We spent our anniversary week in a Craftsman cottage in Long Beach.
While cute, it wasn’t the smartest choice we’ve made in our year of vagabonding. The commute for Brian was way too far, and since there was only parking for one, we’d meet at our shop in Orange before heading home, which put us there after eight every night.
The whole point of booking in Long Beach was to explore a different area, something we never got to do since we left early and got home late–although I did really enjoy the clawfoot bath and the historic details.
One Year Later…
So do we have any regrets about selling our house and becoming the swellegant vagabonds? Nope. Zero. Not one. The condo–which was supposed to be temporary while we searched for “the right house”– never felt like home even after eighteen years. The place didn’t make us happy, even though it was an airy, spacious, pretty environment.
Something just didn’t suit us. We thought we must not like Orange County.
Turns out it wasn’t OC we didn’t like, but the specific location. The truth hit us about six months into living vagabond after staying at an Airbnb down the street from our former home. Although the living space and the host were super nice, we both felt depressed the entire week, something we didn’t feel when staying in Anaheim or Santa Ana or Fullerton or Yorba Linda or even other parts of Orange.
I tell you, my best advice to anyone relocating to an area is to spend a few months Airbnb-ing around to give you a true sense of what the neighborhood has to offer and also fine-tune what you like. For us, being in a walkable area is huge. Our favorites are usually the more creative spaces, although comfort and cleanliness are number one. We figured out we definitely like living in a tree. If you’ve been following along, I’m sure you’ve figured that out.
While we loved the look and the location, the house was so dirty my feet turned black after doing yoga, and we could hear every sneeze and conversation from the (very nice) property managers who lived below.
Speaking of property managers, we learned we prefer Airbnb’s with on-site hosts rather than ones being operated solely as a business. Part of the fun of vagabonding is meeting and having conversations with the hosts, like Doug and Chris in Santa Ana, and Randy and Sue in Yorba Linda. Plus, the little guest houses tend to be better maintained than the units used solely for Airbnb.
Like for example one of our regular early stops, the historic Kraemer building in Anaheim, Orange County’s first high rise.
It was a great building with spacious apartments in a super walkable location. But it was also impersonal and not well maintained, like broken blinds and loose handles on every pot and pan. Even so, we still liked the place and stayed many times last winter before summer rates kicked in and the value went away.
Over the course of the year, we had week-long stays in 43 different locations:
- 19 Hotels
- 21 Airbnbs
- 3 of our Properties (Yucca Valley, our shop in Orange, and the Winslow Motor Palace)
- Hotel Pepper Tree wins for most stays (7)
- Kraemer Building wins for most Airbnb stays (4) followed by Park Santiago (3), Katie’s poolhouse (3), and Fullerton (3)
- We had only three bad experiences
What we have learned in our year of vagabonding:
- There are a whole lot of nice people out there
- You can make meals with only a microwave or single burner
- Sleeping with a blindfold and earplugs knocks you out, wherever you lay your head
- Variety makes every week feel like a vacation
- Ikea is the official outfitter of most Airbnbs
- Stuff can be a burden
- Living out of a suitcase simplifies life
- A decor theme can be taken too far
- Carrying a cheapo electric percolator saves you from Keurigs and other single cup coffee maker. I mean, come on! Who drinks just one cup??
Where We Go From Here
So now that we’ve crossed that one-year marker of living vagabond, what’s next? Certainly not settling down in one spot, although there are some big changes on the horizon that will expand our vagabond life even further.
More on that later.
Until next time…