As a young girl I was raised hanging out at hotels and parties with my mother the Catering Director. I loved the process of planning, organizing, and executing a successful party. In my early twenties I applied my skills to a few of my own parties and transitioned into Wedding Planning. I noticed the party planning taking a serious draining toll on my energy and drive but I also recognized that I couldn’t let it go because I Loved working with the people. I had an appreciation for the tiniest of details and an ability to make anyone feel comfortable and welcome. I had a secret dreams to open my own Bed&Breakfast that never manifested, life happened and I moved on. I never purged the dream though, every trip I took became a secret hostess fantasy. My journals and sketch books were filled with dream houses, breakfast menus, fake guest itineraries and mock-up brochures. Somewhere along the journey through my twenties I forgot to continue dreaming. I thought hopes and dreams were for frivolous people who had no “career driven goals”. Back then I was not aware that hopes, dreams and career driven goals Could be one and the same.
Surprisingly I did not become aware of AirBnb until late last year (Nov 2014) while living here in Rincon, Puerto Rico. I was approached by someone who knew a little bit of my background and asked to assist in running AirBnb room rentals to travelers out of an apartment. I experienced my first life Ah Ha (So This Is What The Universe Was Telling Me To Wait For) moment when I began my AirBnb Hostess journey. I was handed the opportunity of a lifetime, an arrangement that allowed me to live out my fantasies without the risk and investment I was concerned with in the past. I ran AirBnb rentals for others for enough months to allow me to learn the ropes and work out the kinks before I ventured out on my own…..
A week ago I took over a friend’s apartment, and in the middle of transitioning our belongings I got a little Mainland Impatient (I’ll admit, the rum soaked coconut Piratas made me do it!) and prematurely posted my extra room just before I went to bed. I should have known better, especially out here on this isla loca! I woke up the next morning with 3 bookings, one of which was showing up Pronto. I looked from my computer screen around at the boxes, 2 thin beach towels I was using, and linens that the last tenant was kind enough to leave me with, back down to my computer screen clock. <> Start laundry loads, line dry linens, set Private Room up for guests, clean bathroom, personal paraphernalia put away, tiny decorative touches utilizing what I could find around the apartment, sweep, mop, prep fresh fruit, and collapse into a perspiring lady like puddle of wilted gypsy.
So it’s officially official! Last night I hosted my first guests here in my new spot! Rebeca (the Accountant) y Roberto (the psychologist) were a delightful first start. We discovered an instant bond in our appreciation for environmental activist groups and things available to be a part of and experience here in Puerto Rico. When I learned that the Sierra Club has a PR chapter I booted up my computer and signed up right then and there. With more than two million members and supporters, The Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Their efforts range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. You can become a Member or a Wilderness Guardian by signing up on their website here: Sierra Club Home Page
Use this link for the Sierra Club-Puerto Rico Chapter
For more travel websites, location information, and less gypsy ramblings check out my
In our conversations I learned that Rebeca has been creating an extensive medicinal herbal farm on her property. I shared my past experiences with my ex-roommate and talked about the herbs and roots that he would collect an teach me about for my own medical purposes. I expressed a desire to find or create a book that listed Only herbs native to Puerto Rico….and Rebeca pulled one out. My jaw hit the floor and an embarrassing squeal of delight slipped past my lips. I sent up silent Thanks to these amazing people involved in this perfectly amazing interaction that was unfolding before my eyes and rejuvenating my passions all over again! The AirBnb Experience is not so much unlike utilizing an online dating service. During the booking process everyone involved is interviewing each other for the best possible fit and selecting strangers to live with for a short amount of time. By the time the travel day arrives and you finally meet in person you already feel a connection. The biggest difficulty that I have being an AirBnb Hostess is forgetting that these people did not come into town Just to visit Me. The guests that come into my home are virtual strangers who will leave and go about their lives and adventures. We exchange as much information as we chose during our short time together, pictures, stories, tidbits of knowledge, book titles, travel websites, etc, and then we all go about our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of bad AirBnb experiences, but I trust my instincts and am usually rewarding for doing so. Roberto y Rebeca left me with fresh handpicked mangos, fresh hand steeped Tamarindo juice, a homemade pesto that they learned to make during a class taken from Maria Benedetti, and a renewed sense of purpose. I do not know if I will ever see them again, but I’m ok with that. I have our memories, and the taste of her Pesto still on my lips.
Maria Benidetti’s Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico is available for purchase on Amazon in both Spanish and English. Click the book title to follow the link.
If you have any interest in being my guest during your visit to Puerto Rico follow my AirBnb link to see available listings and dates. I take great pride in making people feel welcome during their stay with me and come away feeling like they experienced the best that Rincon, PR has to offer.