Frimley, United Kingdom Level 1
When I opened my home in 2017 I had no idea that in just five short years I would host artists, musicians, and professionals from over ten countries.
Oh, it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had my share of struggles with the differences in cultures. There was a male guest from Asia who walked through the house in his underwear. He is the reason my listing requires guests to be fully clothed in shared areas. And a female artist from Russia who struggled with my West Virginia dialect but asked many questions of the house, the animals, and the area.
The guest room is upstairs, across from mine. It is modestly furnished with a simple full-sized bed, with a memory foam mattress, and iron head and footboards. There is a four drawer chest, and closet space for those staying more than a day or so. An antique dresser serves as a desk for a laptop or tablet. A small television is connected to an attic antenna to give guests a taste of local news and shows.
The downstairs shared bathroom is exactly what you would expect from a 1920’s era home. The claw-foot tub was cast in 1918. The sink, also cast in 1918, has dual faucets; one for hot water, one for cold water. Many of our younger guests are often taken aback by the idea of running a bowlful of water to wash with. The Wedgewood blue and white wainscotting on the walls, and the black and white hexagonal tiles complete the vintage look.
Within these walls we share with our guests a little of the history of the local area, and how our families came to live here. One young college student, working on a film project for his degree, sat up with us until 2:00 a.m. as we shared information on the Mine Wars of 1912-13, and how families not far from here were attacked with machine guns from coal trains passing by a tent city of families evicted from their company houses. Our history in West Virginia, United States of America, is a difficult one.
Most of our guests are just passing through on their way north or south. One and two night stays are the norm. We have had the occasional week long guest, and we hosted a travel nurse for a couple months back in the summer.
I was SuperHost for many years, until that international travel issue in 2020. Once I reopened my calendar I earned that status again. There have been guests who gave five stars, and those who gave three. Some rave about the homemade breads and jellies, others complain about location or the stairs.All-in-all I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because the world came to my door.
I always tell my guests to feel at home. Some take it seriously and do walk in their underwear, as they do at home 🙂 For me it is fine, like people staying on the beach.
@Robin129 I love your story. Somethings funny, and somethings about the difficult history of the area you live in and the Mine Wars.
As for the guest the "male guest from Asia who walked through the house in his underwear" ... Oh what an crazy guy! I have
I read sometime ago in this community about a similar but crazier case! About a guest who used to run around the house in his underwear! I believe the guy must have become a strange attraction in the neighborhood... many people must have stopped around the house to see what was going on, until the police arrived and ended the exotic tourist attraction! 😊
@Robin129 thank you for giving an inside view of your experiences of sharing your home. Telling us about the funny side, negative and positives of hosting.
When we first started staying in Airbnb's, in sharing hosts homes that we had never met before. It was something new for us but we had stayed in youth hostels, back packers, pensions and yogwans in Korea in the past and we thought we were up for it. We also looked at it as saving money while travelling.
Yes we did find all the hosts were different eg, one host never came out of her bedroom, one offered us a beer because we were fellow Australians, one couldn't do more for us and followed us around watching us like a hawk. Another never stopped talking with interest, another was helpful with tourist ideas of local area.
Since then we opened our own Airbnb with private accommodation onsite and we meet and greet, our guests, explain and show them through the cottage. Occassionally we have a chat if we see them but we offer privacy. Yes I would like to chat more with guests but I consider their privacy but occassionally if they are staying longer we ask would they like to join us around the campfire for nibbles and drinks.
I find that people who stay appreciate their privacy and just want to get of the rat race of the city, to be by the beach and eat out.
From one Robin to another.....thank you for this lovely post!
I have said many times before, you don't realise how many lovely people there are until you host short term rentals. We have made many friends from every continent over the past 7 years.....
Robin these experiences are like gold, they come out of nowhere, you can't manufacture them, they just happen.....and our lives are so much the richer for them.
Thanks again Robin, lovely post!
I have you to thank in part Rob! You helped me out in the beginning with advice on photos, and things. I never forgot it. 🙂
Your post is great @Robin129
For a moment I was able to enter your house, go up the stairs and feel the atmosphere of your house. Is the warm water tap to the left side, right? 😉
I also couldn't stop laughing imagining your guest walking around in their underwear, what a show!
Seriously, as hosts we really are lucky when we get the chance to have the world knock on our doors. We learn from others, we are surprised by their surprises and concerns, and we travel for a while through their lives.
Hopefully one day I can knock on your door and ask for homemade bread and jam (I promise to follow the rules and not wear my pijama around the house!).
Greetings from Tenerife and happy month of celebration 🌍😍
To guarantee the homemade bread don't be a last minute instant book guest. 🙂
As I told Quincy, homemade bread doesn't stay good as long as store bought. Sometimes I'm out and can't get it made for a last minute booking.
I can laugh at Captain Underpants now, but at the time I was mortified.
Just don't be a last minute instant book and I should have time to make the bread. I try to have some made at all times. Unfortunately, homemade breads don't stay good as long as store bought because homemade doesn't have all the preservatives. If I have gaps in guests I don't always have bread made. 🙂
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing this. We love to meet new people too. Your story warmed my heart and made me laugh out loud at the end. Still smiling. Thank you again!
BTW, I'm one of those people who travels with chickens. LOL!
Wow. Travels with your chickens, or you have chickens and you also travel?
That would be a big AG biosecurity no no if you are traveling "with" your chickens.
I often have special needs birds and occasionally need to travel with them. Tube feeding isn't something to hands over to just anyone. The birds who travel with me are caged or in diapers, not free ranging. But biosecurity is still a concern, mostly because of humans exposing my birds to illness.
We allow birds (e.g. chickens, parrots, parakeets, owls, whatever) at our property. The rules are:
1) They must be caged or diapered indoors.
2) We must have ample notice if they want to use the outdoor coop so we can make sure it is clean. ((It's a brand that can be moved and sanitized.
3) The outdoor coop must not be used overnight or unattended due to predators. 4) Falconry is prohibited on the property, because the neighbors have chickens too.
We haven't had guests bring birds yet, but as one who travels with them I know how hard it is to find a place that accepts them. https://fb.watch/hqrpgpxfVX/
What a lovely post. Meeting people from around the globe is certainly one of the best things about being a host.
Something which I wish I had done when I started hosting was get a map where guests could pin their home town/country. Of course, being in London, I expected to host international travellers, but I've been amazed at how many different nationalities have arrived at my door.
About two years after I started hosting in my current house, Airbnb sent me a digital map, highlighting all the countries my guests had come from. I wish I could post it here as it was quite fun, but I don't think we can upload GIFs, but it said I'd hosted guests from 41 countries, which was astonishing (and there were a few places on the map that they had forgotten to include). It's now been more than six years. I'd love to see an updated version! I think that would be a nice thing for them to send all of us from time to time.
However, it's still nice to look through the guest book (another thing I should have got in the beginning) from time to time and remind myself of the many interesting people I've met.
I don't think I ever saw a map from ABB. That should be easy for them to create. Shame they don't have them now.
@Robin129 What a poetic way to summarize your experiences in one sentence ''I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because the world came to my door.'' It was a great feeling to just time-travel through your post and know that one place can be filled with so much from distinct eras!
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@Robin129 your home sounds like a wonderful place to experience the history of a 1920s home. We all know that 'Past is experience, the present is an experiment, and the future is expectation.' Continued success in being a SuperHost and enjoying the international guests who visit your part of the world.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas🎄
Merry Christmas to you, and everyone here in the CC!