I'd heard of Airbnb before but didn't really have much of an idea of what it was until I heard a Stacking Benjamins podcast, in which one of the guests mentioned she always traveled via Airbnb. She said the service offered a place much nicer than a hotel for a lot less than the cost of a hotel. That sounded pretty good to me, so I checked out the website. I'm no expert, but the service seems to allow individuals to rent out either a room, a guesthouse, or an entire house on a short term basis, with a fee going to Airbnb for the listing. When we were looking around for places to stay in Ecuador, we thought we'd check out what we could find on Airbnb and found this quirky little place for only $15 a night. It's a tiny little loft that's unlike anything else we would have rented at a hotel or hostel. The owner, Manolo, is really hospitable, too. He and his son are taking us to a soccer game later this week. Try getting that at a Best Western.
There are better photos in the link above, but here are some I took with my phone:
To give some context, I should mention that I have a bit of an obsession with tiny homes. I saw a Tumbleweed video a few years ago and was immediately hooked. Now I get my fix on The Tiny House Blog, and about once a month I'll try to convince my wife that we should live in a tiny home full time. I force regular conversations about building a tiny home on wheels, or maybe converting our detached garage into an artsy studio. Wisely, she has some doubts. I get enthused about the idea of things often before really considering the what the reality of that idea will feel like. Would we really enjoy living in less than 200 square feet? Would purging ourselves of the majority of our clothes and possessions really be as liberating as I think it would be?
Well, this little loft in Ecuador seemed to offer a chance to test drive tiny living for a week. And at $158 for the entire week (including the Airbnb fee), how could we not give it a go?
We personally love the allure of the place, with all the vertical space and the loft area for sleeping. The owner built it himself so it has a unique, DIY feel to a lot of it, which we dig but it probably isn't to everyone's taste. There are cool little touches, like a table that folds out from the wall like a murphy bed and two folding chairs that hang from hooks when you want more space. And the handmade staircase is just cool. It's a little bit like living in a dorm room again (with, in my case, the dorm-mate of my dreams). There's just enough space for everything, as long as we put things back where they should be.
On the downside, the handmade staircase seems incredibly dangerous, too, with the complete lack of a handrail and all. I am making deals with God each time I get out of bed in the morning. And while living in such a small space is great for a week, I can see already that it would be tense if we tried doing this full time. The main drawback seems to be a lack of counter space: there just aren't a lot of flat surfaces on which to put things. Astute observers will notice Mrs. Done by Forty's makeup and other girly products taking up the tiny counter space we have in the kitchen. Not a big deal until, you know, we want to cook. Then I remember the fact that we have two golden retrievers and, someday, will probably have two munchkins running around. It seems inevitable that I'd trip over one of those four little guys at least once a day, and there's a good chance we'd be testing the durability of our dependents when they fell out of the loft.
So, it seems the missus was right again. While a cool idea and something that might even work for us in another lifetime, I think tiny house living might not be in the cards for us. Maybe we can strike a compromise and build one of the Tumbleweed small houses (bigger than 120 square feet, but all under 900). Here is our favorite, the B-53. At 883 square feet, with enclosed bedrooms, and a staircase that's less likely to send me to my death, what's not to love?
Well, that's all for now. Thanks for checking in and, for those of you who have blogs I follow, I'm looking forward to catching up soon.