In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First!.”
Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.
So there I was, my first time trying this Sharing Economy thing. I was excited, nervous and looking forward to it. It was kind of like the feeling you get when you are going on a first date…more like a first blind date. I had decided to list two rooms in my house and rent them out to travelers looking for a place to stay during their vacation.
Yes, there was one main thing friends and family were concerned about: “Why would you let strangers in your house?”. Yes, that goes against everything they teach you when you are growing up. Forget talking to strangers, I was letting them stay at my house!
I had decided though, that if I wanted to get rid of my student loans and hospital bills, I wasn’t going to be able to do it as quickly on a teacher’s salary. Aside from tutoring, I needed an extra source of income.
I have always hosted family and friends at my place and enjoy hosting and making people feel at home . Why not do what I have already been doing? Instead, this time it would be hosting people who aren’t friends but could potentially become friends in the process.
Two weeks after posting a listing of my rooms online, I received my first booking! The dates were Apr 15 – 18, 2012. Our guests were a sweet Korean Couple with a 1 year old baby boy. It was their first time traveling to USA, and first time staying in a “strangers” house. It was a day of firsts. Our first time as hosts their first time as guests.
When I received them at the door it was very exciting! I showed them around, and surprisingly it wasn’t awkward or as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be. Sure there was a language barrier, and yes, they unknowingly left the door open after they checked-in but it was a great first experience…I hope I didn’t scare them by telling them that snakes can easily get in the house so we needed to keep the door closed for snakes and for safety. It is Florida after all…Oh, I forgot to mention gators!
We – my husband and I learned about their culture and their food. They meal prepped and we stared as if we had never seen anyone in the kitchen. They ate in the house for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If they went to the theme parks, all food was prepped and packed to go…I could really learn a thing or two from these guests. They even brought a rice cooker along with them! Now that was different. They brought their own tupperware and utensils and left the place cleaner than what I do! What a great family! But that’s what makes this type of hosting such an interesting experience. You get to know people from all parts of the world and learn about their culture.
Almost 3 years later, I am still hosting travelers and enjoying every bit of it. The day they were checking out, I was heading out to work. They asked me if my husband could take a picture of us. So somewhere in Korea there is a picture of me and the first guests we hosted. Come to think of it, I wish I could have asked for a copy of the picture. They were one of the reasons why I continued to hosting national and international travelers.