So we had this idea: To hold onto something your must learn to let it go.
Back in early 2015, my partner (Cherry) and I realised that to continue working from home we had to leave the home behind. To find the motivation and stimulation for online work, we realised that you have to get out and move about more. Otherwise, what happens? Work gets stagnant or worse, repetitive and you end up just repeating what else is being written. And that's not a good.
So we packed in our jobs in town, scribbled about the process, invested in a little mobile equipment (tripods, easels, gorilla stands, microphones, flask, a bigger portable hard drive and a travelling water bowl for the Hound. Then planned stage 1.
1: The Works
After 20+ years in Spain, and accompanied by a 15 year old Hound, we moved out of our home and into rented accommodation and began to turn our house into two flats. The idea was to 'Airbnb' part of the house as we travelled (to finance the accommodation we would need).
2: The Delays
Yawn: Same old story. What was intended as a 2 month reform, turned into a 6 month delay, finally completing at the end of last year. But talking about building works is rather dull, and people tend to get obsessive about listing minute and uninteresting changes to floor colours and window frames, so lets skip this part. We spent just one month back in the new place, preparing it for rental, before Hound mobility issues compelled us to move on. The Airbnb rental page was in place, 2016 had arrived and we had found a cheap flat in Portugal.
3. Portugal & Airbnb
Expect only the unexpected. Portugal was an inspiring, cultural, linguistic and climatic challenge. We produced a lot of good creative work and despite a few mishaps, the experience was very positive. We even got our first few Airbnb bookings. The future looked as though it was working out the way we had planned it. Ha ha. We should have known better. First off, news came of the changes that Andalucia were introducing to accommodation booking where an online financial transaction took place. These new regulations (targeting Airbnb) would necessitate yet more structural changes to the flat that were completely out of character for an old house in an old part of town. This was just the tip of the iceberg. Andalucia was insisting on a whole series of measure that would make it impossible for us to conform to the new regulations. The hotels celebrated. The digital revolution stepped back. Hosts began to desert the platform on mass. We joined them. But, we now needed a new plan.
4: Almeria and the new plan.
The hound meanwhile, was not well. He could no longer travel and needed to stay in one place. Fortunately, friends offered a house-sit in the dustiest province of Europe, and as the Hound wobbled about, we threw ourselves into work. I produced 15 new videos each month, podcasts, articles and some great new musical collaborations. But the rental issue remained unresolved. We clearly needed a solution that did not involve an online financial transaction, but one that would enable us to balance letting out our flat in exchange for moving around in other peoples homes. So we looked at home swapping.
House swapping was always a bit of an organisational challenge. Given the logistic difficulties in finding a swapper that wished to come to you the very week you wish to go to them, it was never going to an ideal solution for many people. But then, someone tacked on a clever little addition: points.
The point system works this way: someone stays in your flat one week (whilst you are about travelling) and you accumulate points for this. Those points can then be used to stay in someone else's flat (anywhere in the world).
Suddenly, we had a new option.
5: Month by Month
So now, its June. Next week we are moving on. We have registered with a site called Guest to Guest. It has more choice, more information and is far cheaper than some of the competition, that may look prettier but are far less comprehensive.
June also represents new changes and challenges. Britain votes on leaving the EU, and Spain votes on either staying exactly as it is - or - to change. Whatever the outcome of these elections, I don't wish to be passively watching from a fixed position. Another term under Rajoy will drive us away, and if the UK pull out of Europe then the call of lands further afield will be difficult to ignore.
Work meanwhile continues at a pace, new workshops each month, podcasts, new courses and - perhaps most significantly of all for us - the hound is no longer here. He made it this far, but was called away last week to attend to other more celestial matters.
So, where to go next month? Another province in Spain or further afield? How will the June elections affect this decision? Will Andalucia backtrack and rewrite the rules for Airbnb or will Guest to Guest prove to be the future for a new travelling generation? I wish I knew the answers, but then again, I don't. The fun is in seeing these answers unravel month by month.
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