4 guys & a raft to the rescue

When I worked at an Outdoor Gear store, I went on all the kayaking trips they had to offer and took a couple of safety courses specific to paddling. It is important to know multiple ways to re-enter your kayak if you find yourself in the water for some reason. Most of the trips I went on were on flat water and only once did I go Sea Kayaking. I would consider myself to be an intermediate level kayaker.

One Saturday, I decided to join a couple coworkers on their swift moving water kayak trip for the day. They were going to Husum Falls. Husum Falls is located on the White Salmon River in Washington. It has a 12 foot drop, is a class V waterfall, and is one of the 5 Tallest Commercially Rafted Waterfalls in North America. There is a bridge near by where spectators can watch people “run the falls” – Husum falls Halarity

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Since this would be my first time on fast moving water, I figured it best to let my coworker friend, aka: the outdoor school Tour Guides, pick out my boat. They were the experts after all. To this day, I still have no idea why he chose an inflatable kayak.

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inflatable kayak pictured

No sooner had we walked down to the put in spot and got in the water, we were off. Water was moving fast. I was starting to get the feel of how to maneuver myself in the water using the paddle when the current took me, swept me into this huge right half circle, and into a cove of rocks where the side of the boat scraped along the wall. There was a huge hole torn it the boat and I sunk immediately.
Just like that- it was over. Just a few feet away was a embankment to the right. We hauled ourselves and the deflated boat up on the rocks to come up with a plan. There weren’t many options for us. Since we hadn’t made it very far, it was too far to finish the run. It was logistically impossible to make it back up where we put in. We had to wait. Wait for a person coming down with space enough to carry me and my deflated boat.

We waited on the side of water for hours. Frequently, other kayakers would stop to make sure we were okay or to see if they could help in any way. What a nice community of people to be in community with. Makes me want to paddle more.

There proved to be only 1 option for us that day. I still can’t believe how lucky we were. There was 1 commercial raft coming our way with one free spot and enough space to carry the torn kayak. We flagged them down as soon as we saw them!

4 guys were on a Bachelor party rafting trip. Their buddy was a guide and owned his own raft.

They were such good sports to let me crash. I told them all the Dirty Jokes I knew as we paddled down the river. My buddies made sure to paddle close so we could still be together.

After 20 minutes or so it was time to decide if we were going to “run the falls”. If the answer was yes- we would have to go through some practice exercises in preparation. There is a particular way to crouch down, hold the paddle and the boat, as well as a pep talk in case things go wrong. They all wanted to do it and I certainly wasn’t going to be the chick they were nice enough to pick up to hold them back.

I was nervous. REALLY nervous. I had thoughts of backing out up until the point of no return!

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We did it! I did it! It was fun and it would be the first of many runs for me 🙂

Some guys go to Vegas for their Bachelor Party….

I am so glad these guys decided to raft the Husum Falls.

Go to Crater Lake if you can

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It only took me eight years and A LOT of effort to get there however it was totally worth it. Therefore, I highly recommend it to you.

It is a very popular spot. Camping spots are taken up months in advance. There are two campgrounds they provide information for on their website. They are very good about keeping the website updated with open spots for reservations.

  • Mazama Campground is the closest to the Lake. This site reserves 10% of the spots for walk-ins. Walk-ins are on a first come first serve basis. Whether you have a reservation or are just walking up, Check-in time starts at 12:00 p.m.
  • Lost Creek Campground is the second closest, doesn’t take reservations, and is a tent only site.

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I lucked out and a spot opened up at Mazama’s two days before my trip. I kept checking back every 30 minutes or so to see the status of open sites.

When we arrived around 11:15 a.m. there were people already making a line for the walk-in spots.

I recommend bringing your own firewood. They sell firewood at the store near the entrance to the campground. It cost $10 a bundle. Since there was a burn ban in effect, I felt so lucky each camping site had a fire ring which allowed us to build a fire. My favorite part about camping!!!

Technically Crater Lake is a caldera not a crater. You can drive 33 miles around the entire thing on the Scenic Rim Drive (since you are there- why not?!) It doesn’t take that long to do…

Elevation of Crater Lake ranges from 7000 to 8000 feet. Portland’s elevation is only 50 feet above sea level. Be mentally prepared for this. I underestimated the effects of this on my body. I figured since I grew up in Colorado that it wasn’t going to be a big deal. I forgot that it has been 20 years since I have been to Colorado and it became apparent real fast. There is less oxygen the higher in elevation you go. My heart was beating so hard after a few steps hiking around.

I would only get to spend 1 day and 1 night at Crater Lake so I wanted to make the most of it. I signed up to take their 2 hour boat tour. It cost $44.

There’s only one place to access the water. It’s the same place you will have to go if you decide to take the boat tour.

We arrived to the check-in spot for the boat tour, only to learn it had been cancelled 💩

They only have 3 boats. One of them had just broken down. They are required to keep one of those boats designated as the rescue boat aka: “the just in case” boat. If for any reason something happens to the boat people are on, they need the just in case boat to rescue everyone.

I wanted to touch the water so I convinced my friend to hike down to dip our feet in it. It is not a recreational lake so activities are limited. You can fish. There is a small area to jump in. No flotation devices, no swimming and no private boats.

The hike is moderately difficult because of the (overall) elevation change. The hike itself only changes by 780 feet. If you already live in a place that is is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, you will be fine. For the rest of us, I again want to mention how it took my by surprise. It took hours to get back up the hike. (Still worth it). I just want you to be prepared ❤

If you have the chance to visit this place- you must go!!!!!

Covert Operation = Get Nieces back

3 thousand dollars & Karma allowed for the covert operation.

Maybe you have read the other blogs about my journey, maybe you have not. This story picks up at the end of the blog that is linked above.

For those that have not, let me give you the readers digest version: I don’t have a good relationship with my biological mother. My younger sister passed away in 2003 which prompted me to connect with the abusive dysfunctional people from my past in order to attend her funeral and to meet my little nieces, whom were 3 years old and 18 months old at the time. I wanted to help raise my nieces so they moved to Austin TX where I was living in 2004. It didn’t go well and my biological mother lied and said she was going on vacation when she was secretly moving to Oregon about 1.5 years later. She then proceeded to cut me out of my nieces lives. She changed the phone number leaving me no way to contact the little girls that had become such a big part of my heart <3.

When I found out they moved, I made plans to visit. Those plans were met with resistance. I was told I had to do certain things, I wasn’t willing to do. My biological mother doesn’t get to treat me however she wants and then dictate my response to it. This is when she told me not to come. Shortly after that she changed the phone number.

I realized that if I was ever going to see them again, I would need my visit to be a surprise. I didn’t take the trip I originally planned since she had all the details and could have easily left town. This would result in me wasting $3,000.00

Covert Operation = get nieces back began to form. I bribed my boyfriend at the time to come with me with some fun plans in Portland before traveling to Salem to sit in front of their house. I decided going around Christmas time would increase the chances of me being able to find them at home.

In 2006, I got plane tickets for Portland, a rental car to drive to Salem, hotel rooms and massage appointments. I went to the local toy store and purchased Christmas presents for the girls. We stayed two days in Portland before headed off for the drama.

Portland was awesome! The size of the city reminded me of the Austin Texas I moved to the summer of 1996. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. The nature scene reminded me of growing up in Colorado Springs. Portland has delicious food, cool bridges and nice people. It was becoming clear that I liked it so much that I wanted to live there. I never thought I would see the day I wanted to move from Austin because I loved living there. It’s the place I have lived the longest yet (15 years) Portland was pretty awesome though and I seriously started to think about moving. I would need to finish college first.

After two days in Portland, we drove to Salem, checked into the hotel and went to sit in front of my nieces house. It was completely nerve wracking. The anxiety built with every passing moment. At some point my boyfriend mentioned he was hungry. I didn’t want to leave because Murphy’s Law says the moment I leave is the moment they come home and I didn’t want to miss them. He ended up convincing me to get some fast food for him. We weren’t gone long. When we returned, the lights in the house were on. I knew it! I missed my moment! I was pissed at my BF and pissed at myself for agreeing to leave. Now we have to go to the door. This gives my biological mother more of an advantage.

