Life is more fun with friends and if they don’t show up….

969205_10151468021046033_616595444_nYou go out and do things alone. Yes, all by yourself (with other people) (that you don’t know) so it’s like you are by yourself anyways.

Is it awkward at first? Yes

Does it make you interact with the world in a way that you wouldn’t if you had a friend with you? Yes

Do you get used to it? Yes

Will it eventually be something you look forward to? Yes

This alone thing is liberating!

I started small by :

  • going to the movies
  • shopping
  • Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, Boxing, you name the workout class
  • Then I worked my up to eating a meal in a restaurant alone instead of ordering it to go and eating at home.
  • After that came having a cocktail at a bar.
  • I have managed to go see live music by myself.

Why should I have to miss out on all the adventures I want to have because I can’t find anyone to come along?

p8f1efd86-1f5e-4394-bc6e-11d974712cfc_8d3c97f0-1516-4341-8e5b-19bcf0f1a524_m1503580351.jpg

Recently I went white water rafting alone. It was such a fantastic Saturday that I feel inspired to plan more adventures to do by myself. Next will be the Downwind in Hood River on a SUP board.

 

Doing things alone this year is easier than it has ever been before.  Many events and meditations have brought me to my current understanding and comfort level for solo adventures.  In 2013 I had a major realization while I was in Maui, Hawaii.  I went to visit a new friend that was going there for the season to work on a boat.  The boat would give whale watching/snorkeling tours.  I would get to be on the island for 10 days. I had never been to Hawaii before and I was very excited!!

What I did not realize about this vacation was that she was in the beginning passionate throes of a relationship and I would be the third wheel. I am no stranger to being odd man out however I was not very practiced in the art of doing things alone and I was looking forward to some quality time with a girlfriend.  She had to work a lot during my time there. When she wasn’t working, she was hanging out with her boyfriend and me.  I did not like her boyfriend which added to the disappointment.  My first day there, I did get to go on the boat she was working on for a whale watching tour. I saw so many whales. Everytime someone had a sighting they would yell it out so we all could catch a glimpse.  Breach- 3 o’clock Jumping_Humpback_whale

Before the boat trip started, I should have followed my friends lead with the sunscreen. I figured I lived in Texas for fifteen years and I don’t normally burn so I didn’t need to slather it on. Hindsight revealed living in Oregon for 2 years was enough time for my skin to turn pasty white effectively making it sensitive to the Hawaii sun.  I did not apply enough sunscreen and got the worst sunburn EVER.  I was miserable for a week easy.  Being so burned made sleeping difficult. I had to take Oatmeal baths several nights in a row and by the time it went away there was only three days of vacation left. I was in paradise and I did not want to spend anymore time in the sun.

Maui is a small island and I did the typical touristy things.  Whale watching, snorkeling, Lunch in Lahaina where the Banyan Tree is,  Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area for disc golf, watching the fire dancers on Little Beach, the Road to Hana where we camped at the end to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

My life changing realization happened the night we went camping, when we were at the end of the Road to Hana.  We decided to stay so we could explore the Seven Sacred Pools in the morning. I am an early riser, waking up between 4:30a.m. to 6:30a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Since there was a two hour time difference between Oregon and Hawaii at the time, I was up way too early.  Wide awake at 3:30 in the morning.  My friends were on Hawaii time and liked to sleep late. I would be up a full seven hours before they would rise.  What was I going to do with myself? I layed there for a bout an hour before I got up and went to explore. I knew I couldn’t go too far on the off chance my friends woke up early.  My exploration led me to discover a beautiful waterfall.  I spent some time here taking a bunch of selfies.  At some point, a small group of people came into the area.  They asked if I was alone.  That is when it occurred to me! Even though technically I was with other people, in reality I was alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  I was just hyper aware of my aloneness.IMG_20130131_094657.jpg

Aren’t we always alone I replied? ( Lightbulb moment) I mean we are born alone, we die alone and the time in between we walk the path of our lives alone.  Here I was on this beautiful island for vacation, I had come to meet a friend and spend time with her but she was busy working and being with her boyfriend.  Technically I was with people. In reality I was alone.  I was on my own, even when they were around.

I could tell you many stories where I have found myself in a similar position.  It wasn’t always easy to be there.  Now I don’t mind.  I frequently choose it.  I also look forward to having it all my way since there isn’t anyone else to take into consideration.  Who doesn’t love that?

One of my favorite sayings is an African saying.

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together

I would like nothing more than to go far in life so until friends show up and stick around and until friends commit to joining me, you can find me on some adventure by myself having a great time ❤

 

 

Where are you from? this seemingly easy question is not easy for me.

baby

When people ask me where I am from, I have to put on my happy face and ask some clarifying questions. Like- What does your question really mean? What information are you really looking for?

