Have you ever wondered how it’s like to be a digital nomad? Or how does it feel living in Airbnb’s full time? Well, grab a cup of coffee and entertain yourself with our stories from the past 6 months and see if this lifestyle is for you.
I just want to start by saying…. we suck at being adults! Anyone else feels this way?
I wish I could tell you at this point that it all has been fun, games and adventures, but turns out living in Airbnb’s full time hasn’t been exactly the fairytale we thought it would be.
Let me explain.
It’s been six months since we left our apartment and sold everything we owned. We have experienced all sort of crazy feelings and have had our ups and downs for sure, but I would not change a single thing. I’m a firm believer that we learn more about ourselves and each other during difficult times and challenges, instead of when everything is calmed.
On one hand, it’s been super exciting to be in a different place every month. I would not change that thrill of being in a new city and discovering new possibilities for anything in the world. However, we haven’t experienced this feeling that much.
Out of the past 6 months, we’ve spent 2 months in Chicago, 6 weeks in Boca (G’s home town), 5 weeks in Dallas (some days in Austin & Fredericksburg), 4 weeks in Tampa and right now we are back in Boca to regroup before heading to St Augustine until May 15th (then back to Chicago for a month and then we have NO CLUE!). Technically the only ‘new’ place we’ve ‘lived in’ has been Tampa, so other than the few days we spent in Austin & Fredericksburg, we haven’t really had that being-in-a-new-city kind of feeling (maybe a little bit in Dallas).
Looking back, a part of me wishes we would have picked 100% places that were new to the both of us, so we could re-live that excitement month to month, but another part (and probably the ruling one) wanted to take advantage of this rare opportunity to spend time with dear friends and family we only get to see a couple of times a year. I do not regret our decision. Being with friends and family means the world to me. Also, since we are both working full time every day and we are in the middle of a world pandemic, I don’t know if it would have been a good idea to ‘live’ in cool new places without having the time or opportunity to fully explore and experience them.
Being ‘homeless by choice’ has also made us realize that we would really love to have a home, like a forever home you know? The problem is, that we also want to travel the world full time so…. if we buy a house now, we would basically be giving up on our dream of traveling the world full time, HOWEVER, if we do end up making a living as travel bloggers we can totally buy a house later in life, when it’s the right time (and we actually know where). We can’t have both dreams right now and that’s ok.
On that note… I kind of have bad news and I’ll try to be brief. Our trip around the world is postponed until further notice because I still don’t have a green card with my correct name (I already ranted about this on my Instagram, so if you want to know the whole frustrating story, check out this post). It seems like most of 2021 will be spent in the U.S. But we’ll see. Things can change quickly too and we are flexible because we only have one suitcase each LOL.
We have no rush though. Don’t get me wrong, we really want to leave ASAP, but we also want to do it safely after we are both vaccinated. Also, we are 99% sure we don’t want to have kids, so that makes life pretty flexible for us. *rant begins* Please, don’t be mean in the comments and don’t take this personally because it’s not. Every time I say I don’t want to have kids, people with kids think that I automatically hate kids and that I’m attacking them for having kids… IT’S NOT THE CASE! I love children, in fact being an auntie is my favorite thing in the whole world, but that doesn’t mean I want to have kids of my own. I’m not an advocate for not having children, I’m an advocate for doing whatever feels right for YOU… and for us, this is it! So please respect that. *end of rant*
Some general/very random things we realized in the past 6 months:
- It’s actually nice to have a permanent address you know? Like for bank stuff, when you need a ‘proof of address’ and you have nothing under your name… little things like that!
- We do not do well when we don’t have a routine. We learned this very early on our journey. We are doing better now though!
- We cannot do cold weather any more… like EVER AGAIN! I’m fine with living in a city that has 4 seasons, but I would definitely need to find a way to leave during Winter.
- Getting used to the little things of each Airbnb is actually exhausting for the first few days… we also got better at this over time though.
- I thought I was going to miss having a lot of outfit options. Turns out, I kind of love not having many things.
- I can totally survive with only 1 pair of shoes (for 6 weeks). Who knew?
- COVID-19 is perceived and lived very differently depending on where you go. Chicago is definitely more careful compared to where we’ve been in Texas and Florida.
- Real estate photographers are like wizards. They are experts in making a place look bigger and a lot nicer using the right lens and natural light. (now we pay really close attention to each Airbnb before we book it!)
- Never forget to log out of your Netflix and YouTube accounts when you log in a TV. The next guest won’t be afraid to use it and most likely mess up with your shows and algorithm.
