Last September, we welcomed Zaylee Jean into the world – our first grandchild. She is, of course, perfect in every way. As many of you can relate – it rocks your world in a whole new way.
Good news – our daughter and blooming family live in Oahu, Hawaii – a beautiful place to visit. Bad news – our daughter and blooming family live in Oahu, Hawaii – an expensive place to get to and stay.
Technology has made the distance between us bearable. We FaceTime or Zoom often. Photos appear on our digital frame, and text messages connect us quickly.
However, at seven months old, there is nothing like the feel of tiny hands wrapping around your finger, or the thrill of actually hitting her moving mouth with a spoon full of food.
We want to be a part of their lives and we needed to figure out how to make it financially feasible to visit several times a year. It isn’t about working longer, going through our savings, or taking on debt. How can we be resourceful, creative, and figure out how to make this happen?
I truly believe that if you are clear about what is foundationally important to you, build on your character assets, and utilize your financial assets wisely, you can create the life you want. Let me share our story.
When we were on the island back in September, shortly after Zaylee’s birth, we found ourselves with a bit of time on our hands as the new parents nested.
We got on-line and checked out a variety of tours and were intrigued by an Airbnb “experience” with a local family. It was an intimate, cultural, professional family concert.
We toured their farm and had a lovely afternoon at a very reasonable price. The world of technology opened the door to a new friendship. I found out that Keti had gone to school in Colorado and wanted to get back to the state for her kids to experience winter.
We had both written books and had a passion for organic and sustainable farming. I was able to spend additional time with her while I was there, and I tossed out the idea of exchanging homes.
Seven months later, I am writing this post from the back porch of their home, listening to the non-stop roosters crowing as the sun rises. The cats are sunbathing close by, and palms are blowing in the breeze.
My husband is tending the goats, sheep, and geese as he embraces his “farmer Mark” role. Best of all, we are a quick ten-minute drive to our daughter’s home, and a stroller walk is soon approaching.
Exchanging homes? Having someone make themselves at home while we are away? Yes, we are both taking a risk. We are both willing to open our lives to somewhat strangers. Not only with our homes, but vehicles too! She is trusting us with her animals, and her personal belongings.
Again, thanks to texting, we are in close touch. We have been doing this type of exchange since our kids where young, and I get that it isn’t for everyone. There is an inherent level of trust and vulnerability that I feel unveils a richer, more fulfilling life experience.
The sharing economy has opened up the portal to not only minimizing expenses, but opportunities for earning money. It is a new commodity that uses character assets as the currency.
If you are an Uber driver, or client – you get “rated.” Same with renting a room/home on Airbnb or the other e-commerce sites. Your character assets count – a lot!
Clean, respectful, timely, friendly? Are you a host that goes out of the way to make your guests comfortable? Are you a pleasant, considerate guest that would be welcomed back?
How do you handle unfortunate events? We have friends that were using their home as an Airbnb. There was a large fire in the area, and they had to evacuate their home.
Their guest came and stayed with us instead, receiving a refund for his stay. We made a new friend and helped our friends out. We have so many stories of hosting and traveling this way, and I can say at least 95% of it has been very positive.
As you embrace the fall season of life and seek to bloom in new ways, I highly encourage you to explore the “gig economy” and what it has to offer. It will help keep your financial life sustainable and I’m sure you will reap many fringe benefits.
What creative financial decisions have you made in the past year? What experiences have you had with the “gig” economy? What advice do you have for people wanting to explore opportunities? Please share in the comments below!