Day 333

It’s been in the news a lot lately, so I figured this is as good a time as any. Let’s talk AirBnB

For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you already know that I often sing the praises of AirBnB. But, why am I so enthralled with their company? Well, the truth is without their service, this project would never have been possible. Not every agency has someone with a spare couch; not every city has affordable short-term housing; not everyone is trustworthy enough to share a space with. AirBnB adds legitimacy to those I'm renting from. They provide an extra layer of security to ease any worries I have about traveling across the country with so many important possessions.

Even when I've faced a challenge, whether it be a host canceling a reservation or a bed lacking a mattress, AirBnB always steps up to take care of me. Since this entire project was crafted, organized and arranged by one person, it’s nice to have someone looking out for me—at least in one regard anyway.

The reason I bring this up is because I recently came across this article from San Francisco (Stop #13).

You see, even though the company is based in San Francisco, up until a few weeks ago their service was technically banned from being used there. Obviously, their enforcement of the law has been rather lax, because they’re hovering around 5,000 properties in the area. From the moment I left Cleveland, I’ve always had this small spark of fear lingering in the back of my brain. I wasn’t sure where their laws would end up or what I would do if they finally decided to crack down on the service. The same goes for Portland. I recently had to book a third rental there, because my last two hosts cancelled due to increased pressure from landlords.

Don’t get me wrong; I do understand why landlords don’t want their tenants subleasing rooms. I really do. However, I also see the benefit of these short-term rentals and my ability to accomplish this project is just one of them. Hotels are becoming far too overpriced and couch surfing only offers a certain level of privacy and security. There has to be a middle ground, so people can explore this world of ours. I believe AirBnB is that middle ground.

While very apparent to me now, elements like these weren’t exactly top of mind when I was planning #TGAA out. I just assumed services like this were available, because why wouldn’t they be? You could even say the same about my insurance plan. Did you know that not all plans cover you when traveling out of state? I sure as hell didn’t.

Since I've discovered over and over again that not everyone is familiar with AirBnB, I hope this information helps someone out there. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trip or some adventure all your own, it’s important to look at your plan from all sides. You never know when you might hit a speed bump or come upon a place that doesn't offer the things you thought it did. Thankfully new options are popping up everyday and if you’re truly invested in traveling, all you have to do is look around at what your options are.

UPDATE: Right after posting this, it was brought to my attention that San Francisco legalized AirBnB last week (kind of). I must’ve missed the news about it, but nonetheless, it would seem I dodged a bullet. I just hope I don’t run into any hiccups in Portland next month. 

-Steve-

 

Day 330

Before I begin today’s post, I wanted to mention that I took the advice of several people and attended the Sounders / Galaxy game on Saturday. Wow… it’s absolutely crazy how popular soccer is here. Chanting along with 53,000 people is a great time indeed. And the game itself was enthralling to the very end with Seattle winning 2-0. I think the sport has finally won me over. 

While most of my time in Seattle has been spent in the city proper, I finally had a chance to venture north this weekend. Everyone in the office has continually advised me to check out the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods—which reside north of Lake Union—and I finally decided it was time to listen.

Part of Seattle’s charm rests in its vast suburbs, such as Queen Anne and the aforementioned Ballard and Fremont. They offer rows and rows of quaint homes and small shops, but my favorite discovery is that they also house a rather diverse roster of family-owned eateries, small town pubs and hidden shops. 

To be honest, I was a little worried on what I’d find when I crossed the water, because Fremont is also home to the Seattle offices of Google and Adobe. Thankfully, their vast campuses actually blend into the neighborhood rather than obstruct it. I don’t think that’s something you can say for many cities. It certainly doesn’t ring true for Austin. Once I passed beyond these institutions though, I was welcomed by everything I had hoped I’d find. Great bars like Add-a-Ball and Red Door, corner coffee shops like Brouwer’s Café and a wealth of must-visit stores like Jive Time Records.

When I journeyed even further north toward Ballard, I came across the Woodland Park Zoo (side note—kudos to them for owning the zoo.org URL), which delighted me to no end. I’ve seen some pretty unattractive and questionable zoos before, but this one seemed pretty great. The animals looked very happy and the workers there were friendly and full of information. I’d recommend it to anyone traveling into the area.

Once I reached Ballard, I couldn’t help but check out a few more record shops in the area. If there’s one thing that Seattle has really impressed me with, it’s their number of music stores. I guess that comes with the territory of being known for the grunge movement though. Music is in Seattle’s blood.

To finish off the day, I strolled down to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and sat by the water for a bit (Salmon Bay to be exact). I spent an hour or so just watching the boats pass through and the whole experience left me rather relaxed. I then began my long walk home, grabbing some small bites along the way. It all seemed like a rather fitting way to spend my final weekend in Seattle. I don’t think suburbs get enough credit for what they offer to the city experience and this only justified my opinion. You just never know what treasures await you, once you step outside of downtown. 

-Steve-

Day 326

Ladies and gentlemen; I realize that over the past couple months I’ve talked a lot about the project’s milestones. Well, if you’ll allow me just one more this year, I have to mention that we’re down to our final 100 days on the road. Can you believe it?   

I’m having such an amazing time here in Seattle and YRG Seattle has played a gigantic role in that. The people in this office are absolutely amazing and have really gone out of their way to ensure I get the ‘real’ Seattle experience. From offering advice on eateries to introducing me to others in the office, they’ve helped me find so many new places and experience so many great things.

During work hours, things aren’t much different either. While the atmosphere is more laid back and casual than some of the other agencies I’ve visited, I think my favorite part of it all is that there’s no shortage of people willing to have a casual conversation. It seems that no matter how stressful the day gets; no matter how tight the deadline has become, my colleagues always make sure they’re having fun along the way. I’ve been told it’s part of the charm here. Not only in the office, but in the city as a whole. Everyone has a strong belief that life is short; so we can’t afford not to enjoy it. I’m sure plenty of readers out there will agree that it's a very refreshing way of looking at things—especially in this industry.

Yesterday, I had the chance to chat with Creature Creative Director, Jim Haven, and boy was it insightful. We chatted about the Sounders and how much Seattle has changed over the past few years. On his recommendation, I might even try to catch Saturday's game against the LA Galaxy. This evening, I’m also grabbing drinks with fellow Copywriter, Jared Kessler. I’m hoping he’ll have some great tips for me on how to improve my writing and what it’s like to be a full-time freelancer.

All in all things are going rather well, even if it hasn’t stopped raining for five days. Alas, we only have 8 days left here in Seattle and then it’s off to Pollinate in Portland for month 12.

-Steve-