Guest Post: Weekend Swap!

A guest post BY JUSTIN LUCAS

Justin Lucas recently started a new website with two friends called WeekendSwap.com where people can log on to lend or borrow gear so they can enjoy the outdoors. Justin explains how Weekend Swap works and why it is great for state park users. 

 

What’s WeekendSwap.com all about?

We allow people to borrow and lend outdoor gear. One of our main goals is to inspire people to get out there and try something new. Want to go camping for the first time but need a tent? You can simply rent one through us without having to buy one. Want to go kayaking this weekend? Weekend Swap has a kayak for you. Want to try stand up paddleboarding? We’ve got you covered.

So how does it work?

If you’re borrowing gear, you simply browse our website for an item in your area. We recently launched in the San Francisco area, so most of the items will be from there, although we are still accepting listings from all over the world. Once you find something you like, you then pay for your rental online and determine a meeting spot to pick up your item from the lender. Then you return your item to your lender when the rental period is over.

As a lender, you can make some cash on the gear you just have lying around. Why let these awesome items go to waste? All you do is list your item on our site then set a per-day rental fee. You also determine a deposit amount for your item. So let’s say you listed a stand up paddleboard for $25/day that’s valued at $1000. You can set your deposit amount to $1000. If your borrower damages your SUP, you can charge part of that deposit amount or if it wasn’t returned, you can then charge the full deposit amount.

Once an item is rented out, then you’re given your rental fee minus a 9% transaction fee.

Who is Weekend Swap for?

Everyone, of course!

If you’re a seasoned fan of the outdoors, maybe there are still many activities you want to try out. If you’re someone who desires to be more active, maybe buying expensive items or dealing with your typical rental shops might seem too intimidating at first.

Either way, Weekend Swap has a little something for everyone.

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Guest Post: Full-Time RVing, Public Parks and Photography

A guest post BY LEVONNE GADDY

Levonne is an artist and author of several blogs about her family’s three-year relocation adventure from the U.S. southwest to California during the Great Recession. During that period, they volunteered as park caretakers and campground hosts and lived in some of California’s public parks.

Hearst Castle © Levonne Gaddy

My husband John and I have lived in our thirty-foot Jazz fifth-wheel trailer for three years. If it had not been for beautiful public parks, my sacred camera and my equally sacred laptop computer, I don’t know that I could have made it.

Our original plan when we hit the road three years ago was to find meaningful work and a community that we would love on the Central California coast. We left a comfortable home, jobs and a known community to relocate after fifteen years in the U.S. Southwest. We left in the midst of the 2008 Great Recession.

Having been enthusiastic recreational vehicle campers to Central Coast California for over twenty years, we felt adequately qualified to decide that we wanted to be permanent California residents. Our positive exposure to camp hosts in public parks over the years led us to pursue volunteer camp host jobs as a way to give something back to the communities we loved and to anchor us in our transition.

Camp host duties usually include providing campers with information, doing camp checks to make sure visitors have paid their fees, staffing visitor centers and museums and general cleanup around campgrounds. Most hosts work approximately 20 hours a week and in exchange are provided with a full-hookup campsite during their stay.

Annadel © Levonne Gaddy

When we arrived in California in the fall of 2009, a state budget was being negotiated. A partial remedy for the $26.3 billion state budget deficit was a plan to close 220 state parks.

John and I were quite happy when funds were found to keep the state parks open. We were able to live-on volunteer at several parks including Oceano State Park in the Pismo Beach area, Morro Strand State Beach in Morro Bay and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in Big Sur.

As fulltime RVers and California parks volunteers, I took great pleasure in photographing the beauty of the parks and in writing about our experiences in my blogs at www.levonnegaddy.com.

I am currently engaged in a campaign to raise funds so that I may turn stories and pictures into a book that I will use to raise awareness about California parks. In addition to park closures, there are other very real challenges. Some of those challenges are habitat destruction by overuse; protection of native species at the expense of recreation; and reclaiming industrial brown fields to create new parks in dense urban areas.

In September (2012), current Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that averted closures yet again. AB 1478 placed a two-year moratorium on state park closures. That means that in less than a year and a half, closures will be at issue once more. I am happy to do my part to help save our wonderful public spaces in California.

Pfeiffer Big Sur © Levonne Gaddy

You may go to California State Parks Foundation http://www.calparks.org/takeaction/parkclosures/ to learn what you can do to help save our parks.

To learn more about my book project, please see “This Restless Life: a study of Central Coast California parks through photography, interpretive collage and stories” on Kickstarter.

50% (up to $1,000) of the amount raised over Levonne’s funding goal will go to California State Parks Foundation. Be sure to check out Kickstarter!