't been. You know, repaired and maintained as well as they should be. So things are falling apart. So we have a lot of work to do there, but yeah, it's, uh, it's, it's good that you're taking your brain attention to that. And there, you know, there's, there's that tension, there's that tension between the, the experts that's been camping for 20 years and that new person too. 

[00:17:30] Right. Right. And the people that have been like, I was talking with a buddy of mine this summer, they haven't built a new campground in California where I live in many, many years. I mean, it's, it's interesting to think back on when the last time they put a new campground in and the population has exploded and people, even in the, in, without a pandemic, people are. 

[00:17:49] Packing these campgrounds in the summertime. So that's the other thing we need to do is not only put money into, to maintain these things, but build some more. I couldn't agree more. I mean, I really couldn't agree more. I really, I am. I'm super hopeful with the passing of that great American outdoors accident. 

[00:18:05] You know, you see the, the backlog of repairs addressed in a really major way, but I'm also hopeful. You do see some, some new campgrounds. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. So you guys are a little bit popular in the RV world. Do you get, you know, can you go camping? Do people bother you while you're camping in your RV when they know who you are? 

[00:18:23] Yeah. We tried to keep a little pro profile. Yeah. I mean, people do recognize us, you know, a podcast too, people know your voice and ironically. You know, I I've been at RV shows and people hear my voice and recognize my voice, but you know, we've, we've done plenty of video too. We try to keep a bit of a low profile. 

[00:18:42] Um, when we're traveling, you know, some people that kind of work in our space, like put some huge sticker on their RV, announcing who they are and we don't. We don't do that. And we often will post about a trip after we were home. Um, so, so everybody doesn't know where you are, but we, you know, for everything we've done, we do in a sense also really respect the privacy of our kids and. 

[00:19:06] We've never, you know, we've had people, I've had a thousand people say, well, why don't you turn all your travels into a YouTube channel? And we do have a YouTube. We do have a basic YouTube channel where my wife and I sit at a desk and talk about topics, but we've never turned our family into, you know, the YouTube channel because I want to be enjoying the experience while I'm there. 

[00:19:26] I want to be relaxing at the campground and my kids have very little interest in being. Video, you know, video or being a little camping celebrities. Um, actually quite a post-it. So in a lot of ways we've intentionally kind of kept a low profile as well, as much as we can. And you, you must still work while you're on the road, though. 

[00:19:45] You can do a lot of writing. Do you record podcasts on the road from the road? So when we six years ago, and the first couple of years of the podcast, we would put the kids to bed and record the podcast in our RV bedroom. We did a third, we did a 34 night trip, um, to both sides of great smoky mountain national car. 

[00:20:04] If we ended up in Myrtle beach and we were doing the podcast in the RV, and we really very intentionally realized that we didn't want to be doing that. Because we want it to be sitting out at the campfire. Right. You know, and you can just always come home and record the podcast. Um, I think that the words worth, quote, emotion, records, elected and tranquility. 

[00:20:24] Like I, this is something I love about podcasting is that I can go out and have the experience without a video camera in my face, or without taking thousands of pictures or whatever it might be. And then I can come home and create the content. And I think that's been really pivotal for our family because. 

[00:20:42] You know, we've done television commercials for go are being, the kids have been on. Have we done those projects? And I know as a fact that if we did too many of them might, it would turn my kids against campus. Yeah. They want me to go run around the campground. They don't, they don't want. They didn't want some, you know, somebody filming them saying, Hey, I need you to hike up that section of the mountain. 

[00:21:02] Okay. Right. No, you can't have that small. You're holding yet. Not yet. Not yet. You are happy to have tens more while we film it. So we've had those experiences and I think we were smart enough to realize. You know, that's not, what we want to do is be being, creating really serious, heavy video content while we're traveling. 

[00:21:21] I like writing about it after the fact podcasting about it after the fact. Yeah. It's more of that makes a lot of sense and you can do a better job of it too, because you're not on the fly and you might not get interrupted and you can have a, you know, you can control the environment exactly. But then YouTube, but there's a huge. 

[00:21:38] Audience out there, you know, I mean, people really can really grow their brands on YouTube, so you can't do everything. That's another thing we've learned, you know, you really can't be everywhere at once. Yeah. Sometimes too. I found this in a couple of, of. Adventures that I've done, tried to monetize. It's like, then it, then it takes the fun out of the adventure. 

