I value being present, and in order to so, sometimes I need to escape.
I’ve been honest about my former travel schedule: it left a lot to be desired. And while it provided me with an opportunity to travel abroad and see the world, it also detracted from my ability to see my family.
Since we started dating, my husband and I have always valued the importance of a good getaway. And don’t get me wrong, getaways don’t always mean going somewhere. We have an extra bedroom in our home, and sometimes, we make the last minute decision to relocate to the guest room as a sort of impromptu getaway.
But, sometimes, it’s nice to escape and explore a new place.
I value the ability to leave home, discover a new city and embark on an adventure together, as a family. In today’s busy world, traveling and exploring a new locale together is a great way to disconnect and reconnect.
That’s what I love about Airbnb.
For the uninitiated, Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows travelers to rent short term housing (apartments, hostels, rooms in homes, and even vacation rental/time shares).
It’s cool because it’s basically a matching service, connecting people with cool spaces with travelers who’d like to stay in a home versus a hotel.
I’ve used the service three times–all with fantastic results. The first time I used it in Chicago, about an hour away from my home. I decided to give the service a try, with the mindset that if it didn’t pan out, I would just drive home and demand a refund.
The apartment in Chicago was fantastic, and I would both stay there again and recommend it to others. It was spacious, centrally located and modern.
The second time I used Airbnb, I rented a beach house on the Outer Banks. For whatever reason, the property description failed to mention that the home I rented was on the water. Arriving at the property and staying there was a pleasant surprise.
Last week, our family traveled to Paris. Life got in the way and we forgot to book a hotel.
Who forgets to book a hotel?
So, we ended up booking on Airbnb after other friends suggested it. They had stayed in an apartment in Paris and refused to stay elsewhere.
The apartment we rented was owned by an artist. She designed all of the tiles herself, and decorated the windows with beautiful contact-paper like images featuring her work. The images populating this post feature her home. (I sent her a note to ask if she has an Etsy store or website but so far, no reply).
The apartment was also decorated with her pieces, and centrally located in the 2e arrondissement, near the Louvre, Metro and shoppes.
All in all, one of our favorite memories of Paris will be our Airbnb experience.
We enjoyed the home-sharing experience and the ability to spread out, buy wine and cheese and relax in a living room, and wash and fold our clothes in a (Whirlpool!) standard washer and dryer before returning home.
As a small family with two introverts and one teenager, spreading out across rooms after spending the entire day together worked well.
You know you’re old when you get excited about returning home with clean clothes!
In some cities, Airbnb is being assessed a tax that contributes to the community. These funds are over and above what hotels pay, but here in Chicago, the monies are being directed towards addresssing the homeless population.
So far, Airbnb has generated $2.8 million in new tax revenue over the last 12 months.
While a tax over and above what hotels are charged seems unfair, it’s hard to argue with the much-needed cause it supports. I mention this because I think it’s important to support companies that contribute to the communities that you travel to and the work Airbnb is doing to support the homeless is important to me.
As I attempt to be more present in my life, staying in a home and living like a local align with the lifestyle I’m working to achieve.
There’s a lot to be said for disconnecting from your current life and immersing yourself in a neighborhood and its nuances. It gives you an opportunity to broaden your perspective and appreciate the culture and environment of someone else.
We enjoyed seeing Paris, and the experience was enhanced by having the incremental experience of getting to know a neighborhood, visit its speakeasies, and shop its small stores.
Supporting small businesses is important to us and we enjoyed meeting shopkeepers and hearing about their businesses and passions.
As I continue to challenge myself to make more meaningful investments in relationships that matter, I also want to make sure I’m embracing a sense of adventure too.
Seeing the world, exploring its treasures and bringing along the people who mean the most to me is part of that adventure. Even when it sometimes means dragging along an unwilling teen, who might not appreciate the adventure until long after it’s over!
With that, I want to encourage you to embark on a new adventure with someone you love this month. The journey, in my experience far outshines the destination.
Peace + Love.