Ok, so without further ado, here’s our experience living in Airbnb’s full time for 6 months 🙂
Month 1: Irving Park, Chicago
This was our first month as ‘digital nomads’ and it was WEIRD for so many reasons. First, we were still in the same city that we lived for such a long time, so at first we couldn’t process why we were not home… It was the weirdest feeling during the first week.
It didn’t help that we didn’t like this property. Everything was old and in bad shape, everything in the apartment was the worst possible quality and we didn’t like the neighborhood. I don’t mean to sound too negative, but it’s the truth. There were of course many great things about this stay though; we had more space, it was quiet at night and we had a deck that we used to sit outside a couple of times. But, we would never stay at that place again. The most important and positive aspect about this place was that is was SO CLOSE to my sister’s place, so I got to see them pretty much every day!!
We rated this property 3/5 (I wanted to rate it 2/5, but G didn’t let me). You can check out the exact place by visiting this link. (but don’t ever stay there for a month!)
Month 2: East Dallas, Dallas
Where do I even begin… LOL.
We had a major meltdown when we arrived to our Dallas Airbnb. We thought the place was bigger, that it was a stand alone house, that it had a nice backyard and that we had a washer/drier. That first day was SO HARD! We learned that it’s ok to have a meltdown, but we shouldn’t make any permanent/important decisions until we feel better. We felt like quitting right away LOL (thank God we didn’t).
So, why Dallas? My best friend from Venezuela lives there and I’ve been there twice before. We decided we liked it enough in the past to spend a month there and socialize with people other than each other LOL. We had a blast! Dallas is beautiful! It was weird because we didn’t go out much, so I can’t say we explored many places, but it was still nice to be somewhere warm in November and to see my friend and her family every week.
Some negative things about this place: The windows didn’t open and every time we tried opening the door for ventilation we would have MASSIVE flies inside our place. In my opinion the place just smelled old, you know that smell? There was construction in front of house, lack of working space, the backyard looked nothing like the photos, and…. MICE!!!! Or at least one mouse.
Another tiny detail (LOL)… We thought our neighborhood was SUPER SAFE, until G had an encounter with 2 local gang members and it was pretty scary. I’m so grateful nothing happened to him! Let’s just say they were being rather entrepreneurial and tried to sell him some ‘ice’ (whatever that means), but they were on his face and kind of provoking him… Good thing G is the calmest guy on earth and he just said ‘no thank you’ and walked away. I’m sure they didn’t do anything to him because it was like 4 pm on a Wednesday and there were cars passing by. After this, I was afraid to go outside on my own, which is the worst feeling ever. It reminded me of Venezuela way too much (not in a good way!).
Some positive aspects: It was a decent size, it was nicely decorated, we got to see our friends pretty often, the weather was absolutely beautiful and in general, it really was fun and exciting being somewhere sort of new for a month. We were close to a park and a tennis court, so we got to play a lot of tennis.
We went to Austin and Fredericksburg for a few days and it was amazing! Texas is so cool and beautiful and we can’t wait to go back 🙂 I shared all my favorite things in this Instagram post in case you are interested.
Overall, the month in Dallas was worth it just because I got to see my friend every week! But the Airbnb wasn’t the most comfortable place to work from… there were too many little things that made things hard for us that month, but hey, we survived! I know it doesn’t sound like it, but we were actually really happy there. I’m just sharing the bad things to be fully transparent about our journey.
We rated our Dallas Airbnb a 3/5. You can check out the exact place by visiting this link.
Month 3: Boca Raton, Florida
Right now, Boca Raton is the one place that feels like home. G’s parents house is the only familiar place we go back to, so it makes sense I guess. It feels so good to be with friends and family and in a familiar house that’s immaculate and we know nothing will go wrong. There are no little things to get used to and I cannot even put into words how freaking nice that felt! We were in desperate need of some predictability and that’s exactly what we got. Boca felt like such a nice reset and it really recharged us.
After feeling a little down (ok A LOT) from my devastating green card news, I needed to do something. With our trip around the world (aka our biggest dream!) being postponed until further notice, I wanted to try something new… something we planned to do on our trip. I had many things to choose from, but the one that kept coming to mind was getting scuba certified.
I cannot describe how amazing yet incredibly challenging this whole experience was. I’m so proud of myself for being brave because despite really wanting to become a scuba diver, the whole being-60+ feet-underwater thing really freaked me out! When we practiced in the pool, I had my moments under water, to be honest, I kind of lost it a couple of times, but that’s why you study and practice in a pool first… because you learn why going up to the surface every time you doubt yourself is absolutely NOT AN OPTION if you have oxygen. Our minds are capable of incredible things and I’m still in awe with myself that I pushed through and didn’t let my fears stop me from living my life to the fullest. When we did the ocean dive, the waves were big and it was hard to move around the boat with the heavy equipment (I was terrified), but I swear to God, once I jumped in the water and started going down, something felt right and I suddenly realized why I was doing it. It was the best experience of my life and I can’t wait to go many times in my lifetime.