[00:21:56] I was doing a lot of photography for a while and really working hard at trying to sell it and not having much luck. And after a while it turned me off on photography. And then I went, I went about two years without even getting my camera out of the bag. So it kinda changes your, your feelings about the activity in some ways sometimes. 

[00:22:15] A hundred percent. And I was driving my kids crazy, taking pictures for a while. And I, I actually, I sell my photos into the RV industry. It's a source of income, but what matters more to me is that my kids want to go hiking. Yeah. That really family matters more that if we're at glacier national park, I want this to be a joyful experience. 

[00:22:35] They're going to remember the day they die and not like, Oh my God, dad was, you know, driving us crazy, taking pictures. Well, you're lucky they didn't put their foot down and said, Nope, we're not hiking unless you leave the camera home. Or did they say that it didn't it did I eased off before it got to that point, but there were also very strong warnings from my wife. 

[00:22:54] Like, you need to, like, you need to get better at either like the photo journalistic style, where you're all sort of off in the background, but. You know, you need to ease up on the, on the photos and she tends to be right about those things. That's good. Good advice. We're gonna take a little break and give some love to our sponsor. 

[00:23:11] I've heard from some of you photographers out there that you've always wanted to sell your photos online. We'll smug mug makes it easy with a few clicks. You can start selling prints and digital downloads right away. They handle everything from billing to shipping and work with some of the best labs in the world. 

[00:23:25] Rick say's photography has been with SmugMug for over 20 years and they've handled every transaction flawlessly. Go to the outdoor biz podcast.com/sell photos and try it for free to set up your account today. Go to the outdoor biz podcast.com/sell photos. And now back to the show. So how many events did you attend a year when, back when we were having events? 

[00:23:47] So we spoke at, we speak at RV shows every winter. This is, this is the first winter in six years. We haven't had a slate of RV shows and I. In a profoundly missed that. It's a, it's a great way to meet your audience, to, to get feedback from the people, listening to the podcast. It's also a great source of, uh, you know, we sell our books at the RV shows, get to see all the new RVs, you know, like we go, we speak at the RV shows, but then we also walk around and gather tons of content. 

[00:24:12] So. Yeah, I think last winter, I probably spoke at 10 RV shows and, um, you know, this winters zero, you know, um, so that's been a sad, a sad part of, uh, the COVID year for us, for sure. And it really hoping to get back into the RV show circuit. We also speak sometimes at conferences for the manufacturers and those are just great networking events. 

[00:24:36] I mean, we, we love the people we work with. You know, there's a lot of great people. And the camping industry and the RV industry and travel industry, and you get energy from those people from seeing those people. You know, I, I know that you know this too, right? I think something wrong. We're all missing right now. 

[00:24:52] And the zoom calls are great and the zoom conferences are great. It's the best we can all do right now. But it just doesn't replace those, those real events. Not the same. Yeah. Yeah. I've been going to the outdoor retailer show and ski show for, I dunno, 20, over 20 years. And it went away. Right. They, I mean, they tried it virtually and it was, it's just not the same and you're right. 

[00:25:13] It's a it's way better to do it in person. And those RV shows, I mean, gosh, they have them, like every weekend you can do one, one every weekend. Couldn't you? They're all it's, it's compressed into like three months. And so it's normally kind of like. No, the RV show seasons like January, February, March. That makes sense when people aren't camping. 

[00:25:32] That makes sense. But yeah, when people aren't camping and when the dealer lots are slower, so then they do the big RV shows. But yeah, I mean, on certain weekends there'll be 30 RV shows, you know, I can only speak at one and my wife can only speak at one of them. Sometimes she's done one and I've done one, we've hired a babysitter. 

[00:25:48] Um, But yeah, we definitely missed that. I mean, this is the time of year. Yeah. Or I would be at shows and the Tampa, the Florida RV super show is actually happening right now. And I hope, I hope that goes well for them, but I also, personally, am not super interested in being at an RV show right now. Yeah, I've been staying close to home too. 

[00:26:09] I just haven't. I just don't feel comfortable with it. Yeah. Interesting. I had one of the ideas I had for my show was to take it on the road and go around and talk to all these folks in their places of business and get an RV or get sponsored by a Subaru or something, and never, never followed through on that. 

