When I arrived back in the states in 2009, I deplaned and went to Venice Beach with my family and closest friends. Over iced tea we discussed the year I had abroad: teaching in Japan, exploring the Mekong and Luang Prabang and riding elephants and trading with hill tribe people in the Golden Triangle. While thumbing through the extra pages in my passport, I promised myself that I would fill those pages before the 2015 expiration date – that I would find a way to get back into the world that had so impacted me. It was late May.
Now, nearly three years later, I have been given the opportunity to give back to the industry that has given me so much and I will be joining Airbnb – a trusted community where you can list, share and book a place to stay: anything from a couch to a castle. This incredible idea is already taking root all over the world and changing the way we travel and interact with each other – and since this is a topic very close to my heart, I am honored and excited to join the team.
Like any PR pro worth their salt, I like to get my hands dirty with a product and experience things first hand, so this weekend I set off to celebrate my new gig by booking a last minute getaway with my mother and sister through Airbnb. I was working on a quick turn-around leaving me five hours to find a place to stay, communicate with the host and finalize our end destination in Monterery. Luckily, I found an amazing listing: a 32 foot sailboat in Monterey Bay’s Breakwater Cove Marina operated by host, Captain Dutch who responded to my query in less than 20 minutes. After a couple quick conversations and payment through the site, we were set up and whizzed down south, through the winding, wooded roads around Santa Cruz and picking up fresh cherries in Gilroy on our way to Monterey.
We arrived at the marina to the shore divers finished up their exploration of the kelp forests, trudging toward their trucks under the weight of their gear. Salmon fishermen docked their boats after hours on the crystal blue sea catching their trade. I wound my way down the docks and met up with Captain Dutch who introduced me to my temporary abode: The Pegasus. Serendipity has many shapes, but tonight she came as a boat that embodied the librating image of a gleaming white, winged horse I had learned about through my travels and obsession with Greek literature. My sister Laura, however, had a much more direct connection to the name Pegasus. Only two days ago, her best friend’s mother went into surgery for pancreatic cancer and the family has been heavy on her mind. Pegasus is the name of their boat, named for this amazing matriarch.
Needless to say, the three of us were overjoyed with our booking and as we sat on the deck drinking pinot noir and eating cheese and crackers, seals began to spring up and circle the boat. Their bodies were sleek with water and in their jaws were massive salmon they tossed in the air to tear apart. Across the waterway, another boat named The Other Office The sun began to set and a storm set in, but my family cuddled around a laptop watching the Twilight Zone until we fell asleep to the light rocking of the boat.