It had been so long since I tried something new and after getting my scuba license, I promised to never do that to myself again, so this old fox will continue to learn new tricks! Next on the list is more scuba, freediving and windsurf!
We rated G’s parents house 5/5 😉 duhhhhhhh.
Month 4: Lincoln Park, Chicago
After the month-1 fiasco in a foreign Chicago neighborhood, we decided to rent an apartment in our old neighborhood; Lakeview. We actually stayed a couple of blocks down from our old building, on the same street! We almost had the same address LOL.
While in Florida, a couple of days before it was time to leave, I felt so much anxiety knowing it was time to go back to an Airbnb for over a month. The only reason why I wanted to leave was to see my family, but after feeling so content in the very middle of my comfort zone, I wasn’t too excited to see what little unpleasant surprises our new ‘home’ would bring into our lives LOL.
We kept our expectations low, but when we got to the apartment, we ran into a few issues that now I like to call: life opportunities to learn how to get over things in less than 24 hours.
First of all, the company that hosted the property was terrible. They didn’t take care of any of our needs and concerns. The apartment was SO DIRTY! I had to clean the whole place right on arrival. One drawer in the bathroom was filled with human hair of all shapes and sizes, it was DISGUSTING! The shower was completely clogged and stained and so dirty with hair everywhere, which I reported and they completely ignored it. The first 24 at his place were a nightmare…. and it looks so harmless in the photos LOL. Just see it for yourself.
Disclaimer: We did get over all of this shit fairly quick! (less than 24 hours). We just had to. I cleaned several times, bought a product to unclog the shower and it was all good. It was just so unnecessary and I’m just sharing it because I’m super honest and this was all part of the journey.
Why Chicago…. In January? Well, because our baby niece Elisa was born and of course, we had to go meet her!! The first couple of weeks were hard because we had to fully quarantine in a small apartment and couldn’t go out or see anyone… not even to sit at a park by ourselves because it was so freezing cold! We spent new year’s by ourselves, which was a first time for me, but it was fun 🙂 Most of our days consisted of working, reading, watching TV, working out, drinking wine etc.
We didn’t do much in Chicago other than spend time with my family. After we got our COVID-19 test results back, we finally met little Elisa. This angel gave us all the scare of our lives, after spending over 2 weeks in the NICU, but she’s healthy now and all is good, thank God. I’m honestly the happiest auntie in the whole wide world!
We were so lucky with the weather too. It snowed a few times and it was so beautiful. If you ask me, Winter without snow is just miserable! We went sledding with the girls a couple of times, had a couple of sleepovers and it was so fun! Our time in Chicago flew by way too fast. I wish both of our families would live in the same city, so I don’t have to have my heart divided into pieces every time we can’t all be together.
Some positive things about this place: It was nice and new, we loved the kitchen, it was in our favorite Chicago neighborhood, we converted the second bedroom into an office for G, it was nice to be by ourselves and have slow cozy mornings, late night drinks and movies, cook together, eat on the couch, etc. The apartment even felt like home after a couple of weeks. I remember sitting down one day after cleaning, with a warm cup of coffee and looking around, taking a deep breath and just having that same feeling I had in our old apartment, when we had a home. It was good.
This apartment wasn’t bad at all after we got over the first 24 hours and accepted that we couldn’t count on our host for absolutely anything. As I said, we adjusted, we had to. It was a nice place, but it was such a horrible experience with the host.
That’s why we rated this Chicago Airbnb 1/5. You can check out the exact property by visiting this link. Never stay with any property managed by Zencity. They are just the worst. Honestly, save yourself a headache.
Month 5: Back to Boca!
After being in Chicago in the middle of Winter for 5 weeks, it was time for some warm weather again! Boy we missed the beach and being outside. We really didn’t do much in Boca… we pretty much just hung out with G’s fam. G’s sister also lives here and she has 2 kids who are the best and so fun to hang out with, so of course we spent a lot of time with them too.
We only spent 3 weeks here and it also flew by… way too fast! We had plans to scuba dive but decided the water was too cold LOL. We also wanted to start our freediving lessons, but G was too busy with work, so we couldn’t do that either (we’ll do both after we are back from Tampa).
There’s not much to tell here other than again, it felt pretty good to have some consistency and predictability. It’s always nice to be back somewhere that feels like home.
We rated G’s parent’s house 5/5 again! WOW… this Airbnb is really killing it!! 😉
Month 6: Tampa, Florida
Anxiety was back a couple of days before driving up to Tampa. At this point we were traumatized enough with long term stays Airbnb’s LOL, but this place was such a pleasant surprise. Honestly, best Airbnb we have stayed in so far!
