I have been intrigued by the recent headlines surrounding Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky’s, announcement that he will begin living in Airbnb properties, moving around the country as a digital nomad, to show just how possible that is. As someone who has done that very thing for years, I applaud the effort and encourage Brian not only to take advantage of Airbnb properties, but consider connecting with friends and family along the way. While Airbnbs get you closer to being a local, having your friends and family host you and act as your guide can really pull you much deeper into the communities and create lasting shared memories of your travels. This is a large part of why we started Two Degrees.
A bit about our nomadic lifestyle, for context: My wife De Ann and I have lived in 14 different addresses, across two countries and a wide variety of US states, in the last 14 years. And a couple of those addresses we had for 2 or 3 years, so you get the idea… we move around a lot. It all started back in 2013. De Ann and I were both working in jobs that were very intentionally remote by nature, so we were not tethered to any location (mainly because we wanted to travel regularly). My Dad passed that summer and I approached De Ann with a crazy notion…. Let’s move to a new city every six months and explore the world, one city at a time. I argued “Six months will be just the right amount of time for us to begin to understand what it means to be a local, but not so long as to get bored.” She called me crazy. “We hate moving. We have too much stuff. Where would we go?” She was right – it did seem a bit daunting.
So, the idea was mothballed for just a few months until a work opportunity came up to move from Colorado to London, England. That was just the motivation that we needed to shed some stuff, pack up some bags and some pets, and start a new adventure. London was great, not only because it is London… but because it provided us with access to even more travel and exploration, where we were able to visit 12 different countries (some of them a few times) in the 16 months that we lived abroad. We were hooked.
In the years that followed our move back to the US, we have moved around quite a bit: sometimes for as little as two months (Austin TX), one time five months in our 18’ travel trailer in the Back Bay of Newport Beach, CA, and to three different short-term places in San Diego before making the trek to Henderson, NV. Pandemic, family health issues and the sale of a business tied us to Henderson through 2020, though we did get a few short trips in.
In 2021, we were fortunate enough to be able to travel a great deal – about 160 days in total. Two major road trips, three extended stays in Airbnb properties (7, 42, 63 days), lots of hotels, but also a lot of staying with people that we know and love. But no matter where we are, we like to be surrounded by the great people that we have met over the years, so we invite people to stay with us in our place in Nevada. We also make our travel accommodations available to friends who would like to join us, sharing our vacation destinations. We can have a good time anywhere, but we know that bringing people we know together only increases our enjoyment of new places, because we have others to share it with. We have deepened our relationships with our friends and family and we have had a ridiculous number of wonderful shared experiences by doing so.
And as for Mr. Chesky, while staying in Airbnb properties and meeting with hosts who are previously unknown to him will surely provide some great stories, I would urge him to consider connecting with friends and relatives along the way, staying with them and immersing yourself in their lives and communities as well. It will enhance his travels to share experiences with friends, new and old. But no matter how you do it, just keep exploring, as “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” (Mark Twain) Enjoy the journey.