We crept up to the door and couldn’t really see through the oval circle made of frosted glass that was in the middle of the wood door. I could hear them though. I tried to wait until I heard the girls voices closer towards the front of the house however it was proving impossible. I knocked on the door and she told the girls to go to their rooms because she thought I was going to be someone else that was showing up with something for the girls for Christmas. When she answered the door, it took her a minute to register what was happening. I saw her face change when it clicked. I shoved my foot in the door so she couldn’t close it on me and I started yelling my nieces names. I didn’t overcome the year of sadness and come all this way not to be successful. She let me in…

At first it was very awkward. It took an hour or so for the girls to remember who I was. There weren’t any pictures of me around. I’m 100% sure she didn’t talk about me or say nice things about me or remind them of the good times we had and how much I loved them. She asked if I was there to take them away? My answer was – I’m not you.

I had a hotel down the street and I wanted the girls to come and stay with me. I’m surprised she agreed. I got to spend all the days I was there with them. We went out to eat and had a couple sleepover nights. I couldn’t have been more happy. I got them back!!!!!

After a week, it was time to return home to Austin. I invited each of my nieces to come for 1 week during the summer. The littlest one was too scared to fly so the older one asked if she could have her sister’s week and come for 2 weeks. OF COURSE. It almost didn’t happen because she was very scared to get on the plane. Thankfully a nice couple saw this little girl crying and offered to accompany her during the flight. Words could not express the disappointment I felt at the thought of her not being able to board the plane. I am so proud of her for conquering her fear and making it all the way to Texas. We had a blast. Lots of swimming. Reuniting with old friends. She lost a tooth. She celebrated her 8th birthday while there- We went at Schlitterbahn with friends. Our relationship was back on track. I love her more than I love anyone in the world.

I spent the next 2 years flying to Portland for visits. As my nieces got older, I knew that they needed me to be closer. I wanted to be a bigger part in their lives. I was putting myself through college part-time which would take 10 years to complete. I graduated the summer of 2010 and by the end of December, I moved to Dallas OR, where they lived.

Dealing Blackjack in Las Vegas

When I was 22 years old, I was keeping books for Coppertank Brewing Company in Austin TX. Although working at this place would come with some challenges, I would end up returning to it to deal cards after Vegas. It all started when my car broke down and instead of going to work, I took the day off to figure out how to get it towed from the gas station it was stuck at. I also needed to figure out how I was going to fix it. I am the only person I have in my life to make sure things get done. At that time, I was working at Celis Brewery. My supervisor offered to give me ride the next morning except when she arrived, she had a letter in her hand. They were firing me for taking the time to address my car. Thank goodness a girl I knew (you will hear about later in the story) told me about the position at Coppertank. I interviewed later that day and got the job. The bar business is a male dominated one. I felt pressure to keep up with Texas style grooming; fake boobs, fake tan, fake nails, even fake eyelashes because that’s whats Texas girls do. At times the misogyny was glaring. For example- one of the more popular t-shirts sold there said “Drink until she’s cute” The staff were all having sex with each other , even managers with waitresses. I was not in the mix of any of it.

One evening, they did something that was so upsetting, I quit on the spot. I just stormed right out. I woke up the next day in deep regret. I didn’t have a working car and now I didn’t have a job. I was full of apologies when I tried to get my job back but they weren’t having it. Too bad so sad for me.

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Before I could seriously look for another job, I had a vacation coming up. A long weekend trip to Las Vegas. I love to gamble and have been doing it since I’ve had a fake ID at nineteen in Cripple Creek, Colorado. It suddenly occurred to me I could stay long enough to learn how to deal blackjack, buy a car and return to Austin. I heard rumors about how much money you can make in tips so I figured it wouldn’t take too long to gather the funds. They are pretty much handing out loans to dealers and cocktail waitress because they know they would make enough money to cover it.

I needed to seriously figure out how to do this. The only people I knew in Vegas were my biological mother and younger sister. They moved to Las Vegas when I moved to Austin, the summer of 1996. It had only been about a year that I had started speaking to them again. Things were on shaky ground. Growing up, I experienced so much dysfunction I couldn’t get away fast enough. I left home at 17 and went four years without speaking to them. I decided to try again after the worst day of my life. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. This Vegas trip would be the final straw to remind me of why I left and I would go another 3 years before speaking with my sister and another 6 years before having to see/speak with my biological mother for my sister’s funeral. I havent spoken to her since January 2011 and I don’t have the desire to ever again. Life became better without her.

I was living in a 2 bdr apartment and everything was in my name. I have had many roommates, none of them stable or good choices. My current male roommate was addicted to drugs and super dirty ( I knew neither of these things before he moved in because he lied) When I went to see his apartment, he had paid someone to clean it. I didn’t know this until after he moved in and we fought about his habits. A couple of times I snuck into his room early morning (because he was always passed out and getting up late) to steal his car keys and use his car to run errands. Guess I’m not the perfect roommate either. Although the only thing I really cared about in a roomie was they paid bills on time and the shared spaces to be kept OCD clean ( I still do) .

I talked to my roommate about my plans for Vegas. I told him I would send money for half the rent/bills each month, just please don’t screw me in any way shape or form. I would only need a few months before I would return. Maybe it would be better to not leave him alone? I really can’t trust this guy. I am taking a big chance leaving for an undetermined amount of time and I’m taking a big chance with where I would be staying in Vegas.

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Last minute, I thought of someone who could take my place in the apartment. The only drawback is that we had broken up not too long ago. We weren’t dating anymore because he was an alcoholic with commitment issues. He was living with a couple who were wanting more privacy because they were planning to get married. They were hinting their desire for him to move out. The timing was perfect. He could pay half the rent and bills. This would allow me to save more money and get home faster. I could also have someone to keep an eye on my dirty cocaine addicted roommate.

We went out for a drink and I laid down some ground rules. I would de personalize my room to make it more comfortable for him. #1 Rule NO sex with other girls in MY bed. Take it to the living room couch (also mine). Better yet, go to her house! He would keep an eye on my current roommate and update me with any information I needed to be aware of. He would make sure the bills were on time. His #1 concern was getting stuck with my things. I assured him if the day came that something happened. I would come home immediately to take care of my business.

I flew to Las Vegas and signed up for dealing school. It was fun, I learned how to deal pitch. I learned how to check the chips. I memorized blackjack payouts from $1-$100. What takes most people 30 days to finish, I did in 7.

 

When you are new, there are only certain casinos that will hire you. They are called Break-In houses. They know you are new and going to make mistakes. I went for my live audition at the Gold Coast. I got the job! They hired me on the spot. I was assigned the night shift. The hours were 7:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.. The Gold Coast works on a 24 hour tip share pool. This means the person working at 6:00a.m. (when no one is playing ) is making the same amount of money as the person busting their ass Friday night at 11:00 p.m.

 

You’re not allowed to have people you know sit at your table to gamble so I didn’t let on when my buddy Joe and his friend drove up from California to play some blackjack. They followed me around to each table I would be stationed at ( since a shift includes working for 40 minutes and breaking for 20) then you get put at a different table. I would end up taking all their money.

 

20190727_115855.jpgThey say it’s all about who you know, which couldn’t be more true in Las Vegas. I made friends with one of the female pit bosses. She nicknamed me Downtown Julie Brown. Do you remember that MTV host? Anyways, this would prove to be beneficial. It would ensure I never got picked for a “random” drug test. I beat a hair test to get the job.

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You know the day the guy I used to date was worried about. Yeah, that day came. He called me one morning, after three months, to let me know the other roommate was moving out. I would need to come back to Austin to take care of my business. I woke up the next day, bought a slightly used car ( light purple Saturn SC1), gave my two weeks notice and started to prepare to return home to Austin. I flew out a girl, whom I thought was my friend, to travel home with me. She turned out to be a frenemy. We then drove 24 hours straight home in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends. This would be the year I would take 13 shots in addition to some cocktails resulting in giving myself alcohol poising. I may have turned 23 while living in Las Vegas however I wasn’t another year wiser.