[00:26:25] But that would be an interesting model to take, but it would be, it's a whole nother level of, of, uh, commitment, I think, as you've talked about and. As you hear every year, it sounds like. Yeah. For, you know, for, I would love to podcast on the road more again, but just with three kids, it, that it just became too much of a balancing act and too much, too much stress. 

[00:26:46] So now I love doing it in the studio after the kids are in bed or when they're at school or something like that. Right. That makes sense. Yeah. What are a couple of your favorite locations to visit? Do you guys have repeats? You must. Yeah, we, we love Acadia national park in Maine. We've been going to Acadia since we were dating. 

[00:27:04] We were went to Acadia when, before we had kids and we were married and now we've been. You know, with the kids and go are being actually that maybe three years ago asked us to do a television commercial, well, a video, they don't, they never know in advance if it's going to become a television commercial, but they basically said, where do you guys want to go? 

[00:27:22] You know? And we were like, we're going to Acadia. You know, that's, that's the, if I'm going to have this once in a lifetime chance to do a commercial and we know all the trails there, um, love the hiking there. And that it's that combination of the mountains. And the sea, the mountains and the ocean in one place that, that we just love that we love new England. 

[00:27:41] And then also my personal favorite destination is Olympic national park. I was completely, completely astonished by Olympic. So many different ecosystems. There's the rain forest. There's the beach. There's I mean, you're hiking above snow-capped mountains. Seattle's not that far away. Um, you know, we did that. 

[00:28:02] We did a 26 day trip to the Pacific Northwest, which I think till the day I die will probably be my favorite trap. And then I also always tell people that South Dakota. It's so underrated. Yeah. So many people just hit it for a couple of days on their way to Yellowstone. And we made the decision not to do that and to do an entire two week trip in South Dakota. 

[00:28:27] And my boys still to this day. Talk about that stuff to go to trip. So those are, those are the three things. Yeah. Is there anything on your bucket list you haven't been to? Oh, the bucket list is long. Um, so, and so last summer we were supposed to go to the grand Canyon and, um, we canceled it because we were going to fly in rent a motor home. 

[00:28:48] So that is definitely still on the bucket list. But this summer, yeah, this summer we have planned Yellowstone and the grand Tetons. Uh, Lord willing, you know, in August we'll be planning these trips. I try not to get too emotionally invested right now, but things are looking hopeful. So Yellowstone is definitely near the top. 

[00:29:10] And then, and then Yosemite would also be way up there for me. Well, you got to connect up when you come to somebody that's in my backyard. So yeah, it's, it's a beautiful place and there's a lot of other cool places around it to see like, like there is everywhere, so yeah. I do really want to take my boys on a California road trip. 

[00:29:27] They started surfing a little. I'm a, I'm a UC Irvine grad. I think it'd be California. Yeah. Big California road trips in our future too. Yeah, that'd be fun too. Yeah, the coast is beautiful. Yeah. How do you, how do you choose where to go? Do you, you choose based on the content you're trying to create, or you just, the content comes out of where you end up going. 

[00:29:48] It's worked both ways. There's definitely been times where we would get an assignment for a magazine and go to Cape Cod, you know, like, okay, we got a magazine assignment, let's go to Cape Cod. I have a magazine assignment. Let's go to Myrtle beach. But my wife, my wife has really moved past that. And she, our boy, our oldest, we have twins that are in sixth grade and she's starting to sort of count the summers before they're out of the house. 

[00:30:11] And she's like, I am doing my family bucket list. I don't care if there's an assignment attached to it or not. Um, she's like, you know, I'm taking, I've taken my kids to Yellowstone, so we're, we're, we've really tried in the last year or two to just travel to the places we're dreaming about traveling about and not have it. 

[00:30:30] Uh, the, as attached to work. Yeah. Um, we're certainly going to come home and podcasts about all of those places, but we're, we're trying to create that separation where a vacation is a vacation and it's sacred it's family time and we can create the content, you know, later. That makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. So when you go on your trips, Does the podcast doesn't go dark. 

[00:30:53] Do you have episodes in the, can you create all this content and then publish it? And then you go into next trip and come back, create content, publish it. Is that the workflow? My wife is very disciplined. He, um, put all the episodes, put all the episodes in the can. Gotcha. So before a big two or three weeks trip, we might record eight episodes. 

