I love Airbnb. Not just as a traveler but as a host. I started hosting back in 2014, and it quickly became an important part of my life.
I truly enjoy interacting with the many people who choose to get on my bus! Sir Omword Bussaluss, the 36 foot Chevy school bus I purchased to simplify my life back in 1999, long before “tiny home” was even a phrase!
People are often celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. I once had a woman surprise her husband for their 35th wedding anniversary with a weekend on the bus to commemorate their first year of marriage since it was spent living on a similarly sized school bus in the woods of Oregon. I’ve had individuals and families, international PhD students taking a break from their dissertations, cheese makers, wine reps, photographers, professors ( including one who took it upon himself to organize my entire cassette collection during his holiday). The bus was even a location for an independent film that is supposed to come out in 2020.
Thanks to all this activity, I have been a SuperHost for five years running, which means as long as I have been listed, I’ve maintained a 4.9 – a five star rating. Why? Not because my property is so posh, but because it isn’t. It feels like something anyone can do. It is real. It is inspired. It is outsider. It is insider. It is love. It is retro, a tiny house predating tiny house. To put it simply, it is magic!
You see, I used to be a freelance writer. I published hundreds of articles. I traveled, I got paid. I was cool. I got to write for some great magazines, but I was always telling someone else’s story. One day in the late 90s, I thought, screw it, and I put my stuff in storage and went to Cuba, primarily the small southeastern colonial oceanside town of Baracoa.
I stayed for a few months, and it was glorious. The people so real, so easy, and it became clear that I needed to simplify my life. So I came home, sold my stock options and bought a gutted Nashville Public School Bus from a young reggae band that grew up on the Farm in Tennessee (one of the first communes to make mainstream media thanks to a story in Life Magazine in the early 1970s).
Using primarily second hand materials, I added bamboo floors, a wood stove, raku tiles, a kitchen, a couch that could become a guest bed, a closet, a dining table, a bed platform, an out door bathing facility, solar panels, a 2500W inverter, 6 batteries, and I was good to go. I moved in November 1999. The whole project cost me less than $7000. It was my first home, and it was great not having a landlord! Never again would someone make me paint over a mural when I moved out! I was self-contained and ready for Y2K 😉
But of course, pretty soon life got more complicated again, and I ended up back in a “real” house, and the bus became my guest bus. My friends loved coming to up, and then someone mentioned putting it on Airbnb, and well, I’ve already mentioned how that is going. The extra income is great, but most importanly, I meet the most interesting, smart, kind, supportive, future-thinking people.
They say I inspire them, and they definitely inspire me.
“This place is absolute magic—I felt at home, inspired, and transported all at once.”
“Truly a magical treat – the bus is north coast bohemian gem. It is cozy, full of lovely touches, history and in a spectacular pacific coast forest. Blake is a terrific host – funny, kind and one of a kind. Don’t miss it!”
“Staying at Blake’s ‘magic school bus’ (as I will be referring to it) was a treat for the spirit and the senses!”
Besides heartfelt notes and reviews, guest leave behind original water colors, homemade dream catchers, hand painted candles and little trinkets of affection. I offer them free copies of my book and encourage them to come back.
All in all, being a host of the Bohemian Bus Beautiful inspires me to continue to be authentically me. It reminds me of the magic inherent in self-expression and listening to the inner voices within.
The future is a big open planet, and like I always say, “We are the future right here in the present.”
You can read a guest’s experience by visiting the wonderful “Where’s Cookie” travel blog created by Christene Meyers at whereiscookie.com