Upon moving back into my apartment, I would end up having to live with that ex boyfriend for a few months. After a month a so we managed to find ourselves having sex on the couch. This naked time between us would result in another separation. I would end up asking him to move out. Sex on the couch = I known what it means. Coming into my bedroom for sex and then leaving to sleep for the night in your own bed = crossing the line = no commitment = you gotta go…

It wouldn’t take too long before I would see an ad in the paper for dealers wanted. Since gambling is illegal in Texas, it caught my attention. Turns out, there were several companies in town throwing parties with a casino theme. These types of parties are popular during the holiday season. Companies throw their employees parties, feed them, and give them drink tickets. We are the entertainment. Hopefully they offer incentive to play otherwise we stand around doing nothing but watching them eat, dance, and sometimes sing karaoke. They have become my entertainment.

I currently have a job with a casino company in Portland Oregon. I have been dealing blackjack since 1997. I held my gaming license for 10 years and now I teach people how to play. I have a feeling it will be a job that I do until I am old and can’t work anymore.

What starts in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas LOL.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go.

1995 was a rough year for me. I was 21 years old. I crashed my car, lost my job and found out I was pregnant all in the same day. Time for some big changes.

I grew up between California and Colorado. I was born in San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area, mainly Vallejo, until I was 8 yo. After some serious physical abuse inflicted upon me by my step father, I was shipped off to live in Colorado Springs. I would live with my biological mother’s mother. She was also abusive and I would stop speaking to her at 18 years old.

I would graduate High School in Co Spgs. I wanted to go to college far far away but couldn’t afford to even go to the local community college so just like ever other kid who doesn’t continue their education, I got a job.

114 jobs and counting

Years of working led to years of yearning for something different. Something bigger.

After the worst day of my life insofar as of yet. I decided I was going to move. But to where?

I had spent time on the West Coast already. I had seen parts of the East coast. I wanted to move to a bigger city but not too too big. The Northern part of the states was cold like Colorado. I hadn’t spent too much time in the South. The idea of never having to scrape snow and ice off my car before heading out was awfully appealing.

20190727_120604.jpgI busted out a map and said Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. How bout I go to Austin TX… I’ve heard good things about it from a girl I know named Rebecca. To think that was enough information for me is semi frightening. You wouldn’t catch me doing that now. I would need way more information.

 

 

Austin was bigger than Colorado Springs but not as big as Chicago. My Air Force boyfriend was from West Dundee IL so I have spent a lot of time in the Chicago area. Got my fake ID in Woodstock IL since they turned me down in Elgin. His sister was a nurse and lived downtown Chicago. She came home almost every weekend though to be with her family. She was lonely. I have a lot of gratitude towards my fellow humans for allowing me to get an education, to learn some life lessons ,by observing the details of their lives. Watching her fill her loneliness with her beloved family taught me that when you live in a big city, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. It showed me that just because you have a lot of money doesn’t take away the fact you could easily feel like just a number. I didn’t want to feel that lonely. Not only did I not have any money, I didn’t have any family to lean on. Seriously- if this pretty, smart, successful girl was coming home on the weekends, what was in store for me? I was already going to be alone when I moved. Unless I could find a friend to join me….

The girl I found turned out to be Courtney. We knew each other from high school. She was a fellow friend ready to have a bigger adventure and get out of the military town we grew up in. Colorado Springs is surrounded by Peterson AFB, Fort Carson Army Base and the Air Force Academy. Courtney and I soon spent our days making plans. We would need to rent a truck, map the route we would drive and research which parts of the city were best to live in. It was all very exciting!

Three weeks before we were supposed to leave, Courtney found out she got into college. It’s what she really wanted to do therefore she backed out of the move. I was committed. I would go alone if I had to. Going with a friend sounded much better though. I wasn’t going to know anyone in a city/state I had never been to. It would make life so much easier and nicer to have a pal to explore with.

I decided to hit my friend T up. I have known her since 8th grade. I lived in her house during my senior year in high school. When she graduated high school she moved to Breckenridge to live with her boyfriend. I would move into a downtown apartment with my friend Amy. True Independence at last. I would visit T in Summit County several times. During one of those visits I would mention that Courtney had backed out of the move, that all the plans were in place and I just needed to find someone to join or I would go alone.

T was born and raised Colorado. All her family lived in Colorado. She is close with her family. She said she would join if I could help convince her parents to get on board. I agreed. I had the talk with her parents, it worked and suddenly I was back on track with a friend to move with.

 

 

I was going to drive a 15 foot truck with all our belongings. Behind that truck I would tow my car that broke down the night before. It broke down in the Rocky Mountains on the way home from gambling in Cripple Creek. One last hoorah. There would be no time to fix it before I moved.

It took 2 days to make it from Colorado Springs to Austin TX. I had set up an appointment with an apartment Realtor to show us around. I decided I wanted to live close to downtown. Downtown is where you go when you don’t know where to go. He showed us good options.

20190711_214204-1.jpgWe picked a two bedroom at Riverside Place apartments and moved in later that day. I picked up the Sunday paper, found an office manager position to apply for with Celis Brewery. Even though I don’t like beer, I knew it would be a fun atmosphere. I was just 21 years old after all.

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So we arrived on a Friday night, found an apartment on Saturday- moved in, picked up the Sunday paper and had interviews for jobs we would both get by Monday. This is how you know you are where you are supposed to be when life works out so effortlessly ❤

 

 

Before I moved, a girl I worked with gave me someone to connect with in Austin. His name was Scott Crossett and he threw an annual 4th of July party on his boat. We would get to go if I called. Little did I know how much of a gift this guy would be in my life. He was the owner of Apple Leasing and he would be the reason I had transportation for over a year which allowed me to obtain work. That deal worked out for some time however I would end up selling my 55 gallon fresh water fishtank to put an engine in the broken car I towed with me.

Turns out I lived in Austin for 15 years. It is the longest I have lived anywhere. Austin holds so many memories for me:

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I would put myself through college (it would take ten years). I would move to Las Vegas, deal blackjack for 3 months, return home in time for New Year’s Eve (to give myself alcohol poising) in a light purple Saturn SC1 with a spoiler (joined by a friend turned enemy) that an Office Supplies truck would crash in to (totaling it) and (leaving me to go to the hospital on a backboard by ambulance).

 

 

Photo 2It’s the city where I would learn my younger sister was going to die, leaving me to rise up and face my dysfunctional past, in order to attend her funeral. Shortly after her death my biological mother and nieces would move to Austin. A few years later I would be lied to. I would be told they were going on vacation. In reality they were secretly moving to Oregon. My nieces would be 5 and 3 at the time.

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Austin is the place where I will sell weed (to pay for the last year of college) since I borrowed the maximum amount allowed for an Undergraduate degree.  I would go to jail for possession of marijuana and get robbed twice before I decided to change the trajectory of my life. It’s the place I will fall in love with two men and be cheated on and lied to therefore I will walk away from both. I could list so much more but I will keep some for myself.

 

In December of 2010 I will walk away from it all. I will move to Oregon after graduating college to be closer to my nieces. I want to be a part of raising them. I don’t have kids of my own. I love kids. I have finished school and it’s time to leave Texas.

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Portland Oregon was calling my name….

“It’s a great day for chili”

I bought a pair of Keen water shoes in 2010 to go to Lollapalooza with my friend Alex.  They were the nicest pair of water shoes I have owned yet.  I have enjoyed using them often since I am living in Oregon now. They have been my go to shoe for all the kayaking trips I get to go on working as the Full Charge Bookkeeper for Next Adventure   This job has a lot of adventure perks. I plan to go on them all. So far I have being skiing on Mount Hood, taken every guided hike and I have taken every guided kayaking trip they have to offer.

I have been out to Ross Island, several times- it is on the Willamette River. I have been out to Rooster Rock which is on the Columbia River Gorge.  I have been to Sauvie Island which is in the state of Washington but feels like really far north Portland.  I have come to expect some kind of challenge to happen during the trips because so far every trip has had something happen to make it a somewhat difficult experience.

Off all the challenges I have dealt with, the trip to Sauvie Island sticks with me the most.

Our group started off having a good time, we were moving along, taking in the nature when we encountered water only 2 inches deep.  This would take hours and hours to get out of.  The mud underneath was so soft we were unable to get out and stand in it to pull the boats.  I tried and the mud went up over my knees to mid thigh.  We turned our paddles into oars and inched our way along.  It was miserable but there was no other way around it. Not everyone was going at the same speed. It is important to stay together as a group.  After a considerable amount of time pulling ourselves along it was time for a break.  I hitched up with the high school girl.  She had just had surgery on her foot. Under no circumstances should her foot get wet.  She came on this trip because it had already been paid for. Not only was it her Aunt’s birthday, it was also her Mom’s weekend to be with her.  She sang Journey songs with me and taught me the new slang way the kids say “bitch”  = “batch of cookies”  I think it’s cute! I’m going to start using it. We also played silly games and asked each other fun get to know you questions.  Thank Jah this group was awesome to be stuck with!

P1020944After an hour of chillin’ in the mud, waiting for the other people to catch up, everyone voted to move inward and go from there.  It would take another 30 min of inching along just to reach the shore.  I am going to need to get out of my boat to help the high school girl get her boat the closest to shore as possible so she could get out while keeping her foot dry.  I’m going to have to pull her boat which will require me getting into the mud. The mud was soft like gray clay. The minute I stepped into it, it came to above my knees . I lifted my leg up to take a step and bloop..my shoe came off 2 feet under the mud.

Oh Fuck!  I turned right back around and plunged my arm in that crap to find my $100 pair of shoe.  Seriously, it was not to be found anywhere.  I plunged and plunged my arm around, it was hopeless.  I pulled that girl to shore and the sweetest gal that was on our trip came back out in the mud to help me look.  We crawled around on all fours…. both of us grossed out – words can’t express the feelings we had.  After a solid 10 minutes of trying, we didn’t recover the shoe.  I would have to spend the next 5 hours with one shoe only.

 

The mud proved too much for the group to get through so our guide decided the next course of action. We would pull our boats across a cow pasture which had stickers galore on the ground before making our way closer to the river to drop back in and paddle back to where the van was.  We were tired and the tour guide ended up having to pull some people for awhile.  We were also out of drinking water.  Thankfully a boat had noticed how long we were stuck and tossed us some bottled water.

Finally we make it to shore.  Loaded up the van and headed back to town. We didn’t make it back to the shop until 7:30p.m. (2.5 hours later than planned).

I stayed to help the tour guide wash the mud off the boats before putting them back.  Then I gave her a ride home since she needed one.  Dang. What a trip.

Three days later I received an email from the Willamette RiverKeeper asking for volunteers.  The Willamette RiverKeeper is the only non profit organization here in Portland dedicated to clean up of the Willamette River. The river is large and dirty.  It divides Portland into east / west sides. It’s the reason we have twelve cool bridges. I’m glad someone cares enough to keep it clean. Especially now that they try to market it as safe to swim in during the summer. They were offering a Keen shoe gift card worth $150 in exchange for a four hour shift.  Whoa- just what I needed and just in time.  It’s like the universe stepped in right away to support me ❤ Therefore- Sign me up and put me wherever you need me.

New Seasons 1They signed me up to be stationed at a New Seasons Market in Beaverton. I was tasked with selling chili outside the store.  It cost $5 and the money would go towards keeping the river clean ( and I get my shoes back )  I stood outside for 4 hours.  For 3 of those 4 hours I shouted at people walking by  “It’s a great day for chili” .  It was indeed a great day for it.  It was cloudy with the feel of rain in the air. I am a vegetarian and so was the chili.  I had it for lunch, it was delicious.

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I got my shoes back as well as a pair of much needed rain boots.  It rains in Portland 8 to 9 months out of the year.  Maybe not all day everyday but often enough to use rain boots.

 

I can’t believe it worked out.  What a crazy way to loose my shoe and then get them back plus some.  I wouldn’t trade this story for anything. I have learned that painful moments end up making the best memories when you get to look back upon them.

Thanks Earth School.

 

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?

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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 ❤

 

 

The Best Things To Do In Portland Oregon

photo-1436505743955-a98c0d3eb1a8I have been living in Portland since March of 2011 and I am still loving it. Portland isn’t a big town.  It is a dense town, which means you get a lot of options in a small radius.  Portland is made up of lots of neighborhoods (each with their own flavor). As a local, it is common to stick to your part of town since you can find everything you need in your neighboorhood.  Overall Portland is known for its nature, coffee, beer, food and strippers.

Over the last seven years, I have had several friends visit, which has prompted me to find all the fun things in town to do.  I also run an Airbnb, so I am constantly offering suggestions to guests.

Getting around town

  • The public transportation in Portland is reliable, efficient and affordable.  The TriMet system is the organization that runs the Max (aka: the light rail), the bus and the street car.  It costs $5 for an all day pass.  You can use your ticket to ride any of the options for public transportation.
  • You can also Rent Bikes. If you do get a bike, I encourage you to ride it around the Eastbank Esplanade.  Bikes are allowed on the bus, light rail and street car.

 

 

  • You will need a car if you want to go to the Gorge, the Coast or Mount Hood.

West Side/ Downtown of Portland

oPortland City Grill is located on the 30th floor of the Bancorp tower otherwise know as Big Pink.  UnknownBig Pink has its own Instagram page dedicated to it. If you are driving, there is a parking garage right next to it.  PCG will validate your parking for up to two hours.  There is also a max stop right in front of it.

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Powell’s Books Store.  Quintessential Portland. Give yourself some time to be in here. There are many rooms to explore and gifts to consider.

 

 

portland-parks-m25d0img24312-sPark Blocks.  Have you seen the movie that was filmed in Portland, What the Bleep Do We Know?  There is a scene explaining quantum physics using a basketball.  It was filmed in the Park Blocks.

 

1486700177406Portland Art Museum.
The first Thursday of Every Month is free from 5:00p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

 

img_6381Portland Saturday Market– Where local artists come together to sell you their creations.  Happening weekends, March through Christmas Eve.  This is a great place to shop whether you’re a local or a tourist.

 

1297969442-screen_shot_2011-02-17_at_11.02.55_amGround Kontrol.

The places where you can drink and play video games. All ages until 4:30p.m. daily.

 

 

Places to Eat :

Piazza Italia– my favorite Italian restaurant

Cool Moon Ice Cream– right next door to Piazza Italia

Thai Peacock– my favorite Thai restaurant

Voodoo Doughnuts if you must– I think they are over rated.  Don’t buy the hype.  The one downtown always has a line out the door.  They only take cash.  There is a location on the east side you can walk right into most anytime. I saw someone get married there once.  There was a line that day since they shut down the store for a few minutes.

Alder Street Food Carts or the Food Carts on SW 3rd Ave between SW Washington and SW Stark Street.

Mother’s Bistro– Quintessential Portland Breakfast.  “Call your Mother”

Shopping on NW 23rd Street. A street lined with shopping.  Where us locals  to buy clothes when we aren’t thrift shopping.

 

 

East Side of Portland

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LaurelHurst Park is great because it’s in the middle of the city.  It’s big, has a lake where you can see ducks and birds, etc.

 

 

 

images-1Mount Tabor is an inactive volcano.  Once you’re at the top, you get a great view of the city. If you are visiting in August, be sure to check out Soap Box Derby Races

 

 

 

Places to Eat:

Blue Star Donoughts on Mississippi

Salt and Straw on NE Alberta.Right next to Bollywood Theater

Bollywood Theater– best Indian food in town.

Cruz Room– great tacos.

Por Que No Tacos on Mississippi– Mexican food tacos.

Screen Door– great for breakfast

Dicks Kitchen – healthy eating

There are too many to list!!

You aren’t going to get bad food in Portland.  We like it locally sourced, organic, infused, muddled and flavorful.  If you are Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free or Dairy Free, you are still going to eat well in Portland ❤

 

 

In General

images-1Japanese Garden– Cost $16.95 admission.

This place was recently remodeled and expanded.  It is serene, peaceful, never gets old to visit.  It’s a glimpse into another culture that is not far from the city.  Located in Washington Park.  You can get here with public transportation.

 

 

 


“Amazing View” @  Pittock Mansion

I have never paid to go into the mansion.  I just go around the back to show my friends the free view.  If going inside to see a restored to the time period house interests you then click on the link to get all the information you need to go.

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Portland International Rose Garden in Washington Park
There are over 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather.

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Vista House in the Gorge. You have to take part of the Colombia Scenic Highway to get here.  Breath taking views as you look east and west. A special place we have just 20 minutes east of the city.

 

stelprd3823422Multnomah Falls 

At the base of Multnomah Falls, the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge awaits to offer a place of relaxation, a fine meal, the perfect gift, hiking or visitor information, or possibly an espresso or tasty treat to accompany your hike or day trip.

 

 

So there you have it.  There are more places to see, eat and drink of course.  I think the ones I have listed should not be missed. Come enjoy all the things Portland has to offer, stay with me in my Airbnb, we will have a good time 🙂

Safe travels to you!

 

Where are you from? not an easy question for me.

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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.

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

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I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then they think I was born in Colorado.

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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….

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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: I am a host not a 24 hour concierge desk

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I 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.

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At 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”

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I woke up the next morning 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. You will be happy you did.

You’re Welcome ❤

Portland, OR is the biggest DIY town I ever met.

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and I am smarter for it.

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I was born in San Francisco and grew up between Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Bay Area. At 21, I decided to leave Colorado Springs and move to Austin, Texas, where I will spend the next 15 years of my life (minus a 3 month stint dealing Blackjack in Vegas). I moved to Portland, Oregon from the ATX.  I have been living in Portland for eight years now and counting. I will move again.

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I don’t remember much about the way things worked in the Bay Area or Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs, at that time, was small, conservative, and surround by the military.  People were probably friendly enough in both places.

 

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Living in Austin taught me about “Southern Hospitality”.  There is something to be said for living with constant sunshine and hanging out outside all the time – it makes for friendly outgoing people.  People who are ready to take the time to answer your questions, call someone if they don’t know or let you follow them because they happen to be going in the same direction. I loved it.  Help with a smile.

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Living in Portland has taught me to be even more resourceful. It is not as sunny around here and it makes me wonder if it contributes to the mentality.  Not many people outside and not many people willing to help you do what you could do for yourself. I hope you have access to the Internet.  You need directions some place? … look up the address, and put it in your navigation.  Don’t have that… Use a compass and a map. There is a gear store nearby where you can purchase those items if you don’t have them either. Figure it out. Solve your problems. No one will be phoning a friend or escorting you around here. It forced me to be even more resourceful.  I have an abundance of gratitude for that.  It is a nice skill to have.  Waiting on other people sucks.

Is it easier for people to just tell you every detail of how things work ( insert anything you have questions about)? yes.  What about the long game though? Teach a man to fish…..

I like to say that the lessons hardest learned are the ones not easily forgotten. People don’t learn from other peoples mistakes.  You have to get your hands dirty, get involved with life and learn from your own mistakes. Mistakes are great teachers. Knowledge = Power.

After all, Life is either the greatest adventure or it’s not.  You choose!

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: I don’t recommend hosting anyone other than the person in the profile.

It is becoming more common that I get requests to host a relative/ friend of the Airbnb member ( the person in the profile). Even though I have been doing it, I have remained hesitant the entire time. There are guaranteed challenges that come along with it.

  • Communication– it automatically becomes third-party communication because it forces the communication to be outside of the Airbnb platform which is not recommend. This opens up the host to some liability. I personally like to screen shot outside communication and then put those pictures into the Airbnb messaging system. 20180405_162305.jpg

Bad Communication

Don’t communicate outside of Airbnb

  • Details included in the listing– hosts take the time to provide a wealth of information in the listing. Not having access to this information takes away the guests ability to be self-reliant. Guests are going to have more questions and are more likely to step over boundaries they aren’t aware of. Time is valuable and I don’t like wasting mine by explaining information that has already been provided. When asking for already provided information expect to be pointed in that direction.
  • House Rules- just like the details not being read, guests tend not to remember all the rules. How are they supposed to remind themselves if they don’t have access to the details of the listing. I provide a laminated welcome sheet that has the rules posted on it. If only guests would take the time to read it. My feathers get ruffled easily when guests don’t follow the rules they have agreed to. My House Rules- do you think they are reasonable?
  • The Review- The guests that are hosted are the ones that should leave the review. If they relay their experience to the profile person and then the profile person leaves the review it feels like we are playing the old school telephone game. I don’t think it’s fair nor as accurate as it could be. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

20180522_082856.jpgI recently hosted someone’s parents.

Overall it went as well as any other guests stay. Their visit included the aforementioned issues which reinforces the reason not to host people who don’t have their own profile.

In addition to the recent experience, I learned something today that will result in me declining requests to host people who don’t have their own profiles. Straight from the Airbnb website……

Can I book on behalf of a friend or family member?

Transparency and trust are vital to the Airbnb experience. People rely on information in Airbnb profiles, reviews, and other verifications when deciding whether to host or stay with someone.

We require Airbnb reservations booked for personal travel to be booked by the person who’s going to stay at the listing.

Instead of making a reservation for someone else, consider referring them to Airbnb.

The longer I host, the more I learn about the law.

I find value in knowing the way short-term rentals work, informing guests of how things work, and without hesitation enforcing the rules. I’ve noticed people don’t like being held accountable and if you stay with me….plan to be.

Knowledge = Power

Ultimately- Everyone is responsible for themselves.

Airbnb: Superhosts don’t always make Superguests

Lately, I have had some tough experiences with guests therefore I have set new parameters of who qualifies to instant book. Instant book means anyone at anytime can book the room, if it’s available, without communicating with me first. The new parameters include; if you are new to Airbnb and do not have any reviews, you have to inquire first about being able to stay or if you have negative reviews on your profile, you also have to ask first if you can stay. I take the time now to review those guests with greater scrutiny and I actually look at the reviews that have been left by previous hosts. I will no longer be accepting guests that have established a pattern of less than ideal behavior. It is not worth the time or stress.

You can imagine my delight when a reservation came in from a Superhost.

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Even though it was only for one night, I was looking forward to having a rock star guest that would know how it goes therefore he would do all the right things to make it a great stay.

My hopes and dreams could not have been farther from the reality that was to come with his stay.

His communication was terrible from the beginning. He didn’t answer the questions asked upon booking. He didn’t answer the question asked specifically in the message I sent. I had to repeat the question until I got the answer. Eventually he said he would arrive at the official check in time of 3:00p.m.

Instead, he showed up at my doorstep an hour early because he needed to charge his phone.

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This could have been done easily at a coffee shop. I never got any communication that he would be early or that he was on his way. Just. Boom. On the doorstep. While he is on the doorstep, I get another message that there is no key in the lockbox ( You better believe there is no key available before check in time!) This is by design. It is in response to people who don’t read, people who aren’t aware of the details, people who are willing to break the rules Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?, people whose actions don’t match their words. I have hosted over 350 people, patterns have emerged. People require managing at all times. If there was a key, was he just going to go in? What makes him think this is okay in any way?! He was already putting me in a position by just showing up.

He was lucky I was home preparing the room. I still had a bathroom to clean when he started knocking on the door. If the other guests weren’t home, I would have ignored him to teach him a lesson but I didn’t want there to be drama. I just kept thinking that Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

As I opened the door, he introduced himself and asked if he needed to remove his shoes. Another Big Red Flag- I have every guest confirm they have read the house rules. It clearly states in the rules that there are no shoes in the house. There is even a reminder sign on the front door and a $20 penalty fee attached to breaking this rule.

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Clearly he isn’t paying attention nor is he familiar with the details. This is not starting off well…..

I invited him in, gave him the tour and the house key, as well as let him officially check in early.

He acknowledged that he often changes plans without communicating and it frustrates his wife. After a conversation, he seemed to be more aware of the error of his ways. I can only hope that he will be motivated to change his behavior in the future.

When guests only stay for a night, it forces me to ask early on what their check out plan for the morning is. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time! This feels slightly awkward for me. It seems like I am saying, Hi- nice to meet you, here’s the room, here’s the bathroom and what time will you be leaving? I am sure it will get easier the more I do it. I’ve just been at it for years and it still makes me feel awkward.

He didn’t know his plan (of course). So I requested to be informed before I went to bed. That sounded vague. It is important to be specific when communicating. In conversation, ambiguity leads to interpretation which will lead to not getting what you were hoping for. I corrected my request to include a 9:00p.m. deadline. After a pause, he mentioned his flight was earlier in the morning so he would be checking out around 7:00a.m. or 8:00a.m.

I went to bed planning for that. I woke up to a message that said his flight was at 5:00a.m. so he would be leaving at 3:30a.m. and since I was awake by 5:00a.m., I decided to get a head start preparing the room for the next guest. This would allow me to get to work on the earlier side of the day. Imagine my surprise when I went into the room to clean it around 5:05a.m. and he was still in the bed.

