Because you could never serve up breakfast to a chicken even before having your own.
(In Hawai'i we stayed with Steve. You can find out more about Steve, his farm, or book your very own stay if you would like right here. Also, if it wasn't for Steve, we would have never camped here - which would have been a real shame.)
What hotel would let you throw your 3 year old a wicked birthday party?!? Ok, so maybe they would, (if you paid them lots of money) but they probably make it as special as this one was. Nor would they offer to drive you to the grocery store, pick you up from the train station, babysit your one and only while you ran errands, and be fantastically amazing and entertaining the entire time you stayed with them. (Yes, we do kind of have a crush on the whole of this family!)
Ever been invited to a Australia Day Sausage Sizzle by the "management" of a hotel? Because Sandy and Pete, whom we stayed in Byron Bay brought us along to a "funtastic" party at their friends farm. We got to join in on a fiercely competitive cricket match, Hudson got to explore a horse farm. Did I mention that our hosts also cooked us delicious dinners. And I mean DELICIOUS. Twice. Just because we got on so well.
While staying in Queenstown I got a cold. Really, it was like the mother of all colds. It was pure yucky-ness. I have never had a worst cold in my entire adult life. Watching me go through a box of kleenex every 15 minutes or so, our compassionate hosts Ian and Velda offered up their second spare bedroom for me to crash in. It was fantastic, because I got to roll around on a queen sized bed all by my buggery lone self - and the boys did not catch my cold which they for sure would have otherwise. Can you imagine a hotel doing that? Not likely...
On one of our most recent bnb stays, we found ourselves in the outskirts of Auckland. One of those subdivisions that seem to spring up overnight type neigbourhoods. The kind where the normal, everyday people live.
Our host was, once again, beyond wonderful. A natural born entertainer and one of the most genuinely nice persons I have ever come across, but that is only part of the story here.
On the walk to a park one afternoon, we came across a man with his 2 year old daughter. Hudson was captivated. We made a little small talk. He picked up on our "accent" -we explained our story. The next morning Karl and Hudson walked past the same man's house on their way back to the park.
"Want to go fishing with me?"
This wasn't a "I own a boat and I normally charge people hundreds of dollars an hour to go fishing but for you I will do it for a "special" price" invitation. This was the "I live here, and sometimes I go fishing with my buddies, and I thought you
could use a break from you wife would like to come along" invitation.
So Karl went. He got sea sick, caught some fish, got to do a little male bonding.
On Sunday morning we stopped in again to thank Parvin for the 12 Red Snapper fillets that were delivered to our hosts home, de-skinned and de-boned, while we were out. We were asked to stay for coffee. Hudson got a chocolate Easter bunny on our way out. It was kind of like visiting friends back at home.
When we started planning this trip, we had never even heard of airbnb. Actually, the girl who came over to sell us our "sell your home on your own" package suggested it to us. For those of you who will no click through on the link, let me (briefly) explain. Airbnb is a site that puts together travelers with people who are willing to rent out spare rooms in their homes. If you are not cool with sharing a living room with a stranger, they have listings for self-contained spaces as well. You can rent entire homes. Houseboats in Amsterdam. A tree house in Seattle. A yurt in Hawai'i.
When we booked our first stay, we were looking for a roof over our heads. The Hilton was not in our budget, and staying at a backpacker with a 3 year old did not appeal to us. So we tried this instead.
We are hooked.
It's not only that we have gotten to stay at some pretty amazing places (often for a fraction of what a hotel room would cost), we have gotten to meet a whole lot of really amazing people. And for us, that's been the most valuable part of the whole experience.
I am not trying to convince you to book your holiday this way. I guess what I am trying to do is say one massive "THANK YOU" to all those wonderful people we have stayed with thus far. You've made this vacation truly special!