Last April Airbnb accepted our proposal to write a book about our Airbnb experiences that would be given to attendees at the 2016 Airbnb Open in L.A. November 17-19. This was good news! However, now I had a book to write and Michael rode a big learning curve on publishing because we had less than 6 months to get it written, printed and delivered! We pulled a great team together and the final product was a beautiful little hard back gem that was given to over 6,000 hosts at registration. Whew!
We headed to L.A. for the event with a full schedule of presentations from a talk on "Strategic Risk Taking" to a panel discussion on "The Changing World of Travel”. We also spoke at a pre-event rally for 1,200 Airbnb employees who would be working the event, spent time in the press room for interviews and ended with a meet-and-greet book signing. Don’t get all this confused with fame and fortune - we are just well loved within the Airbnb community!
The staff event was our favorite. We were surprise guests and we came on stage pulling our signature suitcases to Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again!" - our travel day theme song. Michael got the audience on their feet, clapping and singing along and it really ramped up the energy in the theater.
Amongst Airbnb employees we are “Legends" - mostly because we are “extreme” users and obviously great customers. We’ve stopped by Airbnb offices from the headquarters in San Francisco, to Portland, Dublin, Paris, Milan and London for fun lunchtime chats - not to mention we are old enough to be the parents of 90% of the employees so there is a lot of love from our "family".
Our second favorite event was the Belo awards (very Oscar like) hosted by James Cordon. Of course Michael and I didn’t have a clue who he was - but now we do, and can’t get enough of Car Karaoke!
The event itself spread over four blocks of downtown L.A. with presentations in four iconic theaters built in the 1930’s; The Orpheum, The Globe, the Ace Theater and the Palace - now restored to their former glory. Airbnb also took over several loft spaces and restaurants including Clifton’s (another downtown classic) to create venues for attendees to gather and turned two parking lots into a outdoor village for sponsors and vendors along with huge stage where Maroon 5 performed on the last night with a surprise appearance by Lady Ga Ga.
Best of all Mary and Gregoire and their three grandchildren arrived from Paris to spend Thanksgiving with Alistair and Jenny and our other two grandchildren at their new home in Los Angeles. That mean that Alistair, Jenny and Mary could attend our main presentation at the Orpheum on the 18th. Proudly, we were able to recognize them for their contributions to our story. It was hard not to choke up.
During the Open we stayed in Silver Lake at a great Airbnb. but right after the event we pulled up stakes and headed to Hermosa Beach where the Campbell’s have settled. We were fortunate to be able to stay in a fabulous house belonging to Jenny’s boss just two blocks away from their house and close to the beach. Two days later, Kelly, Chris and Jamie arrived from Seattle! It was a joy to have the entire family of 14 together for Thanksgiving - the first time in 5 years! The weather was warm and sunny and our days were filled with cooking, walks on the beach, card games and lots of laughter. However most of the entertainment was provided by the cousins who were together for the first time.
The five of them were like boisterous bevy of otters! They range in age from 2 to 11. Lucy and Spencer, the oldest were great - and tolerated Colette and Marcel’s constant attention (and adoration) with grace and good humor. Even little Jacques was able to join the fun. All three French children improved their English and will have fond memories of "Mom's land" also known as America.
From Los Angeles Michael and I traveled to Santa Fe for a few restful days with our new friends Carol Franco and her husband Kent Lineback. Carol is our literary agent and Kent our writing coach. They have a beautiful home overlooking the city where we enjoyed crisp, sunny weather to start and then a glorious dusting of snow. We also spent quite a bit of time pondering a second book on the topic of transformational travel. We hope to provide inspiration to others to use the time they have left on this planet to reinvent their retirement. Dream big!
We are now settled in Seattle for the holidays. Although I use the word settled loosely. We've been busy with family and friends of course - but also doing some book signings and attending Airbnb host events here and in Portland. And before you know it, 2017 willbe upon us and we'll be ready to hit the road again.
Last but not least - we did find a boat to "sit" and will move aboard this Saturday for a trial run. It sits near MOHAI on Lake Union facing the lake so we are in the cat birds seat for Christmas Ship viewing!
Life is good! I will circle back to our final weeks in Italy soon. Thanks for following along!
Debbie and Michael
The Senior Nomads