Have you ever wondered how is it really like to be a digital nomad? Or how does it feel to be 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.
We currently live out of a suitcase and we love it! Living in Airbnb’s full time has been the best decision we’ve ever made. But wait, it wasn’t like that since day 1. It’s been a journey.
Ready to learn about our adventures while living in Airbnb’s full time?
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.
But let me explain. It’s not what you think.
Estimated reading time: 27 minutes
Why did we decide to start living in Airbnb’s full time?
I’ve been working from home since 2018 and I’ve always loved it. I’m seriously one of those people that have no complaints about working from home, owning my time and having flexibility. G had never experienced that until COVID-19 happened.
Once he was given the option to work from home, it was hard at the beginning. It was quite an adjustment, but only for like a week or so LOL. After a couple of months of doing this, in July 2020, we decided we wanted to do this work-from-home thing full time. However, we couldn’t bare the thought of spending another cold Winter in Chicago, and on top of that, being quarantined.
So, one day while we were talking at the park, we said to ourselves: Why do we keep doing this? Talking about things and not making them happen? We are not trees, we can move anywhere we want. We have no real ties to Chicago. Let’s sell everything and start living in Airbnb’s full time!!!! And so we did.
The only thing stopping us were ourselves, our own minds and fears of the unknown. That’s not how we want to live our lives and that’s why we decided to give this crazy thing a try.
Our current situation
It’s been six months since we left our apartment, sold everything we owned and started living in Airbnb’s full time. 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 living in Airbnb’s 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 for a month (then back to Chicago for 5 weeks 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) that often.
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.
What we’ve realized while living in Airbnb’s full time
Being ‘homeless by choice’ has made us realize that we would really love to have a home, like a forever home you know? Pretty ironic.
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.
I don’t think we’ll have a forever home any time soon. We like this lifestyle way too much and the only reason we would buy a home today, would be to have a home base to recharge. Not to really settle down, so it’s not worth it. I much rather stay living in Airbnb’s full time and explore different cultures and places all over the world.
Speaking about traveling the world full time…
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*
June 2021 update: I got my green card and passport!!!!! We can travel the world full time now!!! This blog post is like an emotional rollercoaster ;)
Some general/very random things we realized in the past 6 months while living in Airbnb’s:
- 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.
- 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.
- The things you own take a big chunk of space off your mind. We felt so creative and free after we sold everything! I can’t even think about what we had before.
Ok, so without further ado, here’s our experience living in Airbnb’s full time for 6 months :)
Month 1: Irving Park, Chicago
PS: Alicia is the best photographer in Chicago, so if you want to book a Summer or Fall session with her I advice you to book her ASAP to secure a spot! Take advantage of it because she’s not as expensive as she should be!
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 LOVE this property. Everything was old and in bad shape. I was afraid to touch anything because I felt I was going to break it. 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 very quiet at night and we had a deck that we used to sit outside a couple of times.
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!! Yes, we messed up with this booking but it was a learning experience and honestly, it was so worth it to be close to my sister and explore a new Chicago neighborhood :)
We rated this property 3/5. You can check out the exact place by visiting this link.
Month 2: East Dallas, Dallas
Where do I even begin… LOL. We messed up again! Why do we keep doing this? We were ready to quit and questioned our life decisions (for a grand total of 2 hours).
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. The first 12 hours were 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.
A crazy thing that happened in Dallas…
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.
Oh experiences over things…. right??? What an experience!
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 was really fun and exciting to be 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. I think the neighborhood was safe, but it was just bad luck and an unfortunate encounter that could have happened in any big city.
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! 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.
Things not going our way is part of the journey. We have learned so many important lessons by living on the road full time!
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. 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 my 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! If you are in South Florida, make sure to do it with Force-E (and ask for Eric!).
We rated G’s parents house 5/5 ;) duhhhhhhh.
Month 4: Living in Airbnb’s in Lincoln Park, Chicago
After the month-1 experience 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 really 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 really nice place.
However, 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
This place was such a pleasant surprise. Honestly, best Airbnb we have stayed in so far!
June 2021 update: I take that back. The best Airbnb we’ve stayed at so far was in St Augustine. More on that below.
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.
June 2021 update: I’m adding this other Airbnb in St Augustine because it was AMAZING!!!!
Month 7: Living in Airbnb’s in St Augustine, FL
Oh St Augustine….
We randomly found this small town on the map and the only reason we picked it, was because the properties were decently prized. We had no idea what to expect, but it was amazing.
Our house was beautiful and close to the beach. We literally walked to the beach every morning for sunrise and saw dolphins! Like, what? What kind of day starts like that!? We nailed it with this Airbnb!
We had no bad days here honestly. Even though the shower in our place didn’t work since day one and the host didn’t fix it, we were able to completely ignore that and just appreciate the beauty around us. Who are we? This has been by far the most important lesson we’ve learned in our travels so far.
My family visited us for a weekend and honestly we created the best memories. I was so happy we discovered this place and I would 100% consider buying a house by the beach there. We kayaked, had amazing cocktails & food, went to NASA, Devil’s Den… So many day trips! G took 2 weeks off work so were really able to relax and have fun. We did a lot of nothing and that’s exactly what our souls needed.
Here’s the link to the exact property. I feel bad I forgot to rate it! But it would have been a 4/5 (just because the host should have fixed the shower!).
Why am I being so brutally honest about us living in Airbnb’s
Because I don’t want you to think that our journey is perfect. Perfect is boring and unrealistic.
I rather you read this post and think wow, I also want to step away from my comfort zone. I also want to try new things. It’s ok when things don’t go your way. Things rarely go our way. What matters is that you put yourself out there and be open to learn new things and see the world for yourself, have your own opinions, meet new people, and just open your eyes to appreciate what’s around you.
Overall thoughts after 6 months living in Airbnb’s
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 4/5 LOL but just because of the first Airbnb’s experiences.
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 you’ve had bad experiences? Well because that’s part of life, and we just keep looking at cool places to stay in cities like Asheville, Hawaii, Alaska, Charleston, Savannah…. so, we’ll see ;) It’s all worth it.
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.
June 2021 update: We are in Chicago and just booked an amazing Airbnb in Croatia for July and then we’ll go to Holland to visit family. Also, we are fully vaccinated!!
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! I’m usually good at sharing updates on my Instagram (@waysofstyle) and make sure to also follow our adventures around the world on YouTube and Instagram (@waysoftheworld_).
Have a beautiful day ahead and thanks so much for reading this post :)
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While living out of a suitcase, I’ve become very creative with capsule wardrobes. Check out some of my favorite looks:
- How to build a minimalist wardrobe – Step by step guide
- Learn how to create a Summer Capsule Wardrobe with just 25 pieces + outfit ideas
- How to wear white sneakers – These are basically the only shoes I’ve been using for the past 6 months
- My favorite leggings. I take them everywhere. Read this Spanx Leggings review before you buy them! Don’t make my mistakes!!
Other lifestyle posts you may also like:
- Stay calmed – Learn about my favorite CBD brand in this detailed and honest Equilibria Review
- Life update: Facing our fears and major life changes (sharing the good and bad)
- How to keep a relationship strong and happy
- How to build a life you love living – My 10 year plan
- Big loves and small weddings – Our story