We wanted to go somewhere where we could drive from Boca and since neither of us have been to Tampa, we thought why not? It’s close to a lot of things that we want to do in north Florida, like going to Crystal River, some cool caves and maybe seeing some manatees. All of it happened the first weekend and it was the best!!!
I have to admit that I did not know what to expect about Tampa. I didn’t Google anything about it (on purpose) and all I had heard about it, were my dad’s stories from where he lived near Tampa almost 60 years ago LOL. It’s safe to say I was quite shocked when I saw the first real shot of Tampa during the Super Bowl. I had no idea how big of a city it was.
I was tempted to Google more about it, but I didn’t. I wanted to have no expectations. Tampa surprised me in the best possible way. Our Airbnb was absolutely adorable, we had the best neighbor and she not only started teaching us about SEO, but she had THE CUTEST DOGS EVER and we got to pet them and give them belly scratches every single day! What a great feeling it is to nail it with a place you are going to spend a month in! It was a foreign feeling for us at this point.
G took a week off work, so the last week we spent there was absolutely perfect! We did a lot of exploring and fun things like windsurfing, kayaking, swimming, hanging out with dolphins… you know basically our dream life!
We rated this property a 5/5. You can check it out by visiting this link.
Overall thoughts after 6 months
As you may have noticed, we had a rocky start but things got way better over time. I would rate our entire experience and crazy adult life decision a 3.5/5 LOL but just because of the first Airbnb’s experiences. I think we had very high expectations of how life would be living in Airbnb’s full time and we definitely over estimated how ‘cool’ most of the Airbnbs looked like! It is very different to read reviews about a place where people only stayed for 2-3 nights VS. actually living there for a whole month. I think the only reason why I wouldn’t rate our decision a 5/5 is because of some the Airbnb’s, so I guess it’s good to know we actually LOVE life on the road (as long as our accommodation is cute! JK. We’ll toughen up with time!).
Now it’s time for the sappy part…
Over the past 6 months, we had so many highs and moments of true joy that I know we would have not experienced had we stayed safe in Chicago. When all the crazy shit happened with my green card, I felt relieved that we were not in Chicago, because how else would I have been able to vent if it wasn’t for scuba diving, and freediving and learning how to windsurf? I’m happy I had an escape. Also, we managed to spend most of the Winter months out of Chiberia! #lifegoals
I decided to write this very long blog post to share the most important lesson I learned…
Just because you decide to follow your dreams, it does not imply you are living a dream life 24/7. It can be hard sometimes, but as cliche as it sounds, it is the journey what’s actually rewarding. It truly is and I wouldn’t change our journey for anything in the world.
Those little moments of pure joy you get to experience along the way. That feeling of growth and not wondering ‘what if’. That incredible feeling of knowing you are being brave and that you’re moving forward despite of being afraid. Those moments when you realize you are so far out of your comfort zone, you don’t even know who you were before. There my friend, is where the magic happens.
I also learned how to get over things quickly and move on. I think I’ve always underestimated how important this is in life.
We love life on the road. Being open to receive all of these amazing experiences from the universe has really opened our eyes and hearts to new feelings, more joy, more balance, more living and less existing you know? I’m really looking forward to live more like this. So we have no plans to settle down any time soon.
So…. what’s next for us?
As I mentioned earlier, we are currently in Boca Raton. We’ll head to St Augustine on April 17th for a month, then back to Boca again for a week or so and we’ll fly back to Chicago until the end of June, hopefully after being vaccinated. After that… Drum roll pleaseeeee…..
We have no idea.
We’ll be back to Boca from Chicago by the end of June, and then who knows? Honestly, does anyone know? Because we sure don’t.
We thought of maybe renting a place in Austin for a few months, or spending Summer in Chicago, but we love exploring and being on the road and there are so many other cities to stay at for a month. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, why keep doing that if most of the Airbnb’s have sucked? Well because they only suck for 1 day, and we just keep looking at cool places to stay in cities like Asheville, Hawaii, Alaska, Charleston, Savannah…. so, we’ll see 😉
We are also hoping to have my green card situation solved soon, so we are actively thinking about going international (only if we can get the COVID-19 vaccine)… Not like hoping from place to place, but staying somewhere like Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia or Turkey for 3-4 months. We really have no idea, but it’s fun to do the research.
Anyways, I should probably end this post here since it’s the longest ever already… But thank you so much for reading all the way down here and for your support! And for the record, if this post feels all over the place is because I wrote it in parts, every single month, so my mood was different every time 😉
Stay tuned for what’s next! Have a beautiful day ahead!