[00:31:11] And then the only work we're doing at that time is pulling out the computer and hitting publish. So, you know, we pre record the podcast does not go dark in the summer. Yeah. I was going to say it couldn't. Yeah. Otherwise you wouldn't have as many followers as you have. Yeah. Sponsor sponsors and advertisers really want to be on it in the summer months. 

[00:31:30] So that is deaf on the RV and camping space. People want those, those spots on the podcast? Yep, definitely. Yeah. What, uh, what other outdoor activities do you guys participate in or what outdoor activities do you guys fish and all that kind of stuff? When you go out? My kids love to fish. I'm completely inept. 

[00:31:47] Um, I grew up in a fishing family. But I grew up surfing and I grew up thinking that fishing wasn't cool. And I, to this day, really regret that, but I I'm their assistant. There you go. Cause they do love the fish and I go with them and help them. We're a big hiking family. We were in glacier two summers ago and my, at the time, my five-year-old hiked to Grinnell glacier 12 miles round trip. 

[00:32:13] Wow. Uh, on his own two feet. That'd being picked up once he might've been six. Uh, so we're a big hiking family had done a lot of kayaking. Uh, we, we love sup or at the Jersey shore here, so that's something we can do at home. And when we travel and then mountain biking is become our salvation this winter, this COVID year, um, as we've been sticking closer to home, it's, it's like a cliche to like discover cool things in your own backyard. 

[00:32:39] Right. But it's a, it's actually quite powerful. And as we've been sticking closer to home this year, I can't believe I've gone. Michael I'm 45 years old. I've gone my whole life. Not realizing we have awesome mountain biking all around us. The new New Jersey is actually kind of a good mountain biking spot. 

[00:32:56] We have great places. 10 minutes from our house. So our whole family went out and got like Trek, mountain bikes, you know, we're we're amateurs, but we're joyful amateurs. And that that's been something we've been doing all winter this way. That's very cool. Yeah. Well that, there's a lot of things that means you. 

[00:33:13] Do you carry a lot of gear with you when you go on the road? We do. And that's the benefit of the RV, right? So we we've, we've had a toy hauler in the past, you know, where the back door drops down and I could put, I could bring two kayaks or canoes, five bikes. Right. And now we still have, we have a travel trailer that has a rear cargo door and we have, uh, like Yakima bike racks. 

[00:33:36] So we do, you know, we, we don't travel late, um, with, with the five of us and the dog. Cause we, we do want our bikes with us. We do want at least one sup with us. I just started to rent. I act instead of hauling kayaks, I actually brought our two kayaks, um, on an RV trip to Nova Scotia a couple of years ago. 

[00:33:55] And didn't use them one time. And since that point I've learned, like, you can always rent them if you, if you want, but we bring a lot of gear with us. You can always rent. That's true. Yeah. This next question. I'm going to let you, you decide you can take it one or two ways. I always ask a, a suggestions and advice question, but you have a lot of content out there about suggestions and advice for folks wanted to get into RVs. 

[00:34:18] Do you want to talk about if they want to get into podcasting? Yeah, I mean, I think I love podcasting. I wish that there were more great podcasts about the great outdoors and outdoor, glad you said that. And I, I think there's a lot of niches to be filled and a lot of holes to be, to be filled. And I know we're both members of Iowa and, you know, there's so many talented people just in a group like that. 

[00:34:45] Yeah. Like I want some of those people to start podcasts so I can listen to them. Uh, you know, so it's. There's a lot of podcasts out there, but if you look at the podcasts, uh, centered on hiking, the great outdoors, uh, family travel, it's kind of surprisingly few really good ones. So I would love to see more selfishly so I could, I could listen to them and. 

[00:35:08] It's it's a low overhead thing to start and to try. Yeah. You know, there's, there's not a major financial investment to start a podcast. I mean, it might not succeed. You might stop doing it and you might never make money doing it. But, um, you know, you're not going to lose your shirt or lose thousands of dollars doing it either. 

[00:35:26] So I tell people if you're thinking about it, try it. You might fall in love with it or you might not do it. Yeah. And either one is fine, you know? Yeah. I mean, it's my career now, you know, I never would've thought that would've happened and. We had to turn the microphone on the first time and record. And I, we always joke around the first episode is horrible and then it got good pretty quick. 

