- called road trips for the rock stars, the idea is to nominate the people who are working hardest right now so they can relax extra hard later.
- over two dozen vanlife rental companies and organizations have partnered to gather nominations and provide the three-night excursion prize packages.
- if you know someone who deserves a break, nominations are being accepted through the weekend.
covid-19 has changed how we view the world. grocery-store employees who might have made minimum wage in january are now called essential. buying a new car was, in some states, simply not possible when dealerships were locked down, but mechanics kept working so your current wheels could keep moving.
it's a tough time for many, but having something to look forward to can make the current daily challenges easier to handle. so, to reward some of the many people who are keeping us all moving during this crisis—first responders, of course, but maybe also landlords who are waiving rent payments, people sewing masks, or school lunchroom workers providing meals for their students—some in the camper-van community have decided to band together and offer over 500 nights of free outdoor adventures.
the idea was started by gocamp camper vans founder deborah kane, who calls the project road trips for the rock stars. the rock stars are those essential workers, naturally, while the road trips are free three-night trips sponsored by over two dozen vanlife companies and people who have donated money. gocamp's usual business is facilitating peer-to-peer camper van rentals, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, things slowed to a crawl both for gocamp and similar businesses. so kane came up with a way to change her focus.
"at the time, none of us were getting any reservations and things felt pretty grim," kane told car and driver. "business was dead. working on the campaign kept me sane and gave me a positive project to focus on. one of the companies i called said to me, 'wow, while i've been in the back yard reading a book, you put together a whole campaign?' he joined immediately."
altogether, 15 other camper or jeep rental companies, mostly located on the west coast of the u.s. and canada, partnered with gocamp to provide vehicles and 14 industry partners like custom van builders and van lifestyle groups are also involved in providing prizes and promoting the idea.
kane said that from the beginning, she wanted to bring the camper-van community together and not emphasize her company above others. "i made a very conscious decision early on that the campaign needed to be brand agnostic and have its own identity so that all the other participating companies could feel an equal sense of ownership over it," she said. "the camaraderie and sense of shared purpose that's been created through this campaign has been wonderful. now that so much trust and goodwill has been built, i'm starting to think we'll find other projects to work on together in the future."
nominations through may 31
the groups are accepting nominations for more "rock stars" through this weekend, so if you know someone who deserves a break now more than ever, you can submit their story here (rock stars can be nominated anonymously). as of this writing, a total of 535 free nights (178 long weekends) have been pledged and 490 people—sorry, rock stars—have been nominated. in early june, the involved community will start voting on who should be chosen for a road trip, and the winners will then be assigned to one of the participating companies to work with and select dates, a vehicle and a destination. rock stars have until december 31, 2021, to redeem their free trip.