After years of living remotely and traveling alone, I was heading back to civilization for a three-month stay.
I was excited to take some classes, but housing was hard to come by.
Local apartments were unfurnished. Hotels weren't set up for long-term stays. I also wondered if those options might feel a bit isolating.
So I thought it might be wise to stay Airbnb-style, even though I was unsure how safe it would be to stay with complete strangers.
With only weeks until my arrival date, I browsed online lodging sites.
I soon found a listing located within a five-minute drive to everything I needed: classes, food, and a laundromat.
A monthly rate wasn't listed online, so I emailed to ask if that option was ever offered (while also reassuring her I'd completely understand if not). She responded. We talked. She kindly thought about it. Then they generously offered a monthly rate.
They conducted a background check. A deposit was made. I was grateful and relieved. I’d found a place to stay!
But I was, naturally, still a little worried. Was this safe?
Driving along a cliff, on a winding road, I turned into a beautiful property.
When I stopped at the security gate, my concerns began to fade.
I was greeted with such warmth. The host took me on a tour of their incredible three-story estate, which she had painstakingly refurbished herself.
I'm still in awe.
She showed me my own private parking spot, located near my own private entrance. It was steps from my own kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom—all located on the lower level of their home.
I quickly settled in.
Their ability to relax with a stranger roaming around downstairs still amazes me. When our paths crossed, coming and going, they extended thoughtful conversation plus invitations to join them for dinner with other guests and friends.
They were so supportive about my schedule running at all hours (to class, to town, to clinicals), and that I studied quietly for extended stretches.
I cared about being quiet and discreet, so I wouldn’t disturb their schedule or their other guests.
It was so lovely to be in this new place, for a long time.
You know that feeling of calm and peace when all is right with the world?
That was my experience. And I'm still profoundly grateful.
This was a special time to learn vital lessons about lodging in other people’s spaces. Here are five that I carry with me...
1) For those who need privacy, lodging this way can really work.
It just takes searching for lodging with a private room, bath, kitchen, and entrance...a private apartment or mother-in-law suite. A host’s description might not initially appear to offer these options, so I ask about these specifics, to verify.
2) If a monthly rate isn't listed, it’s okay to gently ask if that option is ever offered.
I reassure them that I completely understand, if not.
3) A secure and convenient location (to activities, food, laundromat) is priceless.
I love a five-minute commute, whether on foot or in auto.
I still had my auto at this time, but if I hadn’t, I would have lodged closer to town so I could walk everywhere.
4) While carefully protecting everyone's privacy, respectfully take photos of the beautiful private space upon arrival.
This allows me to remember its authentic presentation, plus exactly how to make that bed before final departure. Also, if damage is ever suspected, I have photos to reference so I can handle responsibly.
5) Strangers who gift such kindness change our life for the better, every moment we think of them.
I often think of and am deeply grateful for the kindness I received. Their mindful gift is what keeps on giving.