Opening My Home, Sharing My Life (Part 1)

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.

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash