Day 365


#TGAA officially kicked off one year ago. It all started at Recess Creative in Cleveland and now—here I am—waking just a short distance from the Golden Gate bridge in warm and sunny (kind of) San Francisco. Tomorrow, I kick off my tenure at the Evolution Bureau, which is Stop #13, but as for today it’s all about exploring the bay area. In fact, for a portion of the day I’m actually venturing over to San Jose for a meet up with friend and #TGAA sponsor, Baunfire Interactive. I've known them for quite awhile at this point, so it'll be nice to finally see the team in person. 

I arrived into town early yesterday morning and was immediately met with what I can only describe as a light monsoon. It made for a rather difficult time getting groceries and settling in, but a few soggy walks later and I somehow managed to get the job done in the end. For as well planned as this trip as been, I’ll admit I really did fail at avoiding winter… and rain for that matter. But, oh well, you have to take what you can get, I suppose.

At first glance, this city reminds me of a mix between New York City and Seattle. The downtown area is dense with street performers, name brands and endless high-rises, while the suburban areas are quaint, laid back and full of life. On the surface, it seems like a pretty ideal mix to me. And being on the bay, you’re also getting incredible views just about everywhere you look—and that’s never a bad thing.

Aside from the beautiful scenery, I’ve already come to notice that San Francisco is unique in many other ways too. From the style of their houses to their appreciation of the arts, this city is a rather fine introduction to what California has to offer. On a personal level, the AirBnB I’ve rented couldn’t be more ideal either. It actually brings to mind my stay in Chicago, because the place is really nice but the neighborhood is just a tad on the sketchy side. The area I’m in is called the ‘Tenderloin District’ and it’s pretty obvious that it’s going through some sort of transition right now. I’ve heard good things about it, but it seems not everyone would agree with those opinions (including Wikipedia).

That’s about all I have for today. I didn’t sleep much on the train ride in and the entire weekend is still kind of a blur. All I know is, I really hate the person who decided to defecate all over the bathroom across from my sleeper car. It made for an extremely uncomfortable ride, but that's also a story I’m sure no one wants to hear about. 

Just believe me when I say, “I glad to be in San Francisco.”


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. 



Day 309

I think I picked the best day of the year to leave Austin. Between ACL, the Austin Comic-con and a UT home game, there was plenty going on downtown Saturday. It also meant no one was flying out of the city and I'm pretty sure I was one of only 10 people in the entire airport. Although long, the flight was rather relaxing and I arrived into Seattle without a hitch. I did have a moment of panic when we landed though. Once the wheels touched down, I turned my phone back on—as most of us usually do. Well, Foursquare popped up almost immediately and said, "Welcome to Anchorage". Since I had fallen asleep for an hour or two, I didn't know what to make of this news and had to ask the person next to me, just to be safe. Thankfully, she assured me that we were, in fact, in Seattle.

I’ve only been here a day and I can already tell I really lucked out with the location of my AirBnB. Located on Pike Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, my quaint little studio apartment is right in the center of a vibrant and bustling area. Yesterday, I spent a majority of the afternoon just walking along Pike Street into downtown and was amazed with the number of artisan shops, eateries and stores I came across. From gourmet groceries to pubs and crafts, I’ve already acquired a rather lengthy list of places I need to check out during my time here.

While venturing around the city, I also took a moment to visit one of the city’s many piers. It’s pretty bonkers to finally see the Pacific Ocean after all these months. Yes, I am aware that I didn’t really see the ocean. Technically, I saw Elliot Bay, but come on; it’s close enough. Regardless of what body of water it was, the whole experience made me stop and appreciate all of the opportunities I’ve received in the past 10 months. To process that we started this whole project on the other side of the country is a bit surreal. It just goes to show what we can do when we put our minds to something and give it 110%. 

Self-reflection aside, I’m overjoyed to be feeling fall weather for the first time this year. It was 65º and partly cloudy when I arrived—a most perfect forecast, if you ask me. Lastly, I wanted to mention that this month is going to get a little crazy. Not only is it one of my shortest stays in a city, but I also turn 30 on the 19th and my two best friends are coming to town to celebrate. I promise to recap the entire… well, most… no, some… uh… as much of the weekend as possible. You only turn 30 once and I plan on partying my heart out. 

Well, I'm off to my first day at Young & Rubicam Seattle. Tune in Thursday for a recap of my first week. This is going to be a good one—I'm sure of it.