  • Did you want to know where I grew up?
  • What does grow up mean to you? childhood years or teenage years?
  • Where you looking to figure out where I was born?
  • Where did I move to Portland from?

Each one of these questions has a different answer. Language is important.

Usually I start by saying. I moved to Portland from Austin, Texas. Then they usually say- oh you grew up in Austin.

Austin-Texas-624x414

Wait? What? I said I MOVED here from Austin.

images-1

I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then they think I was born in Colorado.

Unknown

I was born in San Francisco, California

Spent half of the childhood years and 3/4 of my Senior year of High School in the Bay Area.

I realize this question is meant as a friendly conversation starter however I find it painful.

After all the answers- this question comes.

Did you move around so much because your family was in the military?

oh no… another innocent question is about to open a can of worms….

Can-of-Worms-420x270

No, we moved a lot because I had a dysfunctional family – I say with a smile to ease the tension.

I don’t really have any family per se. I have never met my Dad. Well that’s what it feels like anyway. I did see a picture of him holding me when I was about 18 months, my only half-sister passed away and my biological mother is dangerous to my happy life so I don’t talk to her nor have I for a very long time.

I wish society would come up with some other basic questions to get to know each other. Pronto. It’s quite possible that this question serves to constantly remind me that I am not like everyone else and to be comfortable with that. I can relate to orphans more than anyone else. Next question please.

Airbnb: Please don’t ask me about the money I make from hosting.

Unknown

I understand that people are curious creatures. Humans have a natural instinct to understand the world around them. It is fun to travel and see how other people live life. You could find yourself asking questions to help gain a better understanding of the settings around you. Friendly reminder- there is more than one way to gather information, especially when dealing with sensitive topics.

I find my financial details to be sensitive information and private. I am also willing to express my boundaries. I do not feel bad for standing by them either.

When two strangers meet, their respective boundaries are unknown. Maybe something will be said or done to reveal someone’s boundaries. When boundaries are expressed, it is important to respect them.

images

Whenever a guest arrives and proceeds to make conversation about what it must be like to be in the Airbnb business, what it must be like to be a host, what it is like to have strangers around, it seems the money question also comes up. What makes people think it is okay to ask a stranger about their financial situation? and make no mistake, you are asking about money and since I can only speak from my experience and I only know the intimate details of my situation and you are asking me- then yes, you are asking about my private business.

Do you know what it seems like. It seems like this……

Hi nice to meet you, how much money do you make?

  • Is Airbnb lucrative?
  • Are you able to cover the mortgage?
  • Do you have to have a second job?
  • How much do you get after Airbnb fees?

The answers to these questions are none of your business. When asked, I am put in the position of verbalizing my boundary, which sounds like….. Sorry, however we just met and I do not discuss my financial situation with strangers.

The gentlemen who asked me the lucrative question followed up my response with- Oh, I am not asking you about your money. We argued a little. Listen guy, yes, yes you are. Here is the definition of lucrative.

Some people feel bad after my boundary response, which puts me in the position of trying to smooth things out because they are guests in my home and I want them to feel comfortable. I have had to work really hard for this- a few times. My honest response brought an awkwardness to the situation that I felt fine about but I could tell my guest didn’t. They overstepped the bounds with their questions and now they feel bad because I responded honestly and shut down the conversation. Now I have to do the hard work to make it comfortable again.

In the future, think about what you’re asking, really think about it. If it requires divulging personal information then think twice asking a stranger about it.

The saying goes “Treat people how you want to be treated”. As much as I understand the lesson being conveyed, I think we should tweek it a bit to say- “Treat people how they would like to be treated.”

Airbnb: Drinking with the Russian Guest – Part 3 The End.

Albert called a truce on Twitter and we got to bottom of our issue. Our issue was caused by a glitch in the app and bad communication. Airbnb Lesson for the Week: Bad Communication will get you nowhere. Turns out, there is a glitch in the Android version of the Airbnb app. The glitch won’t allow you to see the ALL the House Rules for a listing. There are preset options from Airbnb that you have to choose from and there is additional space to put custom rules (the part he could not see). For now, I am just glad we have made peace. I already think communication is challenging enough with people you know, it can be even more challenging when you don’t know them. It is easy to misinterpret their intent based on their style of communication. Ultimately, I still think it wasn’t okay for him to take my personal information and bash me on Twitter to the point where strangers could identify me. I do understand it was his way to vent his frustration.

