We’re Megan and Richard McCrea – and the little guy is our son/future host in training! We are born and raised Floridians who turned Tennesseans for 10 years and are now Floridians again. We’re also high school sweethearts, fur parents and human parents. And… we are the owners/ hosts of Southbound Stays.
I (Megan) grew up in corporate America (literally! I started in media when I was 15). Based in Florida, I began to travel the US extensively in my early 20s for work. In my role, I would visit Nashville and for few years, found myself in town about every month or so. It was the only other place I visited that ever felt like “home” and with each visit my love for the city grew.
A true Florida boy, Richard didn’t even want to VISIT Nashville. This was before it became the “it” city and he thought it was all country music and cowboy boots (not that there’s anything wrong with that but for those of us who live here or have visited, we know it’s so much more). After some convincing and heavy arm twisting, he finally agreed to a weekend in Nashville for Valentine’s Day in 2012.
While in town, we decided to visit condos ‘just to see and dream a little.’ That weekend ended up being the beginning of our journey Southbound.Something about Nashville called to the both of us but it seemed like just a far-fetched dream until later that year. In October, I got an unexpected phone call offering me an opportunity within my company that would move us to Nashville. It was a difficult choice to leave the only life we’d ever known behind in Florida, but something told us it was the right thing to do.
8 months into our new Nashville life, we had an unexpected turn of events. The company I had been with for 15 years did a mass round of layoffs and my role was eliminated. We were faced with relocating again to stay with the company or take a buyout. We were both loving life in Nashville and Richard was especially loving his new work and company. It was way too soon for us to leave. Though I wouldn’t consider us risk takers, we took a huge one and I took the buyout. Staying in Nashville was worth that much to us.
What an amazing move that ended up being!?! Richard’s career flourished with the new company and he still works for them today. At the time, I took a role with another media company that allowed me to work remotely and travel, working with our international clients. Through this role, I worked across the US and also in countries like Australia, Germany, Mexico, and Canada.
Ironically, it was that role that introduced me to the world of short-term rentals. When I had traveled before, I would only be in one city for a few days at a time and then I’d be on to the next. Hotels were great for that sort of thing. However, when traveling internationally I would be gone for typically 1 to 8 or 9 weeks at a time! Hotel life was no longer conducive to my way of travel. I wanted to sit somewhere other than on a bed to work and watch tv, I wanted to make my own meals, I wanted to feel at home. So… I started booking homes and apartments through sites like Airbnb.
After the whole layoff thing, Richard and I had vowed we would never be in that position again. We needed a Plan B. Interacting with hosts and staying in homes in other countries gave me the idea that maybe THAT could be our Plan B. We started looking for houses and found THE perfect home, known today as The Country Cottage.
My experiences as an avid business and leisure traveler had taught us so much about hosting. It turned out we had a knack for it, too. Guests started coming and leaving great reviews and I absolutely loved connecting with new people to help them discover the real Nashville. I loved it so much that we continued to grow. Today, we own and host four traditional short-term rentals and one extended stay rental (for stays of 30-90 days) in the Middle Tennessee area and 1 vacation home in Cocoa Beach, FL.
I have since left my role in media and am a full-time hostess plus help other short term rental owners through my company, Hospitality Creator. I also ran the Nashville Short Term Rental Association (NASTRA) for 5 years where we helped educate other hosts on being exceptional hosts and neighbors.
In 2021, we welcomed our son and being a parent has given me an entirely new outlook on life and travel – and in turn, on hosting. In fact it led us to update all our homes to be family friendly, including items that make traveling with the littlest of guests easier.
In January, 2023 it was a job offer for Richard that brought us back to Florida which allowed us to be back by our families. Even though we officially live in Florida now, we are lucky enough to spend time between there and Nashville, TN and still call both places “home.” Going back and forth so often between the two places gives us the unique perspective of experiencing both Tennessee and Florida as locals and visitors.
Thank you for reading our story. We believe that travel helps make the world feel a little bit smaller and brings us all a little bit closer.
Owners & Host(ess), Southbound Stays
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