Take it from me, Airbnb can be a godsend
Very few people that I know have taken a real vacation since the start of the pandemic. Places were closed, city borders were strict, there was always work to be done. It was endless months of quick runs to the supermarket, picking up food orders that were pre-ordered on an app and living within the same four walls of home, with the exact same people day in and day out.
Cabin fever? We got to know her pretty well over the course of varying levels of lockdown.
But things are turning up, doors are unlocking, and we have a level of freedom that sometimes still feels strange. Traffic? Weird. No face shields? Weird. And actually being able to book an Airbnb for leisure? Definitely weird.
But sometimes weird is good. And I’m here to tell you that the strange feeling of a staycation is not only good, it can be a godsend.
I booked my family and I a one-night stay through Airbnb at Ignacio’s Place in Antipolo. It seemed a safe option: there was a private pool for the kids, greenery for my mother, and it was a close enough drive for my father. And while we didn’t even stay 24 hours, it was enough for me to start feeling things I thought I had forgotten—I know that sounds dramatic, but hear me out.
Getting in touch with nature
Ignacio’s Place, along with several options on Airbnb, is surrounded by nature. It was really something to breathe in the fresh air, submerge my body in cold water and look up at the sky with no amount of concrete obstructing my view. I woke up to the sound of birds singing, not cars struggling to start. I walked around and my feet didn’t hit tile—just grass and leaves and rocks. The sun against my head felt warm in an inviting way. And I fell asleep with my body tired but my mind at ease.
Spending less time on screens
My house has a lot of television sets; we have some that are almost purely for display. And even then, everyone in my family has their own set of gadgets they enjoy: smartphones, tablets, computers, consoles. When we’re not eating at the table together, you’ll find each of us at our corners, scrolling endlessly and aimlessly. So when I saw there was only one television set at Ignacio’s Place, I was honestly a little concerned. But during that quick break outside the city, I was happy to find out we didn’t even need it.
There were far more interesting things to find and do in our Airbnb than re-watch the same episodes on streaming sites. The kids panicked when they got a butterfly wet—“Is it going to die, tita?”—my mom studied the different plants around the house with help from the caretaker (and even purchased three she swore she couldn’t find anywhere else), my dad reclined a seat and urged his granddaughters to swim without their floaties and feed the fish by the pond.
We only talked about screens when it was time to go to bed, in the one bedroom my mother squeezed us all into (even if there were two). And even then, we were all too happy from the day to argue about what we should watch.
Seeing my family relax again
I’m sure you can all relate when I say that the collective cabin fever has put my family on thin ice with each other. Arguments, once rare, had become a daily occurrence. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that the house has been Miscommunication Central.
But putting us all in a different environment pushed us to be a little nicer to one another. We actually enjoyed each other’s company again. I willingly gave into my nieces’ requests; I didn’t get impatient with my parents' naturally slow walks. Staying at the Airbnb allowed us to let our shoulders relax, and none of us wanted to ruin it for each other.
So you know what, listen to yourself and get yourself that staycation. Look around the different Airbnb options and book the environment you most miss. A pool overlooking the city? Do it. A secluded cabin surrounded by decade-old trees? Possible. A beachfront property? Take your pick.
Just do yourself this solid favor, and book.
Airbnb is inviting all of us to #TravelAsJuan—and this is one you want to RSVP “yes” to.
Art Macky Arquilla