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50 Things I Learned While Living in Airbnbs for a Year

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

  1. Airbnb hosts offer a 15-30% discount when you book a stay for a month or more.

  2. Having all utilities (water, electricity, internet, etc.) included in a single monthly rental rate adds so much ease to living.

  3. Strong, reliable internet is a top priority when choosing a location. I always filter for "fiber" and check for reviews that speak to internet quality specifically.

  4. Long-term stays typically include free weekly cleaning - sometimes up to 3 times a week!

  5. Many hosts really appreciate long-term stays, as it gives them predictability of cash flows for a foreseeable future.

  6. Living within walking distance of a grocery store, chic coffee shop, and a few good restaurants will have you feeling like you're part of the neighborhood in no time.

  7. Out-of-pocket medical expenses are very affordable in most places outside of the United States. I've paid $25 for doctor's visits, $1-$2 for prescription medication. $50 for an eye appointment + new prescription eyeglasses.

  8. Hiring a local housekeeper will save a tremendous amount of time and will often be extremely cost-effective (outside of the United States). In South Africa and Kenya, I paid less than $25 per cleaning - and that included laundry!

  9. Strong host reviews go a long way - especially when you're hopping from country to country and want fast approvals on booking requests.

  10. Extending your stay (even for months at a time) is as simple as a click of a button. Much more straightforward and accessible than securing a short-term lease.

  11. Many hosts are happy to help with ordering drivers for airport transfers, etc. Airbnb even allows them to send money requests for reimbursement right from the app!

  12. Feeling aligned to the aesthetic of a home will really help it to feel like a recharging sanctuary during long stays. Prioritize the things that you need for peace... treat yo' self! :)

  13. Switching up your environment during the day can help a ton with pacing yourself and avoiding work fatigue. Work from the nearby gym that has wifi + a lounge. Work from the coffee shop next door. Work from the restaurant while you enjoy your favorite meal!

  14. I didn't miss having a car... AT ALL! Uber + comparable locally-based tech ride-hailing services providers are fairly commonplace now. Even when they aren't, locals can easily hail a taxi for you. No matter where I visited in Africa - my Uber rides ranged from $1.00 -$3.50. Local transports were even cheaper.

  15. My creative juices flow with ease when I'm living the life that I want to live for myself.

  16. My tendency to be in a rush did not serve me. My efforts to extract maximum productivity out of every second of the day did not save the world. As I allowed myself the freedom to explore - deciding as I went along + honoring the agency that I had to change pace as I desired - I found a deeper sense of self-love and fulfillment. Pouring from that place of overflow changed the game for me.

  17. WhatsApp makes communication across borders seamless + cost-effective!

  18. Unlocking my cellphone allowed me to pop a SIM card in from any country I was visiting and save hundreds of dollars a month! I'm talking 10GB + 1,000 minutes + 500 text messages for $10!

  19. Buying a cheap phone with 2 SIM cardholders is clutch (and common)! I had one phone with cellular service for the two countries I frequented most often (South Africa as my long-term base and Kenya as a frequent consulting hub).

  20. My way of thinking and living is no better than anyone else's - and vice versa. It's just different. Coming to understand this more deeply as I met brilliant locals across townships, forests, villages, and cities helped me to shed elitist views that I hadn't realized I'd harbored.

  21. When I left America to spend a full year in Africa, I hadn't met all of the people who were going to love me yet. I've made the most beautiful connections and have nurtured the most beautiful relationships while abroad. My family has grown larger than I could have ever imagined.

  22. Betting on myself is always a good idea. Always.

  23. Family members will say some hurtful things in an effort to scare you into playing it safe. They want you close. Take the journey anyway. Healing and forgiveness will come with time.

  24. Time zone differences, changes in styles of communication, and the tendency to become preoccupied may lead to the severance of some relationships due to misunderstandings. Mourn those relationships. Communicate as effectively as you can. And continue on your journey. We can't hoard all the people, things, and experiences that we'd like to as we step along our journey - but that does not detract from the magnificent impact these encounters had on your life. Choose the journey anyway.

  25. People can't disqualify me from places or opportunities. I'm only one decision away from anything in life that I desire to touch.

  26. Money, status, and accolades aren't much at all. Taking a much-needed break from the noise helped me to see + admit that.

  27. Every single day of my life can feel like a vacation. I know this because that was my experience while being abroad for a year in Africa. Now that I understand that, I don't compromise on peace + freedom.

