Why Did I Stay Here?

When I decided to attend the 2016 Radiance Retreat, I booked a nearby Airbnb rather than staying at the hotel to save some money. A week before arriving, the host told me the owner of the apartment complex has been cracking down on people hosting through Airbnb, so if anyone asked me, I was to tell them that I was a family friend staying with him for a while. Understandable…

Late at night, a helpful Lyft driver drove me around trying to find my Airbnb. The driver kept making sarcastic comments like, “Oh, this is a nice neighborhood!” and “You should really check out THAT place!” We saw a guy walking down an alley holding a gun, which didn’t help the situation. I was pretty damn uncomfortable and a little scared.

The given address was all boarded up like an abandoned building, so I thought I had the wrong address. I had no cell signal and no luck trying to call my host. I finally managed to get a text to go through and the host came outside. He was standing in front of that exact building that looked totally abandoned.

This really gives you the warm & fuzzies, doesn’t it?

The host explained a new owner recently purchased the complex and construction work is in progress. Regardless of the sub-par curb appeal, I got a good vibe from the host and we laughed off the whole apartment-construction situation. When I entered the apartment I noticed there was tape and plastic on the walls in the bathroom and in the living room right behind my bed.

I guess this is why there was only one strategically-angled photo in the listing. Lesson learned!

The largest area covered.
The largest area covered.

My host advised me the shower takes about 5 minutes to start giving warm water, and that I should just leave it on for a while before getting in. In my experience showering four times throughout the weekend, warm water only ever came twice, even when I left it on to run for quite a while. Before this trip, I never made it through a cold shower. The first one I took made me feel pretty damn alive. The second one was not as enjoyable, but I got through it. I feel like my skin got a little thicker and I feel more confident in my ability to handle cold showers in any future travels.

Sleeping through the first night was a struggle as I tossed and turned. My pillow kept getting pushed against the plastic on the wall, waking me up and freaking me out a bit. Once I woke up freezing cold and curled up in a ball. The next day I noticed there was an extra blanket sitting out for me, so the coldness did not happen again.

Fortunately, I overcame my initial discomfort with the apartment. I decided to fucking own it, walking with confidence and self-assurance. I didn’t see anyone else walking down the street holding a gun, though I later saw two people shooting up heroin on the sidewalk in the middle of the day, which made me cringe… Still, I slept better the next few nights.

Your circumstances are what you make them. You have a conscious choice in how you handle and react to each situation. For me, this year is all about taking more risks and finding comfort in the discomfort. A couple of the other ladies even offered to have me come stay in their hotel room. Because I didn’t take them up on it, I gained some confidence points and learned that I can totally handle cold showers if I have to.

Maybe I got lucky. Maybe I was reckless and naïve. Or maybe I just looked fear in the face and said, “Nope, not today.”

Despite my initial worries and a few hiccups, my stay was pretty good overall and I left a positive review for my host (with a couple private comments). I had a roof over my head, a bed, a shower, a toilet, power, and internet, which is really all I needed. One unexpectedly less-than-stellar experience will not stop me from using Airbnb for my future travels.

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