Yesterday when peace was made, he asked if I would like to meet for dinner. My schedule did not permit meeting so I asked if he would meet me at Box Social for a cocktail at 8p.m. the next day. He said yes.

On his way to meet me, he was in the area of town where a person jumped/ or was pushed off a parking garage into the downtown streets of Portland. Police Investigation is Underway. He is a great photographer and captured the incident with great detail (the body in the middle of the street). The pictures were gruesome however that’s real life so I find it fascinating. He told me in Russia that pictures like that are often sold to the media. Had he headed my way a few minutes earlier, the timing would have put him there to actually witness the event with his own eyes. How terrible.

We hung out for a few hours, drinking and chatting about his world travels, government red tape, being Russian in the United States right now, jobs and logistics. He is well-traveled – I am in awe of it. I have been craving adventure/travel for close to a year now. Life has required my attention be focused other things. Now that I have done my due diligence, I am ready for some fun!

I am such a light weight these days and after two drinks I am feeling saucy therefore it was time to go after that. I am also a bike only girl who has been too drunk to ride her bike home before ( that was a crazy fun night) as well as terribly funny to me when I realized I couldn’t get home by riding my bike. Did you know you can get a BUI in Portland?

One of the reasons I chose the Box Social was because I am a sucker for a fancy vodka cocktail. Their cocktails are bougie.

recipe-moscow-mule

I enjoyed a Doc Holiday and a Bleu Apple Fig Panini. For the second and final drink, I ended our time together with a Moscow Mule.

He will be traveling back to Russia in the morning so it was nice to meet before he left. We hugged it out and then parted ways but not before joking that he had a new follower on Twitter.

Thanks for extending the Olive Branch first Albert. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for staying in the conversation long enough to figure it out and for listening to my side.

Peace and Chicken Grease.

Airbnb: Getting Harassed by a Russian Guest Part 2- Twitter

Twitter time. 13859958641165122791twitter_logo_blue-md

I only joined Twitter to talk smack to President Trump.  I can’t stand him.  He is harmful to our nation. He is harming our nations standing in the world. He is harmful to the lives of women, children, immigrants/brown people, and anyone who isn’t rich. I could shout at him daily. I was good about it at first and then I stopped paying attention since it’s guaranteed that he says crazy things every day and I want to spend my time doing other things.

I was informed a couple of days ago by a very kind stranger that the guest that required kicking out  (Albert) had turned to Twitter to bash me and I didn’t deserve it.

Albert claimed to be a famous Russian blogger that was going to destroy me. He actually ignored my request for non communication and continued to send me messages gaining momentum in aggressive language. I feel harassed. You can only call me a Cunt on Twitter so many times before I have something to say.  He has great reviews on Airbnb. That guy didn’t show up to my house to stay.  I think we see his true colors on Twitter.

The research has shown the following tweets.Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 9.52.56 PM

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 9.59.50 PM

and so it begins.

 

 

After getting kicked out, he went to the Inner SE which is close to a homeless shelter and dive bars.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.02.35 PM

He sent a message saying he was landing at 11:00p.m. My mistake in thinking he would come straight here to check in around 11:30p.m. or midnight.  My check in window ends at 10:00p.m so I was already doing him a favor.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.07.40 PM

 

so he can follow instructions.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.09.39 PM

He didn’t read the details in the listing because it clearly states where the space is located. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

and there are lots of signs around for good communication, including an chalk board arrow in the hallway pointing in the direction of the guest room (which is what I wrote on the arrow sign)  Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.12.19 PM

I give everyone a fresh start. Fresh sheets, dust, trash, clean mirror, and a 420 kit along with a personalized name on a chalkboard for your room. 3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

 

Drunk Guests are the Worst! Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.15.02 PM

He doesn’t remember.  I came downstairs to see what was happening, I noticed he just arrived since he still had his shoes and was drunk I felt compelled to make sure he knew where the bathroom was and where to get water.  I don’t need another guest “accidentally” trying to come in my room while “looking” for the bathroom when the listing states in 2 places the bathroom is downstairs and the bedrooms make up the entire upstairs of the place.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.20.02 PM

 

Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you lie about reading the house rules, show up and violate them, then your stay with me will come to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

After giving a mini tour, I tried to go back upstairs to go to bed.  I had to be to work early and it is hard to go back to sleep when you wake up too much. He had questions though. Where could he smoke a cigarette? Smoking is not allowed on my property. He made faces and said – I can’t go out front? No. I can’t go out back? No. I reminded him that is states in the house rules (that he agreed to) He said he didn’t see that and gets out his phone to argue about it. I am grumpy from being rudely awoken and know he wants to argue.  I shut down the conversation and say we can pick it up in the morning if there are still questions.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.33.06 PM

 

This guy is killing me.  Like it says in the house rules, the house is 420 friendly for guests since public consumption is illegal. I guess you lied about reading the house rules since you can’t seem to find them.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.36.13 PM

 

I don’t argue with drunk people. Once I could smell the alcohol on his breath. I stopped the conversation and said we could pick it up in the morning.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.38.07 PM

so the drunk guy thinks he is going to take action before I do. He sure talks a big game for someone who didn’t do a thing but complain on Twitter.

