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10 Years of Adventures & The RVs That Made it Happen

Allison Smith-profile-image
Allison Smith
June 14, 2024

TL;DR Joel Holland transitioned from corporate life to full-time RVing and became the owner of Harvest Hosts. Over the years, his family has owned various RVs, including fifth wheels and a truck camper, adapting their rigs to fit their changing needs and embracing the adventure and spontaneity of life on the road.Learn more about Joel's Journey in the Summer Issue of the Roads & Stays Magazine.

10 Years of Adventures & The RVs That Made it Happen

A look into Joel Holland’s RVing journey through the years

Joel Holland’s RVing journey starts with Storyblocks, the company he founded over a decade ago. After several years of commuting into their DC office every day, he started to burn out. He found himself desperate to become an outdoorsman and leave the corporate world behind. Eventually, he gave in to the call of the wild and bought a fifth wheel and a truck.

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But they didn’t become full-timers right away. Joel and his wife, Mary Ashley slowly started taking weekend trips to get out of the city. On their very first trip, everything went wrong. It was winter, and as RV rookies, they were unprepared. They didn’t have an adapter for the electric hookup available at their campground. They spent the night with no power (and no heat). In spite of the errors they made that very first night, they loved every second of it, and were ready to dive in for more. Joel eventually put a new CEO in charge of Storyblocks, became chairman of the board, and worked remotely while he and Mary Ashley RVed through the continental US as full-time RVers.

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As they explored the open road, they couldn’t help but notice the stark difference between day and night. They loved exploring and traveling, spending time in National Parks, and finding charming locations to stop along the way. But when they pulled in for the night at a campground, the magic just wasn’t there. When updating their friends and family on their travel experience, they realized that the campgrounds were never a memorable part of their travels. They wanted something different.

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After driving past country farms, Joel couldn’t help but wonder if these farms would let him park there overnight if he bought some produce. He eventually discovered that there was already a Membership out there that empowered people to RV camp this way. This, of course, was Harvest Hosts, a Membership where people could find unique RV camping locations, supporting the business instead of paying camping fees. At the time, there were 600 locations. For their first stay, they chose an alpaca farm run by nuns in Kansas. Immediately, they were hooked. This was exactly the RV camping they wanted to do.

Every Harvest Hosts location is a fantastic story that Joel and Mary-Ashley excitedly told their friends and family. At the same time, Joel was looking for his next venture and he wanted in–and he eventually convinced the owners, Don and Kim Greene, to sell Harvest Hosts to him. The rest is history.

Choosing Your Perfect RV

Flash forward to today, Joel and Mary-Ashley are now part-timers, and just got the keys to their brand new RV, a 2024 Brinkley Z3610 that they purchased from the Blue Compass dealership in Longmont, CO.

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“You’ll just know when it's time to upgrade,” Joel says. In their 10 years of RVing, they’ve become parents to two kids, and their RV needs have changed as their family has grown. Their first RV in 2014 was a Grand Design Reflection fifth wheel. They walked through the model unit and immediately, it felt like home. They kept it for about five years, and in that time, RV technology had changed a lot. They knew they wanted a larger fifth-wheel and were excited by the auto-leveling of the Grand Design Solitude. They kept this RV for five years as well, and in that time, they got two cats, and had two young kids, which is why they decided to get the 2024 Brinkley Z3610, which has a separate bedroom for the kids, solar pre-installed, and a more modern, clean look.

For an easier time traveling for shorter weekend trips, when they want to either take backcountry roads or stay at a smaller Harvest Hosts location, they decided to purchase a truck camper two years ago. Now they have two RVs for their travel needs.

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“Never feel guilty about upgrading,” Joel says. “There's nothing wrong with wanting something new that fits your needs better.” Joel recommends that if you feel like it’s time to upgrade your RV, take inventory of what you like about your current unit, determine what you’d like in your next unit, and peruse a dealership to start browsing.

“Every year, manufacturers work hard to try and win business,” Joel adds, as he recounts his experience at the Blue Compass dealership. “When we arrived to pick the unit up, they did the Blue Compass thing, which is to have the Blue Carpet rollout. Our unit was featured in the front of the store. There's a blue carpet with balloons. There was a sign that said ‘Congratulations on your purchase!’ The buying process can be stressful and they made it easy.”

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Whether you’re on your first year of RVing or your 15th, making great memories is what it’s all about. You don’t have to follow the traditional ways of camping. RVing is all about spontaneity and exploration—make it your own! And when it’s time to upgrade your RV, you’ll know what to do and what to look for!

Screenshot 2024-06-14 at 11.07.03 AM.png Learn more about Joel's Journey in the Summer Issue of the Roads & Stays Magazine

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,652 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Allison Smith-profile-image
Allison Smith
Hi, I'm Allison Smith, Harvest Hosts content writer.