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? this seemingly easy question is not easy 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.