What does home mean to you? To me, home is my happy place. My home is my haven of rest and place of peace. And yet, in 2017, I only spent 7 nights in my own house. How can both of those things be true? The answer is a story that starts in my childhood.
My mother always used a certain saying when she faced difficult times. The saying is rooted in my Mexican culture—“Something good will come out of a negative situation.” She always believed that even bad circumstances could lead to something good. I could never have imagined back then that I’d someday have the opportunity to learn this for myself.
As a result of my divorce, I inherited a sizable tax bill. I was already reeling from the divorce, so receiving the bill was a bit overwhelming, to say the least. But I knew I had to be responsible and meet my obligations. So I set up a payment plan and figured that I’d just pay it off over time.
Back in 2014, I enrolled in a two-year Spiritual Direction program based in Santa Rosa. I was going to school every other Tuesday up in the Bay Area, which usually meant a Monday-Wednesday travel schedule. On a whim one week, I asked my assistant to research Airbnb and to list my house for the days that I’d be traveling.
Well, the rest is history—my house became very popular and I was booking up within hours of each listing. Encouraged by this success, I decided to go even further and to list my house during the times I was away visiting my children and clients on the East Coast. Within a few months, my house became a very hot commodity and I was booking up faster than ever.
My friends often say that I have the gift of hospitality. I’ve always enjoyed opening up my home to host parties and making people feel comfortable. I love to cook and host large family gatherings. I also enjoy hosting visiting professors or parents coming to nearby colleges to visit their children. As strange as it sounds, I view renting out my home through Airbnb as an extension of that hospitality—my way of welcoming others into my community.
In 2017, I rented out my house 357 days out of the year. Yes, I slept 7 nights in my own house. Thanks to my Airbnb renters, I settled my tax bill and I’ve even built up a savings reserve. But, most importantly, I’ve met some incredible people who have stayed at my “Little Yellow House in the Village.” I have to say that my mother was right—something very good came out of this negative situation.