 

 

Before I went back to bed at 3:00a.m. I sent some messaging through Airbnb to document the situation. see messages here

at one point, I asked him to stop messaging and when he wouldn’t respect my request and wasn’t making sense or responding in an appropriate manner to the things being said, I knew I was going to have to have him leave.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.50.46 PMI called Airbnb first thing the next morning. They tried to call Albert but he didn’t answer.  I had to go in the room with my phone. A case manager was going to tell him it was time to vacate the premise. Instead of keeping all his money, I would let them change his reservation to just one night.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.54.53 PM

How does he think Airbnb will be on his side when they already told him he was wrong and had to leave?!?!

They already sided with me.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.57.21 PM

He sure tweets a lot. I told the case manager I did not wish to pursue the penalty fee. I wanted to be done with him as fast as possible so I made it easy and let it all go. Look at him trying to be all big and egotastic……

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.00.03 PM

Did he get that refund he was demanding? Nope!

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.02.52 PM

He is trying to change his story and they are holding him to the agreed upon modification.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.09.00 PM

 

He didn’t get his way and now he is whining away.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.11.54 PM

 

I have worked hard for my Superhost status and he doesn’t have the power to take that away.

I have reported these messages to Airbnb.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.14.56 PM

 

Actions speak louder than words. For the record: I have an Android phone not an iPhone. Get the facts straight.

 

 

I got it, he thinks that he can take advantage of my Super host status and their wouldn’t be consequences to his rude behavior. Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.21.54 PM

 

 

I can’t take it anymore and finally I say something. Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.26.43 PM

 

 

 

My favorite part is where he says Airbnb is not on my side this morning when he is at a crappy motel. He was asked to leave my residence. He did not get a full refund. He got his Airbnb privileges suspended. He has already complained about the situation. Which part do you think is confusing to him?Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.30.15 PM

 

 

 

I have a lot of gratitude out there for a particular person who gave me a heads up this Twitter bashing was happening.  It should give everyone concern that someone can get your information legitimately and then take it to another platform where they intend to do you harm.  Put enough information out there that strangers can identify you. I have an angel watching my back! I also am tired of being called a Cunt and the lies he is telling. He wants to sit back and act all big and bad and tell his followers a bunch of stuff that isn’t true. So I am here to give my side to the story and provide evidence along the way.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.35.18 PM

 

Airbnb: Getting Harassed by a Russian Guest: Part 1

I have been a host for Airbnb for 2 years and I have hosted over 350 people. People are people and patterns have revealed themselves. I have encountered all kinds of situations and behaviors – I thought I had seen it all. There is a first time for everything.  Lessons Consequences Choices Wisdom

Albert booked last-minute and sent a message saying he was landing at 11 pm. I took this to mean that he would be headed over straight from the airport and would be arriving around 11:30pm maybe midnight. My check-in window is from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. however I always let guests check-in later since I have a lock box and they can self check-in. Most people have Respect and come in as quiet as possible or at least apologize for waking people up. Not this guy.

20180612_0808551415496442.jpgAlbert, showed up at 3 a.m.- drunk and woke up the house wearing shoes while clopping up and down the stairs. I went downstairs to use the restroom and check out what was happening. I found Albert on the stairs with a deer-in-headlights look on his face. I asked if he was wearing shoes.  He said yes.

I asked why, it’s a house rule (with a penalty fee for agreeing with them and then showing up and not following them).

 

Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable? There is also a friendly reminder sign on the front door. 20180501_195549.jpg

It appeared he had just arrived.  Clearly he hadn’t read anything nor was he aware of the details so I felt compelled to point out the bathroom and guest area in the kitchen so he could get a glass of water.  As I headed back upstairs to go to bed he had more questions. I am a bit grumpy when rudely woken up in the middle of the night. He wanted to know where he could smoke a cigarette. Well….like the listing states there is no smoking cigarettes (tobacco) on the property. He got a quizzical look on his face and said he didn’t read that. Could he not step outside?….no. Could he not go out back?…..no. He argued and debated and I was growing more grumpy. It wasn’t the time for it.