[00:35:48] So there's, there's just one way to find out if it's for you and that's to try and do it. Yeah, no, I agree. I it's, it's pretty simple to get started and that's why I launched the podcast is workshop because. I think the outdoor space in particular is right for podcasting because, because of the activity, right, we're all so active that we can't always sit down and read the blog or sit down and watch the YouTube video or whatever video it is on how to use your product, how to use your gear, what to do in the space. 

[00:36:16] But we can always put our earbuds in and listen. And so they're available 24 seven for, and there. They're great for active people. And you're right there. Aren't that many outdoor related shows out there. So. Awesome. On the other hand, you know, there's all of these other super attractive tools that people gravitate to people who have Instagram following start YouTube channels. 

[00:36:40] I think some of those might provide content creators with more of an initial adrenaline rush, or, you know, when I publish my podcasts, I don't get likes and comments on it. It's not as interactive. Right. Uh, Facebook post or whatever, but you can build a career podcasting. It is, it is possible. Uh, and I, I know lots of people with big YouTube channels and it's quite difficult to really successfully monetize a YouTube channel and then lots and lots of work too. 

[00:37:09] Yeah, no, I agree. And the podcasting allows for the telling of a story, which is a unique, unique, your voice is your most valuable superpower, nothing like your voice and to share all these stories. That's where, that's how my show got started was a share all these great stories like yours. So now I'm, you're spot on. 

[00:37:26] I was listening to podcasts 15 years ago. I remember having to drag them from iTunes off to my phone. It was my mouse. Yeah. Yeah. I still will. I've only ever listened in about five years. I stumbled into it at a 45 minute one-way commute to a job LoPro I was working for LoPro the camera Bay company. And, uh, that's when I stumbled onto it, I needed something other than books to fill that time and podcast did it. 

[00:37:49] And I heard podcasts and all the different varieties and. Got hooked. And here we go here, 250 plus episodes later. I don't have the numbers you do, but it's, um, it's so grown and it's super fun. I love donuts. So yeah, I would, I would do it, you know, if it, if it folded as a business, I do it for fun. I probably wouldn't do stuff. 

[00:38:09] And if somebody, if I ever stopped doing this one and somebody came along and said, Hey, you want to start a podcast? I, I would, I would probably do it very quickly. It really, it's really part of my DNA as a person at this point. Yeah. I think I'm the same way. And I've got you like you, I probably got, or you probably have ideas for other podcasts I do as well. 

[00:38:27] So it's, uh, it's super fun. Yeah. If you were able to hang a huge banner at the entrance to one of these outdoor shows, RV shows, what would it say? I would say, is it built to last, I'd ask a rhetorical question of, of everyone entering. I really hate disposable junky gear, and I really admire. Gear that's built to last. 

[00:38:53] I have, I have a small collection of Coleman lanterns from the sixties and seventies and, uh, they fire up and they worked for me every time. You know, I have a 50 year old common lantern that I used the other night, so I just have great respect for gear. That is something that I could give to my kids at some point. 

[00:39:12] And, and, you know, there's a lot of really technical peer out there. There's a lot of gear that has kind of impressive functionality. But my question is, you know, for all those people and after retailers, is it built to last? Yeah, that's a good question. I love it. Yep. It's getting better, but wait, we can still improve on all that stuff. 

[00:39:28] Yeah. Do you have any daily routines you guys use to keep your sanity meditate? It sounds like you get a lot of exercise. With the kids I'm trying to need more daily routines like COVID has kind of blown up. The, the, my daily routine is I wake up at six 30 and bring my kids to school. I'm really thankful for some of the weekly routines we have as a family. 

[00:39:47] And I mentioned mountain biking. Uh, I would certainly probably benefit from some meditation and some stress relief or a daily, a daily walk, but certainly every weekend we really do, uh, an outdoor adventure with the kids. For sure. That's perfect. Yeah. That's great. Do you have any favorite books or books you give as gifts? 

[00:40:05] Yours? I give my book. I got a lot actually. I do I give see you at the campground as a gift. And we have another gift book coming out March 2nd. Where should, where should you camp next? And that's a, that that's somebody giving that as gifts. But this year I read an incredible book called the overground railroad by an alternative candidacy Taylor, and it's about the green book. 

[00:40:27] Uh, the famous green book from the fifties and the sixties, which was a book that African-American travelers used to find safe places to eat, to get gas, uh, despite the name. And it's one of my 10 favorite books I've ever read. I've gifted it a few times. I'll probably continue to gift it. It's a really fascinating American rule road trip book, but also on a personal level. 

