After spending a month in New Zealand sleeping in our beloved van we decided it was time we get back to sleeping on real mattresses when we started our journey in Australia.
Our first stop was Melbourne (forced on us at the airport in the US if you remember…) and naturally our first inclination was to check out the hostel scene. After all, hostels have provided me some of the best experiences I’ve had in my travels – you get to meet interesting people, they’re cheap, they usually have cheap drinks, they usually know the cheap bars…you get the picture.
But after our hostel stay in Auckland I started to have some new feelings. It was kind of loud. And the kitchen was pretty dirty. Man our roommates kind of smelled too. And we don’t really feel like drinking that much anymore…
Oh no. This couldn’t be happening could it? Could I be…could I be getting too old for hostels??
It was true and I couldn’t fight it any longer. The idea of hostel living had morphed from invigorating and exhilarating to annoying and disgusting – there was nothing I could do to fight it.
So then where would we stay in Melbourne? A hotel?? Absolutely not. You might as well not leave home if you’re going to stay in hotels.
What about this AirBnb thing? We had heard many-a-friend talk about using it to great acclaim all over the US – so why not use it abroad?
So we popped on their website, had a look at the options in Melbourne and knew we had found something special. For less than the price of what we would pay for the two of us in a hostel, we could get our own room and in some cases our own apartment.
Oh this is gonna be fun.
So we poked around a bit, messaged back and forth with a few hosts and finally decided to stay with a couple located in the NE suburb of Ascot Vale. The listing was brand new and didn’t have any reviews but we gave it a go anyway.
When we landed in Melbourne, we grabbed a taxi to our hosts’ house to find they were at work but had left us a key under the mat. Think of that situation for a second – we are complete and utter strangers. And they left us their house key without ever meeting us.
I liked the vibe already.
We were greeted at the door by a wily little pug named Mila and found our room beautifully made with a couple water bottles leaning up against a little card that read ‘Welcome Chris & Jenna’.
Down the hall we found another couple in the next room and immediately hit it off with them. They were Ollie & Chloe from Cornwall, England and they had just arrived in Australia a couple weeks before after spending 4 months traversing Thailand from the far north tip all the way to Bangkok.
We hit it off immediately and chatted until our hosts, Jennah and Freddie, came home from work to round us up and take us over to a Mardi Gras festival happening in another part of the city.
We had booked only 3 days and they carried on in similarly awesome fashion – getting to know the our absolutely wonderful hosts and our absolutely amazing roommates had the time flying by. We barbecued, drank the most expensive wine $6 can buy, toured the city, shared travel stories – it was phenomenal.
The day before we were supposed to ‘check out’ we asked Jennah if we could extend our stay because we were having such an amazing time. To our disappointment someone else had booked the next 10 days in our room and we thought we were going to have to move on – bummer!
But in typical Jennah fashion she told us not to book another accommodation and the next day had us on a train going to her parents house 3 hours west of Melbourne in Warrnombool. Let me recap that: She felt so bad that she couldn’t extend our stay that she gave us a room at her (empty) parents house…for free.
That’s just the kind of person she is.
The adventure continued in Warrnombool and later at their holiday house in Port Fairy – but that’s for another post.
Moral of the story here; there is absolutely nothing that could have made our first AirBnb stay better. We made fantastic friends in Ollie & Chloe and can’t thank our hosts Jennah & Freddie (& Mila) enough.
Your generosity and kindness is unparalleled and we can only hope to return the favor one day.
So in summation I guess what I’ve said in quite long-winded fashion is that AirBnb is awesome and we’re officially in the fan club. Can’t wait to see the next one!!!!