Chelsea Gonzales
by Chelsea Gonzales
Publicado el August 23, 2022

Outdoorsy owner Elissa Mastel is a business coach and marketing consultant living in Colorado. She’s also a huge van life enthusiast, something that has influenced many aspects of her life. “I started as a renter myself,” Elissa explains when asked about her first camping experiences. “I rented a few campers before making the leap to purchase my own.

“I loved renting the rig my son and I got in San Francisco that we drove up the [Pacific Coast Highway 1]. That was the trip that got me thinking about camping in a vehicle. It was so much fun and we had such an adventure! Seeing redwoods, eating oysters, all of it! Bonding, and laughing so much—this is the experience I try to give my guests today.”

Elissa Jane Mastel

Eventually the travel bug was biting hard, and the itch got to Elissa. She knew she had to get a rig of her own. “I got my first van in April 2019,” she recalls. “I was going through a major life transition and knew that if I was going to go for it, this was going to be the time to do it.

“I did a lot of investigating and knew that I really wanted a Promaster because I love the way it handles and drives. Then I found Wayfarer in Colorado Springs and it all came together pretty quickly from there. I sold everything I owned to buy the Mystery Machine. I traveled North America full-time for 18 months, it was incredible.”

When you travel full-time, you tend to collect a lot of memories. Interestingly, some of the memories that stand out most are the simplest experiences. “I think the one that pops up would be my first solo camping trip,” Elissa tells us. “I took my very old dog Foxy to a site that was on ten private acres. I made food, made a fire, snuggled the dog, and had such a good experience. That weekend was really the catalyst for my solo camp style now.”

After 18 months of traveling, things shifted in Elissa’s life and she knew she couldn’t continue to be out on the road full-time. “Renting my van was not even in my purview,” Elissa says. “I thought I was going to live in it forever! When things got hard for me on the road, I really didn’t want to give it up, which is how I started looking into turning it into a rental.”

Elissa Jane Mastel

After deciding to rent her RV, the next step was for Elissa to find a way to do that safely. She turned to Outdoorsy. “I really like a lot of things about Outdoorsy,” she shares. “I get most of my bookings through the platform. Definitely a better quality of guest, amazing customer service, and easy to update and take care of things. It’s really the people who work at Outdoorsy who make it so extra awesome.”

Once the Mystery Machine was listed on Outdoorsy, the ball started rolling more quickly than Elissa anticipated. “I feel like it all happened really fast,” she recalls. “I had rentals month one! I made $20K my first year renting on Outdoorsy. I purchased my second van in April, and I just got a third, which I’m picking up in early August. With three vans, I expect that income to increase multifold. Plus, I have all these awesome reviews, which definitely ups my credibility.”

While she’d probably rather be out on the road herself, Elissa really does love what she does. “I think because I lived in it for a while and am so passionate about camping this way, I’m better able to help my guests with their planning, itineraries, and learning about this lifestyle,” she tells us. “Many of my guests are brand new to van camping, so I get very excited to give them the right intro experience.”

Yes, sharing her passion with awesome people really does make the whole business more fun. “I really love my guests,” Elissa says. “I get the coolest guests! My last guest was a musician playing at a bluegrass festival. He flew in with his family and used the van as their home base. I’ve met all kinds of people, like women trying solo van travel for the first time, fun couples, friends…it’s a big mix.”

Elissa Jane Mastel

Not only does being passionate about sharing her vans make work more fun for Elissa, but she also feels it helps make her business more successful. “I’ve noticed that the people who are successful are the ones that really love the lifestyle,” she explains. “They seem to do better with renters. I think guests can see through people who do this out of love versus people just thinking they are going to make big bank and split.”

Clearly, Elissa is dedicated to offering renters awesome experiences. “There is so much freedom [in] having your house on wheels,” she says. “I love offering my van to people who really want to explore and see the world through that lens. It makes me happy when guests come back with the van covered in dirt and big smiles on their faces. Colorado is such an incredible state, [with] so many awesome places to take the van and explore.”

All About Elissa

Elissa Jane Mastel

Favorite morning beverage: “Green tea.”

Favorite campsite meal: “Cast iron skillet steak.” 

Music you like to play on the radio: “Chill electronic, reggae, classic rock, the Grateful Dead, and indie.”

Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Backgammon and Exploding Kittens.”

Favorite season: “Winter. SNOWBOARDING! I take the van all winter long up to the mountains to enjoy the Ikon peaks.”

If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “Baja Mexico or Alaska.”

Chelsea Gonzales

http://wonderwhereverwewander.wordpress.com/

 

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