Having logged close to 11 years overseeing marketing communication efforts for Keystone RV Co., Jim Mac received a perk of sorts when the company completed a massive expansion project at its sprawling campus in Goshen, Ind.
“I finally got an office with a window,” joked Mac, who joined Keystone in 2007 after serving as director of marketing for Monaco Coach since 1999.
Mac, however, recently decided to give up his new view — at least on a daily basis — as the 68-year-old has scaled down his role with the towable manufacturer, effective April 30.
“You know I looked up retirement in the dictionary and it means ceasing to work,” he told RVBUSINESS.com, noting his career in the industry spanned 40 years, having sold ads for Trailer Life and RVBusiness prior to Monaco. “I don’t think it fits my situation. I prefer to think of it as starting a new career, one that means I won’t be coming into the office every day and I can work from home or from the road.”
While he is stepping back from his day-to-day responsibilities at Keystone, RVs will still be a major part of his life. Mac is intent on launching a blog based on travels in a Four Winds motorhome he purchased four years ago that will focus on the collection of off-the-beaten-path eateries and diners he maintains are an integral part of life on the road.
“My wife and I have two dogs and I basically got tired of staying in dumpy motels that allowed pets, so we bought the motorhome,” he said. “We traveled on average at least 50 days over the last four years, but we wanted to RV more — maybe even turn into full-timers at some point. While I’ll still be doing work for Keystone, I’ll be concentrating on getting the RoadTravelFoodie blog up and running and building a community. I’m going to promote the blog through Instagram and Facebook to drive people to the website, and hopefully get other folks on board as writers.”
Mac landed on the idea after he and his wife, Fran, chanced on several great eating spots while also sharing their finds with other RVers they met at campgrounds.
“As I camped and ‘got out with our customers’ the more it struck me the role food plays in both the RV lifestyle and in family camping rituals,” he related. “Of course, you think of campfire cooking first, however, not every meal is cooked at the campsite. Most campers I’ve met take several lunches or dinners out. They want to taste the local fare like fresh seafood, barbecue, whatever the area is known for or raises.
“I found that finding a new place to eat is a passion for many RVers and that’s why I started RoadTravelFoodie,” he added. “I want to help those in their RV or van more easily find the gems near their campground and share their findings and observations with others who are traveling and looking for an authentic experience. Road Travel Foodie is a way to ‘unwrap America’s flavors on and off the road.’”
He said that the venture also dovetails with his RV manufacturing background. “The more reasons we as an industry and as manufacturers give RV owners to use and enjoy their camper, the longer they are going to stay in the lifestyle and hopefully trade up,” Mac said. “Discovering new foods, new local restaurants, new microbreweries or winemakers is one extremely popular way to use your RV. With an RV you can find restaurants, farmer’s markets, the old fashioned butcher shop or roadside barbecue because you can take the time and have the means to explore the area.
“And while we are out discovering all the flavors of America I think we will also discover how much we have in common and are alike. Over food I think we can develop a deeper respect for one another.”