What Being An Airbnb Host Reminded Me About Community

Originally published Feb. 25, 2015 on mylittleapt.com

I have kind'a been living out of a backpack for the past month and a half. I have stepped past just being an Airbnb advocate who preached the platform wherever she went, and am now a full time host. I listed my apartment in January and I could not have begun to imagine the response. It was fun at first - now it's a bit of a nuisance every time I need to pack up and couch crash, but hey, a sidehustle is a sidehustle.

A lot of people ask me if I'm ever afraid that someone is going to steal something from my apartment and the answer is always no. I equate it to those studies that show that when a teacher believes a child is capable, the child will perform exceptionally. However when the teacher believes the child is not capable, the child won't perform as well. Others call it overly trustful, optimistic - maybe. But I love platforms that capitalize on the sharing economy like Airbnb does because I believe that it allows us to tap into community in a very unique way.

And at least for me, community has played out at its best when I have reached outside of my comfort zone. When I have forced myself to take communion with people I maybe would have otherwise passed on the street. Pinging back to Airbnb, how much more intimate does it get than sharing your home and intentionally showing hospitality to a complete stranger? Being a host has reminded me that this is a practice that we should remember to do in the every day anyways.

Leading our lives with compassion needs to happen in the macro and the micro. 

Stop using the term "bus people" (this seriously irks me), and learn to appreciate the diversity public transportation brings to your commute. Sit in the coffee shop that you know the homeless in the area look to for shelter the most in this cold weather, and don't get up and move like everyone else does when they choose to sit at your table. Look up at your barista and actually ask them in earnest how their day is going.

Basically, let us not get so comfortable in our day to day that we forget about the world outside of our own.

Sometimes I'm just an Airbnb host that is the least expensive option for a traveler. But other times I'm the friend that helped give the mom and daughter team going to QuiltCon their last hurrah. Or through my guidebook, gave the couple on their weekend getaway their new "spot." Or gave the recently divorced galpals their first single vacation.

Community isn't that elusive. You just have to reach out and look up.

Here is to getting comfortable with being uncomfortable (+ the lovely friends who loan me their couches).

Analisa Cantu