[00:40:52] I think I have. In the course of my life, really, um, misunderstood, uh, racism, and then, you know, and, and, and kind of naively. So I've, you know, racism was something. A problem the South had, and, you know, we were the abolitionists and you know, this book really, uh, illuminated some aspects of it. So unpleasant aspects of our history, that systematize racism and the North and, and how that, how that worked and how that's still playing out today. 

[00:41:19] But, but that's also just a great road trip off. I mean, these people got into their cars, then they were scared for their lives. I can't imagine if they were driving from the South to New York city and, and this green book. Was, uh, an incredibly, incredibly valuable to African-American travelers at that time. 

[00:41:36] So she documents the history of the green book. Oh, that's cool. We'll link to that in the show notes. I'll have to pick that up. Sounds super interesting. Yeah. I'm not as educated as I should be on those things either. So it would be good to get more educated and learn all we can on that aspect of it. 

[00:41:52] Cause it's, it's a horrible, horrible time in our history. Yeah. The book too is really great photographs. I mean, the author traveled a lot of these routes and stopped at a lot of the Greenbook destination. Some of which still exist. I haven't heard of the green book, so that's one thing. I need a fascinating chapter in American history. 

[00:42:12] And if you're interested in the American road trip and travel, you got yet, you definitely want to get this book, right? Yeah. Cool. I'll pick that up. What's your favorite piece of outdoor gear? That you purchased under a hundred dollars. Do you have one? I tormented myself trying to come up with just one. I love more than one. 

[00:42:30] So, uh, well I've got about 500, but I'm going to go with my North face recom backpack, which I've had for 10 years. Uh, it's a D D for day hiking. Yeah. I have had it in the Pacific Northwest in glacier, and I checked the price to make sure it was still under a hundred dollars because it was when I bought it 10 years ago. 

[00:42:51] And it was like $99 still. And again, just that appreciation for something that's. It's built to last. And, um, this backpack is like brand new still after 10 years of abusing it. That's a good one. Yeah, I liked it. I remember I was, I was at Jansport 10 years ago. I might've been, we were working in the same building as North face. 

[00:43:10] I remember going head to head with those guys with those backpacks. Pretty cool. Pretty fun stuff. I don't buy a lot of North face in other departments, but if this pack ever goes, I'll be buying them. There you go. Yep. That's good. Yep. As we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to say to our audience or ask of our audience? 

[00:43:26] Uh, no, nothing, nothing in particular is a great conversation. I mean, I would, I would say to anyone interested in getting into the outdoor business, which I know is such a theme of your podcast, that it's a really amazing time to do. So, you know, I think that the next four, eight, 12, 20 years. Are going to be a fascinating time to work in the outdoor space, whether that's the camping industry, the RV industry gear, et cetera, et cetera. 

[00:43:52] Um, it's as iconic moment for so many of those things. And I'm really looking forward to documenting it on our podcast for one. Yeah, it's going to be interesting. And I think it's always a good time because so many of us, you know, I don't think we realize that how many P how many of us are always outdoors. 

[00:44:08] We love know we'd go camping and we'd go fishing. We go hiking, biking, all those things. That's why my podcast is a little more broader than the traditional outdoor retailer version of the outdoor business, because there's so many things and. There's all kinds of jobs, different things you can do. It's just been super good to me and super fun. 

[00:44:26] And I think it provides great opportunity for people. So that's well said. Yeah, absolutely. And again, the passing of the great American outdoors act, I think you're going to see all that, a lot of repairs in the national parks in the city, some of these gateway communities, thriving and an exciting time, exciting time to launch a career in this space, I think. 

[00:44:44] Yeah. And if people want to follow up with you, where's the best place to reach you. Everything's the RV Atlas except our books. So on Instagram, it's the Arviat list. It's the RBI was.com. And then, um, our last two books or see what the campground and where should we camp next? And where should we camp next is going to be stocked in 130 Costco stores starting February 22nd. 

[00:45:07] So I've got a Costco nearby. I'll go grab a copy of where should it be camp next. Perfect. Well, we'll link to that in the show notes. Well, it's been great catching up, Jeremy. I look forward to meeting you on in a campground one day. Absolutely. Yeah. I'd love to catch up in California for sure. Thank you so much. 

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