  28. My rest does not need to be earned. Productivity is not a measure of my worth. Sustaining a healthy quality of life is our birthright, no matter our socioeconomic status.

  29. I have been wrong so many times in the past. I've hurt people. I've created unsafe environments for people - and my own pain is not an excuse for those transgressions. I learned to see myself soberly during my time of travel + reflection. I delivered apologies that were long overdue. I forgave myself. I celebrated some of the most important growth experiences of my lifetime!

  30. Decisions do not need to have finality associated with them. When we accept that decisions can be temporary - stints abroad, mini-retirements throughout our lives, attempts at entrepreneurship - we lead lives that are much more fulfilling + less attached to fear.

  31. There are many ways to earn money from your native country while living abroad. With a reliable internet connection + a computer, digital nomads can: sell merchandise via dropshipping, host pay-for-access events, sell templates, write a book and sell it via Amazon's KDP Program, create + sell ebooks, offer self-paced courses, offer virtual consulting and / or consulting packages, sell project management templates for ClickUp / Asana / Monday, create websites, offer video editing services, sell stock photography, offer virtual assistant services, broker deals (such as fundraising), etc.

  32. There are companies that offer co-working spaces around the world for a monthly fee. Regus is one of them.

  33. Some countries have fairly easy border entry procedures (South Africa has free visa stamping on arrival for US citizens), while other countries have more involved pre-travel steps. Do your research so that you can have your visa docs in order ahead of boarding your flight.

  34. Buying voltage converters (electric power converters) for your electronics will keep you from burning up your treasured possessions - trust me. :) These converters will change the voltage of an electrical power source so that it is compatible with local power source levels.

  35. People in some countries prefer direct dialogue rather than text or email. This was the case for East African countries I visited, such as Tanzania and Kenya. Even the uber drivers would call to speak with me to confirm my booking after they accepted my ride request. I grew to love this custom, given it helped for there to be a deeper level of trust and understanding with the people I was transacting business with.

  36. Load-shedding (the interruption of electricity supply to avoid excessive load on a generating plant) is common in South Africa, as there are times when power needs to be removed from the grid for safe repairs or maintenance. With time, I learned how to read zoning guides that gave advance notice for load-shedding so that I could plan my day accordingly.

  37. Africa is such a vibe! I enjoyed the experience so much, I decided to structure my life in a way where I'm able to be transcontinental - 50% in the U.S., 50% on the continent.

  38. Buying a VPN account will be extremely helpful, given some U.S.-based websites won't allow you to access their content while abroad. This was the case for me when I would attempt to open my CashApp account or sign in to my Verizon Wireless account at the onset of my stint abroad. Thankfully, VPNs helped me to manually choose the region I wanted my IP address to show up from, enabling me to access all of my U.S. accounts.

  39. There is so much to learn from people from all walks of life. Slowing down + being present allows us to take full advantage of those opportunities.

  40. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have witnessed my journey and want to live this same experience. Thus far, they've been too afraid to do so.

  41. It is possible to go through a full weekend without feeling anxiety around Monday morning.

  42. Two-day weekends don't have to feel like the best part of the week. Actually, they won't when we construct the lives of our dreams.

  43. Living at the intersection of freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment is possible.

  44. Trying new, adventurous things is a lot of fun! No matter how many times I do it. :)

  45. Letting go of ego allows us to experience the fullness of life... from humble riches to extraordinary wonders. The magic is in simply BEING.

  46. Traveling abroad for an extended amount of time did not dilute the rich support system that I have. My parents, therapist, siblings, life partner, and beloved peers are still in lock-step with me.

  47. I can do revolutionary things in the world with very little overhead expenses. Most of the limits I perceived were solely in my mind.

  48. Walking away from the things that don't serve me is a powerful act of self-love.

  49. There will be things that unfold on free-flowing journeys that will take my life in directions that are 100x better than anything I could have planned.

  50. None of us have to do anything alone.

Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa | October 2021

I am hosting a special group coaching business program called WFA (Work-from-Abroad) Immersion Week.

During WFA Week, Black female entrepreneurs will join me in Cape Town, South Africa for hands-on learning around building their own work-from-abroad businesses!

Have you been looking for a sign that it's time to take the leap? Have you been waiting for the right support? This is your sign! I am here to hold your hand as you take the leap! Register now by clicking HERE.
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