Staying in an Airbnb Triggers Me as an Introvert

Leave a comment Standard

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I don’t like people. I don’t like small talk. And I especially don’t like people who like to engage in small talk. The latter most often occurs with Airbnb hosts.

The boy is the social butterfly of the family and forces me to talk to people when I would rather sit around 10 other people with my headphones on and not discuss the current political climate in our respective countries.

In Rome, I booked an amazing Airbnb close to the Colosseum. It came with amazing reviews and it a really good spot. It’s a private room in an apartment and the owners live in the apartment next door with a door that we can knock on if we need anything.

Of course, I didn’t. So when she didn’t hear from us, she came a-knocking.

She asked us if we needed anything and then wanted to know more about who we were, where we were from, what we were doing there…typical CIA nosy old lady stuff. Jet-lagged and annoyed, I cut the conversation short, politely excusing myself to check on the boy.

In Johannesburg, we were lucky to get a self-check-in place, which didn’t require much communication with the host. We got the key from the guard and kept it moving. The host checked in on us only through the app and respected that I was antisocial.

In Amsterdam, this was the only time we shared the space with the host. And for that reason, we will never do it again. The place was nice, but the hosts stayed upstairs. Anytime they hard us come out of the room or come in from the day’s exploring, they would rush downstairs to greet us and ask us how things were going, where we’ve been, and suggest things that we should have done that were “less touristy”.

They were slightly annoying in that regard and a bit racist in others. We were living in Ethiopia at the time and when I mentioned we lived in Africa, his Dutch colonialism began to show. That place was my least favorite.

While Airbnb can be a great way to save money on lodging, get to know people, and stay in an area that makes the experience feel more like home, it challenges me to socialize under these shallow pretenses.

Now, I don’t dislike all people. I just like the people I like. And I like them because of the connections I was able to make with them when I first met them.

I’m not a fan of people who don’t stick to soup questions. Who just ask questions to be asking them to cut the white noise of silence. I’d rather be quiet than ask someone things that I don’t really care about.

Now, I do socialize. I talk to people. Sometimes.

And I do appreciate when people talk to me. Sometimes. Especially when it’s locals and I can get a deeper, unedited history about the country I’m visiting. Tour guides learn to whitewash and sugarcoat the history of their country to make it more palatable and fascinating. So, when I am interested in learning about a place, I do seek out locals to find my information.

But when I’m staying somewhere, most of the time I don’t want to talk.

Home is where I recuperate. Where I rest and recharge from the day’s events. And if my Airbnb is supposed to be my home away from home, I’d much prefer to be able to not have to talk to anyone when I don’t want to.

Which is probably why I’ve been staying in hotels lately.

I have to honor my introverted tendencies and the ways in which talking too much about nothing drains me. I know that while I am “renting” someone’s space for a time, this somehow confuses them into thinking that I owe them my time as well. While it seems mean and impolite, I am “nice” about it. I engage when I feel like it and kindly decline when I don’t.

For me, it’s less about politeness and more about remaining authentic in my interactions and preserving my energy for the people and things that ginuinely peak my interest.

Propaganda, Hysteria, and Traveling During the Coronavirus Drama.

Leave a comment Standard

We are now in Tanzania for a conference and we had a layover in Addis Ababa on our way to here.

While enjoying my Walia beer and French fries at one of the restaurants, I noticed an alarming amount of people wearing surgical masks. Even some of the flight attendants on our way from Bamako were wearing them, in addition to gloves. I’m not used to seeing these types of things outside of our time in Japan. 

There, people would wear surgical masks to not only avoid getting viruses and colds, but to also keep others from getting sick when taking public transportation. In Thailand, I would see people wearing them on their commute to avoid getting sick from the exhaust. In China we saw everyone wearing them to protect themselves from the pollution. 

Continue reading

We Got a Dog!

Leave a comment Standard

Say hello to the newest member of our traveling family!

Her name is Mochi. And she’s the sweetest and cutest little pup this side of the Niger River.

Mochi is a Chihuahua and Bichon Frise mix. She sleeps most of the day and doesn’t really bark all that much. She’s SUPER attached to us and follows the boy around wherever he goes.

We love having her around and can’t wait to take her on our next adventure!

AND!!!! She has an Instagram!

Time is the Big Unrenewable Resource

Leave a comment Standard

I often engage in adventure travel with my son. While we enjoy museums and food tours, we are low-key adrenaline junkies and enjoy the occasional thrill.

We have zip-lined across the Zambezi River. We’ve ridden ATVs across the Sahara Desert and through a forrest in Chiang Mai. We’ve also flown in a helicopter to get a better view of Cape Town. We love snorkeling in the open ocean and riding roller coasters – the scarier the better! 

When you become a parent, you’re often faced with the thought of something terrible happening to your child. One minute you can be watching your child be silly or minding your business washing dishes and the next minute a flash of a terrible accident crosses your mind, briefly paralyzing you with fear.

Continue reading

10 Travel-Adjacent Resolutions to Make for 2020

Comments 15 Standard

Okay, so I’m really late with this post. Or actually with making any sort of resolution, so this list is par for the course.

The truth is I rarely make resolutions – mostly because I often fail at keeping them. However, for the rest of the world, this is the time of year where the innanet is flooded with reflections and “new year, new me” posts. This is because at the beginning of any new phase in our lives, it’s a good time to reflect on all that was accomplished and things we wished had gone differently. It’s a time to pause and take time to do some introspection and make wishes for the year to come.

For a lot of people, travel is something they aspire to accomplish each year. However, for some people, travel is not as easily accessible as it is for the rest of us. So, I’ve made a list of travel-related resolutions for the new year that we all can make, no matter where we are in the world.

Continue reading

Self-Care and the Art of Being a Good Mother

Leave a comment Standard

“If you are traveling with a small child or someone who needs your assistance, please put on your mask first before assisting others”.

For those of us who travel, we have heard these words more times than we can count. So much so, we rarely pay attention to them when we are on our flights. We are settling our kids in or sending those last few text messages or emails before the flight attendant walks by and asks us to turn off our electronics. We aren’t paying attention, but rather occupied with other things.

Continue reading

Thoughts While Sitting in an Aisle Seat Near the Lavatory on a Plane

Leave a comment Standard
  • It’s astounding how many people don’t know how to use the bathroom on the plane. 
  • It’s insane how many people cough with their mouths open while standing over someone eating their food. 
  • Do they realize they can stand anywhere else other than the spot where their butt is in my face?
  • Why does this couple act like they miss one another while waiting for the toilet to free up?
  • Is she really watching my movie standing over me like this? 
  • Is she reading while I’m typing this right now? Yep. She was. 
  • How do you not know that green means go and red means stop anywhere on the planet?
  • She really is gonna keep pushing this door until I tell her someone is in there. 
  • Why don’t they just say someone is in here?
  • Oh, so now I’m the bathroom assistant now to tell people when someone is in there. 
  • Damn, she stinks. 
  • Is that airplane food that does this to people? 
  • Choosing this seat was a mistake. 
  • Is that a dead animal she has wrapped around her waist?
  • People are really weird when they’re waiting for the bathroom. 
  • Damn. Now I gotta pee. But I don’t wanna go in there after that lady. 
  • I used to enjoy the freedom of the aisle seat. Not anymore. Not with all these butts of people waiting in my face. 
  • The looks people give are hilarious. 
  • Pilot: We’re about to land. Put your tables and seats in their upright positions.
    Passengers: I HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW!!! 
  • People really should lock the door when they go pee. 
  • It’s odd how people think that as we’re landing they can actually use the bathroom. 
  • Like really, someone else gets up and looks surprised the flight attendant asked them to sit down. 
  • This flight attendant is knocked out. A 3rd person has gotten up. This is hilarious at this point. Flight attendants are strapped in and we’re hitting the ground any moment. 
  • I wonder if this is gonna be like that Key and Peele episode where dude hits the top of the plane because he wouldn’t sit down. 
  • Why is there an ashtray on the lavatory door if you can’t smoke on the flight?
  • This door is HELLA contradictory.