He missed his flight. “Sorry for messing up your day ” he says. At this point, I am just ready for him to go. He mentions he would be leaving around 8:00a.m. and he did.

It is a sad day when a Superhost isn’t capable of being the best guest. If there was anyone to empathize with the host’s position. Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too. I find Hypocrisy a very unattractive quality to deal with. Get it together people.

Airbnb: The Bright Side

Fun can happen any minute of any day – if your open to it.

Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey movie where he has to say yes to everything?

Yes Man Movie Trailer Unknown

Well that was my life on Tuesday.

What started as a regular day for me, turned out to include spontaneity, cocktails, and new music.  I got up, ate breakfast, prepared food for work and left on my bicycle for the day. There was one guest scheduled to self check in around 3:00p.m and the other room was free.  Of course, I was hoping someone was going to stay…. I just had no idea how awesome she would be and the adventure that awaited me.

 My day changed at 10:21a.m.

This fun girl sent me this message :7685ae60-b366-402c-bd07-03a6a79abb53 “Hola, Julie! Wanna go to Washed Out tonight? I was a bit bummed I missed him in Seattle last night, but there’s no point wallowing in regret when you can move your butt and run down your dreams. My dream is to dance to Eyes Be Closed. With a new bud. Tonight. If it seems suspicious that I’m a new Airbnb member, yes I did make that account 10 minutes ago. But there’s no time like the present. So if you’re down, I will hop on the 2:20 Amtrak and see you a little after 6. PS, long time bicyclist here too, is it worth the extra $10 to throw my roadie on the train to get to your neighborhood (don’t have much of a grasp on Portland’s scale) or better to walk from the train station? Anywho, hope to meet you soon. And not kidding, will totally take you to this show if you got the inclination. ”

How perfect is this message? How could I possibly refuse?  I said yes before I knew anything about it!

Then I began to research.

Turns out Washed Out was playing at The Wonder Ballroom , one of my favorite venues, which is 2 blocks from the house. No need to worry about parking or anything since we can walk.

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The set was exactly one hour long.  They were entertaining, they did a great job with their visuals ( I was impressed). I danced almost the entire time.  I didn’t realize they did the Theme Song for Portlandia!!!!! After eight seasons the show is ending and let me just tell you that the people in Portland are okay with that. portlandia_dvd_release

The band has a new fan.  I have a new friend. Goodbye Portlandia.  My new friend and I have an annual date together to see Washed Out when he comes to Portland and those times she can stay with me for free ❤

Gotta love Airbnb.

Airbnb: Dear International Travelers

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We are all apart of the global community.

Before you travel, it is in your best interest to prepare yourself to the best of your ability.  You can hypothesize about future challenges and already have an action plan to conquer them. #success

I would like to remind you that since you might not have easy access to the internet when you are in the United States, that it is a good idea to write down the information you need, before you show up to the front door of your Airbnb and can’t access the internet to get the required information. Personal Accountability is important.  You are in control of how smooth the check in will go by utilizing the information already provided.  Information = Knowledge = Power.  Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Hopefully you have established a Check In plan with your host. What details do you need to carry out this plan?  If you will be Self Checking in, be sure to write down the instructions, the code to the lockbox or whatever details you need to have a smooth check in. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

You will also want to write down the Wifi name and password. I can only assume that you will have access to the internet when traveling internationally. If you don’t, then extra information will be necessary to write down before you travel. Prepare yourself with the Host’s information so you can have access upon arrival.

Remember to pack an electrical outlet adapter.  If you stay at my Airbnb, I will provide one for you (in case you forgot) 🙂

As it states on the Airbnb website, it is not recommended to communicate through any other method but their platform.  This seems to challenge many travelers, especially if you do not have access to the internet or the Airbnb app. Regardless, it has been my observation that people prefer to text. Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb20180405_162305.jpg

Sidenote- texting is just a different platform to send a message.  A message is a message.  You have to pick a recipient, then type a message, and hit send.  What difference does it make if those steps are done in Airbnb vs Text Messaging ?

Ultimately, I realize traveling can be stressful.  Hopefully this blog has reminded you the importance of preparing yourself with as much information that is available to you and asking for any information you will need that is not provided .

Safe travels to you!

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

 

Airbnb: Why pick a place thats details don’t fit the best into your travel plans?

People fascinate me.  I am a cultural anthropologist at heart.  I should have majored in Sociology instead of International Studies.

Some of the details for the two Airbnb rooms in my house are:

My Check In time is 3:00p.m.- 10:00p.m.

My Check Out time is 9:00 a.m. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!

Full Kitchen use is not available neither is access to the washer/dryer.

There is a penalty fee of $50 each time you do not lock the front door when leaving the residence.  Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

I live in the Inner NE part of Portland Oregon.  It is 1-2 miles to the west side of town where Downtown is located however you have to cross a river with one of the thirteen bridges so it can appear further to people who aren’t familiar with town.  A mile is a mile though right? Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

If these details do not fit the best into your travel plans then please do not pick my place while harboring negative feelings.  Instead, find a place that works for you.  There are a plethora of options out there.

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30% of guests ask to check in after 10:00 p.m. Checking in later is usually a non issue.  I most likely will be sleeping however I can leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on.  The house has lots of signs around for good communication purposes.  They help strangers ( I mean guests ) navigate the space.

70% of guests ask if they can check in early. I normally only let repeat guests do so. I have been known to make a few exceptions however it is rare.

50% of guests ask if they can check out later. During the week it is not an option for me since I need to turn around the room for the next guest and get to work.  If  it is a Saturday, then I will give you an extra hour or two if I like you and you have been a nice guest.  If it is Sunday then guests get lucky and can have until 12p.m. due to my weekly volunteer gig.

Please don’t mistake me.  I understand that the answer to an unasked question is always no however it seems that people just don’t read the details of the listing before they pick 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do and then they try to work around the established boundaries.  I can tell by their language when they harbor negative feelings about it. It happens frequently enough I am writing about it.

Perfect Example coming atcha.

Review left by guest -“Location was great! The room was nice. The check in after 3pm and check out before 9am was kind of a bummer.” “I had to plan my flight around the check in and out which was a bummer and couldn’t spend an extra day in the city” Is this person serious?  This screams lack of personal accountability!!!  It triggers me ( I will work on that). I can’t get over the fact that he blames the check in and check out times on his ability to make travel plans.  

Airbnb: The Downside to Hosting

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People Lie.

People use your stuff without asking. Airbnb: What is the reason guests use host’s personal things without asking?

People are loud. Loud talkers. Loud TV watchers. Loud walkers.

People keep erratic schedules. Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.

People are dishonest and try to sneak in other people.  Airbnb Hell: The Worst Guest I’ve Had To Date.

People have left my property unsecured aka: not locking the front door when leaving the house, giving anyone the ability to walk in at anytime while I am at work and can’t do anything about it. 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.

People have burned holes in duvet covers- I even found poop once on one ( they flipped it over so it was a surprise when I pulled the covers back).Unknown

People do not read the listing and then access areas not available to them forcing me to lock them up and label everything. Then some people complain about the labels. Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

People don’t read the labels and throw the trash in the recyling. People recycle things that aren’t recyclable.

People create more work for me by not acting with mindfulness and awareness.

People are unwilling to help themselves.

People say they read the rules and then show up and don’t abide by them.  Then when it’s time to be accountable they cancel the reservation and decline the request for payment. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

People show up with more people than in their reservation. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

People plan poorly. They don’t have time to clean up after themselves. They pack at 3:00 a.m. right before their flight. They wake up 10 minutes before check out time and barely have enough time to brush their teeth.

People don’t respect the check out time and require being rushed out. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!

People think they can pay their way out of things. The “Hotel Mindset” won’t serve you well when using Airbnb.

People are allowed to leave a review even if they cancel their reservation. Let’s take a side bet on how many of those are going to be positive. Airbnb: Guests who cancel their reservation can still leave a review. How is that reasonable?

I still host because the good outweighs the bad and I can do anything for 24 hours. Just keep swimming, I tell myself as I wait for the jerks to leave and the sweet respectful guests to arrive.

 

 

 

 

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.

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Another One Bites the Dust

Just in case you haven’t noticed by now, when I want to share a lesson based on real life experiences and people, I name the guests  “John” for the sake of anonymity.

So, I had a guest named “John” this week that was to stay for 2 nights. He used Instant book to make his reservation on 3.25.18 to arrive 4.23.18 When you get a new reservation, you get a message from the guest saying whatever they decide to say. I have 3 specific questions that I hope will be included in their message.  Some people see them and include the answers, most people don’t.

Johns message didn’t contain any information except that he was traveling alone for two days. I responded within a couple of minutes, asking for the information I needed – check in time and confirmation the house rules have been read. I sent three messages asking. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

I didn’t get a response until 9:30p.m. the day before his trip. He didn’t answer any of the questions in my emails and argued language used instead of providing information. He clearly didn’t read the details of the listing and did not know about the check in time. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

We finally make arrangements for him to Self Check In since I will be at work when he arrives.  I ask all guests to send a message letting me know they have made it in okay. 3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

He made it.

and now the chaos will begin………..

Thank goodness my other guests were home.  They had been staying with me for the last five nights with no problems.  I had prepared them for the new guest coming since there were so many red flags.

When I arrived home in the evening, I found my biggest pet peeve happening in the bathroom.

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The sign says – Please put all the toilet seats down. Thank you! It’s my biggest pet peeve

Then I went upstairs to check in with the other guests who mentioned he was stomping all over the place. Loud when home, went into his room, watched TV at a loud volume for a while and then took off.  When he left the house, he slammed the door so many times, they wondered what was going on down there.  When it became apparent he left, they went downstairs to find the front door not shut or locked.

I immediately sent him a message letting him know that I can’t express enough how unsettling it is to be at work where I can’t do anything about the fact that my property has been left unsecured giving anyone the ability to walk in. I mentioned I sent a request for money and he needed to take care of the penalty fee right away or stay somewhere else.  I also mentioned the above bathroom situation .

I was met with ……..

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Before he came home to talk about it, he sent a message saying – I could not unlock the door, can you check it for me? No, clearly it works since you let yourself in with it. 

He came home wearing shoes and only took them off when I prompted it. This is breaking house rules and probably the reason the stomping around was so loud earlier but I can’t prove it to fine him. 

He asked me to show him where the rules were. Then you lied when you said you read them in the confirmation message I pushed for. 

He never once was apologetic and tried to switch the conversation to why there wasn’t a lock on the bedroom door. Nothing to do with the issue at hand. 

He had only used Airbnb 4 times and this was his 2nd review.  I wish I would have seen it before his trip.  I would not have let him come.

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I did not see this review before he came or I would have cancelled his reservation.

Since he wasn’t giving me anything to work with, made no reference to adjusting his behavior. He didn’t acknowledge the bathroom situation nor did he seem to care. I took the key back, informed him he couldn’t stay and called Airbnb in front of him to document the situation.  He gathered his things and made his way out.

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: Guests who cancel their reservation can still leave a review. How is that reasonable?

 

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Life isn’t fair

Airbnb Policy

“As of 01 June 2017, to comply with local laws, we now allow reviews for trips cancelled on or after the day of check in. ”

If a guest is cancelling their trip after they checked in then chances are it isn’t going well. One time I had a guest make a reservation for 1 person and then in his messaging kept saying we.  We means more than one person so when I reached out for clarification and to mention the reservation needed updating to reflect the actual situation, he wrote back saying he couldn’t afford it. He cancelled. (and for the first time ever I gave someone a 100% refund.)   Lately though, I have had people check in, then break the house rules and when the penalty fines have been imposed they just cancel and leave. What kind of review do you think is coming my way from them?  Guest messes up, doesn’t want to deal with the consequences.  Do you think anyone will ever say they were the problem?  (that’s a rhetorical question since we all know the answer is NO)

After a guest has finished their trip or cancelled after checking in, they get 14 days to leave a review.
They have the ability to give 1 to 5 stars in categories like:

5-star

  • Accuracy
  • Check In process
  • Cleanliness
  • Communication
  • Location
  • Value

How is it possible for someone to judge you one these things when they didn’t actually stay in the residence?  Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

I have a strict cancellation policy. Straight from the Airbnb website….

Cancellation Policy: Strict. Cancel up to 30 days before your trip and get a full refund. Cancel within 30 days of the trip and get a 50% refund of the total nightly rate, as well as a full refund of fees.

Forced policy upon hosts by Airbnb -“We’re adding a 48-hour grace period to the Strict policy to encourage bookings
Starting May 1, guests will receive a full refund if they cancel within 48 hours of booking a reservation with a Strict cancellation policy—as long as their check-in date is at least 14 days away. This gives guests the confidence to book, but still guarantees you’ll have at least 2 weeks to get another booking in the rare event that they cancel.”

If your listing falls below a 4.6 star rating then Airbnb will send you messages threatening to deactivate your listing. They threaten you by saying they will not showing your listing in people’s searches.

If they continue to implement rules like these, they are going to lose good hosts. Only Entire Place’s will be the option  since sharing space has become easy for guests to manipulate to their advantage.

Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

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I have instant book which means anyone can book the room without prior communication with me (the host).  I am willing to accept anyone at any time as long as they pass the Airbnb requirements.  In order to feel comfortable doing that,  I need guests to do certain things while in my home. That’s how the custom house rules were born.  Since there are fees attached, I require each guest to acknowledge that they have read the house rules.  When a reservation comes in, I let them know I am happy to host, I ask what time will they be checking in and I quote ” When you have a moment, please confirm you have read the house rules since they are really important to me and there are penalty fees attached to breaking them. Thank you”

 

Airbnb’s Rules you must pick an answer to:
No smoking
Not suitable for pets
No parties or events
Not safe or suitable for children (0-12 years) – Weed is legal in Portland and smoked in the house A LOT
Check-in time is 3PM – 10PM
Check out by 9AM

Custom Rules created by me- I put my reasoning in Italics, these words are not included in the listing.

**THERE ARE PENALTY FEES FOR NOT FOLLOWING THESE RULES
$50 each time you do not lock the front/back door properly
$20 for wearing shoes in the house
$10 for every time you leave lights on your not actively using
$5 to replace lost house key

– Turn off Lights, Fan/Heater and Lock the Front Door Every Time You Leave Please (even if we are home so we may continue about our day)
-Turn off all lights you are currently not using, it’s a waste of precious resources. If you don’t turn them off then you can pay for the cost of that.  You are not at a hotel and I am not a big business.
-No guests without prior permission
– Keep toilet seat down, put down after use (my personal pet peeve) & ( it’s bad feng shui)
– Please pull shower curtain back after use, it gets moldy faster when it can’t dry not to mention my $100 shower curtain statement piece is aesthetically pleasing to look at
– No shoes in the house. Your shoes have stepped on everything gross on the ground, I don’t want it tracked into the house, especially in the kitchen where I am constantly making things to eat. My floors are very clean!
– Smoking Cigarettes in the Backyard Only- Careful of the slippery backyard stairs and there is an Ashtray for your use (ASK if you need it)
– 420 friendly house- for you too since smoking in public is illegal
– Bike storage is in the backyard not in the house, there is a covered area on the back porch and a lock on the gate

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

The “Hotel Mindset” won’t serve you well when using Airbnb.

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Airbnb is not a hotel.  You are staying in someone’s home and unless you have rented out the entire place then there will be other people to take into consideration.  Each place works differently and most boundaries have been expressed through the details of the listing and House Rules.

Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.
5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do  
Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!
Staying at an Airbnb? Don’t Make the Bed When Checking Out.

When you stay at a three star or better hotel; It’s going to cost more, the door probably automatically locks when you leave the room, you can wear your shoes inside if ya like, you do not have to clean up after yourself, no one cares if you leave the lights on all night while you’re out having fun (well, Mother Nature cares), you can bring people back to the room without informing anyone, you can ask for a late check out, there is unlimited hot water, Valet Parking, an ice machine,  a concierge desk  to answer all the questions your little heart desires, and if you make any mistakes- you can just get charged for them.

Let us consider some differences and similarities.

                                                                                 Hotel               vs.              Airbnb 

Check In Time-                                                 anytime after 3                  Check Listing

Checking In Early-                                           not likely                            possible

Checking Out Late-                                          if room not booked        depends on Host

  • Most hotels don’t let you check out later than a late check out, and if they do, it’s because your paying for another entire day.
    Checking out late is only possible in my listings on the weekends.