He got out his phone to pull things up. At a glance, I could not tell where this information was located on his phone nor was I going to wake up enough to sort it out. When my eyes opened enough to read it was 3:09a.m. I instructed him to turn off the lights when he was done and we could talk about it in the morning.  Airbnb: I am a host not a 24 hour concierge desk

Before I went to bed, I sent some messages through Airbnb to document the situation.  I knew that I would be calling first thing in the morning to see what my options were.  I have attached all of them for your viewing pleasure. Start from Left to Right in each row.

Someone needs to learn the difference between a House Manual and House Rules.  I even write in the manual to look at the rules for people who are slow or lack attention to detail.

I am an early riser.  I called Airbnb at 7:30a.m. to explain what was happening.  I was assigned a case manager who assisted with me in the process of changing a reservation. He called Albert several times to inform him it was time to vacate- Albert didn’t answer (shocker).  So when the case manager called me back, I said yes I was willing to knock on the door so they could speak on my phone.  Time for Albert to go.  He required me asking him when he was going to leave, he was just chillin’ in bed so I was forced to call Airbnb back to confirm it could be immediately since Albert was trying to say he had until check out time.  Why would he possibly want to stay any longer?

In the past, the guest leaves, I get to keep all the money since they violated the terms and conditions of the agreement.  This time I compromised and let him out of it by agreeing to let the reservation be altered to just one nights stay.  I also cancelled the request for the penalty fee for wearing shoes in the house.  I was willing to let him off easy just to get rid of him so I could move on to the next guest, who would be nothing short of awesome in comparison.

With Albert gone, I hung out with my other French guest, who had cooked us a delicious dinner the night before.

I had the best guest and the worst guest at the same time.  Good thing I like to focus on the positive. Back to the happy place.

Until I received a message from a kind stranger informing me that Albert was trashing me on Twitter, I mean really having a go at me. To the point where a kind stranger could identify me, reach out to me and let me know what was happening. I thought I was free and clear of his harassment.

Time to remember the Twitter password.

Part 2 coming next……

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: I am a host not a 24 hour concierge desk

UnknownI am a host that offers two private rooms in my three bedroom home.  I live on property, upstairs in close proximity to the shared rooms.  I have several jobs and enjoy the flexibility hosting has to offer so I can fit it all in. The beauty about being a host is that you get to set up your business however works for you.  My check in window is 3:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. People frequently ask if it is okay to arrive later than 10:00p.m. It is always okay to arrive later since I have Self Check In.  I make sure to leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on. I let them know that I will be asleep and that they have everything they need to have a smooth check in.

I understand that late night flights are common. By the time they get luggage and make their way to the house, it will be after the check in window.

Recently, I had this scenario come up.  Guest asks if they can check in between 11:30p.m.- Midnight. I say “Checking in late is not a problem. You will need to Self Check In though as I will be sleeping at that time 🙂 It’s easy, I will leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on.”

To which they reply – “Hi Julie. We just read all the house rules and are totally cool with how you operate in the house. Thanks for the clarity. We will be sure to abide by them. Look forward to meeting you too!”

Fast forward to the night they are scheduled to arrive.

pretty-girl-in-shirt-sleeping-on-white-pillow-in-bed-at-home_1398-3933At 10:35p.m. I sent a message that said – “I hope you made it okay. I’m headed to bed. I left the light on in the room since it will be late and dark when you arrive. The weather was a little warm today. So I left some blanket options for you in case you get cold. There’s a fan and a space heater, please make yourself comfortable. See you in the morning. Sleep well!” and then upon rereading, I sent another short message – “I’m tired and that message could have sounded better. Good night”

UnknownI woke up to a message they sent at midnight! At Midnight!

“Hi Julie we have arrived at the house. What is the code to key box?

This message ruffles my feathers on so many levels. They were very nice people. Young. Educated. Still.  Who waits till the last-minute to ask for information they have had since they booked?  Standing on the doorstep is not the time to get what you need.  Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons What makes them even remotely think I would be available to answer this question or that I would be up to help??  I mentioned more than once that I would be sleeping. I literally sent a message saying Good Night.

Needless to say, I did not respond.  I also found them in the morning using my personal kitchen items.  It was clear they didn’t read the details of the listing.  5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Airbnb 101– READ the details, ALL the details of the listing.  This will ensure that all parties involved have a nice experience. Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too.  It will also ensure that you don’t cross boundaries you are unaware of.

I have a life. I have a day job. Guests don’t get to come and go 24 hours a day and I am certainly not doing the same job twice.  Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Have some responsibility for yourself. Prepare yourself. Your quality of life will improve because of the time and attention you put towards it.