I am not a great photographer but, I have a wonderful library of photos I can look back on and get a thrill out of seeing where we have been.
Ade and I bought this house out of desperation!.......
In 1994 we brought our retirement forward and spent two decades traveling.
In 2009 we had a mortgage on an apartment in Sydney, $250,000 to our name, and a rental house to call home....we were literally broke!
This place came on the market in June 2009 for a song......but that is what it was worth, it was derelict and unlivable!
There was this building in the back yard, if you could call it a back yard......
and from the moment I bought the property I wanted to put it to use and try and claw back a bit of money to live on in our retirement!
God it was a mess, but my rationale was....people build houses from scratch and I have already got the bones here, get on with it..
The garden was always going to be a feature of our property......nothing to do with me, that was Ade's province....she just loved gardening.
As time went by though and her legs deserted her she would sit down under the verandah with a glass or two of bubbles and bark instructions at me to the point where the only gardening I wanted to do was dig a hole big enough to climb into and bury myself in!
But first year we started to eat our way into that cracked concrete.....
Next year we got a bit further......
And each year the cottage got more and more livable. We home-stayed international students for our neighbouring high school to make sure we could actually tolerate strangers around our property!
That turned out to be a run-away success to the point where we have named our cottage after one of the students we hosted for three months....
Lots of tears when we had to put Auri on a plane and send her back to Italy.
I was hooked, hosting was for me!
My first Airbnb guest was in May 2016....we had the cottage looking very homely and comfortable........and we got a great review!!!!
But we were continually faced with this old cracked concrete! No matter how much effort we put into the garden.....
What's that old expression, you can't polish a t*rd! That concrete let us down.
So three months ago in the depths of winter I decided I had had enough!
I have repaved the rear garden, bloody thousands of old red bricks....
The only thing missing is summer and the flowers.....
Well, they are on the way!
I can't wait for summer to come. This will be our best year yet, it's been a lot of work but I have Airbnb to thank for that! It has given me a focus, my last 47 reviews have been 5 star and I am now quietly confident I can make 100 in a row.
Thanks Airbnb you have brought a sense of achievement back into my life.....I have gone from not knowing where the next dollar was going to come from to having a great fulfilling life!
it looks perfect , just perfect 🙂 Bravo!
I also decided to do something about my building backyard and I already had workers to clean it of the weed and ivy. The next step is planting some flower bulbs this week and the rest will have wait until the spring.
Nick, most of us here are success stories in one way or another, the trick is to recognise the guideposts along the way!
In our 30's -40s I was a tear-away where money was concerned....we were both making plenty. I took a year off to virtually single handedly build my own house. It was huge, 57 squares of it and the raked ceilings went up to 27 ft in the centre........
Ade made the garden something else..... all 2 acres of it!
We had all the trappings of the good life.....
My Mum in the spa in '91!
The Porsche Targa I just had to have in the garage.......
We lived a good life but, we had the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads with Ade's Multiple Sclerosis. 1994 saw her finally positively diagnosed, we started going to the support group meetings, and the thing that struck me was the number of single sufferers ......as soon as the partner finds out what the problem is, they pack their bags and head to greener pastures, and I vowed and declared I would never do that.....I would never leave this woman in the lurch. The MS made me grow a backbone, realise that there is more in life than wearing loud shirts and driving fast cars!
We sold that house 5 years later and did all that travelling I have talked about. We took a punt and bought a property on the east coast in 2003 which we rented out. Those were our hardest darkest days, Ade not well and not being able to work, a mortgage to be paid, plus rent....and not knowing where next weeks housekeeping was going to come from!
Our investment in the east paid off though, got us back in the land of plenty, enabled us to lead the good life again. Now everything is paid for, the house, the boat on the river and every one of those nights, month after month, is another $105 av in the bank....
Nick, without Airbnb we could not have done this! I give Airbnb a caning here at times but, the reality is they have been extremely good to me. In return I have been pretty good to them! I have never asked anything of them, I have never opened a dispute with them, I have been a model host, I just keep accepting what ever they might throw at me without complaint.
I believe Nick, we are masters of our own destiny! I am fortunate to have been born in a pretty nice, easy part of the world, but I also think I have been fortunate enough to make the right decisions when it really mattered.....and I regard finding Airbnb one of my better moves!
Very wise and inspiring @Robin4
I have always said and believed we become better through hard times/lessons. This is where the growth happens, and of course, I've seen it through my life course.
I am glad for Airbnb and other companies/apps of the shared economy for giving us opportunities we never thought possible before. Of course, it is still a learning curve for everyone involved: hosts, guests, platforms, critics and fans. We can only evolve, though by moving forward and learning by mistakes.
I am always excited about what tomorrow brings. Keep up the good work (and please don't hold back on criticism on our meet-ups).
Can you guess the movies?
@Robin4 The red bricks are amazing! Well done.
Your story is so inspiring for all of us. Don't be afraid to go after a dream. I know a lot of people with Porsche Targas in their pasts. Not all of them are happy about it. My mantra:
"The past is over - the future hasn't happened yet - all we have is right now."
I haven't been here on the forum in months and on opening the page, your story is the first that I see.
Thank you for a warm welcome back with this beautiful story. It's a reminder of why I enjoy being a part of this community.
P. S... the bricks look amazing!
Your outdoor space is amazing! I would love staying at a place like this. Congratulations! We spent our dollars and time fixing up the inside of our Airbnb and haven’t done anything outside yet. I think hubby is burned out from the complete renovation he did inside. I enjoyed your story too.
Your story and pictures put a smile on my face today! In life is always like that when you think it’s near an ending road , u get to discover u barely touched the surface and fun and excitement and forgotten days of joy comes back to ur everyday again!!! Expect when u at least expect!!! Cheers from Canada!
by the way: incredible job on the backyard ! Red Bricks look stunning!