Lock the door-                                                   auto lock                           YOU lock the door

Wear Shoes Inside-                                          wear them                        Host preference

Leave Lights On (waste of energy)             no one to notice                Costs $ to the host

Autonomous Guests                                          Allowed                           Prior permission

Don’t Make Bed                                             not necessary                       not necessary

Unlimited Hot Water for Showers                    yes                                          no

Guaranteed Parking                                           Valet                           maybe, most likely

Concierge                                                               yes                             host time permitting

Fees for Amenities                               everything costs extra                 included

No Smoking                                                    $250 fine                                maybe/ outside

Smoking Marijuana                                          no                                         where legal

Pool/Hot Tub                                                most likely                             if you’re lucky

Bar                                                                  yes, cost $                              friendly host ?

Continental Breakfast                                included                                   don’t expect it

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

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Time is money.

There is only so much time in a day.

and yet, if we want to get philosophical then time doesn’t even exist since the time is always now.

Repeating myself is not an efficient use of my time.

I have taken the time to provide a lot of information in my listings.

Provided Information includes; Check In time, Check Out time, Amenities provided, Spaces Guests are allowed to access, House Rules, Self Check In instructions including photos, How many guests the space can hold, Bed Type, If the bathroom is shared, Host interaction with guests, Other things to note, Description of the space, Directions from the airport using public transportation, Parking information, Cancellation policy, pictures of the entire space including room, Internet Network name and Internet password.

I am perplexed with the notion that guests do not prioritize knowing the details of someone’s home you are about to enter. I understand traveling can be stressful.  There are a lot of moving parts which means there is a lot of information to keep up with.  It doesn’t change the fact that the experience you signed up for is different than checking into a hotel.  More is required from you. If you would like to ensure a positive experience for yourself, then familiarize yourself with the rules of the game. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Please and Thank you.

 

1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.

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  1. Decide which type of option is best for you: Shared Room or Private Room or the Entire Place. Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.
  2. Make yourself aware of Check In times, Check Out times, Amenities provided and House Rules. Look to see if Self Check In is an option- this will make life easier.  Lots of details are included with each listing however certain aspects affect you more than others. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!
  3.  Verify the Location works for you: Ask the host how far their place is from the places you want to go, in case the area shown to you on Airbnb isn’t specific enough for your needs.   Location helps maximize your time exploring. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.
  4. Make sure the number of people staying in the room matches the number of people in the reservation.  What could be a minor oversight on your part has the potential to be misconstrued on the hosts part.
  5. Book the room: either there will be an instant book option or you will have to reach out to the host.  Be sure to included any requested information.
  6. Communicate with your host to figure out how you will get in: Self Check In is the easiest and allows for self-sufficiency otherwise there could be someone there to greet you.Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you don’t know- ask.
  7. Enjoy your adventure! The “Hotel Mindset” won’t serve you well when using Airbnb.
  8. Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Continue reading “1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.”

Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb

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People have different ways they prefer to communicate and I can appreciate that.

Personally my preferred mode changes with how well we know each other: If we do know each other then I like to Skype or talk on the phone, next would be texting and then emailing. If we don’t know each other then it I prefer email or text.

Maybe it’s just me but I have found it can be challenging to relay emotion through the written word whether you know the person you are communicating with or not. Especially if  you don’t want to add a superfluous amount of emojis.

When you are using the services provided by Airbnb whether it be as a host or a guest, it is recommended by Airbnb to never communicate outside of their program. It states it right on their website.  I’ve included a snap shot of it for the picture in this post 🙂

As a host, documenting all the communication that happens between you and the guest is imperative.  If you find yourself in the position of needing support from Airbnb, it only helps your cause to have followed their guidelines.

Conversations that happen between two people are considered hearsay by law. If you can’t prove it then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Yes, of course there is going to be interactions between you and your guests that don’t get documented because they happen in person.  You can’t record every word ever said.  You just have to hope that nothing goes awry or it will be hard to have that verbal communication included.

Frequently guests include their emails and phone numbers during their initial communications as a way to get ahold of them “if I have any questions”.  They also  include the emails and phone numbers of their guests.

I always respond with ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me”

Most people are understanding! As you can imagine not everyone gets it.

Listen up world.  Listen up future Airbnb guests. Once the texting lines of communication happen, people tend to stay in that lane. Regardless, I won’t be calling you, texting you, emailing you or communicating with you in any other way besides through Airbnb. Not with the person who made the reservation and not with the other guests.  It makes no difference to me if they are your partner, spouse, best friend or a family member.


I recently had a guest who cancelled last-minute because I refused to let him text me the day of his arrival time.

After we said our hello’s, I asked for his check in time and confirmation the house rules have been read. He replied with a time frame and confirmation of the rules.  Then he said that he would be driving down and could give me an ETA while on the road.  He provided a phone number (which was blocked by Airbnb). There is usually a number attached to the profile anyways.  If that isn’t the correct one then people need to be responsible and update their profile.

As you know by now,  I replied with my ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me” to which he responded Okay but I won’t be able to contact you through Airbnb please expect a phone call. I asked what the reason was he couldn’t use Airbnb to which he replied he would be driving and only had his cell phone. What’s the problem with calling you?  ( He DOESN’T get it)

My message: “Like I said before speaking outside of Airbnb creates a liability issue for me. I prefer to only use Airbnb. You can download the app for your phone and we can continue to speak through Airbnb. Thank you for understanding. ” I also included the photo that is in this blog to show the exact language on the Airbnb website.

His Message: “The host is unwilling to allow me to contact her by phone to arrange entry on the date of my reservation, and I will not have internet access. This is ridiculous and I expect a full refund.” Full refund for cancelling the day before because you don’t want to follow the rules?! I don’t think so.

He did cancel his reservation and proceeded to keep sending me vent session messages.

The first one: “Nope, you fail as a host, please cancel my reservation. I have no time to deal with someone who is unable or unwilling to use a simple telephone. I run three rental properties myself, I know all about customer service and this is ridiculous. I need to be able to contact you to arrange entry into the house. Cancel my reservation.” Hosts are penalized for canceling reservations. There are fees for cancelling that can range from $50-$100 so nope I won’t be the one to cancel a reservation. If a guest wants to cancel – they can initiate it. What does running 3 properties have to do with the rules for hosts set by Airbnb??

The second one: “I have used Airbnb many times and this have never been an issue. There is absolutely no reason why I should not be able to contact you via phone on the day of my arrival. This is completely unprofessional, please refund my entire amount. I was simply trying to arrange contact with you so that I can be sure to find and get into the room that I had reserved. I can’t believe this would be an issue, it is ridiculous.”  It makes no difference to me if he has spoken with other hosts over the phone and it hasn’t been a problem for him in the past.
Every place works different. Every host has a right to set up their situation that works for them. Just because other people have chosen to disregard the language on the Airbnb site doesn’t mean I have to.

He made a request for the full refund.  I declined.


The next day I received a message from an Airbnb case manager. I have a strict cancellation policy.  You get 50% back.  The guest wanted back part of that 50% and she was hoping I would reconsider. She claimed the guest said he was uncomfortable with my language so she was going to mediate this!

I am so happy that all our communication was documented!!! I explained my position which included my response to his second message along with this –

He mentioned he would only have his cell phone and wouldn’t be able to contact me any other way. Does his cell phone have the Navigation feature on it, like 99% of people do? Then he has access to the internet. He can download the app or access the internet and go the long way to get to the Airbnb website.

I have Self Check In. We could have made arrangements for him to utilize this option. This way he has access to the space when arriving with no need to communicate via cell phone, unless he is going to say he wouldn’t be able to access this information from his phone. Then I would counter with that he could prepare himself with the available information while he had access to Airbnb.

I plan to be home to greet guests when I can. I work during the week which makes it challenging however he was arriving on Saturday- the weekend, which meant I could plan for his arrival time. I told him in one of those earlier messages his time frame would be fine.

It is frustrating for guests not to take responsibility for themselves when they have been given the information necessary to be self sufficient or to be flexible and respectful of the hosts preferred communication method (which has been set by Airbnb).

I do my best to be flexible with guests. The one area I will not flexible with is the area that can create a liability issue for me.


I won. He did not get a refund and he was reminded of the communication rules set forth by Airbnb.

Thank you Airbnb.